Abyssinia appears to have been originally peopled by the eastern branch of the Hamitic family, which has occupied this region from the remotest times, and still constitutes the great bulk of its inhabitants, though the higher classes are now strongly Semitized. The prevailing colour in the central provinces (Amhara, Gojam) is a deep brown, northwards (Tigre, Lasta) it is a pale olive, and here even fair complexions are seen. Southwards (Shoa, Kobbo, Amuru) a decided chocolate and almost sooty black is the rule. Many of the people are distinctly negroid, with big lips, small nose, broad at the base, and frizzly or curly black hair. The negroid element in the population is due chiefly to the number of negro women who have been imported into the harems of the Abyssinians. The majority, however, may be described as a mixed Hamito-Semitic people, who are in general well formed and handsome, with straight and regular features, lively eyes, hair long and straight or somewhat curled and in colour dark olive, approaching to black. The Galla, who came originally from the south, are not found in many parts of the country, but predominate in the Wollo district, between Shoa and Amhara. It is from the Galla that the Abyssinian army is largely recruited, and, indeed, there are few of the chiefs who have not an admixture of Galla blood in their veins.
As regards language, several of the indigenous groups, such as the Khamtas of Lasta, the Agau or Agaos of Agaumeder ("Agao land'') and the Falashas (q.v.), the so-called "Jews'' of Abyssinia, still speak rude dialects of the old Hamitic tongue. But the official language and that of all the upper classes is of Semitic origin, derived from the ancient Himyaritic, which is the most archaic member of the Semitic linguistic family. Geez, as it is called, was introduced with the first immigrants from Yemen, and although no longer spoken is still studied as the liturgical language of the Abyssinian Christians. Its literature consists of numerous translations of Jewish, Greek and Arabic works, besides a valuable version of the Bible. (See ETHIOPIA.) The best modern representative of Geez is the Tigrina of Tigre and Lasta, which is much purer but less cultivated than the Amharic dialect, which is used in state documents, is current in the central and southern provinces and is much affected by Hamitic elements. All are written in a peculiar syllabic script which, un- like all other Semitic forms, runs from left to right, and is derived from that of the Sabaeans and Minaeans, still extant in the very old rock-inscriptions of south Arabia.
The hybridism of the Abyssinians is reflected in their political and social institutions, and especially in their religious beliefs and practices. On a seething mass of African heathendom, already in early times affected by primitive Semitic ideas, was suddenly imposed a form of Christianity which became the state religion. While the various ethnical elements have been merged in the composite Abyssinian nation, the primitive and more advanced religious ideas have nowhere been fused in a uniform Christian system. Foreigners are often surprised at the strange mixture of savagery and lofty notions in a Christian community which, for instance, accounts accidental manslaughter as wilful murder. Recourse is still had to dreams as a means of detecting crime. A priest is summoned, and, if his prayers and curses fail, a small boy is drugged, and "whatever person he dreams of is fixed on as the criminal. . . . If the boy does not dream of the person whom the priest has determined on as the criminal, he is kept under drugs until he does what is required of him'' (Count Gleichen, With the Mission to Menelik, chap. xvi., 1898).
The Abyssinian character reflects the country's history. Murders and executions are frequent, yet cruelty is not a marked feature of their character; and in war they seldom kill their prisoners. When a man is convicted of murder, he is handed over to the relatives of the deceased, who may either put him to death or accept a ransom. When the murdered person has no relatives, the priests take upon themselves the office of avengers. The natural indolence of the people has been fostered by the constant wars, which have discouraged peaceful occupations. The soldiers live by plunder, the monks by alms. The haughtiest Abyssinian is not above begging, excusing himself with the remark, "God has given us speech for the purpose of begging.'' The Abyssinians are vain and selfish, irritable but easily appeased; and are an intelligent bright people, fond of gaiety. On every festive occasion, as a saint's day, birth, marriage, &c., it is customary for a rich man to collect his friends and neighbours, and kill a cow and one or two sheep. The principal parts of the cow are eaten raw while yet warm and quivering, the remainder being cut into small pieces and cooked with the favourite sauce of butter and red pepper paste. The raw meat eaten in this way is considered to be very superior in taste and much more tender than when cold. The statement by James Bruce respecting the cutting of steaks from a live cow has frequently been called in question, but there can be no doubt that Bruce actually saw what he narrates. Mutton and goat's flesh are the meats most eaten: pork is avoided on religious grounds, and the hare is never touched, possibly, as in other countries, from superstition. Many forms of game are forbidden; for example, all water-fowl. The principal drinks are me'mse, a kind of mead, and bousa, a sort of beer made from fermented cakes. The Abyssinians are heavy eaters and drinkers, and any occasion is seized as an excuse for a carouse. Old and young, of both sexes, pass days and nights in these symposia, at which special customs and rules prevail. Little bread is eaten, the Abyssinian preferring a thin cake of durra meal or teE, kneaded with water and exposed to the sun till the dough begins to rise, when it is baked. Salt is a luxury; "he eats salt'' being said of a spendthrift. Bars of rock-salt, after serving as coins, are, when broken up, used as food. There is a general looseness of morals: marriage is a very slight tie, which can be dissolved at any time by either husband or wife. Polygamy is by no means uncommon. Hence there is little family affection, and what exists is only between children of the same father and mother. Children of the same father, but of different mothers, are said to be "always enemies to each other.'' (Samuel Gobat's Journal of a Three Years' Residence in Abyssinia, 1834.)
The dress of the Abyssinians is much like that of the Arabs. It consists of close-fitting drawers reaching below the knees, with a sash to hold them, and a large white robe. The Abyssinian, however, is beginning to adopt European clothes on the upper part of the body, and European hats are becoming common. The Christian Abyssinians usually go barehead and barefoot, in contrast to the Mahommedans, who wear turbans and leather sandals. The women's dress is a smock with sleeves loose to the wrist, where they fit tightly. The priests wear a white jacket with loose sleeves, a head-cloth like a turban and a special type of shoe with turned-up toes and soles projecting at the heel. In the Woldeba district hermits dress in ochre-yellow cloths, while the priests of some sects wear hides dyed red. Clothes are made of cotton, though the nobles and great people wear silk robes presented by the emperor as a mark of honour. The possessor of one of these is allowed to appear in the royal presence wearing it instead of having one shoulder bared, as is the usual Abyssinian method of showing respect. A high-born man covers himself to the mouth in the presence of inferiors. The men either cut their hair short or plait it; married women plait their hair and wind round the head a black or parti-coloured silk handkerchief; girls wear their hair short. In the hot season no Abyssinian goes without a flag-shaped fan of plaited rushes. The Christian Abyssinians, men and women, wear a blue silk cord round the neck, to which is often attached a crucifix. For ornament women wear silver ankle-rings with bells, silver necklaces and silver or gold rosettes in the ears. Silver rings on fingers and also on toes are common. The women are very fond of strong scents, which are generally oils imported from India and Ceylon. The men scarcely ever appear without a long curved knife, generally they carry shield and spear as well. Although the army has been equipped with modern rifles, the common weapon of the people is the matchlock, and slings are still in use. The original arms were a sickle-shaped sword, spear and shield. The Abyssinians are great hunters and are also clever at taming wild beasts. The nobles hunt antelopes with leopards, and giraffes and ostriches with horse and greyhound. In elephant-hunting iron bullets weighing a quarter of a pound are used; throwing-clubs are employed for small game, and lions are hunted with the spear. Lion skins belong to the emperor, but the slayer keeps a strip to decorate his shield.
Stone and mortar are used in building, but the Abyssinian houses are of the roughest kind, being usually circular huts, ill made and thatched with grass. These huts are sometimes made simply of straw and are surrounded by high thorn hedges, but, in the north, square houses, built in stories, flat-roofed, the roof sometimes laid at the same slope as the hillside, and some with pitched thatched roofs, are common. The inside walls are plastered with cow-dung, clay and finely chopped straw. None of the houses have chimneys, and smoke soon colours the interior a dark brown. Generally the houses are filthy and ill ventilated and swarm with vermin. Drainage and sanitary arrangements do not exist. The caves of the highlands are often used as dwellings. The most remarkable buildings in Abyssinia are certain churches hewn out of the solid rock. The chief native industries are leather-work, embroidery and filigree metal-work; and the weaving of straw mats and baskets is extensively practised. The baskets are particularly well made, and are frequently used to contain milk.
Abyssinian art is crude and is mainly reserved for rough frescoes in the churches. These frescoes, however, often exhibit considerable skill, and are indicative of the lively imagination of their painters. They are in the Byzantine style and the colouring is gaudy. Saints and good people are always depicted full face, the devil and all bad folk are shown in profile. Among the finest frescoes are those in the church of the Holy Trinity at Adowa and those in the church at Kwarata, on the shores of Lake Tsana. The churches are usually circular in form, the walls of stone, the roof thatched.
The chief musical instruments are rough types of trumpets and flutes, drums, tambourines and cymbals, and quadrangular harps.
