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date: 23 September 2018

Encounters Between Ethiopia and Europe, 1400–1660

Summary and Keywords

By the early 1400s, diplomatic representatives and pilgrims from the Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia had traveled to the Italian peninsula for political and religious reasons. In doing so, they inaugurated an era of Ethiopian–European relations that unfolded for more than 200 years: Ethiopians reached multiple locales across Latin Europe to forge political alliances, acquire technology, and pursue religious knowledge. They drew the attention of European observers, especially those with an interest in the overseas. Secular and religious personalities, but also average merchants, began their quests for the Ethiopian highlands, lured by the tales of their visitors who were believed with growing certainty to be subjects of the mythical Prester John, the imaginary Christian sovereign believed to rule the Indies. Their journeys enabled cultural exchanges, technological transfer, and the forging of one of the first Euro-African political alliances, that between the kingdoms of Ethiopia and Portugal.

In the 15th century, Ethiopian pilgrims flocked to Rome, and diplomatic representatives found hospitality in the Venetian Republic and at the Aragonese and papal courts. Concurrently with Ethiopian arrivals in Europe, European adventurers and representatives began reaching Ethiopia, eventually leading to the establishing of Portuguese–Ethiopian relations. The exchanges climaxed with a Portuguese military intervention to support the Ethiopian monarchy against the sultanate of Adal in 1541. In the decades following the conflict, Jesuit missionaries began operating in the country: after a difficult inception in the 1620s, the fathers experienced ephemeral successes, followed by a dramatic expulsion that ended early modern Ethiopian–European relations.

Keywords: Christianity, diplomacy, Eastern Christians, elite Africans, Ethiopia, exploration, Jesuits, Society of Jesus, missionaries, Prester John, Ethiopian art

Ethiopian Initiatives in the 15th Century

The Ethiopian embassy to Venice in 1402 is the first documented visit of a sub-Saharan diplomatic mission to Europe.1 Ethiopian pilgrims and possibly representatives of the emperor are likely to have reached other European locales by the 14th century, if not earlier, but the evidence is scant and inconclusive. The best known case is that of a delegation transiting through Genoa in 1306, supposedly on its way to the papal court in Avignon. However, the party’s Ethiopian origin is far from certain, and it is unlikely to have been an official mission.2 In contrast, the Ethiopians who reached Venice in 1402 were undeniably official envoys dispatched by the Ethiopian emperor, nәguśä nägäśt Dawit (1379/1380–1413).3 Chaperoned by the Florentine Antonio Bartoli, carrying expensive gifts, and seeking artisans willing to travel to Ethiopia, they hardly could have been a group of pilgrims.4

Venice, with an extensive shipping network in the Eastern Mediterranean, was a natural landing point for Ethiopians headed to Europe. Furthermore, some of the cities that accommodated Venice’s fondaci [warehouses] in the Arab world—Cairo, Alexandria, and Jerusalem—also hosted communities of Ethiopian pilgrims who, upon returning to Ethiopia, must have told their countrymen of the Republic’s commercial and political power. Although Venetian authorities did not pursue ties with Ethiopia either before or after the embassy, they probably offered hospitality because of their constant eagerness to gain actionable information about the overseas. Furthermore, they reciprocated Ethiopians’ exotic gifts and facilitated the departure of artisans with the returning party.5

Some evidence exists of further Ethiopian–Venetian relations, but the city appears to have played a significant role for pilgrims and delegations directed elsewhere in Latin Europe. Some of the most telling evidence is the knowledge Venetian scholars gained from transiting Ethiopians. Bartoli’s delegation drew up the first known itinerary detailing how to reach the kingdom of “Prester John” from Venice, and also created a list of Amharic terms with a Latin translation, which can be considered the first ever Amharic–European dictionary.6

The reference to Prester John is central to the unfolding of European–Ethiopian relations. The myth of a powerful Christian sovereign to be found beyond the Muslim world became part of the European discourse on the East in the high medieval period.7 Throughout the century, it evolved into a medley of ancient myths about the non-European world, confused contemporary geographical notions, poorly reported information from Asia, crusading dreams, and, starting in the 15th century, anxiety about Ottoman expansion. In the 14th century, after having been identified with real sovereigns in the Far East and later in South Asia, Prester John became associated with the Christian emperor of Ethiopia. The ever-changing discourse on the imaginary sovereign is better understood as part of the general understanding of the world beyond the Near East, known as the “Indies.” The confusion throughout the era explains the labeling of Ethiopians as “Indians” due to the identification of Prester John as the ruler of, usually, “Middle India,” conceived by contemporary scholars as the territory lying between the Nile and the Red Sea.8

In later decades, multiple examples exist of Venetians taking advantage of their location to pursue their interest in Prester John and his kingdom. One example is that of mapmaker Fra Mauro Camaldolese (n.a.–1459), who reported having interviewed “black Christians” while at work on his famous Mappamundi [world map] (c. 1450) (figure 1). Given that the planisphere includes hundreds of correct references to Ethiopian localities and how Fra Mauro characterized his informants, there is little doubt that he talked to Ethiopian pilgrims.9 Almost a century later, another Venetian interested in foreign countries, one Alessandro Zorzi, collected eight itineraries detailing transits from various Ethiopian locales to the Holy Land and Venice, mostly by interviewing clerics who shared their pilgrimage experiences.10

Encounters Between Ethiopia and Europe, 1400–1660Click to view larger

Figure 1. The Kingdom of Ethiopia according to Fra Mauro. Mappamondo di Fra Mauro (c. 1450), Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana di Venezia. Creative Commons License, CC0.

The European court that most attracted Ethiopian interest in the first half of the 15th century was that of King Alfonso V (1438–1481) of the Crown of Aragon, a composite dynastic union that stretched from southeastern Iberia to southern Italy. Both Yәsḥaq I (1414–1429) and Zärʾa Yaʿәqob (1434–1468) followed their father Dawit’s footsteps and sent embassies to Europe. They both dispatched envoys to Alfonso’s court, the first to Valencia and the second to Naples, where the court resided after 1443.

At the helm of the first embassy, which reached Alfonso in 1427, was Ali Tabrizi, a Persian merchant active in Cairo and Ethiopia. Like Bartoli in Venice, the envoy requested artisans, but he also proposed a double marriage between members of the two royal families. Alfonso appeared to have considered the proposal worthy of a reply, the first ever recorded of a dynastic African–European marriage. He equipped the delegation for the return journey and arranged to dispatch both a group of artisans and a personal representative, Pere de Bonia, who was instructed to collect intelligence on Ethiopia and, in particular, on the marriage proposal, which would have seen Emperor Yәsḥaq wed an Aragonese and Alfonso’s brother, Pedro (1406–1438), wed an Ethiopian noblewoman.11 Despite the investment, the envoys never reached Ethiopia: in Cairo, Mamluk authorities apprehended and executed Ali Tabrizi for anti-Muslim activities. While sources are silent on the fate of Ali Tabrizi’s party, later developments indicated that the artisans and de Bonia experienced the same fate.

The second Ethiopian embassy reached Alfonso in his sprawling empire’s new capital, Naples, in 1450. Leading the party was the mysterious traveler Pietro Rombulo, who appeared to have left his hometown of Messina in Sicily in the 1400s and lived in Ethiopia for more than three decades, while also traveling extensively throughout the Indian Ocean, possibly as an imperial emissary.12 The party’s arrival in Naples was greeted with excitement, as Rombulo and his Ethiopian companions paraded in the company of Alfonso and his court.

This second embassy does not appear to have advanced marriage proposals but, instead, requested artisans and military support against the country’s Muslim neighbors. King Alfonso once again obliged, but guardedly so. He dispatched a smaller party of artisans, claiming the death of the previous group suggested caution: he instructed the delegation to avoid Egypt, to transit through Constantinople, central Anatolia, descend through the Levant to the Persian Gulf, and, from there, sail to Ethiopia. Despite the alternative route and the precautions, this second returning party also vanished, but Alfonso took the initiative and dispatched more representatives: one via Constantinople in 1452, unfortunately as the city was falling to Sultan Mehmet II, and a last one via Cyprus and the Levant in 1453, both to no avail.13

Inconclusive evidence suggests few, if any, exchanges between Ethiopia and the Duchy of Burgundy. In his famous travel account, the French traveler, Bertrandon de la Broquiere (1400–1459), relates an encounter he had in 1432 in Constantinople with “Pietre de Napples.” Reportedly, Pietro had traveled to Ethiopia in the 1410s, at the behest of “Monseigneur du Berry” and, once in the country, he stayed. He was in Constantinople looking for artisans willing to live in Ethiopia.14

Encounters Between Ethiopia and Europe, 1400–1660Click to view larger

Figure 2. The geography of Ethiopian–European relations: the Mediterranean basin.

