The Kebra Nagast (var. Kebra Negast, Ge’ez, kəbrä nägäst), or the Book of the Glory of Kings, is an account written in Ge’ez of the origins of the Solomonic line. The Kebra nagast (Glory of Kings), written from to , relates the birth of Menelik—the son of Solomon and Makada, the queen of Sheba—who became. The Kebra Nagast, by E.A.W. Budge, [], full text etext at

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The fiery zeal which he brought to his activity reveals one who was not born a Christian but was a converted one, and who, for this reason, would therefore have retained the vivid experience of the original illumination.

Nevertheless, the construction of some churches in Neges may be klbre not unlikely product of Kaleb ‘s zeal, since the churches there had been destroyed by King Yusuf, and they constituted important imperial symbols of the occupying power.

Kebra Negast | Ethiopian literary work |

The Ge’ez translation was late. If we subtract from to find the date of the beginning of the reign of Gabra Masqal, we arrive at EC; the same date as in the Kebra Nagast, the beginning of the thirteenth cycle, but far too late for any son of Kaleb. They thus date long before Kaleb, and provide, if anything, even stronger proof that the interim kings between Ezana and Kaleb were Christian.

One can certainly accept the polemic and the hostile dialogue; it was part and parcel of the vital issue of Christianity versus Judaism, now raised to a rare, even unique, position on the political and international stage by King Yusuf of Himyar’s blatant acts against Christians in Zafar and Najran. Dissertatio inauguralis, Halle, n.


Lack of reaction to Queen Gudit in the Kebra Nagast, which Shahid supposes to be a supporting indication that the Kebra Nagast was written before her advent, is therefore not relevant.

All that the Kebra Nagast has in ,ibre with such accounts is that in one single chapter it cites, with utmost brevity and lack of clarity, certain incidents and the royal name Kaleb.

All the kings of the Aksumite period, including Kaleb, referred to themselves on their coinage and in their inscriptions, exclusively as ‘king of Aksum’ or as ‘king of the Aksumites’, never as ‘king of Kibrre.

The matter of Kaleb’s ‘passion for building’ is equally tenuous, though some church building is both proven and intrinsically likely given the particular situation after the Himyar. Other historians to consider the evidence date parts of it as late as the end of the sixteenth century, when Muslim incursions and contacts with the wider Christian world made the Ethiopian Church concerned to assert its character and assert Jewish traditions.


Nevertheless, Shahid envisages that after the conversion to Christianity the Ethiopian kings had to address the problem of ‘a new source or basis for their kingly power’.

Kebra Nagast

We have also intimated the irrelevancy to the Kebra Nagast of a queen of an Arabian Sheba, the claimed Ethiopian descent being the vital factor. The document is presented in the form of a debate by the “orthodox fathers” of the First Council of Nicaea. Mibre the time that the Kebra Nagast, with its claim to Ethiopian possession of the Tablets of the Law later the Ark of negeet Covenant was included as well23was written, the very loss of the talisman was a weapon against the Jews, who would not have lost such treasures of their religion had they not been unworthy.

In any case, the Kebra Nagast itself maintains that she was not an Arabian queen, but Makeda, queen of Nrgest, sovereign of Ethiopia KN 21 ; claims to the overlordship of Saba are therefore hardly relevant. The information in KN 1 17 is far too weak, far too vague, to justify placing the Kebra Negesg story of Solomon, the queen of Sheba, and the Ark of the Covenant, as early as the sixth or seventh century.

The Ark of the Lord went only where it, or God, willed.

He kibrf heavily the intermixing of the royal families in order to preserve their own power and to ensure that their blood line survives. There is not much difficulty in imagining the alteration of Andas into ‘Enya in Ge’ez. Kaleb is an historical person, unlike the legendary figures of the other prominent characters in the Kebra Nagast such as Ebna Hakim called in later versions of the legend, Menelik and his mother Queen Makeda the queen of Shebaand the Israelite contingent, sons of Solomon’s principal advisers, who supposedly came with.

Kebra Nagast – Wikipedia

The second part, concerning issues pertaining to the laity, such as family law, debt, civil administration etc. If the minds of these Aksumite kings were neegest deeply occupied with this legend, and set the very ‘source and basis of their kingly power’ upon it, how was it that, unlike the later Solomonids in whose titularies the mention of Solomon so often appears, no primary source or secondary record from the negst extensive repertoire available — particularly with reference to Kaleb and the Himyar war — ever even hints at such pretensions?

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Viewed from the point of view of Aksumite history, there is nothing at all which might even hint at a claim of descent from King Solomon during the entire Aksumite period.

Shahid raises the question of the Ark of the Covenant, with reference to the epithet ‘Masruq’, applied to Yusuf by his enemies; ‘if it means “stolen”, he suggests, it could be a retort to a Jewish jeer that what the Ethiopians prize as the Holy of their Holies, namely the Ark of the Covenant in Aksum, was by their own admission only a thing “stolen” negdst Jerusalem.

Views Read Edit View history. The text is interesting as an early representative of a Psalm translated into Ge’ez, but to interpret this citation from the Psalms as the work of a king who believed himself to be ‘a lineal descendant of the Psalmist himself seems to me to go far beyond the nature of the evidence.

It is true that there are puzzling features. The rock churches of Tigray, and of Lalibela, and the excavated basilicas of Aksumite times, seem to indicate clearly enough that church building, often on a substantial scale and in a medium of.

A barely comprehensible prophetic chapter, the last KN in the book, attributed to the Armenian saint Gregory the Illuminator, is devoted to Kaleb and to his sons Israel and Gabra Masqal:. This book was written in Yakatit, in nwgest year 78 of Mercy The writer s of the Kebra Nagast bestow a certain importance on Aksum’s.

This page was last edited on 18 Decemberat These basic errors, this confusion from sentence to sentence, do not sound at all like the writing of a contemporary or near contemporary to the events of the war, familiar with the protagonists. Levine, Wax and Gold: There is little trace of Aksumite influence in Justin’s Egypt, except for the despatch of a bishop to Ethiopia by the patriarch, while Kaleb’s conquest of the Yemen, his most ‘imperial’ act, was itself very soon to prove an expensive failure.

It was to be affirmed later also, by Kaleb’s son WYzeb. They appear to emerge from the confusion of information from ill- understood sources.