The Ethiopian Empire known as Abyssinia, was a kingdom that spanned a geographical area in the current states of Eritrea and Ethiopia. It began with the establishment of the Solomonic dynasty from 1270 and lasted until 1974, when the ruling Solomonic dynasty was overthrown in a coup d'état by the Derg; the territory of present-day Eritrea became Italian Eritrea. Following the British occupation of Egypt in 1882, Ethiopia and Liberia were the only two African nations to remain independent during the Scramble for Africa by the European imperial powers in the late 19th century. Ethiopia remained independent after defeating Italians during the First Italo-Ethiopian War. After the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, the Italian Empire occupied Ethiopia for five years and established the Italian East Africa colony in the region; the Italians were driven out with the help of the British army. The country was one of the founding members of the United Nations in 1945. By 1974, Ethiopia was one of only three countries in the world to have the title of Emperor for its head of state, together with Japan and Iran under the Pahlavi dynasty.
It was the second-to-last country in Africa to use the title of Emperor. Ethiopia's human occupation began early, it is believed that the ancient Egyptians claimed that Punt, known as gold country, was in Ethiopia in 980 BC. According to the Kebra Nagast, Menelik I founded the Ethiopian empire in the 1st century BC, around when the Axumite Empire was established. In the 4th century, under King Ezana of Axum, the kingdom adopted Christianity as the state religion, it was thus one of the first Christian states. After the conquest of Aksum by Queen Gudit or Yodit, a period began which some scholars refer to as the Ethiopian Dark Ages. According to Ethiopian tradition, she ruled over the remains of the Aksumite Empire for 40 years before transmitting the crown to her descendants. In 1063AD the Sultanate of Showa describes the passing of their overlord Badit daughter of Maya; the earliest Muslim state in Ethiopia, the Makhzumi dynasty with its capital in Wahal, Hararghe region succeeds Queen Badit. The Zagwe kingdom another dynasty with its capital at Adafa, emerged not far from modern day Lalibela in the Lasta mountains.
The Zagwe continued the Orthodox Christianity of Aksum and constructed many rock-hewn churches such as the Church of Saint George in Lalibela. The dynasty would last until its overthrow by a new regime claiming descent from the old Aksumite kings. In 1270, the Zagwe dynasty was overthrown by a king claiming lineage from the Aksumite kings and, from Solomon; the eponymously named Solomonic dynasty was founded and ruled by the Abyssinians, from whom Abyssinia gets its name. The Abyssinians reigned with only a few interruptions from 1270 until the late 20th century; this dynasty governed large parts of Ethiopia through much of its modern history. During this time, the empire annexed various kingdoms into its realm; the dynasty successfully fought off Italian and Egyptian forces and made fruitful contacts with some European powers. In 1529, the Adal Sultanate's forces led by Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi invaded the Ethiopian Empire in what is known as the Abyssinian–Adal war; the Adal occupation lasted fourteen years.
During the conflict, the Adal Sultanate employed cannons provided by the Ottoman Empire. In the aftermath of the war, Adal annexed Ethiopia, uniting it with territories in what is now Somalia. In 1543, with the help of the Portuguese Empire, the Solomonic dynasty was restored. In 1543, Emperor Gelawdewos beat Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi armies and Ahmad himself was killed at the Battle of Wayna Daga, close to Wegera; this victory allowed the Empire to reconquer progressively the Ethiopian Highlands. In 1559 Gelawdewos was killed attempting to invade Adal Sultanate, his severed head was paraded in Adal's capital Harar; the Ottoman Empire, distated by the defeat of its ally Gragn, made another attempt at conquering Ethiopia, from 1557, establishing Habesh Eyalet, the province of Abyssinia, by conquering Massawa, the Empire’s main port and seizing Suakin from the allied Funj Sultanate in what is now Sudan. In 1573 Harar attempted to invade Ethiopia again however Sarsa Dengel defended the Ethiopian frontier.