Upon cross-referencing Pietro and Bertrandon’s chronologies, it would appear that the Neapolitan had traveled to Ethiopia at the behest of Jean de Berry (1340–1416), Duke of Burgundy. Well known for his interest in Prester John and neocrusading, the duke belonged to the House of Valois, whose members had displayed a remarkable penchant for the exotic and, in particular, Africa south of the Sahara, as attested to by black subjects appearing in several paintings from the era.15

Two decades later, in 1451, an Ethiopian representative named “Jorge,” possibly the Latinization of Gorgoryos or Giyorgis, appeared at the court of King Alfonso V of Portugal (1438–1481), reportedly directed to Burgundy.16 In another three decades, a traveler to Ethiopia recorded several Europeans at Emperor Ǝskәndәr’s (1478–1494) encampment, the kätäma. Among them was “Miser Philyppo Brogognon”: the primary source is silent on the timing and circumstances of his arrival and, as with Jorge and Pietro of Naples, only allows for speculation.17

The Ethiopian Presence in Rome: Ethiopian–Roman Relations in the 15th Century

In the 15th century, dozens of clerics reached Rome for either brief or prolonged stays, a final destination or a stepping stone to other shrines—among them St. Anthony’s Basilica in Padua and St. James’s in Compostela. Documenting the transits are several letters of indulgence that the office of the pontiff bestowed on Ethiopian pilgrims to ease their journeys: they entitled the bearer to request material support from any third party, who in turn would gain God’s forgiveness.18

By the late 15th century, the flux of Ethiopian visitors was such that sources already referred to a permanent community at Santo Stefano Maggiore, a small church belonging to the canonical chapter of St. Peter’s Basilica, near its rear side. Through the ages, the church and the annexed residential buildings hosted various clerical communities, but by the 1400s, it was known as Santo Stefano dei Mori, degli Abissini, or degli Indiani, appellations that reflect its use by Ethiopians. Sources suggest that at the turn of the 16th century, a community of pilgrims was already occupying the premises permanently despite the lack of any formal attribution by the building’s holders.19

The slow growth of what would become early modern Europe’s best-documented community of free Africans also benefited from multiple Ethiopian delegations to the papacy. It must be noted that while the representatives who reached Venice, Naples, and Valencia were expressions of the desire of some Ethiopian emperors to establish relations and facilitate technological transfer, the Ethiopian delegations directed to Rome seem to have originated mostly in the Holy Land’s Ethiopian clerical diaspora. These delegations did not have a mandate by either the Ethiopian emperor or the abun (the head of the Ethiopian Church). The first such scarcely documented case was that of three Ethiopian visitors arriving at the Council of Constance (1414–1418).20 The second and much better documented one pertains to the Council of Florence (1431–1449).

In the 1430s, Pope Eugene IV (1431–1447) invited representatives of various Eastern churches to partake in the ongoing council, as part of an effort to reunite Christians against the expanding Ottoman Empire. In 1439, after issuing a decree of union with the Greek Church, the papacy appointed an apostolic commissioner to the East to invite representatives of Eastern churches known to exist in the Arab world and beyond. Once in Alexandria, the Franciscan Alberto da Sarteano (1385–1450) seems to have persuaded the Coptic patriarch Yoḥannes XI (1427–1452) to send a delegation. Upon making inquiries about Ethiopian Christians, he also solicited a separate delegation from the abbot of the Ethiopian monastery of Dayr as-Sulṭān in Jerusalem.21

The Ethiopian delegation reached Florence by the summer of 1441. The Ethiopian cleric, P̣eṭros, greeted as Prester John’s envoy, reassured his hosts about the Ethiopian faith, expressed regret for his country and church’s history of isolation from Rome, but stopped short of making any commitment toward reunification. Having been dispatched from Jerusalem, P̣eṭros had no official authority regarding the matter, and his visit produced no tangible ecclesiastical outcome. However, it still became one of the most celebrated moments in 15th-century Ethiopian–European relations, and it left behind a substantial documentary and artistic trail.

Encounters Between Ethiopia and Europe, 1400–1660Click to view larger

Figure 3. The arrival of the Ethiopian–Egyptian legations in Rome (October 1441), by Antonio di Pietro Averlino’s (a.k.a Filarete), “Porta del Filarete,” St. Peter’s Basilica, 1445. Engraving from Orazio Giustiniani, Acta Sacri Oecumenici Concilii Florentini, Rome: Sacra Congregatio de Fide Propaganda, 1638, 382.

The delegation’s arrival in Rome is immortalized on the bronze doors of St. Peter’s Basilica, which Antonio di Pietro Averlino (1400–1469), better known as Filarete, cast in 1445 (figure 3). A 1588 fresco by Giovanni Guerra (1544–1618), depicting Pope Eugene IV handing of the bull of union, Cantate Domino, to the Coptic delegation, features a black figure (figure 4).22 The inclusion, which undoubtedly refers to the Ethiopian delegation, is explained in light of the confusion surrounding the embassy and the long-standing but unsubstantiated claim that the Ethiopian delegation, like the Coptic, had also accepted the decree of union.23

Encounters Between Ethiopia and Europe, 1400–1660Click to view larger

Figure 4. Giovanni Guerra, Council of Florence (1439). The title representatives of the Churches of Greece, Ethiopia, and Armenia before Eugenius IV (1588). Salone Sistino, Città del Vaticano. Courtesy of Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana.

As for textual evidence, while in Florence, P̣eṭros and his companions attracted the interest of two humanists attending the Council. One, Flavio Biondo (1392–1463), dedicated a few pages to the Ethiopian delegation and their official hearing in his Historiarum ab inclinatione Romanorum imperii decades.24 The other humanist, Francesco Poggio Bracciolini (1390–1459), included a brief section on Ethiopia in the fourth book of his De Varietate Fortunae, derived in part from his meeting with the traveler Niccolò de’ Conti (1395–1469), and in part from his interactions with P̣eṭros.25 In 1492, the section was excerpted and published as India Recognita, becoming the first text on Ethiopia ever printed.26 In addition, P̣eṭros and his companions are likely to have been the same informants Fra Mauro interviewed for his Mappamundi and the source of a novel representation of the upper Nile Valley in the Egyptus Novelo, a map included in a 1454 Florentine atlas.27

In the 1450s, the pontiffs Nicholas V (1447–1455) and Callistus III (1455–1458) entrusted new emissaries with letters for Ethiopian emperors, but to no avail.28 It would be only in late 1481 that a new Ethiopian delegation reached Rome. It had originated with the arrival in Jerusalem of an unnamed Ethiopian envoy who claimed to have been dispatched to Alexandria to retrieve a new abun.

The Ethiopian Church’s highest office had been vacant for two decades because of diplomatic tensions between Ethiopia and Mamluk authorities, which had prevented the dispatch of a successor. While attempting to secure Mamluk assent, the envoy visited Jerusalem and discussed his predicament with the Custodian of the Holy Land, the Franciscan Giovanni Tomacelli (1478–1481). Reportedly, upon learning from the envoy he was ready to travel to Constantinople for a replacement, Tomacelli attempted to persuade him to seek an abun in Rome instead, hoping to facilitate the long-sought ecclesiastical reunification. Ultimately, the envoy successfully obtained a replacement in Alexandria but still instructed representatives to travel to Rome.

Tomacelli entrusted the party to Giovanni Battista Brocchi da Imola (n.a.–1511), an experienced papal envoy who had reached Jerusalem after falling into disgrace with Pope Sixtus IV (1471–1484). Like previous delegations, this also produced no tangible result for the long-sought reunification, but it did attract substantial attention and leave behind a significant documentary trail. The visit is likely to have inspired the inclusion of black subjects in two Sistine Chapel frescos completed during the delegation’s sojourn in Rome: Sandro Botticelli’s Temptation of Moses; and Biagio D’Antonio Tucci’s Crossing of the Red Sea.29

The delegation remained in Rome until mid-1482, but in January of the same year, Brocchi left for Cairo. There, at Tomacelli’s behest, the Franciscan Giovanni da Calabria made preparations for a mission to Ethiopia. The two envoys reached Emperor Ǝskәndәr’s (1478–1494) court in late 1482 and quickly learned the indisposition of the young emperor toward reunification. In fact, their arrival in Ethiopia resulted in one of the earliest references to European foreigners in Ethiopian historical writing and records Ethiopian clergymen dissatisfied with their presence at court.30 Brocchi traveled back and forth to Jerusalem to report and receive further instructions while Giovanni da Calabria stayed at court: ultimately, despite their perseverance, the envoys made no inroads and left permanently by 1484.31

Portuguese–Ethiopian Relations in the First Half of the 16th Century

Ethiopian–European relations took a dramatic turn in the early 16th century when a Portuguese delegation reached Ethiopia, which led King Manuel I (1495–1521) to announce to the pontiff and the world that the long-sought Prester John had been found.32 Starting in the mid-15th century, the quest for the imaginary sovereign, by then unequivocally identified with the Kingdom of Ethiopia, had been a significant lure for Portuguese exploration. After multiple failures to locate an inland route to his kingdom—first through West, then Central, and later East Africa—finally, by the late 15th century, Portuguese envoys focused their efforts on the coast of the Red Sea.33

Encounters Between Ethiopia and Europe, 1400–1660Click to view larger

Figure 5. The geography of Ethiopian–European relations: the Horn of Africa.

It would be only in 1514 that an Ethiopian envoy arrived at Manuel’s court, where he revitalized Portuguese interest, after decades of investments and failures. The Ethiopian regent, Ǝleni (c. 1431–1522), ruling at the behest of the young Emperor Lәbnä Dәngәl (1508–1540) (figure 6), had entrusted her envoy, Mateus, to seek an alliance with the Portuguese monarchy. Mateus (n.a.–1520), probably a merchant of Armenian descent who had long operated in Ethiopia, was dispatched after the arrival in Ethiopia of Portuguese representatives who, unbeknownst to Portuguese authorities, had succeeded in their mission.34

The visit led to the immediate dispatch of a large Portuguese delegation to Ethiopia, which, after multiple delays, reached Emperor Lәbnä Dәngәl’s settlement in 1520. Headed by the fidalgo [nobleman] Rodrigo de Lima (1500–n.a.), the mission was a turning point in Ethiopian–European relations, as it inaugurated more than a century of Portuguese–Ethiopian exchanges. While the only immediate consequence was its reciprocation, ultimately the visit would have momentous implications for the Ethiopian monarchy. After a prolonged and eventful stay that lasted until 1526, the delegation returned to Europe with Ṣägga Zäʾab (n.a.–1539), a high-ranking Ethiopian cleric, liqä kahәnat, and with signed letters for both the Portuguese sovereign and the Roman pontiff.

Encounters Between Ethiopia and Europe, 1400–1660Click to view larger

Figure 6. Portrait of Lәbnä Dәngәl. Paolo Giovio, Pavli Iovii Novocomensis episcopi nvcerini, Elogia virorum bellica virtute illustrium. Basil: Petri Pernae typographi, 1575. Photo by the author.

