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drinking : there are great feasts at every.wedding; and at a certain time after the burial of a relative, even the poorest people are expected to hold a feast (which often lasts for days), and to furnish to their friends without stint the limited list of Abyssinian delicacies. The priests and scribes encourage these banquets, and, indeed, almost live upon them—often foremost in the revel, drinking to intoxication, leading in the song and dance, without losing selfrespect, or compromising their sacred character. The materials of a grand banquet are simple : a good supply of cakes made of teff wheat, or dagousha meal, the finest sorts being put uppermost in the basket, so as to fall to the share of the chief guests, who are served first; an abundance of raw beef; and, after the eating is over, tej ad libitum. The cow, several species of the gazelle or antelope, and, in some districts, the spayed goat, are the only animals which are caten raw, and they are always eaten raw; but for the broundo, or raw-beef feast, it may be said that the cow alone is in demand. The animal is slaughtered with some ceremony, being thrown down with its head to the east, and having its throat cut in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; it is flayed almost before the deathstruggle is over; and as fast as the skin is drawn away, busy hands cut off the eligible bits, which are instantly served to the guests, while still warm and quivering. The guest, supplied with a strip of beef, holding one end of it in his
mouth, the other in his left hand, cuts bits off with his shotel (a curved knife not unlike a sickle); or attentive servants cram him with large morsels as fast as, or faster than, he can swallow them. All are supplied with the most careful hospitality, and all eat with voracity until appetite is fairly exhausted. Then, and not till then, it is allowable to drink, and the drinking goes on until the greater number are helplessly intoxicated. One who seems to have made himself quite at home in Abyssinia says that the raw beef is 'far tenderer than the most tender joint that has been hung a week in England ;' and certainly neither the rawness nor the quantity taken seems to do much harm, unless the former be responsible for the prevalence of tapeworm. The mode of killing now practised is much less cruel than that described by Bruce as customary at the date of his visit to Abyssinia. Bruce's story about the 'live steak, which on one occasion he saw cut out of a cow, had not a small share in arousing incredulity about his descriptions; but Mr Mansfield Parkyns believes it to be true. He tells us that he repeatedly heard that it is not uncommon among the Gallas, when on a journey, to cut steaks out of a cow, and then, covering the wound with the hide, to lay on a plaster of mud-exactly Bruce's statement; and also that the same thing is occasionally done by Abyssinians.
In general, only the principal parts of a cow are eaten raw; the remainder is cooked ; as is also the flesh of bulls and oxen (though they are not in favour), of sheep, goats, and the other animals which the Abyssinians are at liberty to eat. Repulsive to us as is their
fondness for raw beef, they are exceedingly particular as to what they eat ; they shrink from eating the flesh of many animals which Europeans use. It is enough to say that they observe with great strictness the whole of the Mosaic ordinances about food. The commandment to abstain from blood, however, is not complied with to the letter--the importance of eating the broundo while it is warm overcoming the religious scruple.
The people are commonly of very pleasing manners, remarkably intelligent, quick of apprehension, and subtle of speech, though somewhat given to ceremony ; exceedingly polite ; studious to use agreeable phrases and make a favourable impression, deeming no offence so`shameful as a deficiency in tact or temper. There is great freedom in the intercourse of persons of different ranks, though the politeness of a superior may savour of condescension, and that of an inferior of servility. The chiefs, indeed, keep up much state, and have a multitude of officers, with sounding names, about their houses. It is often difficult to get admission to them, but, this excepted, they do not stand upon their rank. At feasts and other gatherings, high and low meet and talk nearly upon a footing of equality. Vanity and boastfulness are the besetting sins which somewhat mar an Abyssinian's good manners. He is vain both of himself and of his country; he despises all who are not his countrymen, and delights in nothing so much as in bragging of his own beauty, cleverness, bravery, and great deeds. But it is not until the powerful tej has done its work-excepting some occasions appropriate for such boasting-that the Abyssinian discloses these weaknesses. It almost follows, from what has been said, that the Abyssinians are very deceitful and treacherous; and though social and hospitable in the highest degree, they are greedy and grasping while profuse. They are constantly making gifts, hoping to receive something more valuable in return; they ask without scruple for any article that takes their fancy, though not without intending to give an equivalent; if the return gift be not sufficient, it is sent back with polite messages, but from an equal, any ultimate deficiency of value may be recovered at law, as if a debt. Their own interest-that is, the convenience of the moment-is the grand motive of their actions; they, more especially the chiefs, shrink from no crime at its prompting. But they are not wantonly cruel.
