The Shadows of Antiquity
This chapter provides the deeper history of the region, and highlights the region's thematic continuity and coherence over la longue durée. There is an examination of Axum, the Zagwes, and the inheritance of antiquity in terms of the political and cultural development of what would become ‘Ethiopia’. Emphasis is placed on the significance of the Solomonic myth, described in the Kebre Negast, and the ideological and cultural system which was constructed around it, culminating in the violent imperialism of the central highlands. That imperialism soon came into contact with emerging Islamic states and societies to the east, and due attention is paid to the jihad of Ahmed ibn Ibrahim in the early sixteenth century. Finally, the advance of the Oromo into the highlands is examined, particularly in relation to the Gondar state, as is the long-term impact of this migration for the region and for habesha civilization.
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