Negus is a royal title in the Ethiopian Semitic languages. It denotes a monarch, such as the Bahri Negasi of the Medri Bahri kingdom in pre-1890 Eritrea, the Negus in pre-1974 Ethiopia; the Negus is referred to as An-Najashi in the Islamic tradition. Negus is a noun derived from the Ethiopian Semitic root ngś, meaning "to reign"; the title has subsequently been used to translate the words "king" or "emperor" in Biblical and other literature. In more recent times, it was used as an honorific title bestowed on governors of the most important provinces: Gojjam, Wollo and the seaward kingdom and Shewa. Both uses and the imperial dignity would meet in the person of a regional prince, Lij Kassa Hailu, the third youngest son of Däjazmač Hailu Wolde-Giyorgis, Governor of Qwara Province, by his second wife Woizero Attitaggab, he rebelled against Empress Menen and her son, the Viceroy Ras Ali II of Yejju, in 1845 and spent the next nine years alternating between rebellion and submission until he was proclaimed negus at Amba Chera on 19 September 1854, after the Battle of Derasge proclaimed himself emperor on 8 February 1855 and was crowned as Tewodros II, at Derasge Maryam the next day.
Emperor of Ethiopia
A monarch is a sovereign head of state in a monarchy. A monarch may exercise the highest authority and power in the state, or others may wield that power on behalf of the monarch. A monarch either inherits the lawful right to exercise the state's sovereign rights or is selected by an established process from a family or cohort eligible to provide the nation's monarch. Alternatively, an individual may become monarch by acclamation or a combination of means. A monarch reigns for life or until abdication. If a young child is crowned the monarch, a regent is appointed to govern until the monarch reaches the requisite adult age to rule. Monarchs' actual powers vary from one monarchy in different eras. A monarch can reign in multiple monarchies simultaneously. For example, the monarchy of Canada and the monarchy of the United Kingdom are separate states, but they share the same monarch through personal union. Monarchs, as such, bear a variety of titles – king or queen, prince or princess, emperor or empress, duke or grand duke, emir or sultan.
Prince is sometimes used as a generic term to refer to any monarch regardless of title in older texts. A king can be a queen's husband and a queen can be a king's wife. If both of the couple reign, neither person is considered to be a consort. Monarchy is political or sociocultural in nature, is associated with hereditary rule. Most monarchs, both and in the present day, have been born and brought up within a royal family and trained for future duties. Different systems of succession have been used, such as proximity of blood, agnatic seniority, Salic law, etc. While traditionally most monarchs have been male, female monarchs have ruled, the term queen regnant refers to a ruling monarch, as distinct from a queen consort, the wife of a reigning king; some monarchies are non-hereditary. In an elective monarchy, the monarch otherwise serves as any other monarch. Historical examples of elective monarchy include the Holy Roman Emperors and the free election of kings of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Modern examples include the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, appointed by the Conference of Rulers every five years or after the king's death, the pope of the Roman Catholic Church, who serves as sovereign of the Vatican City State and is elected to a life term by the College of Cardinals. In recent centuries, many states have become republics. Advocacy of government by a republic is called republicanism, while advocacy of monarchy is called monarchism. A principal advantage of hereditary monarchy is the immediate continuity of national leadership, as illustrated in the classic phrase "The King is dead. Long live the King!". In cases where the monarch serves as a ceremonial figure real leadership does not depend on the monarch. A form of government may in fact be hereditary without being considered monarchy, such as a family dictatorship. Monarchies take a wide variety of forms, such as the two co-princes of Andorra, positions held by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Urgel and the elected President of France.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia is considered a monarch despite only holding the position for five years at a time. Hereditary succession within one patrilineal family has been most common, with preference for children over siblings, sons over daughters. In Europe, some peoples practiced equal division of land and regalian rights among sons or brothers, as in the Germanic states of the Holy Roman Empire, until after the medieval era and sometimes into the 19th century. Other European realms practice one form or another of primogeniture, whereunder a lord was succeeded by his eldest son or, if he had none, by his brother, his daughters or sons of daughters; the system of tanistry was semi-elective and gave weight to ability and merit. The Salic law, practiced in France and in the Italian territories of the House of Savoy, stipulated that only men could inherit the crown. In most fiefs, in the event of the demise of all legitimate male members of the patrilineage, a female of the family could succeed.