The morality of the Abyssinians is very low ; they would be ashamed of getting into a passion, and horror-struck at having broken any observance of their religion ; but for scarcely anything besides do they seem to feel the stings of conscience. Theft, though punished, is not considered dishonourable; highway robbery, being practised upon the Mohammedan merchants, is almost regarded as meritorious. Sensual pleasures of every sort are indulged in without scruple or shame; the women resent the imputation of being virtuous as a reflection on their good looks; nevertheless, appearances are
considered, and conversation is seldom coarse. The relations between parent and child are kind and affectionate; the tie of blood-relationship, though not strong enough to keep relatives from injuring one another, unites them for defence in times of danger, or for revenge. To revenge the death of a blood-relation is felt as a sacred duty.
The Abyssinians are very superstitious; believing in the efficacy of amulets and talismans; in omens, charms, and fortune-tellers; in the influence of the evil eye; and in diabolical, or quasi-diabolical, possession. A superstition exists in which the last is united with a belief precisely similar to the belief in were-wolves which prevailed in Europe in the middle ages, and which in parts of France is still not extinct—the wolf being replaced by the hyena.
Christianity was introduced into Abyssinia about the year 330 by Frumentius, a Tyrian, who, after having gained great influence at the Abyssinian court, had himself consecrated bishop (abouna) of Abyssinia by Athanasius, patriarch of Alexandria. The Abyssinian Church has remained in communion with the Coptic, and holds substantially the same tenets with the latter; the abouna is always a Copt, and is appointed by the Alexandrian patriarch. When or how the Jewish observances which are now practised, regulating almost every part of social life, were introduced, is entirely matter of speculation. It is not improbable—since they have been found among races which could not have been subject to Jewish influence, for example, the South-Sea Islanders — that they were the old-established usage of the country, and on the introduction of Christianity, derived a fresh vitality from the 'sanction given them by the Mosaic Scriptures. Besides the Coptic abouna, there is a native head of the church, who used to be appointed by the emperor, and is called the tchegee. The number of the priests, and of the defteras, or scribes, is very great; their influence over the people alinost unbounded. There are monks, whose monasteries are generally on some mountain-top; there are recluses, who live in mountain caverns or in the depths of the forest. For the laity, piety consists in obedience to the churchstrict observance of the saints' days and prescribed fasts, and regularity at confession; to a man who had no confessor, and deliberately broke the rules about fasting, the church would refuse Christian burial. Laymen seldom know any part of the Scriptures except the Psalms; only the priests are allowed to read the gospels; and the church service, which consists of recitations of Scripture, is conducted in Geez -to the laity, an unknown tongue. The priests are in general very ignorant; they possess what learning there is in the country, but their literature is chiefly made up of lives of saints and monkish legends. It might be thought that ignorance would at anyrate exclude controversy, but fierce dissensions prevail, chiefly upon the subject of the unction of Jesus Christ. The church is in profession monophysite, believing that Christ had only one nature-namely,
the divine. Priests are allowed to marry once--that is, to make a civil marriage ; but occasionally they have more wives than one; and even monks are not expected to practise celibacy. In the churches, as in so many other things, a Jewish model seems to be followed: they are built on high places, and surrounded by groves; in form they are round: there is an outer circle, an inner circle, and in the centre a holy of holies, in which the ark is kept, and which only the priests may enter. Images are not used, but the walls are adorned with rude pictures illustrative of the lives of the saints. The saints, and above all the Virgin Mary, receive profound adoration ; their intercession is more trusted in than that of Christ ; the people bow reverently before their pictures. At certain churches, miracles are not unfrequent. Every church is a sanctuary, often, too, the parish attached to it; and this, in practice, adds considerably to the influence of the clergy. The Mohammedans and the Jews are allowed the most complete toleration. Christians of foreign churches, though unmolested, are regarded with suspicion on account of the unscrupulous attempts at proselytism made in former times by the Roman Catholic Church.