While the party reached Portugal in 1527 and Emperor Lәbnä Dәngәl’s message of friendship was greeted with great solemnity, the letter to the pontiff would be delivered only in 1533, reportedly because of the ongoing War of the League of Cognac (1526–1530). For reasons that are not entirely clear, Francisco Alvarez—chaplain of the mission to Ethiopia and author of its most famous narrative35—appeared to have sidestepped Ṣägga Zäʾab. In his address to Pope Clement VII in Bologna, Alvarez presented himself as Lәbnä Dәngәl’s appointed ambassador to the papacy and claimed that the emperor had pledged obedience to Rome, as ostensibly confirmed by the letters he had delivered. The event was widely publicized as heralding the long-sought reunification, but Alvarez’s involvement in writing and translating the letters, whose originals would never be seen, casts doubt on the sovereign’s reported intentions. While the purported obedience was being celebrated, Ṣägga Zäʾab was detained in Portugal: years later, in his confession of faith, he would denounce mistreatment suffered at the hands of the Portuguese, claim to have been Lәbnä Dәngәl’s appointed ambassador, and reject any critique of Ethiopian Christianity. In light of the many failures to secure reunification in later years, there appears to be little substance to the case for Lәbnä Dәngәl’s declared obedience, whereas Ṣägga Zäʾab’s claims would seem to be vindicated.36

The arrival in Lisbon of João Bermudes (1491–1570), one of the most picturesque figures in the history of Ethiopian–European relations, complicated Portuguese–Roman–Ethiopian relations further. Having reached Ethiopia with Lima’s delegation, which he served as a barber- bleeder, Bermudes had stayed behind with another companion, presumably to guarantee Ṣägga Zäʾab’s safety. In 1537, he presented himself first in Rome and later in Portugal and claimed that a dying abuna, Marqos (1481–1530), had appointed him abun. He also claimed, more realistically, that Lәbnä Dәngәl had dispatched him to seek military support against the invading army of Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi (1506–1543), who was leading the sultanate of Adal in a jihad against the Christian kingdom. While his ecclesiastical pretensions were readily ignored, Bermudes successfully elicited a military intervention.37

By 1541, a small regiment of Portuguese soldiers, led by Christóvão da Gama (1516–1542), son of the famous explorer Vasco da Gama (1460–1524), landed on the Ethiopian coast. While Christóvão fell victim to one of the first confrontations with Adali forces, ultimately the Portuguese intervention appeared to have played an essential role in the Christian kingdom’s survival. In early 1543, Portuguese–Ethiopian forces defeated their opponents in the momentous battle of Wayna Daga and killed Imam Ahmad.38 The Ethiopian monarchy would not recover its former power and extension until the 19th century, but, also thanks to Portuguese intervention, the existential threat had been abated. Many of the surviving Portuguese soldiers settled in Ethiopia and came to be known as the burtukan.39

Diasporic Communities in Ethiopia and Rome in the 15th and 16th Centuries

As Ethiopian–European relations unfolded with pilgrims, ambassadors, artisans, and fortune-seekers journeying between the Italian peninsula and Ethiopia, two sizable diasporic communities emerged: one at the emperor’s court, the other at Santo Stefano degli Abissini. In Ethiopia, Latin Christians dwelt primarily in the kingdom’s roving capital. They were collectively identified in Ethiopian vernacular as färänğ, an Arabic loan word derived from the general designation of Europeans as Franks, regardless of their specific origin.40

For the first half of the 15th century, the existence of a färänğ community can be deduced from the biographies of imperial envoys to Europe. Antonio Bartoli, Pietro Rombulo, and Pietro of Naples seem to have settled and lived in Ethiopia for extended periods of time, the two Pietros having married Ethiopian women. It can be inferred that they all sought artisans willing to migrate because some already lived in Ethiopia.

Starting in the late 15th century, Roman and Portuguese envoys returning from Ethiopia told of a sizable community of Latin Christians who enjoyed close relations with Ethiopian rulers. According to the Franciscan Francesco Suriano (1450–1529), who interviewed Brocchi during one of his transits through Jerusalem, at the time of the envoy’s visit at least twelve färänğ were at court, mostly from the Italian peninsula.41 A few years later, one of Alex Zorzi’s informants spoke of a Venetian painter, Geronimo Bicini, who appeared to have settled in the country in the late 1480s. Reportedly, Bicini had married an Ethiopian, lived a life of comfort at court, and entertained himself and the emperor with chess and card games. Other informants told Zorzi that the Florentine merchant Andrea Corsali, who traveled to Ethiopia with Lima’s party as a papal representative, had settled in Bärara, one of Ethiopia’s most important commercial centers, where he managed a warehouse and printed books.42

In 1520, a few färänğ greeted Lima’s arrival at Lәbnä Dәngәl’s encampment. Alvarez’s narrative articulated the delegation’s dealings with several Europeans and, in particular, with a group of Genoese merchants. Lima and his companions also found Pêro da Covilhã, the first Portuguese envoy to reach the imperial court in the early 1490s, and Nicolò Brancaleone. A Venetian painter already mentioned by Brocchi, Brancaleone left behind multiple signed paintings and book miniatures, with many more works attributable to him (figure 7). Apart from textual sources, a vast body of indigenous art with European inflections indirectly confirms that foreign artists and artisans lived and worked in 15th-century Ethiopia.43

Encounters Between Ethiopia and Europe, 1400–1660Click to view larger

Figure 7. Niccolò Brancaleon, Right Half of a Diptych with the Virgin and Child (c. 1500). The Walters Art Museum, 36.15. Creative Commons License, CC0.

In the first half of the 16th century, the Ethiopian community in Rome flourished: in 1515, it elected its first prior, Tomas Wāldā Samuʾel. Its growing size, which appeared to have peaked at about forty members, led to the approval of official rules, issued first in 1528 and again in 1551 in a more extensive form.44 In particular, during the papacy of Paul III (1534–1549), Santo Stefano (figure 8) enjoyed its golden age and developed into Europe’s first center of Africanist knowledge. The growing exotic community attracted a diverse array of personalities interested, for different reasons, in foreign countries: philologists pursuing Semitic languages, prelates seeking translators and interpreters while devising strategies to reunite Rome with the Eastern Church, missionaries eying Ethiopia as a land ripe for proselytism, and merchants and travelers looking for actionable intelligence about the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa.

Encounters Between Ethiopia and Europe, 1400–1660Click to view larger

Figure 8. Santo Stefano degli Abissini (circled). Plan from Giovanni Battista Nolli, Nuova Topografia di Roma (1748). Creative Commons License, CC0.

On the scholarly side, the first example of intercultural collaboration is that between the German scholar Johannes Potkem (1470–1524) and Tomas Wāldā Samuʾel. In the 1500s, while serving as papal secretary, Potkem developed an interest in Ge’ez and approached the Santo Stefano community, where he collaborated with the prior on a printed edition of the Ethiopian Psalter. Held in the Vatican Library, a manuscript copy of the Psalter had probably found its way to Rome at the time of Brocchi’s mission. Potkem and Tomas’s joint effort resulted in the first ever printing of a book in Ethiopic script and an early example of Santo Stefano’s intellectual output.45

The most productive scholar in the Ethiopian diaspora was, without a doubt, Täsfa Sәyon (1510–1550/1552), a cleric who left Ethiopia in the midst of the country’s confrontation with Adal. In Rome by the mid-1530s, Täsfa Sәyon (figure 9) became part of Paul III’s household, and during his long stay he befriended and acquainted himself with scholars, prelates, and curial personalities. Among them were Ludovico Beccadelli (1501–1572), Pietro Bembo (1470–1547), Cardinal Marcello Cervini (1501–1555)—later Pope Marcellus II (1555)—Antonio Duca (1491–1564), Paolo Giovio (1483–1552), Pietro Paolo Gualtieri (1501–1572), Girolama Orsini Farnese (1504–1570), Guillame Postel (1510–1581), and Mariano Vittorio (1518–1572).46

In his first Roman years, Täsfa Sәyon facilitated Beccadelli, Giovio, and Postel’s interest in Ethiopia by acting either as a translator, an interpreter, or an informant.47 In the years before his premature death, he pursued his projects, in particular, the Testamentum Novum, his most famous work, followed by Latin translations of the Ethiopian baptism and mass rituals, produced with Gualtieri’s help. He also contributed to Chaldeae, se Aethiopicae lingua institutiones [Elements of Caldaic, or Ethiopic language] (1552), the first printed Ge’ez grammar that Vittorio published shortly after the Ethiopian’s death.48

Apart from his scholarly work, throughout his sojourn in Rome, Täsfa Sәyon continued to act as an adviser on matters relating to Ethiopia. Most important for the future of Ethiopian–European relations, he entertained a relationship with Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556), as the priest was in Rome to lay the foundation for the Society of Jesus’ overseas proselytism. Sources show that Täsfa Sәyon acted not only as an informant but also as an early proponent of a Catholic mission to Ethiopia, possibly offering an overly optimistic, if not misleading, view of Ethiopia’s readiness to reunite with Rome.49

Encounters Between Ethiopia and Europe, 1400–1660Click to view larger

Figure 9. Täsfa Sәyon (first left) at the Papal Court. Pope Paul III hands Ignatius the Regimini Militantis Ecclesiae on 27 September 1540. Anonymous. Chiesa del Gesu’ (Rome). Photo by Zeno Colantoni.

If Täsfa Sәyon is the most productive scholar in the Ethiopian diaspora, Yoḥannes (1509–1565) can be regarded as the most accomplished ecclesiastic. Another long-time resident of Santo Stefano, where he was known as Giovanni Battista Abissino, Yoḥannes was born in the small Ethiopian community in Venetian Cyprus. After an extraordinary youth that saw him journey to Rome, Portugal, and India, by the mid-1530s he returned to his birthplace where he became an Orthodox priest. After an interlude in the Republic’s mainland territories, he was summoned to Rome, most likely because of his knowledge of Arabic, an appreciated asset in the context of the papacy’s growing interest in the Eastern Church.