In most realms and sisters were eligible to succeed a ruling kinsman before more distant male relatives, but sometimes the husband of the heiress became the ruler, most also received the title, jure uxoris. Spain today continues this model of succession law, in the form of cognatic primogeniture. In more complex medieval cases, the sometimes conflicting principles of proximity and primogeniture battled, outcomes were idiosyncratic; as the average life span increased, an eldest son was more to reach majority age before the death of his father, primogeniture became favoured over proximity, tanistry and election. In 19
The Zagwe dynasty was the ruling dynasty of a Medieval kingdom in present-day northern Ethiopia. The kingdom itself was called Begwena, after the historical name of the Lasta province. Centered at Lalibela, it ruled large parts of the territory from 900 to 1270, when the last Zagwe King Za-Ilmaknun was killed in battle by the forces of the Abyssinian King Yekuno Amlak; the name of the dynasty is thought to derive from the ancient Ge'ez phrase Ze-Agaw, meaning "Dynasty of the Agaw" in reference to the Agaw people that constituted its ruling class. Zagwe's best-known King was Gebre Mesqel Lalibela, credited with having constructed the rock-hewn monolithic churches of Lalibela. David Buxton has stated that the area under the direct rule of the Zagwe kings "probably embraced the highlands of modern Eritrea and the whole of Tigray, extending southwards to Waag and Damot and thence westwards towards Lake Tana." Unlike the practice of rulers of Ethiopia, Taddesse Tamrat argues that under the Zagwe dynasty the order of succession was that of brother succeeding brother as king, based on the Agaw laws of inheritance.
Around 960, Queen Gudit destroyed the remnants of the Kingdom of Aksum, causing a shift in its temporal power centre that regrouped more to the south. For 40 years she ruled over what remained of the kingdom passing on the throne to her descendants. According to other Ethiopian traditional accounts, the last of her dynasty was overthrown by Mara Takla Haymanot in 1137, he married a daughter of the last king of Aksum, Dil Na'od, putting control of Ethiopia in Agaw hands. Since he married Emperor Dil Na'od's daughter, a member of the Solomonic Dynasty, the Zagwes are technically part of the Solomonic lineage. Emperor Mara Tekla Haymanot's marriage and off-spring thereof makes him the only Emperor without known ties to the Biblical King Solomon and Makeda, the Queen of Sheba. Mara Teklehaimanot's ancestry is in the province called Hamasien, his name starts with Mara or Mirarah because he came from the place in Hamasien called Fishey Mirarah. The Zagwe period is still shrouded in mystery; some sources give the names of eleven kings.
Paul B. Henze reports the existence of at least one list containing 16 names. According to Carlo Conti Rossini, the shorter length of this dynasty was the more one, he argues that a letter received by the Patriarch of Alexandria John V shortly before 1150 from an unnamed Ethiopian monarch, in which the Patriarch is asked for a new abuna because the current office holder was too old, was from Mara Takla Haymanot, who wanted the abuna replaced because he would not endorse the new dynasty. The mystery of the Zagwe dynasty is darkest around its replacement by the revived Solomonic dynasty under Yekuno Amlak; the name of the last Zagwe king is lost—the surviving chronicles and oral traditions give his name as Za-Ilmaknun, a pseudonym, employed soon after his reign by the victorious Solomonic rulers in an act of damnatio memoriae. Taddesse Tamrat believes that this last ruler was Yetbarak; the end of the Zagwe came when Yekuno Amlak, who proclaimed himself the descendant and rightful heir of Dil Na'od, acting under the guidance of either Saint Tekle Haymanot or Saint Iyasus Mo'a, pursued the last king of the Zagwe and killed him at the church of St. Qirqos in Gaynt on the north side of the Bashilo River.