In theory, the whole of Abyssinia, before the downfall of the old line of emperors, which occurred about a century ago, and even afterwards, forined one kingdom ; the monarch, called 'negus or hatzé, had despotic powers; to him belonged all the land of the country, the appointment of the governors of provinces, the final decision in matters of litigation. Though the crown was hereditary, when it became vacant, the choice of the prince who should succeed seems to have been exercised by the great chiefs and by the army. The country was divided into provinces, the rulers of which owed feudal service to the emperor, and were bound to contribute part of their revenues to his exchequer. Governors usually enjoyed the title of dejajmatch. The provinces, again, were subdivided into districts, the governors of which owed feudal service and paid a tax to the dejajmatch. Long before the downfall of the emperors, the country to the east of the Tacazzé, now called Tigré after the dominant province, had been subject to the control of a single dejajmatch ; Shoa also had fallen from time to time under the government of a single ruler. The emperor's affairs were managed by the ras, or head of his household ; and the governors of provinces seem to have originally been officers of the household, which consisted of numerous functionaries, and was subject to a rigid ceremonial.
The Abyssinians have no police; they possess in the Feth-Negust a code of laws, ecclesiastical, civil, and criminal, but it is written in Geez, and only a few learned among the priests now know anything of its contents. Law is thus simplified to the will of the judge; whether crimes are punished or not, depends upon the activity of the persons injured and their friends. The Feth-Negust is said to have been compiled in the early ages of the church, and to be founded
upon the code of Justinian; but many of the provisions respecting crime resemble those in the law of Moses. The chiefs, from the ruler of a village upwards, are the judges. The judge of first resort is the chief to whom the defendant or accused party is immediately subject; from him to his superiors there is a series of appeals which, while the empire lasted, only ended at the sovereign. In this is implied that all classes are equal before the law; and foreigners are treated precisely on the same footing as natives. Each chief appears before his immediate superior in support of his judgment, and in old times it was a common sight to see the governor of a province defending his decision before the emperor, and a peasant attacking it with the utmost freedom of speech. The people delight in litigation, and though there are men who make a trade of advocacy, they are fond of pleading their own causes. The first step in every cause, civil and criminal, is to require both parties to find security. A litigant who cannot give security is chained by the wrist to a servant of the chief; but even in the case of murder the bail is easily found, and the defaulting of the principal is almost unheard of. Flogging is the common punishment of the lighter offences; it is administered with great severity, but is not considered degrading; for the more serious offences, the culprit loses a hand and a foot, or is mutilated in his eyes, nose, or ears. Death is rarely inflicted unless for political offences. In the case of murder, it lies with the relatives to choose between a sum of money and the life of the murderer; if they will not take money, one of them puts the murderer to death with the same kind of weapon, and in the same way in which the crime was committed. As regards personal injuries, in general the old rule, 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,' prevails ; but the person wronged has the alternative of taking a money payment; and as the chief, in all such cases, including murder, gets the same amount as the prosecutor, he has an interest in advising the acceptance of the milder of the alternatives. A great part of a chief's income is got out of litigation. In the villages, a great deal of litigation is saved and ill-will ended, by the elders--the more experienced and trusted of the inhabitants —who form a sort of court of conciliation, deciding disputes upon the understanding that their decision shall be final. But they never interfere when there has been bloodshed.
HISTORY Upon the lineage of the Abyssinians, conjecture has been much divided. They possess, in the Chronicle of Axum-called Kebir Zaneguste, or the Glory of the Kingsmannals extending from their first sovereign, Arwe the Serpent, to Menilek, the son of Solomon by the queen of Sheba, and from him downward to Christian times; but this is undoubtedly a monkish compilation, made with the help