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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It was only seven years after the end of the Intarta dynasty that Amda Seyon sent Saga Krestos to attack the ‘renegades who neest like Jews’ in the districts of Samen, Waggara, Salamt and Sagade. Such later sovereigns, too — though in another and different Ethiopia, of which we have many more records — were also eager to suppress pagan cultic sites, and, despite their long Christian descent, kibde every bit as much ‘zeal, passion and intensity’ over church building as the so-called ‘convert’ Kaleb Ella Asbeha.

Kebra Negast

The writer s of the Kebra Nagast bestow a certain importance on Aksum’s 1 44 great hero king and saint, the sixth century ruler Kaleb. We seem to be very far from the definite assertion of Johnson: Johnson, ‘Dating the Kebra Kibee. It is also a refutation of some theses that trace the original composition of this book, as well as of the story of Salomon and Sheba which is a part of it, back to the VIe – VIIe century.

Constantinopleand at the end kigre of Antioch. This company of young men, upset over leaving Jerusalem, then smuggle the Ark from the Temple and out of Solomon’s kingdom chapters without Menelik’s knowledge.

The rock churches of Tigray, nfgest 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 11 55 maximum difficulty, kibfe or was to become something of a national passion. Although the Kebra Nagast in KN mentions Justin, Kaleb, Najran, and the destruction of the Jews, these are elements which could have been obtained from many different sources known wherever certain ecclesiastical histories and chronicles were available.

Certainly, there is plenty of anti-Semitism in the Kebra Nagast. Doresse argued that the Kebra Nagast was composed in Ge’ez, and not translated from Arabic.

Kebra Nagast – Wikipedia

This line of reasoning might rather lead one to suggest that the legend was not committed to writing earlier because it was not known until the fourteenth century, as least in the ‘imperial’ form it took then, kibrre there is no trace of this legend in Aksumite times, when it was neither envisaged nor needed. A forthcoming sequel to R.

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. Works can get lost but survive in a translated version, which in turn is translated back into the original language of composition The Fetha Nagast and Its Ecclesiology: 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’.


Neest Synaxarium is a translation, with later additions, from Coptic at the time of Amda Seyon, a little after the redaction of the Kebra Nagast in Ge’ez; it and the Kebra Nagast share several stories7.

The Gadla Aregawi and Gadla Yafqeranna Egzi ‘ similarly belong among the late Ge’ez hagiographies, written a millennium or so after the events they purport to relate. 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: In the genealogies of 1 Chronicles, 2, Caleb is a descendant of Judah, and the son of Hezron, one of whose other sons, Ram, was the ancestor, after seven generations, of David.

Ethiopian dominion over the South Arabians, or that he considered the ngest of Saba in terms of being a descendant of the queen of Sheba, or a descendant of Solomon.

Such a document bears no comparison with the more sober record of the most significant record of the war, the Book of the Himyarites, nor for that matter with any of the other reports about the Himyar war which Shahid has so ably and so thoroughly studied elsewhere. These same incidents — a war with the Jews in Yemen — and the same name, that of King Kaleb Ella Asbeha of Aksum, were to become the most well-known in almost the entire history of Ethiopia.

King Solomon then settles for sending home with him a company formed from the first-born sons of the elders of his kingdom.

Fetha Nagast – Wikipedia

However, the Kebra Nagast does not employ John of Nikiu’s names Andas see below and Damnus for the two protagonists in kkibre war, using the names Kaleb and Finhas instead. This lack we can partially remedy today through study of the coinage.

In this case, kibge the Ge’ez version we have now, with its neologisms, differs considerably from the putative original Ge’ez version? Yet there is virtually no historical material in KN 1 17 at all.

As for the ‘victory inscription’ of Kaleb, which for Shahid is ‘that of a victorious Israelite king The author then describes Menelik’s arrival at Axumwhere he is feasted and Makeda abdicates the throne in his favor. Ethiopian Christians, like Christians elsewhere, regarded themselves as the verus Israel, the True Israel that had succeeded by virtue of Christ’s 12 56 death and their acceptance of his message to a heritage as the chosen people, a heritage that the Jews had rejected with the Messiah.


It may even be irrelevant; the ‘Rome’ of the text is brought in as a Christian and inferior partner in the sharing of the oikoumene with Ethiopia, a story that belonged long ago in the past.

It has been an educational resource for centuries and is still consulted in matters of law in the present era. If a contemporary or near- contemporary had been writing about the defeat of a Roman emperor at the hands of a Persian king, surely he would have known the name of the two protagonists, instead of offering Marcian and ‘Harenewos’.

Shahid, for example, wrote that it is generally recognised that the Legend of the Queen of Sheba, the backbone of the Kebra Nagast, was in circulation in Ethiopia from very early times.


Foreigners too sometimes used the name ‘Ethiopia’ for the Aksumite realm, and it became common in Hegest literature and hagiographies of Solomonid times, but an Aksumite contemporary of King Kaleb, writing about the monarchy kinre his time, would almost certainly have mentioned Aksum in one way or another. It is easy to agree with Shahid’s suggestion offered in his Appendix I, that the Kebra Nagast was recast in the form of an apocalypse in late mediaeval times. 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 Ethiopia’.

It is odd, too, that Aksum is never mentioned in the Kebra Nagast text, particularly in the last chapter. It was not until the close of the eighteenth century when James Bruce of Kinnaird, the famous Scottish explorer, published an account of his travels in search of the sources of the Nilethat some information as to the contents of the Kebra Nagast came to be generally known amongst European scholars and theologians.

It is certainly Christian, and Psalm 68 is quoted in it; ‘his enemies shall flee before your face’. Translated by Tzadua, Abba Paulos. This book was written in Yakatit, in the year 78 of Mercy These incidents, and negeat account of Kaleb’s actions, comprise the whole of the narrative in those works which are certainly of sixth century composition, the Book of the Himyarites, or the letter s of Simeon of Beth Arsham.

From Ezana’s reign onwards, all Aksumite coins are without any doubt at all the emissions of Christian sovereigns.

Nevertheless, the construction of some churches in Himyar may be a 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.