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of the Septuagint version of the Bible. Though they now call themselves Itiopawians, the name of Ethiopian is of Greek origin, and was not applied to the people of any particular region, but to all races of a dark colour. The name by which they are known to Europe is of Arabic origin, derived from habesch, a mixture, and signifies that they are a mixed people. By themselves it has never been used. But the Arabic name, with the fact that a language cognate with the Arabic is spoken in the districts nearest the Red Sea-an entirely distinct language prevailing in the other parts of Abyssinia-suggests that they have sprung out of the union with a native African race of a people of the same origin as the Arabs. The latter probably were adventurers from the opposite coast of the Red Sea. But it should be said that in Dr Livingstone's opinion the prevailing features of the tribes Eastern Africa in general are of the Jewish type; and that Jewish and Arab rites and customs are found throughout this part of Africa. When it is considered that the Agows are shewn by language, physiognomy, and character to be of distinct origin, and that there appears to have been, at some time, a numerous settlement of Jews, it is evident that the Abyssinians are truly a mixed people. The Jews, who live apart from, and do not intermarry with other Abyssinians, believe that their ancestors came into the country in the time of Rehoboam ; but it is probable that they came much later. There is no reason for thinking that, like the Nubians, the Abys. sinians once enjoyed a civilisation and a mastery of the mechanical arts which they do not now possess. Monuments and architectural remains are found at Axum in the interior of Tigré, at Adulis, Pamphile, and other places on the coast; but they are shewn by inscriptions to have been the work of the Egyptian Ptolemies, who subdued both shores of the Red Sca, and for a time established their dominion at Axum.
Ancient history tells us scarcely anything of Abyssinia ; in the Greek writers, as in the Scriptures, the references to Ethiopia are vague and full of marvel. Axum, the ancient capital, was unknown to Herodotus, and even to Strabo. The armies of the Ptolemies must have penetrated into the interior; but Seneca has some prodigious fables about the country; and at the introduction of Christianity, little more was known of it than that there existed a monarchy, of which Axum was the seat. Even after this, when occasional intercourse with the Abyssinian monarchs was kept up by the Roman emperors of the East, the information about Abyssinia and its people brought to Europe was exceedingly slight and vague. The gap which foreign accounts have left might be filled from the Chronicle of Axum already referred to; but this work is of hardly any historical value, one of its principal objects being to deduce the descent of the Abyssinian monarchs from Menilek, son of Solomon and the queen of Sheba. For the modern history of the country, also, we are mainly dependent upon native sources. The Abyssinians
possess a series of manuscript annals coming down to recent times. Of these, ample accounts will be found in the works of Bruce and Salt; they are a dreary and uninteresting record, and in great part of questionable authority.
From an inscription found at Adulis, it has been inferred that, during the reign of Aizana and Saizana, about the middle of the fourth century, the Abyssinian monarchs were masters of part of Arabia, and ruled the country westward from the Red Sea to the junction of the Atbara with the Nile. Less than two centuries after-about the year 522—the Abyssinian king Elesbaan, an able and warlike prince, encouraged and assisted by the Roman emperor Justinian, overthrew the kingdom of the Homerites in Arabia, and gained the complete control of the Arabian Gulf. His conquests were short-lived; before the century ended, the Persians had recovered the command of the gulf, and gained possession of the principal ports on either side of it, and ever after the navigation remained closed against the Abyssinians. In 960, a breach was made in the succession of the monarchs who claimed to be descended from Menilek, and a queen named Judith or Goudit, said to be of the Jewish stock, appears as sovereign of Northern Abyssinia. Her descendants occupied the throne of Northern Abyssinia till 1286, when a monk, Tecla Haimanout, one of the most revered of Abyssinian saints, induced the reigning monarch to retire in favour of Icon Amlac, the representative of the old royal line who was then reigning in Shoa. Hard pressed at times by the Mohammedans of Arabia, and by the savage tribes who now dwelt upon their borders, and troubled within with constant rebellions, the Abyssinians were nevertheless able, under this monarch and his successors during the next two centuries, to maintain their Christianity and their independence. Towards the end of the fifteenth century, the Portuguese opened up communications with Abyssinia ; and, about 1535, they saved the Abyssinian state from the greatest danger which has threatened it in historic times. The aid of a small Portuguese force, commanded by Stephen de Gama, delivered the Abyssinians from an invasion of the Adaiel, who, under Mohammed Gragné, a monster of cruelty, but an able leader, had overrun the greater part of the country.