(12) Abyssiania, or at least the northern portion of it, was included in the tract of country known to the ancients as Ethiopia, the northern limits of which reached at one time to about Syene. The connexion between Egypt and Ethiopia was in early times very intimate, and occasionally the two countries were under the same ruler, so that the arts and civilization of the one naturally found their way into the other. In early times, too, the Hebrews had commercial intercourse with the Ethiopians; and according to Abyssinian tradition the queen of Sheba who visited Solomon was a monarch of their country, and from their son Menelek the kings of Abyssinia claim descent. During the Captivity many of the Jews settled here and brought with them a knowledge of the Jewish religion. Under the Ptolemies, the arts as well as the enterprise of the Greeks entered Ethiopia, and led to the establishment of Greek colonies. A Greek inscription at Adulis, no longer extant, but copied by Cosmas of Alexandria, and preserved in his Topographia Christiana, records that Ptolemy Euergetes, the third of the Greek dynasty in Egypt, invaded the countries on both sides of the Red Sea, and having reduced most of the provinces of Tigre to subjection, returned to the port of Adulis, and there offered sacrifices to Jupiter, Mars and Neptune. Another inscription, not so ancient, found at Axum, states that Aizanas, king of the Axumites, the Homerites, &c., conquered the nation of the Bogos, and returned thanks to his father, the god Mars, for his victory. Out of these Greek colonies appears to have arisen the kingdom of Auxume which flourished from the ist to the 7th century A.D. and was at one time nearly coextensive with Abyssinia proper. The capital Auxume and the seaport Adulis were then the chief centres of the trade with the interior of Africa in gold dust, ivory, leather, aromatics, &c. At Axum, the site of the ancient capital, many vestiges of its former greatness still exist; and the ruins of Adulis, which was once a seaport on the bay of Annesley, are now about 4 m. from the shore (see ETHIOPIA, The Axumite Kingdom.)
Introduction of Christianity.
(13) Christianity was introduced into the country by Frumentius (q.v.), who was consecrated first bishop of Ethiopia by St Athanasius of Alexandria about A.D. 330. From the scanty evidence available it would appear that the new religion at first made little progress, and the Axumite kings seem to have been among the latest converts. Towards the close of the 5th century a great company of monks are believed to have established themselves in the country. Since that time monachism has been a power among the people and not without its influence on the course of events. In the early part of the 6th century the king of the Homerites, on the opposite coast of the Red Sea, having persecuted the Christians, the emperor Justinian I. requested the king of Auxume, Caleh or El-Esbaha, to avenge their cause. He accordingly collected an army, crossed over into Arabia, and conquered Yemen (c. 525), which remained subject to Ethiopia for about fifty years. This was the most flourishing period in the annals of the country. The Ethiopians possessed the richest part of Arabia, carried on a large trade, which extended as far as India and Ceylon, and were in constant communication with the Greek empire. Their expulsion from Arabia, followed by the conquest of Egypt by the Mahommedans in the middle of the 7th century, changed this state of affairs, and the continued advances of the followers of the Prophet at length cut them off from almost every means of communication with the civilized world; so that, as Gibbon says, "encompassed by the enemies of their religion, the Ethiopians slept for near a thousand years, forgetful of the world by whom they were forgotten.'' About A.D. 1000, a Jewish princess, Judith, conceived the design of murdering all the members of the royal family, and of establishing herself in their stead. During the execution of this project, the infant king was carded off by some faithful adherents, and conveyed to Shoa, where his authority was acknowledged, while Judith reigned for forty years over the rest of the kingdom, and transmitted the crown to her descendants. In 1268 the kingdom was restored to the royal house in the person of Yekunu Amlak.
(14) Towards the close of the 15th century the Portuguese missions into Abyssinia began. A belief had long prevailed in Europe of the existence of a Christian kingdom in the far east, whose monarch was known as Prester John, and various expeditions had been sent in quest of it. Among others who had engaged in this search was Pedro de Covilham, who arrived in Abyssinia in 1490, and, believing that he had at length reached the far-famed kingdom, presented to the negus, or emperor of the country, a letter from his master the king of Portugal, addressed to Prester John. Covilham remained in the country, but in 1507 an Armenian named Matthew was sent by the negus to the king of Portugal to request his aid against the Mahommedans. In 1520 a Portuguese fleet, with Matthew on board, entered the Red Sea in compliance with this request, and an embassy from the fleet visited the negus, Lebna Dengel Dawit (David) II., and remained in Abyssinia for about six years. One of this embassy was Father Francisco Alvarez, from whom we have the earliest and not the least interesting account of the country. Between 1528 and 1540 armies of Mahommedans, under the renowned general Mahommed Gran (or Granye, probably a Somali or a Galla), entered Abyssinia from the low country to the south-east, and overran the kingdom, obliging the emperor to take refuge in the mountain fastnesses. In this extremity recourse was again had to the Portuguese. John Bermudez, a subordinate member of the mission of 1520, who had remained in the country after the departure of the embassy, was, according to his own statement (which is untrustworthy), ordained successor to the abuna (archbishop), and sent to Lisbon. Bermudez certainly came to Europe, but with what credentials is not known. Be that as it may, a Portuguese fleet, under the command of Stephen da Gama, was sent from India and arrived at Massawa in February 1541. Here he received an ambassador from the negus beseeching him to send help against the Moslems, and in the July following a force of 450 musqueteers, under the command of Christopher da Gama, younger brother of the admiral, marched into the interior, and being joined by native troops were at first successful against the enemy; but they were subsequently defeated, and their commander taken prisoner and put to death (August 1542). On the 21st of February 1543, however, Mahommed Granye was shot in an engagement and his forces totally routed. After this, quarrels arose between the negus and Bermudez, who had returned to Abyssinia with Christopher da Gama and who now wished the emperor publicly to profess himself a convert to Rome. This the negus refused to do, and at length Bermudez was obliged to make his way out of the country. The Jesuits who had accompanied or followed the da Gama expedition into Abyssinia, and fixed their headquarters at Fremona (near Adowa), were oppressed and neglected, but not actually expelled. In the beginning of the 17th century Father Pedro Paez arrived at Fremona, a man of great tact and judgment, who soon rose into high favour at court, and gained over the emperor to his faith. He directed the erection of churches, palaces and bridges in different parts of the country, and carried out many useful works. His successor Mendez was a man of much less conciliatory manners, and the feelings of the people became strongly excited against the intruders, till at length, on the death of the negus Sysenius, Socinius or Seged I., and the accession of his son Fasilidas in 1633, they were all sent out of the country, after having had a footing there for nearly a century and a half.
Visits of Poncet and Bruce.
The French physician C. J. Poncet, who went there in 1698, via Sennar and the Blue Nile, was the only European that afterwards visited the country before Bruce in 1769. James Bruce's main object was to discover the sources of the Nile, which he was convinced lay in Abyssinia. Accordingly, leaving Massawa in September 1769, he travelled via Axum to Gondar, where he was well received by King Tekla Haimanot II. He accompanied the king on a warlike expedition round Lake Tsana, moving S. round the eastern shore, crossing the genuine Blue Nile (Abai) close to its point of issue from the lake and returning via the western shore. On a second expedition of his own he proved to his own satisfaction that the river originated some 4o miles S.W. of the lake at a place called Geesh (4th of November 1770). He showed that this river flowed into the lake, and left it by its now well-known outlet. Bruce subsequently returned to Egypt (end of 1772) via Gondar, the upper Atbara, Sennar, the Nile, and the Korosko desert (see BRUCE, JAMES).
(15) In order to attain a clear view of native Abyssinian history, as distinct from the visits and influence of Europeans, it must be borne in mind that during the last three hundred years, and indeed for a longer period, for the old chroniclers may be trusted to have given a somewhat distorted view of the importance of the particular chieftains with whom they came in contact, the country has been merely a conglomeration of provinces and districts, ill defined, loosely connected and generally at war with each other. Of these the chief provinces have been Tigre (northern), Amhara (central) and Shoa (southern). The seat of government, or rather of overlordship, has usually been in Amhara, the ruler of which, calling himself negus negusti (king of kings, or emperor), has exacted tribute, when he could, from the other provinces. The title of negus negusti has been to a considerable extent based on the blood in the veins of the claimant. All the emperors have based their claims on their direct descent from Solomon and the queen of Sheba; but it is needless to say that in many, if not in most, cases their success has been due more to the force of their arms than to the purity of their lineage. Some of the rulers of the larger provinces have at times been given, or have given themselves, the title of negus or king, so that on occasion as many as three, or even more, neguses have been reigning at the same time; and this must be borne in mind by the student of Abyssinian history in order to avoid confusion of rulers. The whole history of the country is in fact one gloomy record of internecine wars, barbaric deeds and unstable governments, of adventurers usurping thrones, only to be themselves unseated, and of raids, rapine and pillage. Into this chaos enter from time to time broad rays of sunshine, the efforts of a few enlightened monarchs to evolve order from disorder, and to supply to their people the blessings of peace and civilization. Bearing these matters in mind, we find that during the 18th century the most prominent and beneficent rulers were the emperor Yesu of Gondar, who died about 1720, Sebastie, negus of Shoa (1703-1718), Amada Yesus of Shoa, who extended his kingdom and founded Ankober (1743-1774), Tekla Giorgis of Amhara (1770-1798?) and Asfa Nassen of Shoa (1774-1807), the latter being especially renowned as a wise and benevolent monarch. The first years of the 19th century were disturbed by fierce campaigns between Guxa, ras of Gondar, and Wolda Selassie, ras of Tigre, who were both striving for the crown of Guxa's master, the emperor Eguala Izeion. Wolda Selassie was eventually the victor, and practically ruled the whole country till his death in 1816 at the age of eighty.
