Re: Ethiopian Christianity
Posted By: yan In Response To: Re: Ethiopian Christianity (rasi)
Date: Sunday, 5 December 2004, at 10:02 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Ethiopian Christianity (rasi)
Well I really don’t see how any of the points you have made here invalidate the central assertion of my post which was to show the ancient linkages between the Christian monarchy of Ethiopia and European Christian crusading endeavours, or the linkages between Ethiopia and Christian monarchies and nobility.
You speak of the Christian massacre by Felasha Queen Yodit of the Christian centre of Axum. I must make it clear here that her origins are the subject of great debate by historians. Some conclude that she may have been a Zagwe princess who assisted in the take over of the Solomonic line by the Zagwes who saw themselves as having a legitimate claim to the Ethiopian monarchy. In this context one must note the long standing conflict between the central Christian monarchy and the several other ethnicities and faiths of indigenous Ethiopians. Yodit’s destruction of Axum has been seen as retaliation against the usurpation of the autonomy of the Sidama people. While Christianity may be seen as an old religion in Ethiopia, its spread certainly did infringe on the religions and political right of several other kingdoms that were not Christian. So I do think it is quite misleading to class Yodit/ Gudit as an example of other Ethiopian groups attempting to assert their religion on the rest of Ethiopia.
Your statement that all leaders of all religions engaged in war to spread their faith is in many ways quite untrue as there are certainly many religions that have never made war on any other in an attempt to spread their beliefs. In any case everyone who did this was wrong, so claiming that others did it does not excuse what was done in Ethiopia in this period. There are still victims of this historical epoch around and championing for redress.
Europeans went in search of a Christian King whom they called Prestor John not knowing the nature or real location of this Christian emperor. From my research they were in fact searching for a white king, expecting that any king in this region who was a champion of Christianity would be white. The King that you mentioned may have indeed been the person that fit the time frame of rule, but certainly they were following a MYTH when they went in search of “Prestor John”.
“A History of the Early Orders of Knighthood and Chivalry”, published at Limpsfield, Surrey, 1978 states that:
“ "Prestor John" is a name which was devised in Western Europe and was applied over many centuries to rulers of 'the East' at various times, this was taken to mean some mythical Christian king somewhere in India, or an unspecified Eastern khanate. Finally, with the Western discovery of the Ethiopian Christian Kingdom, the name was applied to Ethiopia, where the western appellation remained.”
I would suggest that you do some additional research on the many stories that were circulated about this Prestor John. The fact that many were untrue validates my point about there being myths.
This is one account of the link between the Knights Templar and the Ethiopian dynasties:
“The first group in the Western European milieu to adapt badges and symbols as a formalized aspect of their attire -- the Knights Templar of the Christian Crusades -- appeared in Ethiopia during the 12th century. They were in search of the lost Ark of Covenant, which they found was not where they had been searching; in the ruins of the Temple of Jerusalem. It had gone by a long route to Axum, in Ethiopia, a fact which they had discovered as they pursued clues to its flight from Israel. …the Templars also left a more ephemeral symbol: the red cloth signs of the crucifix which they wore on their white surpluses to identify their knight-priest order. This was among the first highly-charged and uniform badge of office and knighthood known to the modern world. And, to a society such as Ethiopia's, a bastion of Christianity, the image of the badge of office would not be lost. Similarly, the later Portuguese visitors brought evidence of other Western trappings of office, and the colour purple was introduced into the retinue of the Court [see Section i,Chapter 21.]…But by the time the Portuguese visited Ethiopia, the Christian concept of identifiable chivalric orders had already been inculcated in a Western sense, almost certainly because of the contact with the visiting Knights Templar. ”
This can be found in the book “Ethiopia Reaches Her Hand Unto God” by Gregory Copley, pp. 92-94 , Published by Defence & foreign Affairs USA, 1998 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1892998017/ref=nosim/theorderofthesel/002-2020135-4741656?dev-t=D2WMCOIPS9D14E
The pressure of Islamic advance into Ethiopia was not an isolated incident and the Portuguese did send troops and aid to repel the Muslim invaders although it was not enough to halt the Muslim advance. It was during the rule of King Galawdewos that the Portuguese tried again unsuccessfully to get the Ethiopian monarchy to adopt Catholicism, however later monarch king Suseynos (1607-32) became Catholic in the hope of an advantageous military alliance with the West. Again this proves my point about the linkages between the Ethiopian monarchy and other Christian monarchs, in this case Portugal. The ancient vintage of Ethiopian Christian state made it sought after, for either political alliances or historical validation of the crusades, and in many instances Ethiopian monarchs including Selassie did court the favour of these European kings to further their own endeavours.
Well certainly you do not expect me to go over the countless allegations of Oromo oppression by the Solomonic dynasty in Ethiopia over the years. That has already been well documented by other posters on the board. I am certain you can do some research on the history of the Oromo, one of the indigenous Ethiopian groups, and see the history of their persecution. As I stated above the centralized authority of Christianity was not an easy one and was fraught with conflict. Ethiopia is a land of many different ethnicities and religions - Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, Islam, as well as several indigenous so-called pagan religions that had existed centuries before the rise of Christianity. I hope you did not think that systems of belief began in Ethiopia with Christianity. In addition to religious conflicts, Ethiopia was not a centralized state but made up of several autonomous kingdoms of different ethnicities. When the Solomonic line reasserted itself and monarchs attempted to make Christianity the official religion of Ethiopia as well as centralize power and political authority, the monarchy often attempted to crush these rebellions violently.
All of this information really is just background to the point I made in the first place and in my view nothing that has been said so far invalidates it.
PS- I have noticed that you challenge things then abandon the threads when the responses come. So I am never really sure of your motive for challenging anything seeing that you do not give proper feedback. If your motive is to simply cast doubt on what is being said by nitpicking at details, then it is very unfair for anyone to take the time to present their research under those conditions.
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