In Rome by 1542, Yoḥannes joined the household of Gian Pietro Carafa (1476–1559), as the powerful cardinal was organizing the newly created Roman Inquisition, whose leadership he maintained until his elevation to the papacy as Paul IV (1555–1559). In the 1540s, Yoḥannes appeared to have primarily supported Täsfa Sәyon’s intellectual work, whereas in the 1550s, as delegations from the Eastern churches attended the ongoing Council of Trent (1545–1563) and sojourned to Rome, he became increasingly active as an interpreter and a translator. In the mid-1550s, he also became prior of Santo Stefano, a position he presumably held until 1564, when he was elevated to the position of bishop, appointed nuncio, and entrusted with letters for the highest authorities of known and unknown Eastern churches in the Middle East and India. From relatively humble beginnings in the Ethiopian diaspora in Cyprus, Yoḥannes became the second African Roman Catholic bishop in history.50

The Jesuit Era, 1555–1634

The Jesuit mission to Ethiopia was officially sanctioned in 1554 when the Portuguese João Nunes Barreto (1520–1568) was appointed patriarch of Ethiopia and assigned to lead the first group of fathers into the country. The mission had been the subject of lengthy negotiations between the papacy and the Portuguese monarchy, and much planning ensued, with Ignatius of Loyola penning detailed instructions.51

The Society of Jesus launched its mission to Ethiopia in the misguided belief that the Ethiopian elites were ready to embrace Catholicism, but reality set in quickly. A first reconnaissance party reached Emperor Gälawdewos’s (1540–1559) court in 1555 and returned to Goa a few months later bearing disheartening news of the emperor’s unwillingness to convert. Nevertheless, the mission moved forward and, in May 1557, six fathers found their way to Ethiopia under the leadership of the mission’s second in rank, Bishop Andrés de Oviedo (1518–1577), while the patriarch remained safely in Goa. Like their predecessors, Oviedo and his companions found the emperor completely unreceptive: on the occasion of either this second visit or the first, the emperor wrote his famous confession in which he formally and unequivocally reaffirmed his Ethiopian faith.52

Rejected by the emperor, the fathers mostly catered to the needs of the surviving members of Christóvão da Gama’s (1541) expedition and their Ethiopian-Portuguese descendants before leaving the court in late 1558. They moved in the Tigray region under the protection of its ruler, baḥәr nägäš Yәsḥaq (n.a.–1588), who had been among the few noblemen to befriend the fathers. The mission first settled in Dәbarwa, and, by 1563, it established a settlement 100 kilometers south, in Fәremona, which would be the most important Jesuit center throughout the era.53 Conditions for the fathers deteriorated further with the ascension of Gälawdewos’s son, Minas (1559–1563), who forbade any Ethiopian-born from engaging in Catholic rituals and forbade the Catholic faith to be inherited. The hardening of the emperor’s stance resulted in a growing divide among the Ethiopian nobility, the mäkʷanәnt. Yәsḥaq, who had seen his role diminished after Minas’s ascension, openly defied the emperor and unsuccessfully lobbied the fathers and Portuguese authorities for a military intervention.54

The Jesuit lot improved with the ascension of Emperor Śärṣ́ä Dәngәl (1563–1596), who was somewhat more accommodating to the missionaries. In turn, the fathers pared down their objectives and focused on attending to the existing Catholic community. Limiting their activities, in addition to their caution, was their dwindling numbers and resources: starting in the late 1550s, the Ottomans blockaded Massawa and prevented the fathers from receiving supplies and replenishing their ranks. By the turn of the century, all of Oviedo’s original companions had died, leaving the mission in the hands of Melchior da Sylva, an Indian priest who alone had secretly bypassed Ottoman authorities.55 The Society’s first mission to Ethiopia had been an abysmal failure, so much so that Pope Gregory XIII (1572–1585) dispatched multiple letters and even a representative to mend relations with the Ethiopian emperor.56

In 1603, the arrival of father Pedro Páez (1564–1622) at Emperor Zädәngәl’s (1603–1604) court was a watershed for both Ethiopia and the Society of Jesus’ objectives in the country. This second Jesuit mission enjoyed a renewed interest in the Red Sea and Ethiopia among Hapsburg sovereigns, who had been ruling over the kingdom of Portugal since the 1580 union of crowns and saw Ethiopia as a valuable anti-Ottoman ally. More importantly, Páez and his companions operated in a more favorable context than their predecessors, in particular, due to the political fragmentation that followed Śärṣ́ä Dәngәl’s death in 1597.57

As court factions vied for power, the fathers no longer found a united front supportive of Ethiopian Christianity. Instead, some among the nobility came to see the missionaries as useful agents, capable of providing legitimacy and possibly military support for their claims to power. This motive, presumably, led Emperor Susәnyos (1606–1632), who welcomed Páez at court and allowed the mission to thrive. His stature grew commensurate with the emperor’s hold on power: by the late 1610s, Susәnyos had crushed all opposition, and the fathers, now an accepted presence at court, were able to forge ties with receptive noblemen. With their protection, they proselytized among the peasantry and thus created a network of outposts throughout the kingdom.

Páez maintained a tolerant yet cautious attitude: the fathers avoided confronting Ethiopian clerics and instead opted to strengthen their position. Whether this was done out of conviction or expedience remains the subject of debate; certainly, from Páez’s arrival until his death, the mission made significant inroads in the country. Year after year, the fathers enlisted a growing number of noblemen to their cause, and by the mid-1610s they were able to confidently engage in public preaching against Ethiopian Christianity and the traditional clergy.58

The missionaries’ success fed growing resentment among traditionalists, who attempted at first to resist peacefully but, by 1617, engaged the fathers’ supporters in an open military confrontation. The rebels were easily defeated, and both the ringleader, baḥәr nägäš Yolyos (n.a.–1617) and the supportive abuna Sәmʿon (1607–1617), were executed.59 With the most prominent opponents neutralized, the fathers’ proselytizing effort accelerated and hardened. Páez handed the leadership to Antonio Fernandez (1571–1642), who committed the mission to a head-to-head battle with the traditionalists by stepping up efforts on multiple fronts. Under Fernandez, the fathers authored theological texts rejecting Ethiopian practices (figure 10), expanded their pastoral activities throughout the kingdom, and invested in Catholic schooling.60

Encounters Between Ethiopia and Europe, 1400–1660Click to view larger

Figure 10. Frontispiece, Alfonso Mendes. Bran-Haymanot Id Est Lux Fidei In Epithalamivm Aethiopissae, Sive In Nvptias Uerbi Et Ecclesiae. Coloniæ Agripinæ: Egmond, 1692.

In 1620, Emperor Susәnyos forbade the practice of the Sabbath, and many among the high nobility made open professions of Catholic faith, paving the way for the emperor’s on November 1, 1621. Following his public conversion, the emperor implemented a variety of policies geared to extirpate Ethiopian Christianity and prepare the kingdom for the impending arrival of Ethiopia’s first Catholic patriarch, Afonso Mendes (1579–1656).61 According to provisions in line with those of the Inquisition, the property of apostates could be confiscated and assigned to their accusers, while Catholics gained tax exemptions, and marriage was declared monogamous and indissoluble.62

Mendes reached Ethiopia with a large contingent of fathers, tasked with speeding up the process of conversion. On February 11, 1626, Susәnyos made an open vow of obedience to the Roman pontiff, officially severing the kingdom and its church’s historical dependence from the Coptic Church. Mendes mandated the reexamination and reordainment of Ethiopian clerics, suppressed fasting practices, superseded dietary restrictions, and thoroughly denounced and persecuted circumcision. The calendar was reformed to match the Gregorian one, and Ethiopia’s religious celebrations were scheduled to match Catholic ones. The Latin mass became mandatory and was celebrated not only in Jesuit but also in traditional churches where Ethiopian liturgical elements, such as the tabot, the consecrated replica of the Tablets of the Law, were replaced with Catholic ones. Monastic life was reformed according to Catholic practice.63

The reforms represented the climax of the Jesuit mission, but they also resulted in widespread resistance. While the fathers had shrewdly entrenched themselves at court, success among the Ethiopian masses had been limited, and Jesuit presence and doctrines were perceived as alien. The reforms prompted a new wave of opposition, which, after peaceful beginnings, turned violent. Rebellions broke out: whereas resistance came predominantly from Christian traditionalists, the conflict grew to involve the Oromo, Agäw, and Betä Ǝsraʾl communities. One of the most noteworthy and best-documented rebellions is that of the female saint, Wälättä Peṭros (1594–1644), which grew to involve much of the Lake Tana region.64 Unrest increased throughout the late 1620s, veering the kingdom toward full-fledged civil war. Despite their official support of Catholicism, many at Emperor Susәnyos’s court maneuvered to curtail Jesuit power. Nothing probably epitomizes the deep bifurcation running through the kingdom more than the positions of the sovereign’s offspring, with four supporting Ethiopian traditions and four Catholicism.65

By the turn of the decade, the mission was in retreat, humbled by traditionalist resistance. In 1630, an embattled Susәnyos persuaded Mendes to allow fasting and the celebration of the traditional Ethiopian mass. In the ensuing months, the emperor continued to lose ground as most of the mäkʷanәnt abandoned the Jesuit cause. On June 24, 1632, Susәnyos declared religious freedom, spent the following months in seclusion, and died in September of the same year: his declaration, along with his son Fasilädäs’s (1632–1667) ascension, marked the end of an era.

In the ensuing months, Mendes, his companions, and his followers faced widespread retribution: the fathers were dispossessed of their estates and resources; Catholic churches were sacked and many destroyed; and Ethiopian priests, when not killed, were expelled. The twenty or so missionaries who lived in Ethiopia at the time tried to organize resistance with the Ethiopian-Portuguese, but attempts proved ephemeral: by 1633, the fathers and their followers had retreated to Fremona. Many, including Mendes, left the country; those who opted to stay faced Fasilädäs’s determination to eradicate Catholicism. In September 1634, the emperor decreed the expulsion of all missionaries, simultaneously requesting Ottoman authorities on the coast to stop any inbound priests. The eight fathers remaining in the country went into hiding together with their Portuguese and Ethiopian assistants: by 1640, they had all been killed.66

Small communities of Ethiopian Catholics survived a few more years, but by the 1660s, they had mostly assimilated into Ethiopian traditions. The Ethiopian-Portuguese fared no better: mistrusted because of their identity and their collusion with the fathers, they were first kept under scrutiny near Fasilädäs’s new permanent capital, Gondar, and then expelled by Emperor Yoḥannes I (1667–1682) after his ascension.

