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Taddesse, Tamrat (1968) Church and state in Ethiopia, 1270-1527. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The thirteenth century ushered in an active development in both Church and State in the Christian kingdom of Ethiopia, The process had already started in the Zagwe period, but it was considerably intensified with the rise of the new dynasty founded by Yikunno-'Amlak in 1270. This development manifested itself in various ways in the period with which the present study is concerned. Within the kingdom itself, the power of the king over his vassal chiefs, his army, and his wealth tremendously increased. The literary re-awakening of the Church led to the revival of monasticism and brought in a series of reform movements initiated by the new monastic leaders of the country. Of much greater importance to the history of the whole area of the Horn of Africa was the rapid expansion of the territorial limits of the Christian kingdom, and the evangelization of many of the conquered areas. These outward movements of expansion of both Church and State were most active in the reigns of 'Amde-Siyon (1314-44) and Yishaq (1413-30), who were the most outstanding military leaders of the kingdom in the whole of our period. Their campaigns pushed the Christian frontiers far into the heart of the Muslim dominated areas beyond the Awash in the east, the rich Sidama country between the left bank of the Abbay and the lake region of the rift valley in the south, and the Agew and Felasha country consisting of Goojam and what is today the Province of Begemdir in the west and in the north-west. The literary and religious activities of Zer'a-Ya'qob (1434-68) were essentially an attempt to etsabilize the manifold conquests of his predecessors, and to give sound institutional bases for both church and State in the whole of the Christian Empire. The relatively radical programmes which he rigorously put to effect during his reign were not continued by his successors, and with the reigns of a series of minor kings the diverse regional and religious interests fully reasserted themselves. The absence of a strong, xinited leadership for half a century (following Be'ide-Maryam's reign) sapped the Christian kingdom of much of its political and military strength, and led in the end to the brilliant successes of Ahmad ibn Ibrahim, otherwise known as Gragn.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:00

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