British mission and missionary enterprise.
(16) Mention must here be made of the first British mission, under Lord Valentia and Mr Henry Salt, which was sent in 1805 to conclude an alliance with Abyssinia, and obtain a port on the Red Sea in case France secured Egypt by dividing up the Turkish empire with Russia. This mission was succeeded by many travellers, missionaries and merchants of all countries, and the stream of Europeans continued until well into Theodore's reign. For convenience' sake we insert at this point a partial list of missionaries and others who visited the country during the second third of the 19th century—-merely calling attention to the fact that their visits were distributed over widely different parts of the country, ruled by distinct lines of monarchs or governors. In 1830 Protestant missionary enterprise was begun by Samuel Gobat and Christian Kugler, who were sent out by the Church Missionary Society, and were well received by the ras of Tigre. Mr Kugler died soon after his arrival, and his place was subsequently supplied by Mr C. W. Isenberg, who was followed by Dr Ludwig Krapf, the discoverer of Mount Kenya, and others. Mr (afterwards Bishop) Gobat proceeded to Gondar, where he also met with a favourable reception. In 1833 he returned to Europe, and published a journal of his residence in Abyssinia. In 1834 Gobat went back to Tigre, but in 1836 ill health compelled him to leave. In 1838 other missionaries were obliged to leave the country, owing to the opposition of the native priests. Messrs Isenberg and Krapf went south, and established themselves at Shoa. The former soon after returned to England, but Mr Krapf remained in Shoa till March 1842, when he removed to Mombasa. Dr E. Ruppell, the German naturalist, visited the country in 1831, and remained nearly two years. M. E. Combes and M. Tamisier arrived at Massawa in 1835, and visited districts which had not been traversed by Europeans since the time of the Portuguese. One who did much at the time to extend our geographical knowledge of the country was Dr C. T. Boke (q.v.), who was there from 1840 to 1843. Mr Mansfield Parkyns was there from 1843 to 1846, and wrote the most interesting book on the country since the time of Bruce. Bishop Gobat having conceived the idea of sending lay missionaries into the country, who would engage in secular occupations as well as carry on missionary work, Dr Krapf returned to Abyssinia in 1855 with Mr Flad as pioneers of that mission; Krapf, however, was not permitted to remain in the country. Six lay workers came out at first, and they were subsequently joined by others. Their secular work, however, appears to have been more valuable to Theodore than their preaching, so that he employed them as workmen to himself, and established them at Gaffat, near his capital. Mr Stern arrived in Abyssinia in 1860, and after a visit to Europe returned in 1863, accompanied by Mr and Mrs Rosenthal.1
Rivalry of British and French factions
(17) Wolda Selassie of Tigre was succeeded in 1817, through force of arms, by Sabagadis of Agame, and the latter, as ras of Tigre, introduced various Englishmen, whom he much admired, into the country. He increased the prosperity of his land considerably. but by so doing roused the jealousy of Ras Marie of Amhara—to whom he had refused tribute—and Ubie, son of Hailo Mariam, a governor of Simen. In an ensuing battle (in January 1831), both Sabagadis and Marie were killed, and Ubie retired to watch events from his own province. Marie was shortly succeeded in the ras-ship of Amhara by Ali, a nephew of Guxa and a Mahommedan. But Ubie, who was aiming at the crown, soon attacked Ras Ali, and after several indecisive campaigns proclaimed himself negus of Tigre. To him came many French missionaries and travellers, chief of whom were Lieut. Lefebvre, charged (1839) with political and geographical missions, and Captains Galinier and Ferret, who completed for him a useful triangulation and survey of Tigre and Simen (1840-1842). The brothers Antoine and Arnaud d'Abbadie (q.v.) spent ten years (1838-1848) in the country, making scientific investigations of great value, and also involving themselves in the stormy politics of the country. Northern Abyssinia was now divided into two camps, the one, Amhara and Ras Ali, under Protestant British, and the other, Tigre and Ubie, under Roman Catholic French, influence. The latent hostility between the two factions threatened at one time to develop into a religious war, but no serious campaigns took place until Kassa (later Theodore) appeared on the scene.
Rise of the emperor Theodore.
(18) Lij (= Mr) Kassa was born in Kwara, a small district of Western Amhara, in 1818. His father was a small local chief, and his uncle was governor of the districts of Dembea, Kwara and Chelga between Lake Tsana and the undefined N.W. frontier. He was educated in a monastery, but preferred a more active life, and by his talents and energy came rapidly to the front. On the death of his uncle he was made chief of Kwara, but in consequence of the arrest of his brother Bilawa by Ras Ali, he raised the standard of revolt against the latter, and, collecting a large force, repeatedly beat the troops that were sent against him by the ras (1841-1847). On one occasion peace was restored by his receiving Tavavich, daughter of Ras Ali, in marriage; and this lady is said to have been a good and wise counsellor during her lifetime. He next turned his arms against the Turks, in the direction of Massawa, but was defeated; and the mother of Ras Ali having insulted him in his fallen condition, he proclaimed his independence. As his power was increasing, to the detriment of both Ras Ali and Ubie, these two princes combined against him, but were heavily defeated by him at Gorgora (on the southern shore of Lake Tsana) in 1853. Ubie retreated to Tigre, and Ras Ali fled to Begemeder, where he eventually died. Kassa now ruled in Amhara, but his ambition was to attain to supreme power, and he turned his attention to conquering the remaining chief divisions of the country, Gojam, Tigre and Shoa, which still remained unsubdued. Berro, ras of Gojam, in order to save himself, attempted to combine with Tigre, but his army was intercepted by Kassa and totally destroyed, himself being taken prisoner and executed (May 1854). Shortly afterwards Kassa moved against Tigre, defeated Ubie's forces at Deragie, in Simen (February 1855), took their chief prisoner and proclaimed himself negus negusti of Ethiopia under the name of Theodore III. He now turned his attention to Shoa.
Growing power of Shoa
(19) Retracing our steps for a moment in that direction, we find that in 1813 Sahela (or Sella) Selassie, younger son of the preceding ras, Wassen Seged, had proclaimed himself negus or king. His reign was long and beneficent. He restored the towns of Debra-Berhan and Angolala, and founded Entotto, the strong stone-built town whose ruins overlook the modern capital, Adis Ababa. In the terrible "famine of St Luke'' in 1835, Selassie still further won the hearts of his subjects by his wise measures and personal generosity; and by extending his hospitality to Europeans, he brought his country within the closer ken of civilized European powers. During his reign he received the missions of Major W. Cornwallis Harris, sent by the governor-general of India (1841), and M. Rochet d'Hericourt, sent by Louis Philippe (1843), with both of whom he concluded friendly treaties on behalf of their respective governments. He also wrote to Pope Pius IX., asking that a Roman Catholic bishop should be sent to him. This request was acceded to, and the pope despatched Monsigneur Massaja to Shoa. But before the prelate could reach the country, Selassie was dead (1847), leaving his eldest son, Haeli Melicoth, to succeed him. Melicoth at once proclaimed himself negus, and by sending for Massaja, who had arrived at Gondar, gave rise to the suspicion that he wished to have himself crowned as emperor. By increasing his dominions at the expense of the Gallas, he still further roused the jealousy of the northerners, and a treaty which he concluded with Ras Ali against Kassa in 1850 determined the latter to crush him at the earliest opportunity.
Thus it was that in 1855 Kassa, under the name of the emperor Theodore, advanced against Shoa with a large army. Dissensions broke out among the Shoans, and after a desperate and futile attack on Theodore at Debra-Berhan, Haeli Melicoth died of exhaustion and fever, nominating with his last breath his eleven-year-old son Menelek2 as successor (November 1855). Darge, Haeli's brother, took charge of the young prince, but after a hard fight with Angeda, one of Theodore's rases, was obliged to capitulate. Menelek was handed over to the negus, taken to Gondar, and there trained in Theodore's service.
(20) Theodore was now in the zenith of his career. He is described as being generous to excess, free from cupidity, merciful to his vanquished enemies, and strictly continent, but subject to violent bursts of anger and possessed of unyielding pride and fanatical religious zeal. He was also a man of education and intelligence, superior to those among whom he lived, with natural talents for governing and gaining the esteem of others. He had, further, a noble bearing and majestic walk, a frame capable of enduring any amount of fatigue, and is said to have been "the best shot, the best spearman, the best runner, and the best horseman in Abyssinia.'' Had he contented himself with the sovereignty of Amhara and Tigre, he might have maintained his position; but he was led to exhaust his strength against the Wollo Gallas, which was probably one of the chief causes of his ruin. He obtained several victories over that people, ravaged their country, took possession of Magdala, which he afterwards made his principal stronghold, and enlisted many of the chiefs and their followers in his own ranks. As has been shown, he also reduced the kingdom of Shoa, and took Ankober, the capital; but in the meantime his own people were groaning under his heavy exactions, rebellions were breaking out in various parts of his provinces, and his good queen Tavavich was now dead.