Santo Stefano During the Jesuit Mission to Ethiopia

During the early decades of the Jesuit presence in Ethiopia, multiple factors contributed to Santo Stefano’s marginalization and decline. Until the solidification of Portuguese–Ethiopian relations and the dispatch of the Jesuit mission, the complex had been an important hosting institution for pilgrims and representatives. However, with the Ethiopian monarchy directly engaged by Portugal and the Society of Jesus, Santo Stefano’s function as hostel and locus of intelligence gathering lost much of its relevance (figure 11).

Encounters Between Ethiopia and Europe, 1400–1660Click to view larger

Figure 11. View of Santo Stefano degli Abissini in the 1750s. Giuseppe Vasi, Delle magnificenze di Roma antica e moderna., vol. 9. Rome: Stamperia di Niccolo e Marco Pagliarini, 1759, p. 36.

On the Ethiopian side, the desire to further its relations with Latin Christians had brought multiple delegations to Rome, but with the Jesuits demanding that Emperor Gälawdewos and his successors convert, Ethiopians were receiving more attention than they had bargained for. Echoes of Jesuit doings and intentions in Ethiopia, and of Rome’s hardening stance on heterodoxy, reverberated among the country’s clerical diaspora in the Middle East and dissuaded further missions and pilgrimages. Concurrently, the Ottoman Empire vied for supremacy in the Mediterranean and sparred with the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean. Ottoman authorities, in firm control of most routes connecting Rome to Ethiopia through the Arab world, worked to limit Ethiopian–European exchanges and prevent solid alliances. In addition, the unfolding Counter-Reformation had significant consequences for the hospitality and understanding that the papacy was willing to accord to heretics.

Starting with the elevation of Pope Paul IV (1555–1559) and the coming to power of the intransigent faction of the curia, the general attitude of accommodation and ecumenism that had characterized earlier decades gave way to militant orthodoxy. Yoḥannes’s reordainment as Catholic and his appointment as Santo Stefano’s first Catholic prior spoke to the changing climate. In the ensuing decades, most Ethiopian clerics who stayed at the complex were no longer pilgrims hailing from the Holy Land but converts the Jesuits had dispatched to Rome to seek further support for the mission. For example, in 1591 and 1596, two Ethiopian Catholics, Täklä Maryam and Peṭros, arrived in Rome to request military intervention against the Ottomans in the Red Sea. Years later, in 1634, when the fathers had already been expelled, four more Catholic Ethiopians arrived in Rome at Mendes’s behest.67

What had once been a haven for Ethiopian pilgrims and an ecumenical center of learning had turned into an instrument of the Jesuit mission. The combined weight of the Counter-Reformation and the Society’s objectives in Ethiopia transfigured Santo Stefano’s intellectual role: Ethiopian traditions no longer had to be understood but were to be erased and replaced instead. Indicative of both its diminishing role and of the papacy’s desire to control the acquisition and production of knowledge about Ethiopia, the complex’s manuscript collection was relocated to the Vatican Library by papal decree in 1628.68 In Ethiopia, the fathers emulated the Roman prelates who had cultivated Ethiopian languages. They learned not only Ge’ez but also Amharic, Tәgrәñña, and other local languages, but for a very different purpose: furthering their missionary efforts through preaching, translating important Catholic classics, and producing new texts compiled for the sole purpose of discrediting Ethiopian traditions.69

Further Missionary Attempts, 1634–1669

The mission’s complete failure did not affect Mendes’s resolve, however. From his exile in Goa, the expelled patriarch spent the rest of his life plotting a return to Ethiopia while also documenting the flaws of Ethiopian Christianity and aggrandizing the mission’s history. Understanding that any new missionary attempt would have been at sword’s point, the fathers sought Portuguese support for a military intervention, as they had repeatedly done throughout the history of the mission. The closest Mendes came to receiving support for a new military mission was in the months following the expulsion, when Father Jerónimo Lobo (1595–1678) traveled to Madrid and Lisbon to elicit support: while he persuaded King Philip IV (1621–1640), plans were never implemented.70

Apart from staving off the last Jesuit attempts to enter Ethiopia in the 1630s and 1640s, Fasilädäs’s anti-Catholic policy also prevented new efforts by other religious orders. Throughout the Jesuit era, ecclesiastical authorities in Rome had been skeptical of the Society’s approach and limited results in Ethiopia. Once the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith was established to coordinate all missionary activities in the world, the Jesuit mission to Ethiopia underwent growing scrutiny. After the expulsion, the Society was officially deprived of its missionary assignment in Ethiopia, and in the following decades, Franciscan missionaries hailing from both Italy and France attempted to regain a foothold in Ethiopia, all to no avail.71

The first victims of Fasilädäs’s resolve to keep missionaries out were two enterprising French Capuchins, Agathange of Vendôme (1598–1638) and Cassien of Nantes (1607–1638), hailing from Cairo. Having learned of the Jesuit failure, in 1637 they headed to Ethiopia equipped with credentials obtained from the Coptic patriarch, Matewos III (1631–1646). Disguised as merchants, they successfully reached Gondar, only to be hanged by Fasilädäs.

In 1633, Propaganda Fide officially assigned the Ethiopian mission to the Reformed Friars Minor. The first two friars to attempt the journey reached Massawa in 1639: they were discovered and deported to Sawākin. The mission’s head, Antonio da Virgoletta (1593–1641), died of natural causes shortly after arriving in the city, and his companion, Antonio da Pescopagano (n.a.–1648), inherited the mission. Determined to find a way into Ethiopia, he remained in the port city until Ottoman authorities executed him with his other missionaries, at the behest of Fasilädäs.

These failures induced more caution: a new try came only after Fasilädäs’s death, when a party of six fathers sought to gain Yoḥannes’s court. By 1669 they were all dead: four during the journey and two crucified in Gondar. In the following decades, Propaganda Fide opted to scale back on the Ethiopian mission and ended direct involvement, assigning responsibility for the country to the Franciscan mission in Egypt, which would be of no consequence. After the Jesuits’ expulsion, Ethiopian rulers preferred to pursue relations in the Muslim world, keeping their country isolated from Catholic Europe until the 19th century.

Discussion of the Literature

The modern study of Ethiopian–European relations dates back to the turn of the 20th century. The first generations of scholars to tackle the subject—mostly trained Orientalists and Church historians—approached it from narrow philological and ecclesiastical perspectives, disregarding the broader context in which relations unfolded and discounting Ethiopian agency. Most of the early scholarship belongs in one of two categories: small but seminal contributions by Orientalists mostly focused on interpreting and translating the Ethiopian chronicles,72 and extensive works aimed at documenting Rome’s efforts to entertain relations first and later proselytize in Ethiopia. Particularly significant are the Capuchin Mauro da Leonessa’s (1883–1946) monograph and the Jesuit Marius Chaîne’s (1873–1960) article on Santo Stefano degli Abissini; the Franciscan Teodosio Somigli’s history of his order’s initiatives toward Ethiopia; and the Jesuit Camillo Beccari’s (1849–1928) fifteen-volume collection of sources on the Jesuit mission.73

Successively, the field of Ethiopian studies benefited greatly from the resources that Fascist Italy poured into its misguided colonial adventures: among the extensive Orientalist activities of the era are many contributions to the field, in particular those of Carlo Conti Rossini (1872–1949) and Enrico Cerulli (1898–1988).74 Near the end of Italy’s colonial experience, another scholar, Renato Lefevre (1909–2004), issued a series of seminal articles on Ethiopian–European relations, adopting what was, for the era, a surprisingly unprejudiced perspective that gave due credit to Ethiopian initiatives. With articles and a collection of sources spanning four decades, Lefevre remains the most important contributor to the history of the Ethiopian diaspora in Rome and should be considered a scholar of African diaspora studies ante litteram.75

Another body of seminal contributions encompassing the interwar and the postwar eras are those of scholars primarily concerned with the history of early modern exploration and the history of geography. Belonging to this group are the mammoth works of the Frenchmen Charles Bourel de La Roncière (1870–1941) and Albert Kammerer (1875–1951), only partially concerned with Ethiopia, and the contributions of scholars associated with Britain’s School of Oriental and Asian Studies and the Hakluyt Society, in particular, Charles Fraser Beckingham (1914–1998), George Wynn Brereton Huntingford (c. 1900–1978), and Osbert Guy Stanhope Crawford (1886–1957), who contributed to the field with both essays and edited collections of sources in English translation.76

In the postwar era, Ethiopian studies gained from the seminal contributions of the first generation of professionally trained Ethiopian historians: Merid Wolde Aregay (1934/1935–2008) and Taddesse Tamrat (1935–2013).77 Taddesse’s Church and State remains the founding text for any scholar interested in early modern Ethiopia. Merid and Asa J. Davis (1922–1977)—the first African-American scholar to take part in a field still predominantly European—laid the foundation for the history of Ethiopian–Portuguese relations, a topic that would later greatly benefit from Jean Aubin’s articles.78 The latter was, along with Salvatore Tedeschi (1914–1996), one of few scholars to contribute to the field between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s.79

The past two decades have seen an unprecedented outpouring of scholarship dedicated both to the Ethiopian diaspora and the Jesuit presence in Ethiopia. A growing number of Europeanists, representing a broad range of scholarly interests, has expanded the study of the Ethiopian presence in the Italian peninsula in many directions.80 Among them are art historians who have identified Ethiopian subjects as part of their work on the black presence in European art,81 while their Ethiopianist counterparts have been shedding light on European influence on early modern Ethiopian art.82

A new generation of Ethiopianists has contributed articles83 and, for the first time in decades, monographs about the history of Ethiopian–European relations. Hervé Pennec, Leonardo Cohen, and Andreu Martinez have reshaped the historiography of the Jesuit mission, while the present author produced the first comprehensive account of Ethiopian–European relations before the Jesuit period.84 Further study on the Jesuit era is expected to give full consideration to the female Ethiopian saint Wälättä Peṭros, who strenuously opposed the fathers and whose hagiography, the first known biography of an African woman, has recently been made available in an English translation.85

The past decade has also seen publication of the largest collective effort in Ethiopian studies to date, the Encyclopedia Aethiopica. Despite its distinctly Eurocentric flavor, with 5,000 pages and entries for the vast majority of the agents, locales, and events mentioned in this present article, this reference work is the starting point for any scholar keen on understanding and developing the field.86

Primary Sources

The European presence in early modern Ethiopia has left behind a collection of sources that has few peers in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, while the Ethiopian presence in early modern Europe is the best-documented case of free Africans on the continent. The vast, diverse, and mostly accessible body of primary and secondary sources offers significant research opportunities for Europeanists and Africanists alike. For the latter, the most significant obstacle against this research is probably language, with sources in Latin and a variety of more or less obscure early modern European vernaculars that usually are not part of an Africanist’s training.