The Ottomans were checked by Emperor Sarsa Dengel victory and sacking of Arqiqo in 1589, thus containing them on a narrow coast line strip. The Afar Sultanate maintained the remaining Ethiopian port at Baylul. Oromo migrations through the same period, occurred with the movement of a large pastoral population from the southeastern provinces of the Empire. A contemporary account was recorded from the Gamo region. Subsequently, the empire organization changed progressively, with faraway provinces taking more independence. A remote province such as Bale is last recorded paying tribute to the imperial throne during Yaqob reign. By 1607, Oromos were major players in the imperial politics, when Susenyos I, raised by a clan through gudifacha, took power, he was helped by fellow Luba age-group generals Mecha and Densa, who were rewarded by Rist feudal lands, in the present-day Gojjam districts of the same name. Susenyos reign was marked by his short-lived conversion to Catholicism, which ignited a major civil war.
His son Fasilides I reverted the move. The reign of Iyasu I the Great was a major period of consolidation, it saw the dispatching of
Wube Haile Maryam
Wube Haile Maryam called Wube Haile Mariam or Dejazmach Wube, was a regional ruler and dejazmach in Tigray and other coastal territories, in an area, now part of northern Ethiopia and central Eritrea. Wube is remembered in Eritrea for barbarous military raids, he was imprisoned in 1855 by Kassa Hailu. Some sources date Wube's defeat as the end of Ethiopia's Zemene Mesafint era. Wube was born in 1800, he is variably reported as having become the regional chief of Simien upon the death of his father in 1826 or as having ruled from 1831. He was a persistent warlord, who leveraged his governorship of the district of Wogera into a wider rule of Simien and Tigray. Considered one of the more powerful of numerous concurrently feuding regional warlords, Wube is recognized as having had ambitions on becoming emperor himself, he arranged for completion of the ongoing building of Dirasge Mariam Church for his coronation, his status is underpinned by his being exempted from the usual requirement of vassals to attend the court of Ras Ali II, regent to the Emperor of Ethiopia.
In 1841, at Wube's request, the See of Alexandria sent Abuna Salama III to become the new patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. That same year, Wube defeated Ras Ali II in battle, taking Gondar, the capital of Ethiopia. Nonetheless, Ras Ali II escaped. In February 1842, their armies clashed again in the Battle of Debre Tabor, where Wube's initial tactical superiority from imported firearms carried the day, until a detachment under Dejazmach Birru Aligaz, Ras Ali's uncle, broke through to Wube's encampment and captured him, thus enabling Ali to retain his title. Although Ras Ali II and Wube continued to have some tension, they avoided any serious clash as there was constant threat from Egyptian rulers from the north. Subsequently, Wube was unsuccessful in his efforts to take Massawa and in 1844 withdrew inland leaving Tigray in 1846. Kassa Hailu definitively defeated Ali II in the Battle of Ayshal, 29 June 1853, whereupon Ali disappeared from history; some sources date the ending of Zemene Mesafint era, during which Ethiopia lacked effective central authority from 1769 to 1855, to Ras Ali II's defeat at the Battle of Ayshal in 1853, after which Kassa became the de facto ruler of Ethiopia.
However, other sources denote the ending of the Zemene Mesafint as Wube's defeat in 1855, as the last remaining autonomous regional ruler. On 9 February 1855, Wube's army was defeated by Kassa Hailu and Wube was captured and imprisoned. Within a few days, titled as a Negus, was crowned Emperor Tewodros II by Abuna Salama III in the Dirasge Mariam Church. Although some sources suggest that Wube may have died in 1855, it is more accepted that he spent the part of his years in prison and died in 1867
Ethiopian aristocratic and court titles
Until the end of the Ethiopian monarchy in 1974, there were two categories of nobility in Ethiopia. The Mesafint, the hereditary nobility, formed the upper echelon of the ruling class; the Mekwanint were the appointed nobles of humble birth, who formed the bulk of the aristocracy. Until the 20th century, the most powerful people at court were members of the Mekwanint appointed by the monarch, while regionally, the Mesafint enjoyed greater influence and power. Emperor Haile Selassie curtailed the power of the Mesafint to the benefit of the Mekwanint, who by were coterminous with the Ethiopian government; the Mekwanint were officials, granted specific offices in the Abyssinian government or court. Higher ranks from the title of Ras through to Balambaras were bestowed upon members of the Mekwanint. A member of the Mesafint, would traditionally be given precedence over a member of the Mekwanint of the same rank. For example, Ras Mengesha Yohannes, son of Emperor Yohannes IV and thus a member of the Mesafint, would have outranked Ras Alula Engida, of humble birth and therefore a member of the Mekwanint though their ranks were equal.