Ethiopian aristocratic and court titles Ethiopian historiography History of Ethiopia Kings of Axum List of Emperors of Ethiopia Ethiopian History Zagwe Genealogy Tekeste Negash, "The Zagwe period re-interpreted: post-Aksumite Ethiopian urban culture" Derat, M.-L.. L'énigme d'une dynastie sainte et usurpatrice dans le XIe-XIIIe siècle. Brepolis. ISBN 978-2-503-57908-5
Gebre Mesqel Lalibela
Lalibela, regnal name Gebre Meskel was Emperor of Ethiopia of the Zagwe dynasty, reigning from 1181 to 1221. According to Taddesse Tamrat, he was brother of Kedus Harbe; the most well-known of the Zagwe monarchs, the namesake monolithic churches of Lalibela are attributed to his reign, although recent scholarship has suggested origins as early as the late Aksumite period, with the complex reaching its present form during his time. He is venerated as a saint by the Orthodox Tewahedo churches. King Lalibela was born at either Adefa or Roha in Bugna in 1162 AD, he was given the name "Lalibela", meaning "the bees recognise his sovereignty" in Old Agaw, due to a swarm of bees said to have surrounded him at his birth, which his mother took as a sign of his future reign as Emperor of Ethiopia. Tradition states that he went into exile due to the hostility of his uncle Tatadim and his brother king Kedus Harbe, was poisoned to death by his half-sister; because Lalibela came to power during his brother's lifetime, Taddesse Tamrat suspects that he came to power by force of arms.
Lalibela is said to have seen Jerusalem in a vision and attempted to build a new Jerusalem as his capital in response to the capture of old Jerusalem by Muslims in 1187. As such, many features of the town of Lalibela have Biblical names including the town's river, known as the River Jordan; the city remained the capital of Ethiopia into the 13th century. Details about the construction of his 11 monolithic churches at Lalibela have been lost; the Gadla Lalibela, a hagiography of the king, states that he carved these churches out of stone with only the help of angels. According to the narrative of the Portuguese embassy to Ethiopia in 1520-6, written down by Father Francisco Álvares and published 1540, the Lalibelian priests claimed that the churches took 24 years to construct, that they were made by white men, they said. His chief queen was Masqal Kibra, she induced Abuna Mikael to make her brother Hirun bishop, a few years the Abuna left Ethiopia for Egypt, complaining that Hirun had usurped his authority.
Another tradition states that she convinced king Lalibela abdicate in favor of his nephew Na'akueto La'ab, but after 18 months of his nephew's misrule she convinced Lalibela to resume the throne. Taddesse Tamrat suspects that the end of Lalibela's rule was not this amiable, argues that this tradition masks a brief usurpation of Na'akueto La'ab, whose reign was ended by Lalibela's son, Yetbarak. Getachew Mekonnen credits her with having one of the rock-hewn churches, Bet Abba Libanos, built as a memorial for Lalibela after his death. Although little written material concerning the other Zagwe kings survives, a sizeable quantity concerning Lalibela's reign remains, besides the Gadla Lalibela. An embassy from the Patriarch of Alexandria visited Lalibela's court around 1210, have left an account of him, Na'akueto La'ab and Yetbarak; the Italian scholar Carlo Conti Rossini has edited and published the several land grants that survive from his reign. J. Perruchon. Vie de Lalibala, roi d'éthiopie: texte éthiopien et traduction française.
The Solomonic dynasty known as the House of Solomon, is the former ruling Imperial House of the Ethiopian Empire. The dynasty's members claim the Queen of Sheba. Tradition asserts that the Queen gave birth to Menelik I after her biblically described visit to Solomon in Jerusalem. In 1270, the Zagwe dynasty of Ethiopia was overthrown by Yekuno Amlak, who claimed descent from Solomon and reinitiated the Solomonic era of Ethiopia; the dynasty would last until 1974, ended by a coup d'état and deposition of the emperor Haile Selassie. The Solomonic dynasty was a bastion of Judaism and of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, it is claimed that this dynasty ruled Ethiopia as early as the 10th century BC, although there is no historical evidence to support this claim. Records of the dynasty's history were maintained by the Ethiopian Orthodox monasteries to near antiquity. Yekuno Amlak, an Amhara prince from the old province Bet Amhara, re-established the dynasty, tracing his ancestry to the last Solomonic King of Axum, Dil Na'od.