For the entire era, the Ethiopian chronicles, available in original Ge’ez as well as in multiple translations, represent the most important set of Ethiopian sources. While they offer little in the way of direct references to Ethiopian–European relations, they are a natural starting point for scholars interested in understanding the political context in which the exchanges unfolded.87 Other Ethiopian sources that can help shed further light on the topic are the period’s art and architecture, royal correspondence to be found in European state archives,88 and Ethiopian manuscript collections.89

For the pre-Jesuit era, the most important bits of information are scattered in local and national European chronicles90—in particular, the Portuguese concerned with the history of the kingdom and its overseas expansion91—travelers’ accounts,92 and disparate pamphlets.93

Most of the known sources have been published in complete or partial form. Those that have not can be found in the following institutions, among others: the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Archivio Segreto Vaticano, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, Archivio di Stato di Venezia, Archivio di Stato di Firenze, Archivio di Stato di Roma, Archivo de la Corona de Aragón, and Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo. While an archival visit allows access to unpublished aids (e.g., the Indice Garampi in the Archivio Segreto Vaticano),94 an ideal starting point for armchair research would be published collections of sources such as Enrico Cerulli’s, Renato Lefevre’s, the Documenta Henricina, the Cartas de Affonso de Albuquerque, the Corpo Diplomatico Portuguez, and the Hakluyt Society’s.95

For the Jesuit era, a natural starting point is Camillo Beccari’s collection, together with other published Jesuit sources. Among them are Jeronimo Lobo’s famous Itinerário, which did not make it into Beccari’s collection; the recent and superbly edited English translations of Pedro Páez’s História da Etiópia and of selected Jesuit Latin letters; and Wälättä Peṭros’s unique hagiography.96 Any further contribution to the history of the Jesuit era would inevitably lead scholars to the Archivio Storico de Propaganda Fide, the Archivum Romanum Societatis Jesu, the Biblioteca Pública de Évora, and the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal.

Further Reading

Abir, Mordechai. “Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.” In The Cambridge History of Africa. Edited by Richard Gray, vol. 4, 537–577. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1975.Find this resource:

Abir, Mordechai. Ethiopia and the Red Sea: The Rise and Decline of the Solomonic Dynasty and Muslim-European Rivalry in the Region. London: Frank Cass, 1980.Find this resource:

Belcher, Wendy Laura. “Sisters Debating the Jesuits: The Role of African Women in Defeating Portuguese Proto-Colonialism in Seventeenth-Century Abyssinia.” Northeast African Studies 13, no. 1 (2013): 121–166.Find this resource:

Cohen, Leonardo. The Missionary Strategies of the Jesuits in Ethiopia (1555–1632). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2009.Find this resource:

Cohen Shabot, Leonardo, and Andreu Martínez d’Alòs-Moner. “The Jesuit Mission in Ethiopia (16th–17th Centuries): An Analytical Bibliography.” Aethiopica 9 (2006): 190–212.Find this resource:

Crummey, Donald. Land and Society in the Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia: From the Thirteenth to the Twentieth Century. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000.Find this resource:

Davis, Asa J. “Background to the Zaaga Zab Embassy: An Ethiopian Diplomatic Mission to Portugal (1529–1539).” Studia 32 (1971): 211–302.Find this resource:

De Lorenzi, James. “Red Sea Travelers in Mediterranean Lands: Ethiopian Scholars and Early Modern Orientalism, ca. 1500–1668.” In World-Building and the Early Modern Imagination. Edited by Allison B. Kavey, 173–200. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.Find this resource:

Delsere, Ilaria, and Osvaldo Raineri. Chiesa di S. Stefano dei Mori: vicende edilizie e personaggi. Città del Vaticano: Edizioni Capitolo Vaticano, 2015.Find this resource:

Fernández, Victor M., Jorge De Torres, Andreu Martínez d’Alòs-Moner, and Carlos Cañete. The Archaeology of the Jesuit Missions in Ethiopia (1557–1632). Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2017.Find this resource:

Lefevre, Renato. “Riflessi etiopici nella cultura europea del Medioevo e del Rinascimento—Parte Prima.” Annali Lateranensi VIII (1944): 9–89.Find this resource:

Lefevre, Renato. “Riflessi etiopici nella cultura europea del Medioevo e del Rinascimento—Parte Seconda.” Annali Lateranensi IX (1945): 331–444.Find this resource:

Lefevre, Renato. “Riflessi etiopici nella cultura europea del Medioevo e del Rinascimento—Parte Terza.” Annali Lateranensi XI (1947): 254–342.Find this resource:

Leonessa, Mauro da. Santo Stefano Maggiore degli Abissini e le relazioni romano-etiopiche. Vatican City: Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1929.Find this resource:

Martínez d’Alòs-Moner, Andreu. “Early Portuguese Emigration to the Ethiopian Highlands: Geopolitics, Missions and Métissage.” In Reinterpreting Indian Ocean Worlds: Essays in Honour of Kirti N. Chaudhuri. Edited by Stefan C. A. Halikowski Smith, 2–32. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars, 2011.Find this resource:

Martínez d’Alós-Moner, Andreu. Envoys of a Human God: The Jesuit Mission to Christian Ethiopia, 1557–1632. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2015.Find this resource:

Merid Wolde Aregay. “Southern Ethiopia and the Christian Kingdom, 1508–1708: With Special Reference to the Galla Migrations and Their Consequences,” 1971.Find this resource:

Merid Wolde Aregay, and Girma Beshah. The Question of the Union of the Churches in Luso-Ethiopian Relations, 1500–1632. Lisbon: Junta de Investigações do Ultramar, 1964.Find this resource:

Pennec, Hervé. Des jésuites au royaume du prêtre Jean, (Ethiopie). Stratégies, rencontres et tentatives d’implantation, 1495–1633. Paris: Centre Culturel Calouste Gulbenkian, 2003.Find this resource:

Ramos, Manuel Joao. Essays in Christian Mythology: The Metamorphosis of Prester John. 1st ed. New York: University Press of America, 2006.Find this resource:

Salvadore, Matteo. The African Prester John and the Birth of Ethiopian-European Relations 1402–1555. New York: Routledge, 2016.Find this resource:

Salvadore, Matteo. “African Cosmopolitanism in the Early Modern Mediterranean: The Diasporic Life of Yohannes, the Ethiopian Pilgrim Who Became a Counter-Reformation Bishop.” Journal of African History 58, no. 1 (2017): 61–83.Find this resource:

Taddesse Tamrat. Church and State in Ethiopia, 1270–1527. Oxford Studies in African Affairs. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972.Find this resource:

Notes:

(1.) I would like to thank Cristelle Baskins for alerting me to Giovanni Guerra’s painting (figure 4) and the engravings in Orazio Giustiniani’s volume (figure 3), and Kristen Windmuller-Luna for helping me identify and retrieve figure 7 and figure 10.

(2.) Charles Fraser Beckingham, “An Ethiopian Embassy to Europe c. 1310,” Journal of Semitic Studies 34, no. 2 (1989): 337–346; Renato Lefevre, “Presenze etiopiche in Italia prima del concilio di Firenze del 1439,” Rassegna di studi etiopici 23, no. 68 (1967): 6; Matteo Salvadore, The African Prester John and the Birth of Ethiopian-European Relations 1402–1555 (New York: Routledge, 2016), 1–6; Raleigh Ashlin Skelton, “An Ethiopian Embassy to Western Europe in 1306,” in Ethiopian Itineraries ca. 1400–1524, ed. Osbert Guy Stanhope Crawford (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1958), 212–215.

(3.) Amharic terms in the main text are spelled according to the standard Encyclopedia Aethiopica transliteration. Dates in parenthesis correspond to birth and death, except for heads of churches and states, in which case the dates delimit their time in office.

(4.) Osbert Guy Stanhope Crawford, ed., Ethiopian Itineraries, Circa 1400–1524 (Cambridge, UK: Hakluyt Society, 1958), 5; Gianfranco Fiaccadori, “L’Etiopia, Venezia e l’Europa,” in Nigra sum sed formosa: sacro e bellezza dell’Etiopia cristiana, ed. Giuseppe Barbieri, Mario Di Salvo, and Gianfranco Fiaccadori (Vicenza: Terra Ferma, 2009); Andrew Kurt, “The Search for Prester John, a Projected Crusade and the Eroding Prestige of Ethiopian Kings,” Journal of Medieval History 39, no. 3 (2013): 13–14; Vittorio Lazzarini, “Un’ambasciata etiopica in Italia nel 1404,” Atti del Reale Istituto veneto di scienze, lettere ed arti 83, no. 2 (1923): 839–844; Kate Lowe, “‘Representing’ Africa: Ambassadors and Princes from Christian Africa to Renaissance Italy and Portugal, 1402–1608,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (Sixth Series), 6, 17, no. 1 (2007): 101–128; Matteo Salvadore, “The Ethiopian Age of Exploration: Prester John’s Discovery of Europe, 1306–1458,” Journal of World History 21, no. 4 (2010): 604; Salvadore, The African Prester John and the Birth of Ethiopian-European Relations 1402–1555, 24–32.

