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
Lalibela is a town in Amhara Region, Ethiopia famous for its rock-cut monolithic churches. The whole of Lalibela is a large antiquity of the medieval and post-medieval civilization of Ethiopia. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest cities, second only to Axum, a center of pilgrimage. Unlike Axum, the population of Lalibela is completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. Ethiopia was one of the earliest nations to adopt Christianity in the first half of the fourth century, its historical roots date to the time of the Apostles; the churches themselves date from the seventh to thirteenth centuries, are traditionally dated to the reign of the Zagwe king Gebre Mesqel Lalibela. The layout and names of the major buildings in Lalibela are accepted by local clergy, to be a symbolic representation of Jerusalem; this has led some experts to date the current church forms to the years following the capture of Jerusalem in 1187 by the Muslim leader Saladin. Lalibela is located in the North Wollo Zone of the Amhara Region, at 2,500 metres above sea level.
It is the main town in Lasta woreda, part of Bugna woreda. The Rock-Hewn Churches were declared a World Heritage site in 1978. During the reign of Gebre Mesqel Lalibela, a member of the Zagwe dynasty who ruled Ethiopia in the late 12th century and early 13th century, the current town of Lalibela was known as Roha; the saint-king was named because a swarm of bees is said to have surrounded him at his birth, which his mother took as a sign of his future reign as emperor of Ethiopia. The names of several places in the modern town and the general layout of the rock-cut churches themselves are said to mimic names and patterns observed by Lalibela during the time he spent as a youth in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Lalibela, revered as a saint, is said to have seen Jerusalem, attempted to build a new Jerusalem as his capital in response to the capture of old Jerusalem by Muslims in 1187; each church was carved from a single piece of rock to symbolize humility. Christian faith inspires many features with Biblical names – Lalibela's river is known as the River Jordan.
Lalibela remained the capital of Ethiopia from the late 12th into the 13th century. The first European to see these churches was the Portuguese explorer Pêro da Covilhã. Portuguese priest Francisco Álvares, accompanied the Portuguese Ambassador on his visit to Dawit II in the 1520s, he describes the unique church structures as follows: "I weary of writing more about these buildings, because it seems to me that I shall not be believed if I write more... I swear by God, in Whose power I am, that all I have written is the truth" Although Ramuso included plans of several of these churches in his 1550 printing of Álvares' book, who supplied the drawings remains a mystery; the next reported European visitor to Lalibela was Miguel de Castanhoso, who served as a soldier under Cristóvão da Gama and left Ethiopia in 1544. After de Castanhoso, more than 300 years passed until the next European, Gerhard Rohlfs, visited Lalibela some time between 1865 and 1870. According to the Futuh al-Habaša of Sihab ad-Din Ahmad, Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi burned one of the churches of Lalibela during his invasion of Ethiopia.
However, Richard Pankhurst has expressed his skepticism about this event, pointing out that although Sihab ad-Din Ahmad provides a detailed description of a rock-hewn church, only one church is mentioned. He concludes by stating that had Ahmad al-Ghazi burned a church at Lalibela, it was most Biete Medhane Alem; this rural town is known around the world for its churches carved from within the earth from "living rock," which play an important part in the history of rock-cut architecture. Though the dating of the churches is not well established, most are thought to have been built during the reign of Lalibela, namely during the 12th and 13th centuries. Unesco identifies 11 churches, assembled in four groups: The Northern Group: Biete Medhane Alem, home to the Lalibela Cross. Biete Maryam the oldest of the churches, a replica of the Tombs of Adam and Christ. Biete Golgotha Mikael, known for its arts and said to contain the tomb of King Lalibela) Biete Meskel Biete Denagel The Western Group: Church of Saint George, thought to be the most finely executed and best preserved churchThe Eastern Group: Biete Amanuel the former royal chapel Biete Qeddus Mercoreus, which may be a former prison Biete Abba Libanos Biete Gabriel-Rufael a former royal palace, linked to a holy bakery.
Biete Lehem. Farther lie the monastery of Ashetan Maryam and Yemrehana Krestos Church. There is some controvers
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
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
Axum or Aksum is the site of the historic capital of the Kingdom of Aksum. It is now a tourist town with a population of 66,800 residents; the Kingdom of Axum was a naval and trading power that ruled the region from about 400 BCE into the 10th century. In 1980, UNESCO added Axum's archaeological sites to its list of World Heritage Sites due to their historic value. Axum is located near the base of the Adwa mountains, it is surrounded by La'ilay Maychew district. Axum was the centre of the marine trading power known as the Aksumite Kingdom, which predated the earliest mentions in Roman-era writings. Around 356 CE, its ruler was converted to Christianity by Frumentius. Under the reign of Kaleb, Axum was a quasi-ally of Byzantium against the Sasanian Empire which had adopted Zoroastrianism; the historical record is unclear, with ancient church records the primary contemporary sources. It is believed it began a long and slow decline after the seventh century due to the Persians and the Arabs contesting old Red Sea trade routes.
Aksum was cut off from its principal markets in Alexandria and Southern Europe and its trade share was captured by Arab traders of the era. The Kingdom of Aksum was destroyed by Empress Gudit, some of the people of Aksum were forced south and their old way of life declined; as the kingdom's power declined so did the influence of the city, believed to have lost population in the decline, similar to Rome and other cities thrust away from the flow of world events. The last known king to reign was crowned in about the 10th century, but the kingdom's influence and power ended long before that, its decline in population and trade contributed to the shift of the power center of the Ethiopian Empire south to the Agaw region as it moved further inland. The city of Axum was the administrative seat of an empire spanning one million square miles; the alternative name was adopted by the central region, subsequently, the present modern state. The Kingdom of Aksum had its own written language, Ge'ez, developed a distinctive architecture exemplified by giant obelisks, the oldest of which date from 5000–2000 BCE.