Theodore's quarrel with great Britain
The British consul, Walter C. Plowden, who was strongly attached to Theodore, having been ordered by his government in 1860 to return to Massawa, was attacked on his way by a rebel named Garred, mortally wounded, and taken prisoner. Theodore attacked the rebels, and in the action the murderer of Mr Plowden was slain by his friend and companion Mr J. T. Bell, an engineer, but the latter lost his life in preserving that of Theodore. The deaths of the two Englishmen were terribly avenged by the slaughter or mutilation of nearly 2000 rebels. Theodore soon after married his second wite Terunish, the proud daughter of the late governor of Tigre, who felt neither affection nor respect for the upstart who had dethroned her father, and the union was by no means a happy one. In 1862 he made a second expedition against the Gallas, which was stained with atrocious cruelties. Theodore had now given himself up to intoxication and lust. When the news of Mr Plowden's death reached England, Captain C. D. Cameron was appointed to succeed him as consul, and arrived at Massawa in February 1862. He proceeded to the camp of the king, to whom he presented a rifle, a pair of pistols and a letter in the queen's name. In October Captain Cameron was sent home by Theodore, with a letter to the queen of England, which reached the Foreign Office on the 12th of February 1863. This letter was put aside and no answer returned, and to this in no small degree are to be attributed the difficulties that subsequently arose with that country. In November despatches were received from England, but no answer to the emperor's letter, and this, together with a visit paid by Captain Cameron to the Egyptian frontier town of Kassala, greatly offended him; accordingly in January 1864 Captain Cameron and his suite, with Messrs Stern and Rosenthal, were cast into prison. When the news of this reached England, the government resolved, when too late, to send an answer to the emperor's letter, and selected Mr Hormuzd Rassam to be its bearer. He arrived at Massawa in July 1864, and immediately despatched a messenger requesting permission to present himself before the emperor. Neither to this nor a subsequent application was any answer returned till August 1865, when a curt note was received, stating that Consul Cameron had been released, and if Mr Rassam still desired to visit the king, he was to proceed by the route of Gallabat. Later in the year Theodore became more civil, and the British party on arrival at the king's camp in Damot, on the 25th of January 1866, were received with all honour, and were afterwards sent to Kwarata, on Lake Tsana, there to await the arrival of the captives. The latter reached Kwarata on the 12th of March, and everything appeared to proceed favourably. A month later they started for the coast, but had not proceeded far when they were ail brought back and put into confinement. Theodore then wrote a letter to the queen, requesting European workmen and machinery to be sent to him, and despatched it by Mr Flad. The Europeans, although detained as prisoners, were not at first unkindly treated; but in the end of June they were sent to Magdala, where they were soon afterwards put in chains. They suffered hunger, cold and misery, and were in constant fear of death, till the spring of 1869 when they were relieved by the British troops.
Sir Robert Napier's expedition. (21) In the meantime the power of Theodore in the country was rapidly waning. Shoa had already shaken off his yoke; Gojam was virtually independent; Walkeit and Simen were under a rebel chief; and Lasta, Waag and the country about Lake Ashangi had submitted to Wagshum Gobassie, who had also overrun Tigre and appointed Dejaj Kassai his governor. The latter, however, in 1867 rebelled against his master and assumed the supreme power of that province. This was the state of matters when the English troops made their appearance in the country. With a view if possible to effect the release of the prisoners by conciliatory measures, Mr Flad was sent back, with some artisans and machinery, and a letter from the queen, stating that these would be handed over to his majesty on the release of the prisoners and their return to Massawa. This, however, failed to influence the emperor, and the English government at length saw that they must have recourse to arms. In July 1867, therefore, it was resolved to send an army into Abyssinia to enforce the release of the captives, under Sir Robert Napier (1st Baron Napier of Magdala). The landingplace selected was Mulkutto (Zula), on Annesley Bay, the point of the coast nearest to the site of the ancient Adulis, and we are told that "the pioneers of the English expedition followed to some extent in the footsteps of the adventurous soldiers of Ptolemy. and met with a few faint traces of this old-world enterprise'' (C. R. Markham). The force amounted to upwards of 16,000 men, besides 12,640 belonging to the transport service, and followers, making in all upwards of 32,000 men. The task to be accomplished was to march over 400 miles of a mountainous and little-known country, inhabited by savage tribes, to the camp or fortress of Theodore, and compel him to deliver up his captives. The commander-in-chief landed on the 7th of January 1868, and soon after the troops began to move forward through the pass of Senafe, and southward through the districts of Agame, Tera, Endarta, Wojerat, Lasta and Wadela. In the meantime Theodore had been reduced to great straits. His army, which at one time numbered over 100,000 men, was rapidly deserting him, and he could hardly obtain food for his followers. He resolved to quit his captial Debra-Tabor, which he burned, and set out with the remains of his army for Magdala. During this march he displayed an amount of engineering skill in the construction of roads, of military talent and fertility of resource, that excited the admiration and astonishment of his enemies. On the afternoon of the 10th of April a force of about 3000 men suddenly poured down upon the English in the plain of Arogie, a few miles from Magdala. They advanced again and again to the charge, but were each time driven back, and finally retired in good order. Early next morning Theodore sent Lieut. Prideaux, one of the captives, and Mr Flad, accompanied by a native chief, to the English camp to sue for peace. Answer was returned, that if he would deliver up all the Europeans in his hands, and submit to the queen of England, he would receive honourable treatment. The captives were liberated and sent away, and accompanying a letter to the English general was a present of 1000 cows and 500 sheep, the acceptance of which would, according to Eastern custom, imply that peace was granted. Through some misunderstanding, word was sent to Theodore that the present would be accepted, and he felt that he was now safe; but in the evening he learned that it had not been received, and despair again seized him. Early next morning he attempted to escape with a few of his followers, but subsequently returned. The same day (13th April) Magdala was stormed and taken, practically without loss, and within they found the dead body of the emperor, who had fallen by his own hand. The inhabitants and troops were subsequently sent away, the fortifications destroyed and the town burned. The queen Terunish having expressed her wish to go back to her own country, accompanied the British army, but died during the march, and her son Alamayahu, the only legitimate son of the emperor, was brought to England, as this was the desire of his father.3 The success of the expedition was in no small degree owing to the aid afforded by the several native chiefs through whose country it passed, and no one did more in this way than Dejaj Kassa or Kassai of Tigre. In acknowledgment of this, several pieces of ordnance, small arms and ammunition, with much of the surplus stores, were handed over to him, and the English troops left the country in May 1868.
Menelek II., king of Shoa (22) It is now time to return to the story of the young prince Menelek, who, as we have seen, had been nominated by his late father as ruler of Shoa, but was in Theodore's power in Tigre. The following table shows his descent since the beginning of the 19th century:—
Asfa Nassen, d. 1807 Wassan Seged = Woizero Zenebe Work d. 1811 - Becurraye Sella Selassie = Woizero Betsabesh (1795-1847) - Haeli Melicoth = Ejigayu Siefu Darge (1825-1855) (1826-1860) b. 1827 Menelek II. = Taitu Mashasha b. 1844 1 son Zauditu Tanina Work (dead) (Judith) (daughter)
On the retirement of Theodore's forces from Shoa in 1855, Siefu, brother of Haeli Melicoth, proclaimed himself negus of Shoa at Ankober, and beat the local representatives of the northern government. The emperor returned, however, in 1858, and after several repulses succeeded in entering Ankober, where he behaved with great cruelty, murdering or mutilating all the inhabitants. Siefu kept up a gallant defence for two more years, but was then killed by Kebret, one of his own chiefs. Thus chaos again reigned supreme in Shoa. In 1865, Menelek, now a desjazmach 4 of Tigre, took advantage of Theodore's difficulties with the British government and escaped to Workitu, queen of the Wollo Galla country. The emperor, who held as hostage a son of Workitu, threatened to kill the boy unless Menelek were given up; but the gallant queen refused, and lost both her son and her throne. The fugitive meanwhile arrived safely in Shoa, and was there acclaimed as negus. For the next three years Menelek devoted himself to strengthening and disciplining his army, to legislation, to building towns, such as Liche (near Debra-Berhan), Worra Hailu (Wollo Galla country), &c., and to repelling the incursions of the Gallas.
King John attains supreme power.
On the death of Theodore (13th April 1868) many Shoans, including Ras Darge, were released, and Menelek began to feel himself strong enough, after a few preliminary minor campaigns, to undertake offensive operations against the northern princes. But these projects were of little avail, for Kassai of Tigre, as above mentioned, had by this time (1872) risen to supreme power in the north. With the help of the rifles and guns presented to him by the British, he had beaten Ras Bareya of Tigre, Wagshum Gobassie of Amhara and Tekla Giorgis of Condar, and after proclaiming himself negus negusti under the name of Johannes or John, was now preparing to march on Shoa. Here, however, Menelek was saved from probable destruction through the action of Egypt. This power had, by the advice of Werner Munzinger (q.v.), their Swiss governor of Massawa, seized and occupied in 1872 the northern province of Bogos; and, later on, insisted on occupying Hamasen also, for fear Bogos should be attacked. John, after futile protests, collected an army, and with the assistance of Ras Walad Michael, hereditary chief of Bogos, advanced against the Egyptian forces, who were under the command of one Arendrup, a Dane. Meeting near the Mareb, the Egyptians were beaten in detail, and almost annihilated at Gundet (13th November 1875). An avenging expedition was prepared in the spring of the following year, and, numbering 14,000 men under Ratib Pasha, Loring (American), and Prince Hassan, advanced to Gura and fortified a position in the neighbouthood. Although reinforced by Walad Michael, who had now quarrelled with John, the Egyptians were a second time (25th March 1876) heavily beaten by the Abyssinians, and retired, losing an enormous quantity of both men and rifies. Colonel C. G. Gordon, governor-general of the Sudan, was now ordered to go and make peace with John, but the king had moved south with his army, intending to punish Menelek for having raided Gondar whilst he, John, was engaged with the Egyptians.
