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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue
Title:The apocryphal legitimation of a 'Solomonic' dynasty in the Kebrä nägäst: a reappraisal
Author:Piovanelli, Pierluigi
Periodical:Aethiopica: International Journal of Ethiopian Studies (ISSN 1430-1938)
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:religious literature
religious history
Ethiopian Church
External link:https://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/aethiopica/article/view/698/712
Abstract:The article presents a re-evaluation of the ideological function of the Kebrä nägäst (Kebra Nagast, KN) as an apocryphal production to establish the moral authority of the new 'Solomonic' dynasty founded by Yekuno Amlak (1270-1285). In this regard, the KN can be considered as the 14th-century Ethiopian response to the religious and political propaganda of the 7th-century Syriac 'Apocalypse of pseudo-Methodius' and related literature. The arguments recently made in favour of a 6th-century date for a hypothetical original kernel of the KN are also re-examined and reinterpreted. The mention of the 'glory of David' in the inscription RIÉ 195 II: 24 is not a reference to the Davidic and Solomonic ancestry of the kings of Aksum but part of a biblical citation, Isaiah 22:22-23, here for the first time correctly identified, while the connection between a gold coin of king MHDYS and the council of Chalcedon (AD 451) is too speculative to be of any use. The memories of 6th-century Himyaritic wars in south-western South Arabia provided but the point of departure for the elaboration of the traditions to be much later creatively recycled in the KN and which would play a major role in shaping the special Christian identity of Ethiopian society. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]