The Dynasty re-established itself on 10 Nehasé 1262 EC when Yekuno Amlak overthrew the last ruler of the Zagwe dynasty. Yekuno Amlak claimed direct male line descent from the old Axumite royal house that the Zagwes had replaced on the throne. Menelik II, his daughter Zewditu I, would be the last Ethiopian monarchs who could claim uninterrupted direct male descent from Solomon of Israel and the Queen of Sheba; the male line, through the descendants of Menelik's cousin Dejazmatch Taye Gulilat, still existed, but had been pushed aside because of Menelik's personal distaste for this branch of his family. The Solomonic Dynasty continued to rule Ethiopia with few interruptions until 1974, when the last emperor, Haile Selassie I, was deposed; the royal family is non-regnant. Members of the family in Ethiopia at the time of the 1974 revolution were imprisoned. In 1976, ten great grandchildren of Haile Selassie I were extracted from Ethiopia in an undertaking detailed in a book by Jodie Collins titled Code Word: Catherine.
The women of the dynasty were released by the regime from prison in 1989, the men were released in 1990. Several members were allowed to leave the country in mid 1990, the rest left in 1991 upon the fall of the Communist Regime. Many members of the Imperial family have since returned to live in Ethiopia. During much of the dynasty's existence, its effective realm was the northwestern quadrant of present-day Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Highlands; the Empire expanded and contracted over the centuries, sometimes incorporating parts of modern-day Sudan and South Sudan, coastal areas of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Southern and eastern regions were permanently incorporated during the last two centuries, some by Shewan kings and some by Emperors Menelek II and Haile Selassie I. In the modern era, the Imperial dynasty has several cadet branches; the elder Gondarine Amhara line, starting with Susenyos in 1606 ended its rule with the fall of the powerless Yohannes III in 1855 and the coming to power of Tewodros II, whose claims of Solomonic descent were never accepted.
Following Tewodros, Wagshum Gobeze claimed the throne linking himself to the last independent Gondare emperors through his mother, Aychesh Tedla, a descendant of Iyasu I, reigned as emperor of Ethiopia with the title Tekle Giorgis II for some years investing in the renovation of churches and monuments in Gondar. Being an heir to the Zagwe throne, his reign was meant to be a unification of both dynasties in the enthronement of a king bearing both lineages. Tekle Giorgis II fought a battle with the Tigrean Claimant Kassai Mercha, the latter, who had retrieved superior weaponry and armament from the British in return for his assistance in the defeat of Tewodros II, would be able to defeat Tekle Giorgis II's army and killing him; the Tigrean line came to power with the enthronement of Yohannes IV in 1872, although this line did not persist on the Imperial throne after the Emperor was killed in battle with the Mahdists in 1889, the heirs of this cadet branch ruled Tigre until the revolution of 1974 toppled the Ethiopian monarchy.