The kingdom was at its height under King Ezana, baptized as Abreha, in the 4th century. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church claims that the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum houses the Biblical Ark of the Covenant, in which lie the Tablets of Stone upon which the Ten Commandments are inscribed. Ethiopian traditions suggest that it was from Axum that Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, journeyed to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem and that the two had a son, who grew up in Ethiopia but traveled to Jerusalem as a young man to visit his father's homeland, he lived several years in Jerusalem before returning to his country with the Ark of the Covenant. According to the Ethiopian Church and Ethiopian tradition, the Ark still exists in Axum; this same church was the site where Ethiopian emperors were crowned for centuries until the reign of Fasilides again beginning with Yohannes IV until the end of the empire. Axum is considered to be the holiest city in Ethiopia and is an important destination of pilgrimages.
Significant religious festivals are the Timkat festival on 19 January and the Festival of Maryam Zion on November 24. In 1937, a 24-metre tall, 1,700-year-old Obelisk of Axum, broken into five parts and lying on the ground, was found and shipped by Italian soldiers to Rome to be erected; the obelisk is regarded as one of the finest examples of engineering from the height of the Axumite empire. Despite a 1947 United Nations agreement that the obelisk would be shipped back, Italy balked, resulting in a long-standing diplomatic dispute with the Ethiopian government, which views the obelisk as a symbol of national identity. In April 2005, Italy returned the obelisk pieces to Axum amidst much official and public rejoicing. UNESCO assumed responsibility for the re-installation of this stele in Axum, by the end of July 2008 the obelisk had been reinstalled, it was unveiled on 4 September 2008. The Kingdom of Aksum has a longstanding relationship with Islam. According to ibn Hisham, when Muhammad faced oppression from the Quraysh clan, he sent a small group that included his daughter Ruqayya and her husband Uthman to Axum.
Sahama, the Aksumite king, gave them protection. He refused the requests of the Quraish clan to send these refugees back to Arabia; these refugees did not return until the sixth Hijri year, then many remained in Ethiopia settling at Negash in what is now the Mibraqawi Zone. There are different traditions concerning the effect; the Muslim tradition is that the ruler of Axum was so impressed by these refugees that he became a secret convert. On the other hand, Arabic historians and Ethiopian tradition state that some of the Muslim refugees who lived in Ethiopia during this time converted to Orthodox Christianity. There is a second Ethiopian tradition that, on the death of Ashama ibn Abjar, Muhammed is reported to have prayed for the king's soul, told his followers, "Leave the Abyssinians in peace, as long as they do not take the offensive." The major Aksumite monuments in the town are steles. These obelisks are around 1,700 years old and have become a symbol of the Ethiopian people's identity; the largest number ar
Tabot is a Ge'ez word referring to a replica of the Tablets of Law, onto which the Biblical Ten Commandments were inscribed, used in the practices of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Tabot can refer to a replica of the Ark of the Covenant; the word tsellat refers only to a replica of the Tablets, but is less used. According to Edward Ullendorff, the Ge'ez word tabot is derived from the Aramaic word tebuta, like the Hebrew word tebah. "The concept and function of the tabot represent one of the most remarkable areas of agreement with Old Testament forms of worship."A tabot is six inches square, may be made from alabaster, marble, or wood from an acacia tree—although David Buxton states the maximum length of 40 cm is more common. It is always kept in ornate coverings to hide it from public view. In an elaborate procession, which has reminded literate onlookers of the sixth chapter of 2 Samuel where King David leads the people dancing before the Ark, the tabot is carried around the church courtyard on the patronal feast day, on the great Feast of Timket.
Buxton describes one such procession, on the festival of Gebre Menfes Qidus: To the uninstructed onlooker the climax of the service came at the end, when the tabot or ark was brought out, wrapped in coloured cloths, carried on the head of a priest. As it appeared in the doorway the women raised a prolonged and piercing cry of joy; when the tabot goes out of the Bete Meqdes ቤተ መቅደስ, everyone goes down to the floor and says a prayer. At first the tabot remained motionless, accompanied by several processional crosses and their attendant brightly colored canopies, while a group of cantors performed the liturgical dance so beloved of the Abyssinians; the dancing over, a procession formed up, headed by the tabot, circled the church three times in a counter-clockwise direction. The tabot was carried back into the sanctuary. Now in modern times Tabot comes out each time there is a celebration, for example on Jesus' Baptism all churches from the area come together with their tabot and celebrate. AWAlthough Ethiopia was never colonized by the British, many tabots were looted by them during the 1868 Expedition to Abyssinia known as the Battle of Magdala, a cause of anger among Ethiopians.
During the looting of the Ethiopian capital of Magdala in 1868, British soldiers took hundreds of tabots. The return in February 2002 of one of these, discovered in the storage of St. John's Episcopal Church in Edinburgh, was a cause of public rejoicing in Addis Ababa. Another was returned in 2003 after Dr. Ian McLennan recognised the ancient tabot at an auction in London, he donated it to the government of Ethiopia. Thabilitho Altar Stone Antimension C. F. Beckingham and G. W. B. Huntingford, "Appendix III, The Tabot" in their translation of Francisco Alvarez, The Prester John of the Indies, pp. 543–8. Pilot Guides' Axum and the Ark