(5.) There is no record explicitly indicating whether the embassy successful returned in Ethiopia, but the arrival of some of the Venetian gifts to Dawit’s court suggests it did. On the possibility that one of the relics was Ethiopia’s celebrated “True Cross” [Mäsqäl], see Osvaldo Raineri, “I doni della Serenissima al re Davide I d’Etiopia (MS Raineri 43. della Vaticana),” Orientalia Christiana Periodica 65 (1999): 363–448. On the fate of another gift, see Marilyn E. Heldman, “A Chalice from Venice for Emperor Dawit of Ethiopia,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 53, no. 3 (1990): 442–445.

(6.) Nicola Jorga, “Cenni sulle relazioni tra l’Abissinia e l’Europa cattolica nei secoli XIV–XV, con un itinerario inedito del secolo XV,” in Centenario della nascita di Michele Amari (Palermo: Stabilimento tipografico Virzì, 1910), 139–150.

(7.) The literature on Prester John is boundless. The following works are particularly relevant to the Ethiopian Prester John: see Charles Fraser Beckingham and Bernard Hamilton, eds., Prester John, the Mongols, and the Ten Lost Tribes (Adershot: Ashgate Variorum, 1996); Michael E. Brooks, “Prester John: A Reexamination and Compendium of the Mythical Figure Who Helped Spark European Expansion” (PhD diss., University of Toledo, 2009); Manuel Joao Ramos, Essays in Christian Mythology: The Metamorphosis of Prester John, 1st ed. (New York: University Press of America, 2006); Vsevolod Slessarev, Prester John: The Letter and the Legend (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1959).

(8.) Francesc Relaño, The Shaping of Africa (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2002), 51–72.

(9.) On the identity of the informants: Fiaccadori, “L’Etiopia, Venezia e l’Europa,” 38–50; Salvadore, The African Prester John and the Birth of Ethiopian-European Relations 1402–1555, 27–33. The definitive work on the Mappamundi is Piero Falchetta, Fra Mauro’s Map of the World: With a Commentary and Translations of the Inscriptions (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2006).

(10.) Crawford, Ethiopian Itineraries, Circa 1400–1524; Roberto Almagià, “Intorno a quattro codici fiorentini e ad uno ferrarese dell’erudito veneziano Alessandro Zorzi,” La Bibliofilia 38 (1936): 313–347.

(11.) The concerned sources can be accessed in translation in Peter P. Garretson, “A Note on Relations between Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Aragon in the Fifteenth Century,” Rassegna di studi etiopici, no. 37 (1993): 37–44.

(12.) Carmelo Trasselli, “Un Italiano in Etiopia nel XV secolo. Pietro Rombulo da Messina,” Rassegna di studi etiopici 19 (1941): 1–2.

(13.) Francesco Cerone, “La politica orientale di Alfonso d’Aragona,” Archivio storico per le provincie napoletane 27 (1902): 37–93; Garretson, “A Note on Relations between Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Aragon in the Fifteenth Century,” 37–44; Constantin Marinescu, La politique orientale d’Alfonse V d’Aragon, roi de Naples (1416–1458) (Barcelona: Institut d’Estudis Catalans, 1994), 14–28, 198–202; Kurt, “The Search for Prester John, a Projected Crusade and the Eroding Prestige of Ethiopian Kings,” 7–18; Salvadore, The African Prester John and the Birth of Ethiopian-European Relations 1402–1555, 36–53.

(14.) Bertrandon de De La Brocquiere, Voyage d’outremer de Bertrandon de La Broquiere, ed. Charles Henri Auguste Schefer, Recueil de Voyages, Etc. (Paris: E. Leroux, 1892), 142–143.

(15.) Jean Devisse and Michel Mollat, “The Appeal to the Ethiopian,” in The Image of the Black in Western Art: Pt. 1. From the Early Christian Era to the “Age of Discovery”: From the Demonic Threat to the Incarnation of Sainthood, ed. David Bindman, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Karen C. C. Dalton, trans. William Granger Ryan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), 133–152; Mollat, Michel, and Devisse, Jean, “The Frontiers in 1460,” in The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume III: From the “Age of Discovery” to the Age of Abolition, Part 1: Artists of the Renaissance and Baroque: From the “Age of Discovery” to the Age of Abolition, Part 1: Artists of the Renaissance and Baroque, ed. David Bindman, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Karen C. C. Dalton (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), 153–166.

(16.) Pedro de Azevedo, “Um embaixador abissínio em Portugal em 1452,” Boletim da Classe de Letras 13 (1918–1919): 525–526.

(17.) Francesco Suriano, Il Trattato di Terra Santa e dell’Oriente, ed. Girolamo Golubovich (Milan: Tipografia editrice Artigianelli, 1900), 86.

(18.) Lefevre, “Presenze etiopiche in Italia prima del concilio di Firenze del 1439,” 16–25.

(19.) Marius Chaîne, “Un monastère éthiopien a Rome aux XV et XVI siècle, Santo Stefano dei mori,” Mélanges de la Faculté orientale V (1911): 1–36; Ilaria Delsere and Osvaldo Raineri, Chiesa di S. Stefano dei Mori: vicende edilizie e personaggi (Vatican City: Edizioni Capitolo Vaticano, 2015); Mauro da Leonessa, Santo Stefano Maggiore degli Abissini e le relazioni romano-etiopiche (Vatican City: Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1929); Delio Vania Proverbio, “Santo Stefano degli Abissini. Una breve rivisitazione,” La parola del passato: Rivista di studi antichi 66 (2011): 50–68.

(20.) Lefevre, “Presenze etiopiche in Italia prima del concilio di Firenze del 1439,” 21.

(21.) Kirsten Stoffregen Pedersen, “Deir Es-Sultan: The Ethiopian Monastery in Jerusalem,” Quaderni Di Studi Etiopici, no. 8–9 (1987–1988): 33–47; Salvatore Tedeschi, “Profilo storico di Dayr as-Sultan,” Journal of Ethiopian Studies 2, no. 2 (1964): 92–160.

(22.) Enrico Cerulli, “Eugenio IV e gli Etiopi al Concilio di Firenze nel 1441,” Rendiconti della Reale Accademia dei Lincei. Classe di scienze morali 6, no. IX (1933): 354–368.

(23.) For the controversy and more in general for the visit, see Cerulli, “Eugenio IV e gli Etiopi al Concilio di Firenze nel 1441”; Salvatore Tedeschi, “Etiopi e Copti al concilio di Firenze,” Annuarium historiae Conciliorum 21, no. 2 (1989): 380–407; Samantha Kelly, “Ewosṭateans at the Council of Florence (1441): Diplomatic Implications between Ethiopia, Europe, Jerusalem and Cairo,” Afriques. Débats, Méthodes et Terrains d’histoire, June 29, 2016; Benjamin Weber, “La bulle Cantate Domino (4 février 1442) et les enjeux éthiopiens du concile de Florence,” Mélanges de l’École française de Rome—Moyen Âge 122, no. 2 (2010): 441–449; Benjamin Weber, “Gli Etiopi a Roma nel Quattrocento: ambasciatori politici, negoziatori religiosi o pellegrini?,” Mélanges de l’École française de Rome—Moyen Âge 125, no. 1 (2013).

(24.) Samantha Kelly, “Biondo Flavio on Ethiopia,” in The Routledge History of the Renaissance, ed. William Caferro (New York: Routledge, 2017).

(25.) Salvatore Tedeschi, “L’Etiopia di Poggio Bracciolini,” Africa 48, no. 3 (1993): 333–358.

(26.) The short volume included material on Africa and Asia and was entitled “India Discovered,” in line with the general identification, in European parlance, of Asia and Africa as “Indies.” For the publication history of Poggio Bracciolini’s text, see Joan-Pau Rubies, Travel and Ethnology in the Renaissance: South India through European Eyes, 1250–1625 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 85–124.

(27.) Laura Mannoni, Una carta Italiana del bacino del Nilo e dell’Etiopia del secolo XV (Roma: Istituto di Geografia della R. Università di Roma, 1932); Tedeschi, “Etiopi e Copti al concilio di Firenze,” 405–407.

(28.) Renato Lefevre, “Documenti pontifici sui rapporti con l’Etiopia nei secoli XV e XVI,” Rassegna di studi etiopici V (1947): 23; Luke Wadding and José Maria Ribeiro da Fonseca, Annales Minorum: seu Trium Ordinum a S. Francisco institutorum (Typis Rochi Bernabò, 1735), 26, vol. 13.

(29.) Marco Bonechi, “Four Sistine Ethiopians? The 1481 Ethiopian Embassy and the Frescoes of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican,” Aethiopica 14 (2011): 121–135; Gianfranco Fiaccadori, “A Marginal Note to ‘Four Sistine Ethiopians?’” Aethiopica 14 (2011–2012): 136–144.

(30.) Taddesse Tamrat, Church and State in Ethiopia, 1270–1527, Oxford Studies in African Affairs (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), 291.

(31.) For context, see Taddesse Tamrat, Church and State in Ethiopia, 1270–1527, Oxford Studies in African Affairs (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), 268–297. For the encounter between Tomacelli and the Ethiopian envoys and ensuing events, see Renato Lefevre, “Ricerche sull’imolese G. B. De Brocchi : viaggiatore in Etiopia e curiale pontificio (sec. XV–XVI),” Archivio della società romana di storia patria, 3, 12, no. 1–4 (1958): 55–118; Renato Lefevre, “G.B. Brocchi da Imola diplomatico pontificio e viaggiatore in Etiopia nel 400,” Bollettino della reale società geografica italiana, no. agosto-settembre (1939): 639–660; Salvadore, The African Prester John and the Birth of Ethiopian-European Relations 1402–1555, 68–81.