There were parallel rules of precedence seniority based on age, on offices held, on when they each obtained their titles, which made the rules for precedence rather complex. Combined with the ambiguous position of titled heirs of members of the Mekwanint, Emperor Haile Selassie, as part of his program of modernising reforms, in line with his aims of centralising power away from the Mesafint, replaced the traditional system of precedence with a simplified, Western-inspired system that gave precedence by rank, by seniority based when the title had been assumed – irrespective of how the title was acquired; the Negusa Nagast was the Emperor of Ethiopia. Although several kings of Aksum used this style, until the restoration of the Solomonic dynasty under Yekuno Amlak, rulers of Ethiopia used the style of Negus, although "King of Kings" was used as far back as Ezana; the full title of the Emperor of Ethiopia was Seyoume Igziabeher. The title Moa Anbessa Ze Imnegede Yehuda always preceded the titles of the Emperor.
It was not a personal title but rather referred to the title of Jesus and placed the office of Christ ahead of the Emperor's name in an act of Imperial submission. Until the reign of Yohannes IV, the Emperor was Neguse Tsion, "King of Zion"), whose seat was at Axum, which conferred hegemony over much of the north of the Empire; the Emperor was referred to by the dignities of the formal Girmawi, in common speech as Janhoy, in his own household and family as Getochu, when referred to by name in the third person with the suffix of Atse. All formal speech concerning the Emperor was in the plural. A Negus was a hereditary ruler of one of Ethiopia's larger provinces, over whom collectively the monarch ruled, thus justifying his imperial title; the title of Negus was awarded at the discretion of the Emperor to those who ruled important provinces, although it was used hereditarily during and after the Zemene Mesafint. The rulers of Begemder, Gojjam, all held the title of Negus at some point, as the "Negus of Shewa", "Negus of Gojjam", so forth.
During and after the reign of Menelik II all of the titles either lapsed into the Imperial crown or were dissolved. In 1914, after having been appointed "Negus of Zion" by his son Lij Iyasu, Mikael of Wollo, in consideration of the hostile feelings this provoked in of much of the nobility in northern Ethiopia, who were now technically made subordinate to him, instead elected to use the title of Negus of Wollo. Tafari Makonnen, who became Emperor Haile Selassie, was bestowed the title of Negus in 1928. Despite this, European sources referred to the Ethiopian monarch as the Negus well into the 20th century, switching to Emperor only after the Second World War- around the same time the name Abyssinia fell out of use in favour of Ethiopia in the west. Le'ul was a princely style used by sons and grandson of the Emperor, it conferred upon its holder the title of Imperial Highness. The style first came into use in 1916, following the enthronement of Empress Zewditu Abetohun or Abeto -- Prince. Title reserved for males of Imperial ancestry in the male line.
Title fell into disuse by the late 19th century. Lij Iyasu attempted to revive the title as Abeto-hoy, this form is still used by the current Iyasuist claimant Girma Yohannes Iyasu. Ras -- One of the powerful non-imperial; the combined title of Leul Ras was given to the heads of the cadet b
Oriental Orthodoxy is the fourth largest communion of Christian churches, with about 76 million members worldwide. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, it has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Armenia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and parts of the Middle East and India. An Eastern Christian communion of autocephalous churches, its bishops are equal by virtue of episcopal ordination, its doctrines can be summarised in that the communion recognizes the validity of only the first three ecumenical councils; the Oriental Orthodox communion is composed of six autocephalous churches: the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Collectively, they consider themselves to be the One, Holy and Apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles.
Most member churches are part of the World Council of Churches. All member churches share a identical theology, with the distinguishing feature being Miaphysitism. Three different rites are practiced in the communion: the western-influenced Armenian Rite, the West Syrian Rite of the two Syriac churches, the Alexandrian Rite of the Copts and Eritreans. At the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, the Oriental Orthodox churches separated from the Imperial Roman Church over differences in Christology. Oriental Orthodoxy developed distinctively under the Patriarchate of Alexandria in Egypt part of the Pentarchy, the only episcopal see besides the Holy See to maintain the title "Pope"; the majority of Oriental Orthodox Christians live in Egypt, Ethiopia and Armenia, with smaller Syriac communities living in the Middle East–decreasing due to persecution–and India. There are many in other parts of the world, formed through diaspora and missionary activity; the Oriental Orthodox churches are distinguished by their recognition of only the first three ecumenical councils during the period of the State church of the Roman Empire –the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the First Council of Constantinople in 381 and the Council of Ephesus in 431.