(23) Menelek's kingdom was meanwhile torn in twain by serious dissensions, which had been instigated by his concubine Bafana. This lady, to whom he was much attached, had been endeavouring to secure the succession of one of her own sons to the throne of Shoa, and had almost succeeded in getting rid of Mashasha, son of Siefu and cousin of Menelek, who was the apparent heir. On the approach of John, the Shoans united for a time against their common enemy. But after a few skirmishes they melted away, and Menelek was obliged to submit and do obeisance to John. The latter behaved with much generosity, but at the same time imposed terms which effectually deprived Shoa of her independence (March 1878). In 1879 Gordon was sent on a fresh mission to John on behalf of Egypt; but he was treated with scant courtesy, and was obllgcd to leave the country without achieving anything permanent.
Beginning of Italian influence.
The Italians now come on the scene. Assab, a port near the southern entrance of the Red Sea, had been bought from the focal sultan in March 1870 by an Italian company, which, after acquiring more land in 1879 and 1880, was bought out by the Italian government in 1882. In this year Count Pietro Antonelli was despatched to Shoa in order to improve the prospects of the colony by treaties with Menelek and the sultan of Aussa. Several missions followed upon this one, with more or less successful results; but both John and Menelek became uneasy when Beilul, a port to the north of Assab Bay, was occupied by the Italians in January 1885, and Massawa taken over by them from Egypt in the following month. This latter act was greatly resented by the Abyssinians, for by a treaty concluded with a British and Egyptian mission under Admiral Hewett and Mason Pasha 5 in the previous year, free transit of goods was to be allowed through this port. Matters came to a head in January 1887, when the Abyssinians, in consequence of a refusal from General Gene to withdraw his troops, surrounded and attacked a detachment of 500 Italian troops at Dogali, killing more than 400 of them. Reinforcements were sent from Italy, whilst in the autumn the British government stepped in and tried to mediate by means of a mission under Mr (afterwards Sir Gerald) Portal. His mission, however proved abortive, and after many difficulties and dangers he returned to Egypt at the end of the year. In April 1888 the Italian forces, numbering over 20,000 men, came into touch with the Abyssinian army; but negotiations took the place of fighting, with the result that both forces retired, the Italians only leaving some 5000 troops in Eritrea, as their colony was now called. Meanwhile John had not been idle with regard to the dervishes, who had in the meantime become masters of the Egyptian Sudan. Although he had set his troops in motion too late to relieve Kassala, Ras Alula, his chief general, had succeeded in inflicting a handsome defeat on Osman Digna at Kufit in September 1885. Fighting between the dervishes and the Abyssinians continued, and in August 1887 the dervishes entered and sacked Gondar. After some delay, King John took the field in force against the enemy, who were still harassing the north-west of his territory. A great battle ensued at Gallabat, in which the dervishes, under Zeki Tumal, were beaten. But a stray bullet struck the king, and the Abyssinians decided to retire. The king died during the night, and his body fell into the hands of the enemy (9th March 1889).
(24) Immediately the news of John's death reached Menelek, he proclaimed himself emperor, and received the submission of Gondar, Gojam and several other provinces. In common with other northern princes, Mangasha, reputed son and heir of King John, with the yellow-eyed Ras Alula,6 refused to acknowledge the sovereignty of Menelek; but, on the latter marching against them in the following January with a large army, they submitted. As it happened, Count Antonelli was with Menelek when he claimed the throne, and promptly concluded (2nd of May 1889) with him on behalf of Italy a friendly treaty, to be known hereafter as the famous Uccialli treaty. In consequence of this the Italians occupied Asmara, made friends with Mangasha and received Ras Makonnen7, Menelek's nephew, as his plenipotentiary in Italy. Thus it seemed as though hostilities between the two countries had come to a definite end, and that peace was assured in the land. For the next three years the land was fairly quiet, the chief political events being the convention (6th February 1891) between Italy and Abyssinia, protocols between Italy and Great Britain (24th March and 15th April 1891) and a proclamation by Menelek (10th April 1891), all on the subject of boundaries. As, however, the Italians became more and more friendly with Mangasha and Tigre the apprehensions of Menelek increased, till at last, in February 1893, he wrote denouncing the Uccialli treaty, which differed in the Italian and Amharic versions. According to the former, the negus was bound to make use of Italy as a channel for communicating with other powers, whereas the Amharic version left it optional. Meanwhile the dervishes were threatening Eritrea. A fine action by Colonel Arimondi gained Agordat for Italy (21st December 1893), and a brilliant march by Colonel Baratieri resulted in the acquisition of Kassala (17th July 1894).
On his return Baratieri found that Mangasha was intriguing with the dervishes, and had actually crossed the frontier with a large army. At Koatit and Senafe (13th to 15th January 1895) Mangasha was met and heavily defeated by Baratieri, who occupied Adrigat in March. But as the year wore on the Italian commander pushed his forces unsupported too far to the south. Menelek was advancing with a large army in national support of Mangasha, and the subsequent reverses at Amba Alagi (7th December 1895) and Macalle (23rd January 1896) forced the Italians to fall back.
Battle of Adowa. Reinforcements of many thousands were meanwhile arriving at Massawa, and in February Baratieri took the field at the head of over 13,000 men. Menelek's army, amounting to about 90,000, had during this time advanced, and was occupying a strong position at Abba Garima, near Adua (or Adowa). Here Baratieri attacked him on the 1st of March, but the difficulties of the country were great, and one of the four Italian brigades had pushed too far forward. This brigade was attacked by overwhelming numbers, and on the remaining brigades advancing in support, they were successively cut to pieces by the encircling masses of the enemy. The Italians lost over 4500 white and 2000 native troops killed and wounded, and over 2500 prisoners, of which 1600 were white, whilst the Abyssinians owned to a loss of over 3000. General Baldissera advanced with a large body of reinforcements to avenge this defeat, but the Abyssinians, desperately short of supplies, had already retired, and beyond the peaceful relief of Adrigat no further operations took place. It may here be remarked that the white prisoners taken by Menelek were exceedingly well treated by him, and that he behaved throughout the struggle with Italy with the greatest humanity and dignity. On the 26th of October following a provisional treaty of peace was concluded at Adis Ababa, annulling the treaty of Uccialli and recognizing the absolute independence of Abyssinia. This treaty was ratified, and followed by other treaties and agreements defining the Eritrean-Abyssinian and the Abyssinian-Italian Somaliland frontiers (see ITALY, History, and SOMALILAND, Italian
Menelek as independent monarch.
(25) The war, so disastrous to Italy, attracted the attention of all Europe to Abyssinia and its monarch, and numerous missions, two Russian, three French and one British, were despatched to the country, and hospitably received by Menelek. The British one, under Mr (afterwards Sir) Rennell Rodd, concluded a friendly treaty with Abyssinia (15th of May 1897), but did not, except in the direction of Somaliland, touch on frontier questions, which for several years continued a subject of discussion. During the same year (1897) a small French expedition under Messrs Clochette and de Bonchamps endeavoured to reach the Nile, but, after surmounting many difficulties, stuck in the marshes of the Upper Sobat, and was obliged to return. Another expedition of Abyssinians, under Dejaj Tasamma and accompanied by three Europeans—-Faivre (French), Potter (Swiss) and Artomonov (Russian)—started early in 1898, and reached the Nile at the Sobat mouth in June, a few days only before Major Marchand and his gallant companions arrived on the scene. But no contact was made, and the expedition returned to Abyssinia.
In the same year Menelek proceeded northwards with a large army for the purpose of chastising Mangasha, who was again rebelling against his authority. After some trifling fighting Mangasha submitted, and Ras Makonnen despatched a force to subdue Beni Shangul, the chief of which gold country, Wad Tur el Guri, was showing signs of disaffection. This effected, the Abyssinians almost came into contact with the Egyptian troops sent up the Blue Nile (after the occupation of Khartum) to Famaka and towards Gallabat; but as both sides were anxious to avoid a collision over this latter town, no hostile results ensued. An excellent understanding was, in fact, established between these two contiguous countries, in spite of occasional disturbances by bandits on the frontier. On this frontier question, a treaty was concluded on the 15th of May 1902 between England and Abyssinia for the delimitation of the Sudan-Abyssinian frontier. Menelek, in addition, agreed not to obstruct the waters of Lake Tsana, the Blue Nile or the Sobat, so as not to interfere with the Nile irrigation question, and he also agreed to give a concession, if such should be required, for the construction of a British railway through his dominions, to connect the Sudan with Uganda. A combined British-Abyssinian expedition (Mr A. E. Butter's) was despatched in 1901 to propose and survey a boundary between Abyssinia on the one side and British East Africa and Uganda on the other; and the report of the expedition was made public by the British government in November 1904. It was followed in 1908 by an agreement defining the frontiers concerned.
