Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Ethiopia Trips: Books and Video clips

Here are the video clips I mentioned yesterday.


A Glimpse of Ethiopia from Jessica Strider on Vimeo.

I hope you enjoyed some of my posts on the history of Ethiopia. Obviously I condensed a lot and left a ton out. If you’re interested in learning more, here are some of the books I read that are worth checking out. Many of them I read at my old university library (or this would have been some expensive research). I was lucky in that my university has begun a program teaching Ge’ez, the liturgical language, and so they have a very good collection of books on Ethiopia including some indispensable guide books by a press from Addis Ababa.

For a good overview:

African Zion: The Sacred Art of Ethiopia by Marilyn Heldman and Stuart Munro-Hay, 1993 - This is out of print but you might find it at a library (like I did). It’s a museum special exhibit catalogue with some fantastic essays on the history of Ethiopia followed by a gorgeous display of artworks. It’s the first book on Ethiopia I read and the one that showed me that the country’s history and art are incredible.

For history:

Ancient Churches of Ethiopia by David Phillipson, 2009 - A great book predominantly on the rock-hewn churches. It briefly goes over Yeha and Axum and ends with the Lalibela complex. There are floor plans and reproduction diagrams of what some older structures would have looked like.

Foundations of an African Civilisation: Aksum and the Northern Horn, 1000 BC - AD 1300 by David Phillipson, 2012 - This book gets very in depth and scholarly at times making it harder for the average reader to enjoy, but has a lot of great, detailed information on the topic.

Ancient and Medieval Ethiopian History to 1270 by Sergew Hable Sellassie, 1972 - Written by an Ethiopian professor, this one is hard to find but really delves into the history of the country starting with all the primary source materials that mention the word ‘Ethiopia’ (and explaining that ‘Ethiopia’ in ancient times could refer to a lot of places/people including India, as trade goods from India passed through Africa).

Church and State in Ethioopia, 1270-1527 by Taddesse Tamrat, 1972 - The book is old but one of the few to cover this period of history. I found it a tough read, scholarly and not very engaging though it covers some tumultuous times.

The Ethiopian Royal Chronicles Edited by Richard Pankhurst, 1967 - I didn’t know this existed until I stumbled across it at the university library. It’s primary source writings from the Solomonic dynasty. It’s only excerpts with commentary, but it’s cool reading what Ethiopian nobles of the day thought was important to comment on.

If you can’t find any of these, the history section at the start of guide books is remarkably good for a concise but thorough overview.

For church artwork:

Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia by Maria-Jose and Bob Friedlander, 2015 - This has a fantastic rundown of Ethiopian saints, which differ significantly from those of other Christian denominations. If you’re interested in churches and religious paintings, this information is important. It also maps the paintings for a number of churches. I wish there were more photographs of each church they cover.

Ethiopia: The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom by Mary Anne Fitzgerald and Philip Marsden, 2017. - Documenting 66 churches, it’s a massive coffee table book with hundreds of gorgeous photographs.

Lalibela: Wonder of Ethiopia by Claude Lepage, 2012 - A fantastically detailed book on the church complex at Lalibela. Lots of diagrams and cross sections.

Next week I'll be back to more regular science fiction and fantasy content. I have a book review all ready to go on Tuesday.

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