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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 2: 400-1400$
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Sarah Foot and Chase F. Robinson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199236428

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199236428.001.0001

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Coptic and Ethiopic Historical Writing

Coptic and Ethiopic Historical Writing

(p.138) Chapter 7 Coptic and Ethiopic Historical Writing
The Oxford History of Historical Writing

Witold Witakowski

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on how the Christians of Egypt and Ethiopia were closely connected by ecclesiastical bonds for nearly 1,700 years. The connection lasted from the time when Ethiopia's first bishop was consecrated by the Patriarch of Alexandria in the 340s, until the dependence of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church on the Coptic Orthodox Church ended formally in 1951. As a consequence of this long allegiance of the former Church to the latter, contacts in the cultural sphere developed strongly. The chapter shows how Coptic literature was written in two languages: in Coptic itself, written in an original alphabet that was based on the Greek, but expanded with seven letters borrowed from the Demotic writing system to represent sounds that did not exist in Greek; and in Arabic, as after about AD 700 Coptic began to lose its position as the language of the Egyptians.

Keywords:   Egypt, Ethiopia, Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Coptic Orthodox church, Coptic literature, Demotic writing sytem

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