Co-operation with Britain against the Somali mullah.
(26) In 1899 the rebellion of the so-called "mad'' mullah (Hajji Mahommed Abdullah) began on the borders of British Somaliland. An Abyssinian expedition was, at Great Britain's request, sent against the mullah, but without much effect. In the spring and summer of 1901 a fresh expedition from Harrar was undertaken against the mullah, who was laying waste the Ogaden country. Two British officers accompanied this force, which was to co-operate with British troops advancing from Somaliland; but little was achieved by the Abyssinians, and after undergoing considerable privations and losses, and harassing the country generally, including that of some friendly tribes, it returned to Harrar. During the 1902-3 campaign of General (Sir) W. H. Manning, Menelek provided a force of 5000 to co-operate with the British and to occupy the Webi Shebeli and south-western parts of the Hand. This time the Abyssinians were more successful, and beat the rebels in a pitched fight; but the difficulties of the country again precluded effective co-operation. During General Egerton's campaign (1903-4) yet another force of 5000 Abyssinians was despatched towards Somaliland. Accompanied by a few British officers, it worked its way southward, but did not contribute much towards the final solution. In any case, however, it is significant that the Abyssinians have repeatedly been willing to co-operate with the British away from their own country.
Growth of European influence. Regarding the question of railways, the first concession for a railway from the coast at Jibuti (French Somaliland) to the interior was granted hy Menelek to a French company in 1894. The company having met with numberless difficulties and financial troubles, the French government, on the extinction of the company's funds, came to the rescue and provided money for the construction. (In the alternative British capitalists interested in the company would have obtained control of the line.) The French government's help enabled the railway to be completed to Dire Dawa, 28 m. from Harrar, by the last day of 1902. Difficulties arose over the continuation of the railway to Adis Ababa and beyond, and the proposed internationalization of the line. These difficulties, which hindered the work of construction for years, were composed (so far as the European Powers interested were concerned) in 1906. By the terms of an Anglo-French-Italian agreement, signed in London on the 13th of December of that year, it was decided that the French company should fund the railway as far as Adis Ababa, while railway construction west of that place should be under British auspices, with the stipulation that any railway connecting Italy's possessions on the Red Sea with its Somaliland protectorate should be built under Italian auspices. A British, an Italian and an Abyssinian representative were to be appointed to the board of the French company, and a French director to the board of any British or Italian company formed. Absolute equality of treatment on the railway and at Jibuti was guaranteed to the commerce of all the Powers.
Meanwhile the country slowly developed in parts and opened out cautiously to European influences. Most of the Powers appointed representatives at Menelek's capital—the British minister-plenipotentiary and consul-general, Lieut.-Colonel Sir J. L. Harrington, having been appointed shortly after the British mission in 1897. In December 1903 an American mission visited Adis Ababa, and a commercial treaty between the United States and Abyssinia was signed. A German mission visited the country early in 1905 and also concluded a treaty of commerce with the negus. Later in the year a German minister was appointed to the court of the emperor.
After 1897 British influence in Abyssinia, owing largely no doubt to the conquest of the Sudan, the destruction of the dervish power and the result of the Fashoda incident, was sensibly on the increase. Of the remaining powers France occupied the most important position in the country. Ras Makonnen, the most capable and civilized of Menelek's probable successors, died in March 1906, and Mangasha died later in the same year; the question of the succession therefore opened up the possibility that, in spite of recent civilizing influences, Abyssinia might still relapse in the future into its old state of conflict. The Anglo-French-Italian agreement of December 1906 contained provisions in view of this contingency. The preamble of the document declared that it was the common interest of the three Powers "to maintain intact the integrity of Ethiopia,'' and Article I. provided for their co-operation in maintaining "the political and territorial status quo in Ethiopia.'' Should, however, the status quo be disturbed, the powers were to concert to safeguard their special interests. The terms of the agreement were settled in July 1906, and its text forthwith communicated to the negus. After considerable hesitation Menelek sent, early in December, a note to the powers, in which, after thanking them for their intentions, he stipulated that the agreement should not in any way limit his own sovereign rights. In June 1908, by the nomination of his grandson, Lij Yasu (b. 1896), as his heir, the emperor endeavoured to end the rivalry between various princes claiming the succession to the throne. (See MENELEK.) A convention with Italy, concluded in the same year, settled the frontier questions outstanding with that country. (G.*)
BIBLIOGRAPHY.—For general information see A. B. Wylde's Modern Abyssinia (London, 1901), a volume giving the result of many years' acquaintance with the country and people; Voyage en Abyssinie . . . 1839-43, par une commission scientifique, by Th. Lefebvre and others (6 vols. and atlas, 3 vols., Paris, 1845—54); Elisee Reclus, Nouvelle geographie universelle, vol. x. chap. v. (Paris, 1885). For latest geographical and kindred information consult the Geographical Journal (London), especially "A Journey through Abyssinia,'' vol. xv. (1900), and "Exploration in the Abai Basin,'' vol. xxvii. (1906), both by H. Weld Blundell, and "From the Somali Coast through S. Ethiopia to the Sudan,'' vol. xx. (1902), by C. Neumann; Antoine d'Abbadie, Geographie de l'Ethiopie (Paris, 1890). The British parliamentary paper Africa, No. 13 (1904), is a report on the survey of the S.E. frontier by Capt. P. Maud, R.E., and contains a valuable map. For geology, &c., see W. T. Blanford, Observations on the Geology and Zoology of Abyssinia (London, 1870); C. Futterer, "Beitrage zur Kenntniss des Jura in Ost-Afrika,'' Zeit. Deutsch. Geol. Gesell. xlix. p. 568 (1897); C. A. Raisin, "Rocks from Southern Abyssinia,'' Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. lix. pp. 292-306 (1903).
Among works by travellers describing the country are—-James Bruce's Travels to discover the Source of the Nile 1768-1773 (Edinburgh, 1813, 3rd ed., 8 vols.); The Highlands of Aethiopia (3 vols., London, 1844), by Sir W. Cornwallis Harris, dealing with the Danakil country, Harrar and Shoa; Mansfield Parkyns, Life in Abyssinia; being notes collected during three years' residence and travels (2nd ed., London, 1868); Antoine d'Abbadie, Douze ans dans La Haute Ethiopie (Paris, 1868); P. H. G. Powell-Cotton, A Sporting Trip through Abyssinia (London, 1902); A. Donaldson Smith, Through Unknown African Countries (London, 1897); M. S. Wellby, Twixt Sirdar and Menelik (London, 1901). For history see — A. M. H. J. Stokvis' Manuel d'histoire, vol. i. pp. 439-46, and vol. ii. pp. lxxiv-v (Leiden, 1888-89), which contains lists of the sovereigns of Abyssinia, Shoa and Harrar, from the earliest times, with brief notes. Texts of treaties between Abyssinia and the European Powers up to 1896 will be found in vol. i. of Sir E. Hertslet's The Map of Africa by Treaty (London, 1896). L. J. Morie's Histoire de l'Ethiopie: Tome ii, "L'Abyssinie'' (Paris, 1904), is a comprehensive survey (the views on modern affairs being coloured by a strong anti-British bias). For more detailed historical study consult C. Beccari's Notizia e Saggi di opere e documenti inediti riguardanti la Storia di Etiopia durante i Secoli XVI., XVII. e XVIII. (Rome. 1903), a valuable guide to the period indicated; E. Glaser, Die Abessinier in Arabien und Afrika (Munich, 1895); The Portuguese Expedition to Abysinnia in 1541-1543 as narrated by Castanhoso (with the account of Bermudez), translated and edited by R. S. Whiteway (London, Hakluyt Society, 1902), which contains a bibliography; Futu el-Habacha, a contemporary Arab chronicle of the wars of Mahommed Gran, translated into French by Antoine d'Abbadie and P. Paulitschke (Paris,1898); A Voyage to Abyssinia by Father Jerome Lobo, from the French [by Samuel Johnson] (London, 1735); Record of the Expedition to Abyssinia, 3 vols., an official history of the war of 1868, by Major T. J. Holland and Capt. H. Hosier (London, 1870); Hormuzd Rassam, Narrative of the British Mission to Theodore [1865-1868] (2 vols., London, 1869); Henry Blanc, A Narrative of Captivity in Abyssinia (London, 1868 ), by one of Theodore's prisoners; Sir Gerald H. Portal, My Mission to Abyssinia (London, 1892), an account of the author's embassy to King John in 1887; Count A. E. W. Gleichen, With the Mission to Menelik, 1897 (London, 1898), containing the story of the Rennell Rodd mission; R. P. Skinner, Abyssinia of To-Day (London, 1906), a record of the first American mission to the country; G. F. H. Berkeley, The Campaign of Adowa and the Rise of Menelik (London, 1902). Books dealing with missionary enterprise are—-Journal of a Three Years' Residence in Abyssinia, by Bishop Samuel Gobat (London, 1834); J. L. Krapf, Travels, Researches and Missionary Labours during an 18 years' residence in Eastern Africa (London, 1860); Cardinal G. Massaja, I miei Trentacinque anni di Missione nell' Alta Etiopia (10 vols., Milan, 1886-1893). Political questions are referred to by T. Lennox Gilmour, Abyssinia: the Ethiopian Railway and the Powers (London, 1906); H. le Roux, Menelik et nous (Paris, 1901); Charles Michel, La question d'Ethiopie (Paris, 1905). (F. R. C.)