The Portuguese missions had for their main object to induce the Abyssinian monarchs to submit to the Church of Rome. At first they had no success. About the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Jesuits made a convert of the negus, Zadenghel, but by the majority of the Abyssinians the foreign religion was still regarded with the utmost aversion. In 1626, Socinios or Segued, the successor of Zadenghel, being a zealous Roman Catholic, gave to Mendez, the head of the Jesuit mission, the charge of the religious affairs of the country, and Mendez attempted, by the powers of the state, to make Roman Catholics of the people. His high-handed courses nearly drove the whole country into rebellion. At last even Socinios
grew tired of them. In 1631 he granted his subjects liberty of worship; in the following year, he resigned his crown to his son Facilidas, who at once ordered the missionaries to quit the kingdom. As they would not go, Facilidas was preparing to sell them to the Turks; but warned of his intention, Mendez and his associates sought refuge with a rebel chief in Tigré, who sold them to the pacha of Souakim. In 1638 all the clergy of the Roman profession remaining in Abyssinia were barbarously murdered.
From this time onward the history of Abyssinia tells a tale of divisions and decay. The central power, now established at Gondar, always growing weaker, was losing the control of the powerful feudatories—who at length became semi-independent, and were constantly at war with one another or with their sovereign. It found itself unable to cope with the Gallas, who were encroaching on the southern provinces. The Galla tribes are said to have made their appearance in Abyssinia about the middle of the sixteenth century. They were then pagans; those of them nearest to the Abyssinians have since become zealous Mohammedans. A stalwart and an intelligent race, delighting in war, the Gallas, but for feuds which, generation after generation, have divided their tribes, must long since have been masters of the whole of Abyssinia. Early in the eighteenth century, Yassous, the Abyssinian monarch, unable to resist them, was fain to make friends with them, and married one of their princesses. The peace and ease which he thus secured for himself were, however, dearly purchased; the match excited the horror of his subjects, and alienated them from the royal house. Under his son Joas, a weak prince-who carried partiality for his mother's people so far as to make the Galla speech the language of the court-a serious rebellion broke out. Michael Suhul, the ruler of Tigré, came to the aid of Joas, and subdued the rebels; but his success made him his sovereign's master. Finding that Joas was intriguing with the Gallas against him, Michael put him to death ; and setting up a member of the royal line as nominal sovereign, exercised all the powers of sovereignty under the title of Ras, or prime minister. Thus ended in 1769 the rule of the reputed descendants of Menilek. After that, up to the time of Theodore, though there was always a nominal emperor, he was powerless and neglected, and the real sovereign was the Ras. Ras Michael did not hold his position long; he was defeated by the Gallas, and forced to withdraw to Tigré; and after an interval of confusion, a Galla chief named Gouxa reigned in his stead. Gouxa, acknowledged as Ras by the nominal monarch, propitiated the church by a profession of Christianity, and by subtlety or force made good his sovereignty over the whole of the kingdom of Amhara, except the province of Gojam in the south, where the native rulers were a constant source of trouble to him and to his successors. He transmitted his power to his descendants ; his grandson, Ras Ali, was reigning in Amhara
when the career of Theodore began. The southern kingdom of Shoa, and the kingdom of Tigré, continued subject to native rulers, who from time to time were forced to acknowledge the feudal superiority of the Ras. In 1831, however, an Amhara chief, Oubié, the ruler of Simyen, made himself master of the kingdom of Tigré. Oubié was still ruling in Tigré and Simyen, Sahela Selassié was king in Shoa—both in some measure acknowledging the sovereignty of Ras Ali-Gosho Birru, the native prince, was still in rebellion in Gojam, when the exploits of Theodore began to excite the expectation of his countrymen. There was still a titular sovereign at Gondar, but in the reports sent about this time to Europe by travellers and diplomatic agents he is scarcely ever mentioned. As to the de facto sovereigns, war had been the occupation of their lives; they seemed firmly seated in power, but rebellion was always smouldering in some of their provinces, and bursting out whenever favouring circumstances arose. Ras Ali tried to govern by policy rather than force, but he had passed a life full of troubles; it was seldom that he was not in the field, making trial of strength with Oubié, or putting down the turbulent and ambitious among his minor vassals; while in Gojam, the able dejajmatch, Gosho, found constant occupation for a portion of his army.
