Academic Writing

— Monographs, Books & Articles — 


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

Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft, and Diplomacy with Latin Europe
Palgrave Macmillan 2021, 319 pages, ISBN: 978-3-030-64933-3, DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-64934-0. Visit publisher's website here.

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 include Smithsonian Magazine, BBC History Podcast, the Medieval Podcast, Spiegel Geschichte & the New York Review of Books

Read more on this project —including the Introduction of the book— here

A collage of icons and objects from late medieval Ethiopia

Africa Collecting Europe: Patronage, Religious Material Culture and the Assertion of Local Power in Ethiopia, 1470–1530
ca. 320 pages,
manuscript to be submitted to an American UP in late 2021.

This monograph expands on the topics first explored in Medieval Ethiopian Kingship by investigating a wide body of material culture sources from Ethiopia – it investigates how, in the latter half of the 15th and early 16th century, Ethiopian elites fundamentally changed Ethiopian art by favouring a ‘new’ and hybrid style of painting that combined foreign iconographic and stylistic elements with Ethiopian visual traditions. It also demonstrates how members of the royal court were involved in the direct import of foreign religious material culture, acquiring both post-Byzantine icons from the Eastern Mediterranean as well as panel paintings that originated as far away late-medieval Flanders and Germany. Lastly, it shows how by the early 16th century, individual Solomonic royals engaged in the commissioning of prestige objects in Latin Europe, primarily painted enamels with Gǝʿǝz writing from Limoges in France. The book is thus first to show the active involvement of a medieval African court within the same network of collecting and artistic exchanges long attested-to for Europe and parts of Asia. 

Read more on this project here. 


Ethiopia and the World, 500-1530
together with  Dr Yonatan Binyam (Penn State University / UCLA)

as part of the Elements in the Global Middle Ages Series
edited by Geraldine Heng and Susan J Noakes. 
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2022. 

This handbook, forthcoming in late 2022 as part of the Cambridge Elements Series in the Global Middle Ages edited by Geraldine Heng and Susan J Noakes, is an accessible introduction for non-specialist historians and other interested readers to the history the Ethiopian-Eritrean highland plateau between 500-1530 CE.
In line with the series' objectives of providing concise studies that 'introduce  researchers and instructors to an interconnected world, c. 500-1500 CE', Ethiopia and the World, 500-1530, considers the history of both local Muslim and Christian kingdoms in their interrelation to Afro-Eurasia across the medieval millennium. 
It offers an interdisciplinary synthesis of recent archaeological, historical, and literary research and is structured chronologically into four chapters. 

Read more on the Global Middle Ages Series here.


PhD Thesis (microfiche publication)

Krebs, Verena: Windows onto the World: Culture Contact and Western Christian art in Ethiopia, 1402-1543, [Dissertation]. Konstanz: University of Konstanz 2014. Published September 2018.
Access Data can be found here. 

Journal Articles
& Book Contributions

Screenshot of the article PDF

Betä Ǝsra’el (Ethiopian Jewish) Monastic Sites North of Lake Ṭana: Preliminary Results of an Exploratory Field Trip to Ethiopia in December 2015

Article (with Bar Kribus)
in Entangled Religions. Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Religious Contact and Transfer. Special issue “Historical Engagements and Interreligious Encounters — Jews and Christians in Premodern and Early Modern Asia and Africa”, 6 (2018), 309—344; DOI: 10.13154/er.v6.2018.309—344.

Read and download a PDF copy here

Screenshot of the article PDF

Crusading threats? Ethiopian-Egyptian relations in the 1440s

in Crusading in Africa, ed. Benjamin Weber, Toulouse: Presses Univesitaires du Midi 2019, 245—274.

Read and download a PDF copy here. 

Screenshot of the article PDF

Re-Examining Foresti's Supplementum Chronicarum and the ‘Ethiopian’ Embassy to Europe of 1306

in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 82/3 (2019), 493–515. DOI: 10.1017/S0041977X19000697.

Read and download a PDF copy here.  

Screenshot of the article PDF

Stanley: Coomassie and Magdala (1874), commented by Verena Krebs 

Source Commentary and Article

in Translocations. Anthologie: Eine Sammlung kommentierter Quellentexte zu Kulturgutverlagerungen seit der Antike, published online at

(German translation to be published in Beute. Eine Anthologie zu Kunstraub und Kulturerbe, eds. Bénédicte Savoy, Robert Skwirblies, Isabelle Dolezalek, Matthes & Seitz Berlin, 2021).

Read online here.

Die Plünderung von Mäqdäla (in German)

Quelle und Kommentar
in Beute. Eine Anthologie zu Kunstraub und Kulturerbe, hgg. von Isabelle Dolezalek, Bénédicte Savoy und Robert Skwirblies,  Matthes & Seitz, Berlin 2021, 206–214. 

Read and download a PDF copy here.

Screenshot of the article PDF

A catalogue of post-Byzantine Icons present in Solomonic Ethiopia prior to 1530

in Orbis Aethiopicus XVII (2020/21), ed. by Walter Raunig & Asfa-Wossen Asserate, H.J. Röll Verlag, 189–227.

Read and download a PDF copy here.

Screenshot of the article PDF

Fancy Names and Fake News. Notes on the Conflation of Solomonic Ethiopian Rulership with the Myth of Prester John in the late Medieval Latin Christian diplomatic Correspondence

in Orbis Aethiopicus XVII (2020/21), ed. by Walter Raunig & Asfa-Wossen Asserate, H.J. Röll Verlag, 89–121.

Read and download a PDF copy here.