1 Since Theodore's time Protestant missionary work, except by natives, has been stopped.
2 Menelek means "a second self.''
3 He was subsequently sent to school at Rugby, but died in his nineteenth year, on the 14th of Nnvember 1879. He was buried at St George's Chapel, Windsor.
4 A title variously translated. A dejazmach (dejaj) is a high official, ranking immediately belaw a ras,
5 The main object of this mission was to seek John's assistance in evacuating the Egyptian garrisons in the Sudan, which were threatened by the dervishes.
6/0 Ras Alula died February 1897, aged about 52. He had raised himself by his military talents from being a groom and private soldier to the position of generalissimo of the army.
7 Ras of Harrar, which province had been conquered and occupied by Menelek in January 1887.
ABYSSINIAN CHURCH. As the chronicle of Axum relates, Christianity was adopted in Abyssinia in the 4th century. About A.D. 330 Frumentius was made first bishop of Ethiopia by Athanasius, patriarch of Alexandria. Cedrenus and Nicephorus err in dating Abyssinian Christianity from Justinian, c. 542. From Frumentius to the present day, with one break, the Metropolitan (Abuna) has always been appointed from Egypt, and, oddly enough, he is always a foreigner. Little is known of church history down to the period of Jesuit rule, which broke the connexion with Egypt from about 1500 to 1633. But the Abyssinians rejected the council of Chalcedon, and still remain monophysites. Union with the Coptic Church (q.v.) continued after the Arab conquest in Egypt. Abu Sallh records (12th century) that the patriarch used always to send letters twice a year to the kings of Abyssinia and Nubia, till Al Hakim stopped the practice. Cyril, 67th patriarch, sent Severus as bishop, with orders to put down polygamy and to enforce observance of canonical consecration for all churches. These examples show the close relations of the two churches in the Middle Ages. But early in the 16th century the church was brought under the influence of a Portuguese mission. In 1439, in the reign of Zara Yakub, a religious discussion between an Abyssinian, Abba Giorgis, and a Frank had led to the despatch of an embassy from Abyssinia to the Vatican; but the initiative in the Roman Catholic missions to Abyssinia was taken, not by Rome, but by Portugal, as an incident in the struggle with the Mussulmans for the command of the trade route to India by the Red Sea. In 1507 Matthew, or Matheus, an Armenian, had been sent as Abyssinian envoy to Portugal to ask aid against the Mussulmans, and in 1520 an embassy under Dom Rodrigo de Lima landed in Abyssinia. An interesting account of this mission, which remained for several years, was written by Francisco Alvarez, the chaplain. Later, Ignatius Loyola wished to essay the task of conversion, but was forbidden. Instead, the pope sent out Joao Nunez Barreto as patriarch of the East Indies, with Andre de Oviedo as bishop; and from Goa envoys went to Abyssinia, followed by Oviedo himself, to secure the king's adherence to Rome. After repeated failures some measure of success was achieved, but not till 1604 did the king make formal submission to the pope. Then the people rebelled and the king was slain. Fresh Jesuit victories were followed sooner or later by fresh revolt, and Roman rule hardly triumphed when once for all it was overthrown. In 1633 the Jesuits were expelled and allegiance to Alexandria resumed.
There are many early rock-cut churches in Abyssinia, closely resembling the Coptic. After these, two main types of architecture are found—one basilican, the other native. The cathedral at Axum is basilican, though the early basilicas are nearly all in ruin -e.g. that at Adulis and that of Martula Mariam in Gojam, rebuilt in the 16th century on the ancient foundations. These examples show the influence of those architects who, in the 6th century, built the splendid basilicas at Sanaa and elsewhere in Arabia. Of native churches there are two forms—-one square or oblong, found in Tigre; the other circular, found in Amhara and Shoa. In both, the sanctuary is square and stands clear in the centre. An outer court, circular or rectangular, surrounds the body of the church. The square type may be due to basilican influence, the circular is a mere adaptation of the native hut: in both, the arrangements are obviously based on Jewish tradition. Church and outer court are usually thatched, with wattled or mud-built walls adorned with rude frescoes. The altar is a board on four wooden pillars having upon it a small slab (tabut) of alabaster, marble, or shittim wood, which forms its essential part. At Martula Mariam, the wooden altar overlaid with gold had two slabs of solid gold, one 500, the other 800 ounces in weight. The ark kept at Axum is described as 2 feet high, covered with gold and gems. The liturgy was celebrated on it in the king's palace at Christmas, Epiphany, Easter and Feast of the Cross.
Generally the Abyssinians agree with the Copts in ritual and practice. The LXX. version was translated into Geez, the literary language, which is used for all services, though hardly understood. Saints and angels are highly revered, if not adored, but graven images are forbidden. Fasts are long and rigid. Confession and absolution, strictly enforced, give great power to the priesthood. The clergy must marry, but once only. Pilgrimage to Jerusalem is a religious duty and covers many sins.
AUTHORITIES.—Tellez, Historia de Ethiopia (Coimbra, 1660); Alvarez, translated and edited for the Hakluyt Soc. by Lord Stanley of Aderley, under the title Narrative of the Portuguese Embassy to Abyssinia (London, 1881); Ludolphus, History of Ethiopia (London, 1684, and other works); T. Wright, Christianity of Arabia (London, 1855); C. T. Beke, "Christianity among the Gallas,'' Brit. Mag. (London, 1847); J. C. Hotten, Abyssinia Described (London, 1868); "Abyssinian Church Architecture,'' Royal Inst. Brit. Arch. Transactions, 1869; Ibid. Journal, March 1897; Archaeologia, vol. xxxii.; J. A. de Graca Barreto, Documenta historiam ecclesiae Habessinarum illustrantia (Olivipone, 1879); E. F. Kromrei, Glaubenlehre und Gebrauche der alteren Abessinischen Kirche (Leipzig, 1895); F. M. E. Pereira, Vida do Abba Samuel (Lisbon, 1894); Idem, Vida do Abba Daniel (Lisbon, 1897); Idem, Historia dos Martyres de Nagran (Lisbon, 1899); Idem, Chronica de Susenyos (Lisbon, text 1892, tr. and notes 1900); Idem, Martyrio de Abba Isaac (Coimbra, 1909); Idem, Vida de S. Paulo de Thebas (Coimbra, 1904); Archdeacon Dowling, The Abyssinian Church, (London, 1909); and periodicals as under COPTIC CHURCH. (A. J. B.)
ACACIA, a genus of shrubs and trees belonging to the family Leguminosae and the sub-family Mimoseae. The small flowers are arranged in rounded or elongated clusters. The leaves are compound pinnate in general (see fig.). In some instances, however, more especially in the Australian species, the leaflets are suppressed and the leaf-stalks become vertically flattened, and serve the purpose of leaves. The vertical position protects the structure from the intense sunlight, as with their edges towards the sky and earth they do not intercept light so fully as ordinary horizontally placed leaves. There are about 450 species of acacia widely scattered over the warmer regions of the globe. They abound in Australia and Africa. Various species yield gum. True gum-arabic is the product of Acacia Senegal, abundant in both east and west tropical Africa. Acacia arabica is the gum-arabic tree of India, but yields a gum inferior to the true gum-arabic. An astringent medicine, called catechu (q.v.) or cutch, is procured from several species, but more especially from Acacia catechu, by boiling down the wood and evaporating the solution so as to get an extract. The bark of Acacia arabica, under the name of babul or babool, is used in Scinde for tanning. The bark of various Australian species, known as wattles, is also very rich in tannin and forms an important article of export. Such are Acacia pycnantha, golden wattle, A. decurrens, tan wattle, and A. dealbata, silver wattle. The pods of Acacia nilotica, under the name of neb-neb, and of other African species
Acacia Senegal, flowering branch, natural size (after A. Meyer and Schumann). From Strasburger's Lehrbuch der Botanik.
is rich in tannin and used by tanners. The seeds of Acacia niopo are roasted and used as snuff in South America. Some species afford valuable timber; such are Acacia melanoxylon, black wood of Australia, which attains a great size; its wood is used for furniture, and takes a high polish; and Acacia homalophylla (also Australian), myall wood, which yields a fragrant timber, used for ornamental purposes. Acacia formosa supplies the valuable Cuba timber called sabicu. Acacia seyal is supposed to be the shittah tree of the Bible, which supplied shittim-wood. Acacia heterophylla, from Mauritius and Bourbon, and Acacia koa from the Sandwich Islands are also good timber trees. The plants often bear spines, especially those growing in arid districts in Australia or tropical and South Africa. These sometimes represent branches which have become short, hard and pungent, or sometimes leaf-stipules. Acacia armata is the kangaroo-thorn of Australia, A. giraffae, the African camelthorn. In the Central American Acacia sphaerocephala (bullthorn acacia) and A. spadicigera, the large thorn-like stipules are hollow and afford shelter for ants, which feed on a secretion of honey on the leaf-stalk and curious food-bodies at the tips of the leaflets; in return they protect the plant against leaf-cutting insects. In common language the term Acacia is often applied to species of the genus Robinia (q.v.) which belongs also to the Leguminous family, but is placed in a different section. Robinia Pseud-acacia, or false acacia, is cultivated in the milder parts of Britain, and forms a large tree, with beautiful pea-like blossoms. The tree is sometimes called the locust tree.