The Tigrean Cadet branch traces its lineage to the main Solomonic line of Emperors through at least two female lines. The more recent link was through Woizero Aster Iyasu; the Shewan line was next on the Imperial throne with the coronation of Menelik II Menelik King of Shewa, in 1889. The Shewan Branch of the Imperial Solomonic dynasty, like the Gondarine line, could trace uninterrupted male line descent from King Yekonu Amlak, though Abeto Negassi Yisaq, the grandson of Dawit II by his youngest son Abeto Yaqob; the direct male line ended with Menelik II –, succeeded first by the son of his daughter Lij Iyasu from 1913 to 1916 by his daughter Zewditu until 1930, by the son of a first cousi
Emperor of Ethiopia
The Emperor of Ethiopia was the hereditary ruler of the Ethiopian Empire, until the abolition of the monarchy in 1975. The Emperor was the head of state and head of government, with ultimate executive and legislative power in that country. A National Geographic Magazine article called imperial Ethiopia "nominally a constitutional monarchy; the title of "King of Kings" rendered imprecisely in English as "Emperor", dates back to ancient Mesopotamia, but was used in Axum by King Sembrouthes. However, Yuri Kobishchanov dates this usage to the period following the Persian victory over the Romans in 296–297, its use, from at least the reign of Yekuno Amlak onward, meant that both subordinate officials and tributary rulers, notably the gubernatorial vassals of Gojjam, the seaward provinces and Shewa, received the honorific title of nəgus, a word for "king." The consort of the Emperor was referred to as the ətege. Empress Zauditu used the feminized form nəgəstä nägäst to show that she reigned in her own right, did not use the title of ətege.
At the death of a monarch any male or female blood relative of the Emperor could claim succession to the throne: sons, uncles or cousins. Practice did not always enforce it; the system developed two approaches to controlling the succession: the first, employed on occasion before the 20th century, involved interning all of the Emperor's possible rivals in a secure location, which drastically limited their ability to disrupt the Empire with revolts or to dispute the succession of an heir apparent. Ethiopian traditions do not all agree as to when the custom started of imprisoning rivals to the throne on a Mountain of the Princes. One tradition credits this practice to the Zagwe king Yemrehana Krestos, who received the idea in a dream. Another tradition, recorded by historian Thomas Pakenham, states that this practice predates the Zagwe dynasty, was first practiced on Debre Damo, captured by the 10th-century queen Gudit, who isolated 200 princes there to death. Taddesse Tamrat argues that this practice began in the reign of Wedem Arad, following the struggle for succession that he believes lies behind the series of brief reigns of the sons of Yagbe'u Seyon.
A constructivist approach states that the tradition was used on occasion, weakened or lapsed sometimes, was sometimes revived to full effect after some unfortunate disputes – and that the custom started in time immemorial as Ethiopian common inheritance patterns allowed all agnates to succeed to the lands of the monarchy – which however is contrary to keeping the country undivided. The potential royal rivals were incarcerated at Amba Geshen until Ahmed Gragn captured that site in 1540 and destroyed it. Rumors of these royal mountain residences were part of the inspiration for Samuel Johnson's short story, Rasselas. Although the Emperor of Ethiopia had theoretically unlimited power over his subjects, his councillors came to play an increasing role in governing Ethiopia, because many Emperors were succeeded either by a child, or one of the incarcerated princes, who could only leave their prisons with help from the outside; as a result, by the mid-18th century the power of the Emperor had been transferred to his deputies, like Ras Mikael Sehul of Tigray, who held actual power in the Empire and elevated or deposed Emperors at will.
The Emperors of Ethiopia derived their right to rule based on two dynastic claims: their descent from the kings of Axum, their descent from Menelik I, the son of Solomon and Makeda, Queen of Sheba. The claim to their relationship to the Kings of Axum derives from Yakuno Amlak's claim that he was the descendant of Dil Na'od, through his father, although he defeated and killed the last Zagwe king in battle, his claim to the throne was helped by his marriage to that king's daughter though Ethiopians do not acknowledge claims from the distaff side. The claim of descent from Menelik I is based on the assertion that the kings of Axum were the descendants of Menelik I. While the surviving records of these kings fail to shed light on their origins, this genealogical claim is first documented in the 10th century by an Arab historian. Interpretations of this claim vary widely; some accept it as evident fact. At the other extreme, others understand this as an expression of propaganda, attempting to connect the legitimacy of the state to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Some scholars take an approach in the middle, attempting to either find a connection between Axum and the South Arabian kingdom of Saba, or between Axum and the pre-exilic Kingdom of Judah. Due to lack of primary materials, it is not possible as of 2006 to determine which theory is the more plausible; the restored Solomonic dynasty, which claimed descent from the old Aksumite rulers, ruled Ethiopia from the 13th century until 1974, with on