The Archaeology of the Medieval Period in the Red Sea: New Perspectives (Abstract)

The paper by will present preliminary observations on the recent archaeological work and landscape history of the eastern Sudan during the medieval period stemming from a project entitled “Suakin and the red Sea project for archaeological, environmental and cultural studies”, of which I am a director. The paper will discuss the problems of the study in this area, especially the concept of the medieval period in Sudan and the lack of information about the area.

Continue reading The Archaeology of the Medieval Period in the Red Sea: New Perspectives (Abstract)

Representations of the Portuguese in the Royal Chronicle of King Gälawdewos (1540-1559) (Abstract)

Representations of the Portuguese in the Royal Chronicle of King Gälawdewos (1540-1559): A Historical Commentary

It is well known that the Portuguese played a significant role in saving the sixteenth-century Ethiopian King Gälawdewos from decisive defeat during the military confrontation with the Muslim conquest led by Aḥmad b. Ibrāhīm al-Ġāzī in 1543. The Portuguese sent 400 soldiers to assist the king – after the repeated request of King Gälawdewos and his father King Lǝbnä Dǝngǝl (1508-1540) before him, as is evident from their diplomatic correspondence with Portuguese kings. Continue reading Representations of the Portuguese in the Royal Chronicle of King Gälawdewos (1540-1559) (Abstract)

Gospel Illuminations (Abstract)

Gospel Illuminations: Ethiopian paintings and their European models

 

A monastery in Ethiopia houses a precious gospel book of c. 1650, in which all four gospels are richly illuminated. The paintings are skilfully executed by more than one painter, the colours are still vivid and well preserved. What makes this gospel book so extraordinarily important is the adoption of painting processes so far not seen in Ethiopian painting, a nascent use of perspective and the borrowing of visual props from a Western source. Continue reading Gospel Illuminations (Abstract)

The Motif of the Apocalyptic Abyssinian (Abstract)

The motif of the apocalyptic Abessinian: From early Islamic hadith to European prophecies during the 5th crusade in Damiette.

My Ph.D. thesis touches three elements which are characteristic of the medieval outlook:

  • the Christian eschatological anticipation of the End of the World;
  • how to express this anticipation within a spatial configuration in medieval world maps;
  • how the attitude towards Islam was shaped within the effort to regain the Holy Land.
  • It should be noted that Latin texts until the 14th century seldomly differenciated between Ethiopia and Nubia due to their limited geographical horizon and lack of European contact with Africa in general and with Horn of Africa in particular. Furthermore, biblical knowledge regarded Ethiopia as being Kush in the south of Egypt. The term Nubia was unknown in Antiquity. It was introduced through Arab astrology just as Abessinia is derived from the Arabic al-Habasha. In classical geography Ethiopia was the third part of India and the border between Asia and Africa was the Nile.

Continue reading The Motif of the Apocalyptic Abyssinian (Abstract)

Seeing Faith: Ethiopian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Art during the Jesuit Interlude, 1557-1632 (Abstract)

What happens to art when two distinct forms of Christianity meet? This paper considers the relationship between Ethiopian Orthodox and Roman Catholic art during the Jesuit Ethiopian mission (1557-1632). Case studies of Marian and Christological imagery demonstrate the era’s two-way cultural exchange.

Continue reading Seeing Faith: Ethiopian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Art during the Jesuit Interlude, 1557-1632 (Abstract)

Defining Ethiopia, Nubia, and India in Medieval Europe (Abstract)

Defining Ethiopia, Nubia, and India in Medieval Europe: How Confusing Is It?

Often the mentioning of ‘Ethiopia’ or ‘India’ in medieval texts can appear vague and seemingly interchangeable. However, the context in which the references are found often solves any confusion. For example, some references to Ethiopia appear vague, but in the accompanying map it is clearly designated as the region around the base of the Nile in Northeast Africa. Likewise, Nubia first reappears as a Western toponym in the 12th century and appears relatively defined. What does that mean for references to Nubia and Ethiopia together? Additionally, references to India, whether as a single India or multiple Indias, do not have to be so easily dismissed as a geographical confusion. It can be said that a writer designating Prester John, who controls the flow of the Nile, as in India clearly should be seen as in Ethiopia. This paper seeks to challenge the current widely held approach of easily dismissing references to Ethiopia, Nubia, and India as vague and diminishing the intelligence of medieval writers. Ethiopia, Nubia, and India were international actors long before the medieval period and such interactions aided in defining these locations. By engaging in the international connections of the medieval world they further highlight the expanse of knowledge potentially available. By no means were all writers united in their definitions, but they should not be so easily dismissed either. Can (or should) we alter our approach?

Adam Simmons

Lancaster University, United Kingdom

The miniature of Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem in Medieval Ethiopian Illuminated Manuscripts (Abstract)

Prior to the mid-16th century, Ethiopian illuminated Gospels contained an extensive prefatory cycle illustrating the life of Christ. Amongst these elaborately illustrated prefatory cycles, the only scene that consistently appeared across an opening is Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem. This particular miniature always occupies a prominent placement within the prefatory imagery. Although Continue reading The miniature of Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem in Medieval Ethiopian Illuminated Manuscripts (Abstract)

IMC Leeds 2017 – “Medieval Ethiopia” Sessions

Medieval Ethiopia and Ethiopia and the Red Sea

List of Sessions and Papers at the

International Medieval Congress

University of Leeds, UK     |      July 3rd-6th 2017

 

UPDATE: The Congress opens today. For any short-notice changes to the programme, download the pdf version from the IMC’s so-called microsite:

https://www.imc2017.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/IMC2017_Programme_as_of_26_June_2017.pdf

 

The five sessions will bring together papers on medieval Ethiopia, Egypt, the Red Sea and beyond from the fields of history, archaeology, art history and philology; special attention is given to the interaction between these regions and the Mediterranean, including artistic exchange, trade, and historiography. Continue reading IMC Leeds 2017 – “Medieval Ethiopia” Sessions

Blogging with hypotheses.org – a short intro

https://hypotheses.org/

The following tutorial is meant for those who have no experience with blogging and will tell you how to write an article/blogpost complete with hyperlinks and pictures here africana.hypotheses.org. It is adopted from a tutorial I originally wrote for a different scholarly blog (intersex.hypotheses.org/3307) and should work for any of the many, many scholarly blogs kindly hosted by https://hypotheses.org/. Continue reading Blogging with hypotheses.org – a short intro