ACADEMIES. The word "academy'' is derived from "the olive grove of Academe, Plato's retirement,'' the birthplace of the Academic school of philosophy (see under ACADEMY, GREEK). The schools of Athens after the model of the Academy continued to flourish almost without a break for nine centuries till they were abolished by a decree of Justinian. It was not without significance in tracing the history of the word that Cicero gave the name to his villa near Puteoli. It was there that he entertained his cultured friends and held the symposia which he afterwards elaborated in Academic Questions and other philosophic and moral dialogues.
"Academy,'' in its modern acceptation, may be defined as a society or corporate body having for its object the cultivation and promotion of literature, of science and of art, either severally or in combination, undertaken for the pure love of these pursuits, with no interested motive. Modern academies, moreover, have, almost without exception, some form of public recognition; they are either founded or endowed, or subsidized, or at least patronized, by the sovereign of the state. The term "academy'' is very loosely used in modern times; and, in essentials, other bodies with the title of "society'' or "college,'' or even "school,'' often embody the same idea; we are only concerned here, however, with those which, bearing the title of academy, are of historical importance in their various spheres.
Early History.—-The first academy, as thus defined, though it might with equal justice claim to be the first of universities, was the museum of Alexandria founded at the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. by the first of the Ptolemies. There all the sciences then known were pursued, and the most learned men of Greece and of the East gathered beneath its spacious porticos. Here, too, was the nucleus of the famous library of Alexandria.
Passing over the state institute for the promotion of science founded at Constantinople by Caesar Bardas in the 9th century, and the various academies established by the Moors at Granada, at Corduba and as far east as Samarkand, we come to the academy over which Alcuin presided, a branch of the School of the Palace established by Charlemagne in 782. This academy was the prototype of the learned coteries of Paris which Moliere afterwards satirized. It took all knowledge for its province; it included the learned priest and the prince who could not write his own name, and it sought to solve all problems by witty definitions.
The David of Alcuin's academy (such was the name that the emperor assumed) found no successors or imitators, and the tradition of an Oxford academy of Alfred the Great has been proved to rest on a forgery. The academy of arts founded at Florence in 1270 by Brunetto Latini was short-lived and has left no memories, and modern literary academies may be said to trace their lineage in direct descent from the troubadours of the early 14th century. The first Floral Games were held at Toulouse in May 1324, at the summons of a gild of troubadours, who invited "honourable lords, friends and companions who possess the science whence spring joy, pleasure, good sense, merit and politeness'' to assemble in their garden of the "gay science'' and recite their works. The prize, a golden violet, was awarded to Vidal de Castelnaudary for a poem to the glory of the Virgin. In spite of the English invasion and other adversities the Floral Games survived till, about the year 1500, their permanence was secured by the munificent bequest of Clemence Isaure, a rich lady of Toulouse. In 1694 the Academie des Jeux Floraux was constituted an academy by letters patent of Louis XIV.; its statutes were reformed and the number Of members raised to 36. Suppressed during the Revolution it was revived in 1806, and still continues to award amaranths of gold and sliver lilies, for which there is keen competition.
Provence led the way, but Italy of the Renaissance is the soil in which academies most grew and flourished. The Accademia Pontaniana, to give it its subsequent title, was founded at Florence in 1433 by Antonio Beccadelli of Palermo and fostered by Laurentius Valla. Far more famous was the Accademia Platonica, founded c. 1442 by Cosimo de' Medici, which numbered among its members Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Machiavelli and Angelo Poliziano. It was, as the name implies, chiefly occupied with Plato, but it added to its objects the study of Dante and the purification of the Italian language, and though it lived for barely half a century, yet its influence as a model for similar learned societies was great and lasting.
Modern Academies.—Academies have played an important part in the revival of learning and in the birth of scientific inquiry. They mark an age of aristocracies when letters were the distinction of the few and when science had not been differentiated into distinct branches, each with its own specialists. Their interest is mainly historical, and it cannot be maintained that at the present day they have much direct influence on the advancement of learning either by way of research or of publication. For example, the standard dictionaries of France, Germany and England are the work, not of academies, but of individual scholars, of Littre, Grimm and Murray. Matthew Arnold's plea for an English academy of letters to save his countrymen from the note of vulgarity and provinciality has met with no response. Academies have been supplanted, socially by the modern club, and intellectually by societies devoted to special branches of science. Those that survive from the past serve, like the Heralds' College, to set an official stamp on literary and scientific merit. The principal academies of Europe, past and present, may be dealt with in various classes, according to the subjects to which they are devoted.
I. SCIENTIFIC ACADEMIES Austria.—-The Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften at Vienna, originally projected by Leibnitz, was founded by the emperor Ferdinand I. in 1846, and has two classes—-mathematics and natural science, and history and philology.
Belgium and the Netherlands.-A literary society was founded at Brussels in 1769 by Count Cobenzl, the prime minister of Maria Theresa, which after various changes of name and constitution became in 1816 the Academie imperiale et royale des sciences et belles-lettres, under the patronage of William I. of the Netherlands. It has devoted itself principally to natural history and antiquities. The Royal Institute of the Low Countries was founded in 1808 by King Louis Bonaparte. It was replaced in 1851 by the Royal Academy of Sciences at Amsterdam, to which in 1856 a literary section was added.
Denmark.—-The Kongelige danske videnskabernes selskab (Royal Academy of Sciences) at Copenhagen owes its origin to Christian VI., who in 1742 invited six Danish numismatists to arrange his cabinet of medals. Historians and antiquaries were called in to assist at the sittings, and the commission developed into a sort of learned club. The king took it under his protection, enlarged its scope by the addition of natural history, physics and mathematics, and in 1743 constituted it a royal academy with an endowment fund.
France.—-The old Academie des sciences had the same origin as the more celebrated Academie francaise. A number of men of science had for some thirty years met together, first at the house of P. Marsenne, then at that of Montmort, a member of the Council of State, afterwards at that of Melchisedec Thevenot, the learned traveller. It included Descartes, Gassendi, Blaise and Etienne Pascal. Hobbes, the author of Leviathan, was presented to it during his visit to Paris in 1640. Colbert conceived the idea of giving an official status to this learned club. A number of chemists, physicians, anatomists and eminent mathematicians, among whom were Christian Huyghens and Bernard Frenicle de Bessy (1605-1675), the author of a famous treatise on magic squares, were chosen to form the nucleus of the new society. Pensions were granted by Louis XIV. to each of the members, and a fund for instruments and experiment was placed at their disposal. They began their session on the 22nd of December 1666 in the Royal Library, meeting twice a week—the mathematicians on Wednesdays, the physicists on Saturdays. Duhamel was appointed permanent secretary, a post he owed more to his polished Latinity than to his scientific attainments, all the proceedings of the society being recorded in Latin, and C. A. Couplet was made treasurer. At first the academy was rather a laboratory and observatory than an academy proper. Experiments were undertaken in common and results discussed. Several foreign savants, in particular the Danish astronomer Roemer, joined the society, attracted hy the liberality of the Grand Monarque; and the German physician and geometer Tschirnhausen and Sir Isaac Newton were made foreign associates. The death of Colbert, who was succeeded by Louvois, exercised a disastrous effect on the fortunes of the academy. The labours of the academicians were diverted from the pursuit of pure science to such works as the construction of fountains and cascades at Versailles, and the mathematicians were employed to calculate the odds of the games of lansquenet and basset. In 1699 the academy was reconstituted by Louis Phelypeaux, comte de Pontchartrain, under whose department as secretary of state the academies came. By its new constitution it consisted of twenty-five members, ten honorary, men of high rank interested in science, and fifteen pensionaries, who were the working members. Of these three were geometricians, three astronomers, three mechanicians, three anatomists, and three chemists. Each of these three had two associates, and, besides, each pensionary had the privilege of naming a pupil. There were eight foreign and four free associates. The officers were, a president and a vice-president, named by the king from among the honorary members, and a secretary and treasurer chosen from the pensionaries, who held office for life. Fontenelle, a man of wit, and rather a popularizer of science than an original investigator, succeeded Duhamel as secretary. The constitution was purely aristocratical, differing in that respect from that of the French Academy, in which the principle of equality among the members was never violated. Science was not yet strong enough to dispense with the patronage of the great. The two leading spirits of the academy at this period were Clairault and Reaumur. To trace the subsequent fortunes of this academy would be to write the history of the rise and progress of science in France. It has reckoned among its members Laplace, Buffon, Lagrange, D'Alembert, Lavoisier, and Jussieu, the father of modern botany. On the 21st of December 1792 it met for the last time, and it was suppressed with its sister academies by the act of the Convention on the 8th of April 1793. Some of its members were guillotined, some were imprisoned, more were reduced to poverty. The aristocracy of talent was almost as much detested and persecuted by the Revolution as that of rank.