Cover of Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft, and Diplomacy by Verena Krebs (Palgrave, 2021)

BOOK
Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft, and Diplomacy 
Palgrave Macmillan, 2021

Palgrave Macmillan 2021, 319 pages
ISBN: 978-3-030-64933-3, DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-64934-0. 

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’.

Recent media coverage, interviews & reviews on the book include Smithsonian Magazine, BBC History Podcast, the Medieval Podcast, Spiegel Geschichte & New York Review of Books

 The book is currently being translated into Amharic, expected publication in Ethiopia in late 2022 CE. 

Freely available PDF sections of the book