Each of the rulers holding his place by military strength, the whole country bristled with soldiers, who were feared and hated by the peasantry on whose industry they lived, petted and pampered by their chiefs. A common soldier of known valour was welcomed by great chiefs as an adherent. It is said that the French conscript fancies that he carries a marshal's baton in his knapsack. The Abyssinian soldier might hope—among this vain people almost every one did hope--to become a governor of many villages, to gain the rank of a dejajmatch, even to fill the place of Ras Alí himself. The circumstances of the country were eminently calculated to excite the ambition and develop the powers of a man of courage and ability.
The man destined to be classed among the meteors of history, to draw upon his country the eyes of Europe with a strange and painful interest in his character and fortunes, was born in 1820 in Kuara, one of the Amhara provinces situate near the Sennaär frontier, and was of a decayed though noble family. The father of Kassa or Kassai-so he was named-Hailu Weleda Georgis, was reputed a descendant of the royal line of Menilek. In the days of Kassai's greatness, it was dangerous to express a doubt of his mother being sprung from the same royal stock. It appears certain, however, that the father was poor and undistinguished, and that, after his death, the mother, pressed by want, was fain to gain a living by selling kosso (the native remedy for tapeworm). Kassai was placed in a monastery near Tschelgar, a place somewhat to the south-west of Gondar; and he must have received there as good an education as the country afforded, for in after-days
he shewed a very intimate knowledge of parts of the Scripture, and a large acquaintance with Abyssinian history. A rebel chief named Marou violated the sanctuary of the monastery, burning the houses, and killing or mutilating most of the pupils ; but Kassai escaped, and made his way to an uncle who had prospered as a soldier, and was governor of Dembea and some neighbouring provinces. The uncle, the Dejaj Comfu, like other men of his rank, was always plotting rebellion, and kept a multitude of men under arms. In his household Kassai imbibed a passion for warfare, and by his early daring won favour and admiration. At Comfu's death, two of his sons contested the succession to his governorship, and the chief of Gojam, Gosho Birru, profiting by their dissensions, overran the provinces which were in dispute, inflicting fire and sword impartially upon the partisans of either claimant. Kassai, who had sided with the elder brother, had to conceal himself for some time in the hut of a peasant at Sarago in Alava. It is stated that, years afterwards, when he returned a dejajmatch, to suppress a rebellion in this district, he rewarded his preserver with the chiefship of Sarago, besides a present of money, cattle, and slaves. Having made good his escape, he took to the highway, gathered a small band, and became the terror of the lowlands on the western border, the scourge of the Mohammedan merchants who used the road between Wochnee and Matemmah. Returning to his native district in Kuara, his fame, which had preceded him, gathered round him a multitude of the disaffected and the ambitious; he soon became so powerful and so troublesome as to excite the alarm of the Waizero Menin, the mother of Ras Ali, to whom the western provinces were nominally subject. Menin sent her troops against him, but he always either eluded or defeated them. Finally, she went herself with a great army to crush him ; but with scarce a tenth of her forces he completely defeated her., This added immensely to his consequence ; the soldiers, always ready to side vith the successful, in great numbers left other leaders to follow his standard ; almost at once he rose to the level of a chief of the first class. New victories were gained by him over the troops of Ras Ali-to whom, however, he was always protesting his fidelity and attachment. It being difficult to overcome him, it was necessary to conciliate him, and for peace sake the Ras gave him his daughter, Tawavitch, in marriage, and appointed him dejajmatch of the provinces near Sennaär of which he was already master. It is proper to state that no two accounts of his early career altogether agree; some authorities state that soon after his uncle's death he received from Menin the governorship of Kuara. It has been said that the marriage with Tawavitch she is beautiful') was planned by Menin as a means of compassing his death. If it was, the design miscarried. The hope that it would attach him to the interest of Ras Ali was also to be disappointed. Between Kassai and his Galla wife there sprang up