Oriental Orthodoxy shares much theology and many ecclesiastical traditions with the Eastern Orthodox Church. The primary theological difference between the two communions is the differing Christology. Oriental Orthodoxy rejects the Chalcedonian Definition, instead adopts the Miaphysite formula, believing that the human and divine natures of Christ are united; the early prelates of the Oriental Orthodox churches thought that the Chalcedonian Definition implied a possible repudiation of the Trinity or a concession to Nestorianism. Other differences include minor deviations in social teaching and different views on ecumenism. Oriental Orthodox churches are considered to be more conservative with regard to social issues as well more enthusiastic about ecumenical relations with non-Orthodox churches; the break in communion between the Imperial Roman and Oriental Orthodox churches did not occur but rather over 2-3 centuries following the Council of Chalcedon. The two communions developed separate institutions, the Oriental Orthodox did not participate in any of the ecumenical councils.
The Oriental Orthodox churches maintain their own ancient apostolic succession. The various churches are governed by holy synods, with a primus inter pares bishop serving as primate; the primates hold titles like patriarch and pope. Among these patriarchs, the Pope of Alexandria takes precedence, is sometimes considered the "face" of Oriental Orthodoxy; the Alexandrian Patriarchate, along with Rome and Antioch, was one of the most prominent sees of the early Christian Church, contains a majority population of Coptic Christians, unlike Antioch is still a major population center. That said, the Pope of Alexandria has no governing powers with respect to the non-Coptic churches. Oriental Orthodoxy does not have a magisterial leader like the Roman Catholic Church, nor does the communion have a leader who can convene ecumenical synods like the Eastern Orthodox Church; the schism between Oriental Orthodoxy and the adherents of Chalcedonian Christianity was based on differences in Christology. The First Council of Nicaea, in 325, declared that Jesus Christ is God, to say, "consubstantial" with the Father.
The third ecumenical council, the Council of Ephesus, declared that Jesus Christ, though divine as well as human, is only one being, or person. Thus, the Council of Ephesus explicitly rejected Nestorianism, the Christological doctrine that Christ was two distinct beings, one divine and one human, who happened to inhabit the same body; the churches that became Oriental Orthodoxy were anti-Nestorian, therefore supported the decisions made at Ephesus. Twenty years after Ephesus, the Council of Chalcedon reaffirmed the view that Jesus Christ was a single person, but at the same time declared that this one person existed "in two complete natures", one human and one divine; those who opposed Chalcedon saw this as a concession to Nestorianism, or as a conspiracy to convert the Church to Nestorianism by stealth. As a result, over the following decades, they separated from communion with those who accepted the Council of Chalcedon, formed the body, today called Oriental Orthodoxy. At times, Chalcedonian Christians have referre
Theology is the critical study of the nature of the divine. It is taught as an academic discipline in universities and seminaries. Theology is the study of deities or their scriptures in order to discover what they have revealed about themselves, it occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but especially with epistemology, asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship. Theology is derived from the Greek theologia, which derived from Τheos, meaning "God", -logia, meaning "utterances, sayings, or oracles" which had passed into Latin as theologia and into French as théologie.
The English equivalent "theology" had evolved by 1362. The sense the word has in English depends in large part on the sense the Latin and Greek equivalents had acquired in patristic and medieval Christian usage, although the English term has now spread beyond Christian contexts. Augustine of Hippo defined the Latin equivalent, theologia, as "reasoning or discussion concerning the Deity"; the term can, however, be used for a variety of fields of study. Theology begins with the assumption that the divine exists in some form, such as in physical, mental, or social realities, that evidence for and about it may be found via personal spiritual experiences or historical records of such experiences as documented by others; the study of these assumptions is not part of theology proper but is found in the philosophy of religion, through the psychology of religion and neurotheology. Theology aims to structure and understand these experiences and concepts, to use them to derive normative prescriptions for how to live our lives.
