"Brilliant" — New York Review of Books

"[...] a remarkable and fascinating book that opens up entirely new vistas on the cultural and political history of the fifteenth-century Mediterranean." —Al-Masāq — Journal of the Medieval Mediterranean

This extremely well written book will be the point of reference on this subject." — Speculum, journal of the Medieval Academy of America

Medieval Ethiopian Kingship explores why Ethiopian kings pursued long-distance diplomatic contacts with Latin Europe in the late Middle Ages. It traces the history of more than a dozen embassies dispatched to the Latin West by the kings of Solomonic Ethiopia, a powerful Christian kingdom in the medieval Horn of Africa. Drawing on sources from Europe, Ethiopia, and Egypt, it examines the Ethiopian kings’ motivations for sending out their missions in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries – and argues that a desire to acquire religious treasures and foreign artisans drove this early intercontinental diplomacy. Moreover, the Ethiopian initiation of contacts with the distant Christian sphere of Latin Europe appears to have been intimately connected to a local political agenda of building monumental ecclesiastical architecture in the North-East African highlands, and asserted the Ethiopian rulers’ claim of universal kingship and rightful descent from the biblical king Solomon. Shedding new light on the self-identity of a late medieval African dynasty at the height of its power, this book challenges conventional narratives of African-European encounters on the eve of the so-called ‘Age of Exploration’.

One of the Best Medieval Books of the Year 2021 according to the Medieval Podcast & Medievalists.net.

Media coverage, interviews & reviews on the book include features in the Smithsonian Magazine, BBC History Podcast, the Medieval Podcast, Al Jazeera China, Spiegel Geschichte & New York Review of Books

Scholarly reviews since its release in March 2021 include

The book is currently being translated into Amharic and Tigrinya.

Freely available PDF sections of the book