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date: 18 April 2024

“Medieval” Ethiopialocked

“Medieval” Ethiopialocked

  • Alessandro BausiAlessandro BausiAsien-Afrika-Institut, Universität Hamburg
  •  and Jacopo GnisciJacopo GnisciHistory of Art, University College London

Summary

Ethiopia is located in the northern Horn of Africa. As a choronym or place name in modern scholarship, Ethiopia has been used to designate several past and present entities with different cultural, ethnic, and territorial configurations. Here, the term is used to refer to a predominantly Christian state in the northern Horn of Africa that was ruled by a Christian sovereign. Terms such as medieval and Middle Ages have been used and continue to appear in historical writing about Ethiopia’s past, but it is important to bear in mind that such terms were used by early modern historiography to establish a time frame for studying European history. Their relevance to non-European contexts is questionable, but they may have value as a means to help situate the study of Ethiopia within the broader field of global history. There are no universally accepted criteria or terms for the periodization of Ethiopian history. However, most works focusing on the centuries between c. 500 and 1500 ce, dates that do not neatly align with major turning points in Ethiopian history, have adopted periodizations that are based on episodes of dynastic succession.

Subjects

  • Archaeology
  • East Africa and Indian Ocean
  • Northeastern Africa

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