Theologians use various forms of analysis and argument to help understand, test, defend or promote any myriad of religious topics. As in philosophy of ethics and case law, arguments assume the existence of resolved questions, develop by making analogies from them to draw new inferences in new situations; the study of theology may help a theologian more understand their own religious tradition, another religious tradition, or it may enable them to explore the nature of divinity without reference to any specific tradition. Theology may be used to propagate, reform, or justify a religious tradition or it may be used to compare, challenge, or oppose a religious tradition or world-view. Theology might help a theologian address some present situation or need through a religious tradition, or to explore possible ways of interpreting the world. Greek theologia was used with the meaning "discourse on god" in the fourth century BC by Plato in The Republic, Book ii, Ch. 18. Aristotle divided theoretical philosophy into mathematike and theologike, with the last corresponding to metaphysics, for Aristotle, included discourse on the nature of the divine.
Drawing on Greek Stoic sources, the Latin writer Varro distinguished three forms of such discourse: mythical and civil. Theologos related to theologia, appears once in some biblical manuscripts, in the heading to the Book of Revelation: apokalypsis ioannoy toy theologoy, "the revelation of John the theologos". There, the word refers not to John the "theologian" in the modern English sense of the word but—using a different sense of the root logos, meaning not "rational discourse" but "word" or "message"—one who speaks the words of God, logoi toy theoy; some Latin Christian authors, such as Tertullian and Augustine, followed Varro's threefold usage, though Augustine used the term more to mean'reasoning or discussion concerning the deity'In patristic Greek Christian sources, theologia could refer narrowly to devout and inspired knowledge of, teaching about, the essential nature of God. The Latin author Boethius, writing in the early 6th century, used theologia to denote a subdivision of philosophy as a subject of academic study, dealing with the motionless, incorporeal reality.
Boethius' definition influenced medieval Latin usage. In scholastic Latin sources, the term came to denote the rational study of the doctrines of the Christian religion, or the academic discipline which investigated the coherence and implications of the language and claims of the Bible and of the theological tradition. In the Renaissance with Florentine Platonist apologists of Dante's poetics, the distinction between "poetic theology" and "revealed" or Biblical theology serves as steppingstone for a revival of philosophy as independent of theological authority, it is in this last sense, theology as an academic discipline involving rational study of Christian teaching
Amba Mariam is a village in central Ethiopia. It was known as Makdala during the reign of Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia. Located in the Debub Wollo Zone of the Amhara Region, Amba Mariam has a longitude and latitude of 11°12′N 39°17′E. Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, this town has an estimated total population of 1,899, of whom 988 were males and 911 were females; the 1994 census reported this town had a total population of 1,091, of whom 520 were males and 571 were females. It is one of three towns in Tenta woreda. By the early 19th century, Magdala was a mountain stronghold, or amba in the Wollo province of the true Amhara people; when Johann Ludwig Krapf camped at its foot on 26 March 1842, it was one of the strongholds of Imam Liban of the Were Himano, a "House" or a sub-group of the Wollo. Emperor Tewodros II conquered Magdala on 22 September 1855, he constructed a number of buildings including a church and a palace. In 1867, he imprisoned several British diplomats inside the fortress over a perceived insult from Queen Victoria.
A British military expedition led by Sir Robert Napier, landed at the Gulf of Zula on 4 December and set up a base camp at Zula before advancing on Magdala, which they reached in April 1868. Abandoned by the nobility and his followers, after his remaining troops engaged the British forces at the Battle of Magdala, Tewodros withdrew into the fortress on Amba Mariam and killed himself with a pistol a few days as the final assault began; this incident is fictionalized in the novel Flashman on the March. The British entered the capital. Before departing from Abyssinia, Sir Robert allowed his troops to loot and burn Magdala, including its churches; the expedition looted religious items such as tabots. These are still held in various libraries in Europe, as well as in private collections. A few items have been returned to Ethiopia, the most important being the crown of Tewodros II, which George V presented to the future Emperor Haile Selassie on his visit to England in 1925. Two tabots were returned in 2002 and 2003, from Scotland and England prompting occasions of great rejoicing in the country.
