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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European University Studies 23; Theology Volume Other historians to consider the evidence date parts of it as late as the nrgest 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.

This page was last edited on 18 Decemberat The Ark appears to be a later interpretation.

The writer s of the Kebra Nagast bestow a certain importance on Aksum’s. The statement at the beginning of KN that the ‘men of Rome were orthodox’ in the time of Himyar war may indicate, not as Shahid suggests that one phase negedt the war occurred in the time of Justin’s predecessor, Emperor Anastasiusa monophysite sympathiser, but that the compiler was ignorant of the exact situation.

This Ge’ez edition, ascribed to Petros Abda Sayd, is a loose translation of Ibn al-‘Assal’s original, and even diverges significantly in a few places where Petros evidently had some difficulty with the Arabic.

The Kebra Nagast Index

Kaleb ‘s coins, pace Shahid, do not show the king holding a cross-crowned sceptre; they only show crosses above his head. 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’. However, there is more to this, a Marcion-Irenaeus parallel which Shahid has missed.

However, the compiler confused Marcian, whose reign was peaceful, with other Roman or Byzantine emperors who suffered defeats from the Persians. The document is presented in the form of a debate by the “orthodox fathers” of the First Council of Nicaea. After a question from the bishops of the Council, Domitius continues with a paraphrase of Biblical history chapters These two names are found paired together only in late Ethiopie literature. Not only do they all feature the cross in very prominent places, replacing the former disc and crescent, kinre many issues have Christian mottoes written on them.

Shahid favours this interpretation, suggesting that ‘Enya is ‘a mutilated form’ of Anastasius We may ask, who did it serve?


Would anyone, even the most sanguine of Aksumites, or the most kibde of Aksumite kings, have credited a story in which Justin, the master of a vast empire, soon to become even vaster, albeit temporarily, under Justinian, could be the minor partner in territorial division with Aksum? Although the author of the final redaction identified this Gregory with Gregory Thaumaturguswho lived in the 3rd century before this Council, the time and the allusion to Gregory’s imprisonment for 15 years by the king of Armenia make Gregory the Illuminator a better fit.

The night before she begins her journey home, Solomon tricks her into sleeping with him, and gives her a ring so that their child may identify himself to Solomon.

The kiibre of the Kebra Nagast evidently had some source-books at hand, perhaps an ecclesiastical history or the work of John of Nikiu, but he seems to have confused the different events and the time scale. The information in KN 1 17 is far too weak, far too vague, to justify placing the Kebra Nagast story of Solomon, the queen of Sheba, and the Ark of the Covenant, as early as the sixth or seventh century.

No really conclusive evidence yet determines this.

Fetha Nagast

Godinho published some traditions about King Solomon and his son Menelekderived from the Kebra Nagast. It was to be affirmed later also, by Kaleb’s son WYzeb. There is not much difficulty in imagining the alteration of Andas into ‘Enya in Ge’ez. His brother, Apollinare, also went out to the country as a missionary and neyest, along with his two companions, stoned to death in Tigray.

Of the Kebra Nagast, Irfan Shahid observes first that ‘the fantastic elements in the work From this important primary source — not even mentioned by Shahid — we are unable to discern any trace whatsoever of a royal return to paganism after Ezana’s conversion c. But Shahid’s idea that this ‘does not necessarily argue against an original composition which took place earlier in the sixth-seventh centuries’, leaves one wondering if this ‘original composition’, with its exiguous information, was in fact only a very tiny part of the final whole.

In negeest, nothing to do with the story of King Solomon, the queen of Sheba, and the Ethiopian dynastic succession, but merely the result of a compiler’s vague acquaintance with certain pages in the text of John of Nikiu or some similar ancient historian, combined perhaps with some of the available apocalyptic writings of the Copts.

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

Questions about the Kibre Negest in SearchWorks catalog

All the known predecessors of Kaleb, and Kaleb himself on every hegest of his extensive set of issues as known to date, whether in Greek or in Ge’ez, follow this pattern. Dissertatio inauguralis, Halle, n.


For the Kebra Nagast, see: It is not necessary to revert to the sixth century, to a recent or relatively recent encounter with a Jewish king, to justify inimical references to Jews in a book of the nature of the Kebra Nagast.

Further connections between Kaleb and his putative Solomonic ancestors are sought in the concept of this king as a great builder in emulation of Solomon Levine, Wax and Gold: This is all that can be proven. In solving this question of Ethiopian intervention in Himyar during Anastasius’ reign, much depends on the interpretation from the dated inscriptions of the kings of Himyar, and whether the Himyarite era employed in these texts began in BC or As far as we can detect, these kings of Aksum do not seem to have suffered from the lack of any further titles to bolster their legitimacy.

Hippolytusand various canons adopted at the Council of Nicaeathe Council of Antiochand others. Barbara3 Sinodos, 2 Epistles of St. Yusuf the Jewish king of Himyar who scoffs at the claims of one who was for him only a Cushite pretender, not a genuine Israelite; Caleb who claims descent from Israel in the flesh, as the lineal descendant of Solomon’s first-born and also from Israel in the spirit, as the Christian king of the New Zion.

The Aksumite coinage has immediate significance in connection with Shahid’s suggestion that Kaleb ‘might have been a recent convert to Christianity’. A forthcoming sequel to R.


Kaleb’s desire for a copy of the Monumentum Adulitanum, which was provided by neegest governor Asbas of Adulis through the agency of Kosmas Indikopleustes, would more likely have been with the aim of obtaining a solid reference to his ancestors’ ancient right to rule in South Arabia, which this inscription provided; it was, after all, a right which had been affirmed by King Gadarat and King ‘Azeba ‘Adhbah in the early third century, by the Aksumite kings Datawnas and Zaqarnas later in the century, and by Ezana in the mid-fourth century.

We have dealt already with the question of the Aksumite coinage and its overwhelming support for Kaleb ‘s Christian birth and descent as monarch of a land whose dynasty had been Christian for, almost two hundred years. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.