As of 2009 little remains of Tewodros's capital. The abandoned fortress was occupied by Lij Iyasu after the defeat of his supporters in the Battle of Segale. On 18 July 1917, Iyasu rallied the peasantry of Wollo to revolt. Acoma Pueblo
Tewodros II was Emperor of Ethiopia from 1855 until his death in 1868. He was born Kassa Hailegiorgis, his rule is placed as the beginning of modern Ethiopia, ending the decentralized Zemene Mesafint. Tewodros II's origins were in the Era of the Princes, but his ambitions were not those of the regional nobility, he sought to reform its administration and church. He sought to restore Solomonic hegemony, he considered himself the Elect of God. Tewodros II's first task was to bring Shewa under his control. During the Era of the Princes, Shewa was more than most provinces, an independent entity, its ruler styling himself Negus, a royal title denoting monarchy. In the course of subduing the Shewans, Tewodros imprisoned a Shewan prince, Menelik II, who would become emperor himself. Despite his success against Shewa, Tewodros faced constant rebellions in other provinces, he committed suicide at the Battle of Magdala, during the British Expedition to Abyssinia. In the first six years of his reign, the new ruler managed to put down these rebellions, the empire was peaceful from about 1861 to 1863, but the energy and manpower necessary to deal with regional opposition limited the scope of Tewodros's other activities.
Tewodros II never realized his dream of restoring a strong monarchy, although he took many important initial steps. He sought to establish the principle that judges must be salaried appointees, he established a professional standing army, rather than depending on local lords to provide soldiers for his expeditions. He introduced the collection of books in the form of a library, tax codes, as well as a centralized political system with respective administrative districts, he intended to reform the church but he was confronted by strong opposition when he tried to impose a tax on church lands to help finance government activities. His confiscation of these lands gained him enemies in the church and little support elsewhere. Tewodros was a talented military campaigner. Kassa was the son of a Christian nobleman of the Qwara district of the province of Dembiya named Hailegiorgis Woldegiorgis, his paternal grandfather, Dejazmatch Woldegiorgis, was a respected figure of his time. Dembiya was part of the large territory known as Ye Maru Qemas, or "the taste of the honey".
It was the personal fief of Dejazmach Maru, a powerful warlord, relative of Kassa Hailu. Kassa's mother, Woizero Atitegeb Wondbewossen, was of the upper nobility, was from Sayint, her mother Woizer Tishal was a member of a noble family of Begemder, while her paternal grandfather, Ras Wodajo, was a powerful and influential figure. Tewodros II, in his reign, claimed that his father was descended from Emperor Fasilides by way of a daughter; when Kassa was young, his parents divorced and Woizero Atitegeb moved back to Gondar taking her son with her. Not long after their departure, news reached them. Popular legend states that Kassa's paternal relatives split up the entire paternal inheritance, leaving young Kassa and his mother with nothing and in dire circumstances financially. In these hard times, his enemies came with a saying that his mother, Woizero Atitegeb, was reduced to selling "Kosso", a native herbal remedy used to purge patients of intestinal worms. There is no evidence that Woizero Atitegeb was a Kosso seller, several writers such as have stated outright that it was a false rumor spread by her detractors.
Evidence indicates that Woizero Atitegeb was well to do, indeed had inherited considerable land holdings from her own illustrious relatives to lead a comfortable life. Kassa's youth was not lived lavishly, but he was far from a pauper. Kassa was sent to school between Gondar and Lake Tana. In this asylum he took refuge until it was sacked by a defeated Galla chief named Dejazmatch Maru, who by burning and cutting to pieces children, took cowardly vengeance on their victories parents! Kassa escaped and fled to the protection of his kinsman, Dejazmatch Kenfu his uncle but believed to be his half-brother, he became familiar with the Bible and Ethiopian literature. For his time, Kassa was a well-educated man, he received instruction on the techniques of Ethiopian warfare from Kenfu. When Kenfu died, his two sons were defeated by another Dajazmach, Dajazmach Goshu of Damot and Gojjam, Kassa was forced to make another start in life, offered his services to Goshu. Kassa Hailu was born into a country rife with civil war, he defeated many regional noblemen and princes before becoming emperor during time known as the Zemene Mesafint or "Age of the Princes".
During this era, regional princes, noble lords of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds vied with each other for power and control of the Gondarine Emperor. A puppet Emperor of the Solomonic dynasty was enthroned in Gondar by one nobleman, only to be dethroned and replaced by another member of the Imperial dynasty when a different regional prince was able to seize Gondar and the reins of power. Regions such as Gojjam and Shewa were ruled by their own branches of the Imperial dynasty and, in Shewa, the local prince went as far as assuming the title of King. In Wollo, competing royal powerful Or