(32.) Manuel, Epistola Invictissimi Regis Portugalliae ad Leonem X.P.M. super foedere inito cum Presbytero Ioanne Aethiopiae Rege. (Lisbon, 1521).

(33.) Salvadore, The African Prester John and the Birth of Ethiopian-European Relations 1402–1555, 82–101.

(34.) Jean Aubin, “L’ambassade Du Prêtre Jean a D. Manuel,” Mare Luso-Indicum 3 (1976): 1–56.

(35.) The most complete and accurate edition of Alvares’s narrative, which in 1540 became the first book-length eyewitness account of the country printed in Europe, is Francisco Alvares, The Prester John of the Indies; a True Relation of the Lands of the Prester John, Being the Narrative of the Portuguese Embassy to Ethiopia in 1520, ed. Charles Fraser Beckingham and George Wynn Brereton Huntingford, trans. Henry Edward John Stanley Stanley (Cambridge, UK: Hakluyt Society, 1961).

(36.) On Ṣägga Zäʾab, see Asa J. Davis, “Background to the Zaaga Zab Embassy: An Ethiopian Diplomatic Mission to Portugal (1529–1539),” Studia 32 (1971): 211–302. For a discussion of the letters’ authenticity and Saga Zaab’s role, see Salvadore, The African Prester John and the Birth of Ethiopian-European Relations 1402–1555, 153–174. Saga Zaab’s confession of faith was published by Damião de Góis (1502–1574). Damião de Góis, Fides, Religio, Moresqve Æthiopvm Svb Imperio Preciosi Ioannis (Lovanii: Ex officina Rutgeri Rescij, 1540). The Portuguese humanist was an enthusiastic supporter of Ethiopian–European relations. He also published the most important source for Mateus’s visit: Damião de Góis, Legatio Magni Indorum Imperatoris Presbyteri Ionnis Ad Emanuelem Lusitaniae Regem, Anno Domini M.D.XIII (Antwerp: Ioannes Grapheus typis excudebat, 1532), and included numerous references to the Avis’s quest for Ethiopia in Damião de Góis and João Baptista Lavanha, Chronica Do Felicissimo Rey Dom. Emanuel a Qual Damiano de Goes Colegis (Lisbon, 1619). The hearing in Bologna was celebrated in a small pamphlet, published in Latin and Italian, which also includes the translated letters L’Ambasciaria di David, re dell’ Etiopia, al Santissimo S. N. Clemente Papa VII. (Bologna: Giacobo Keymolen Alostese, 1533); Legatio David Aethiopiae Regis, Ad Sanctissimum D.N Clementem Papa VII (Bologna: Bononiae apud Iacobum Kemolen Alostensem, 1533).

(37.) The events are recalled in Bermudes’s bombastic narrative, Joaõ Bermudez, Breve relação da embaixada que o Patriarcha D. João Bermudez, trouxe do imperador da ethiopa vulgarmente chamado, Preste João, dirigida a el-rei D. Sebastião. (Lisbon, 1565); for an English translation, see Richard Stephen Whiteway, ed., The Portuguese Expedition to Abyssinia in 1541–1543 as Narrated by Castanhoso (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1902), 123–257; see also the more recent João Bermudes, Ma géniale imposture: Patriarche du Pretre Jean (Toulouse and Marseille: Anacharsis, 2010).

(38.) The most important sources on the Ethiopian–Adali war are Miguel de Castanhoso, Dos feitos de D. Christovam da Gama em Ethiopia (Lisbon: Emprensa nacional, 1898), translated in Whiteway, The Portuguese Expedition to Abyssinia in 1541–1543 as Narrated by Castanhoso; and the Arabic chronicle, Sihab ad-Din Ahmad bin Abd al-Qader bin Salem bin Utman and Arthur Strong, Futuh Al-Habasha: The Conquest of Abyssinia (Hollywood, CA: Tsehai, 2003). For the war’s regional and global context, see Giancarlo Casale, The Ottoman Age of Exploration (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 69–74; Malyn Newitt, A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, 1400–1668 (London: Routledge, 2005), 108–112.

(39.) Andreu Martínez d’Alòs-Moner, “Early Portuguese Emigration to the Ethiopian Highlands: Geopolitics, Missions and Métissage,” in Reinterpreting Indian Ocean Worlds Essays in Honour of Kirti N. Chaudhuri, ed. K. N Chaudhuri (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2011).

(40.) Richard Pankhurst, “Färänğ,” ed. Siegbert Uhlig and Alessandro Bausi, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2003–2014).

(41.) Suriano, Il Trattato di Terra Santa e dell’Oriente, 85–86.

(42.) Crawford, Ethiopian Itineraries, Circa 1400–1524, 136–147, 162–169. On Corsali, see Rita Biscetti, Portogallo e Portoghesi nelle due lettere di Andrea Corsali a Giluiano e a Lorenzo De’ Medici incluse nelle “Navigazioni” Di G.B. Ramusio (Lisbon: Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical, 1984).

(43.) Marilyn E. Heldman, “Brancaleone, Nicolò,” ed. Siegbert Uhlig and Alessandro Bausi, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2003–2014). On European influence on 15th and 16th century Ethiopian art, see Marilyn E. Heldman, The Marian Icons of the Painter Frē Ṣeyon: A Study of Fifteenth-Century Ethiopian Art, Patronage, and Spirituality (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1994); Marilyn E. Heldman, “Fre Seyon: A Fifteenth-Century Ethiopian Painter,” African Arts 31, no. 4 (1998): 48–90; Marisa Bass and C. Griffith Mann, “A Devotional Icon by Niccolò Brancaleon,” Journal of the Walters Art Museum 60/61 (2002–2003): 111–112; Ian Campbell, “A Historical Note on Nicolo Brancaleon: As Revealed by an Iconographic Inscription,” Journal of Ethiopian Studies 37, no. 1 (2004): 83–102; Diana Spencer, “In Search of St. Luke Ikons in Ethiopia,” Journal of Ethiopian Studies 10, no. 2 (1972): 67–95.

(44.) Leonessa, Santo Stefano Maggiore degli Abissini e le relazioni romano-etiopiche, 200–216.

(45.) Johannes Potken, Psalterium David et cantica aliqua in lingua Chaldea (Rome: Marcellus Silber, 1513). On the arrival of the volume in Rome and the printing, see: Lefevre, “Ricerche sull’imolese G. B. De Brocchi : viaggiatore in Etiopia e curiale pontificio (sec. XV–XVI),” 70–71; Samantha Kelly, “The Curious Case of Ethiopic Chaldean: Fraud, Philology, and Cultural (Mis) Understanding in European Conceptions of Ethiopia,” Renaissance Quarterly 68, no. 4 (2015): 1227–1264; Hendrik Fredrik Wijnman, An Outline of the Development of Ethiopian Typography in Europe (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1960); Renato Lefevre, “L’Etiopia nella stampa del primo Cinquecento,” Quaderni d’Africa, Quaderni d’Africa, no. 3 (1966): 7–72.

(46.) Renato Lefevre, “Documenti e notizie su Tasfa Seyon e la sua attivita romana nel sec. XVI,” Rassegna di studi etiopici 24 (1969): 74–133. Gianfranco Fiaccadori, “Täsfa Sәyon,” ed. Siegbert Uhlig and Alessandro Bausi, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2003–2014).

(47.) On Beccadelli’s interest in Ethiopia, see Gabriele Natta, “L’enigma dell’Etiopia nel Rinascimento Italiano: Ludovico Beccadelli tra inquietudini religiose e orizzonti globali,” Rinascimento 55 (2015): 275–309.

(48.) Valer Petrus Ethyops, Testamentum Novum Cum Epistola Pauli Ad Hebreos Tantum, Cum Concordantiis Euanglistarum Eusebii . . ., 1549; Petrus Abbas, Modus baptizandi, preces et benedictiones quibus Ecclesia Ethiopum utitur, cum sacerdotes benedicunt puerperae unà cum infante Ecclesiam ingredienti, post quadragesimum puerperij diem: Item oratianes quibus ijdem utuntur in sacramento baptismi et conformationis, item missa qua communiter utuntur, quae etiam canon uniuersalis appellatur nunc primum ex lingua Chaldea siue Aethiopica in Latinam conuersae (Rome: Apud Antonium Bladum., 1549); Mariano Vittorio, Chaldeae Seu Aethiopicae Linguae Institutiones (Rome: V. Doricus, 1552).

(49.) Matteo Salvadore, “Gaining the Heart of Prester John: Loyola’s Blueprint for Ethiopia in Three Key Documents,” World History Connected 10, no. 3 (2013).

(50.) On Yoḥannes, see Renato Lefevre, “Roma e la comunità etiopica di Cipro nei secoli XV e XVI,” Rassegna di studi etiopici 1, no. 1 (1941): 71–86; Matteo Salvadore, “African Cosmopolitanism in the Early Modern Mediterranean: The Diasporic Life of Yohannes, the Ethiopian Pilgrim Who Became a Counter-Reformation Bishop,” The Journal of African History 58, no. 1 (2017): 61–83. Samantha Kelly and Denis Nosnitsin, “The Two Yoḥannǝses of Santo Stefano Degli Abissini, Rome: Reconstructing Biography and Cross-Cultural Encounter through Manuscript Evidence,” Manuscript Studies 2, no. 2 (2017): 392–426.

(51.) Salvadore, “Gaining the Heart of Prester John”; Andreu Martínez d’Alòs-Moner, “The Birth of a Mission: The Jesuit Patriarchate in Ethiopia,” Portuguese Studies Review 10, no. 2 (2003): 1–14.

(52.) Lino Lozza, La confessione di Claudio, re d’Etiopia (1540–1559) (A. Renna, 1947).

(53.) For a comprehensive study of Jesuit locales, architecture, and art, see Victor M. Fernández, Jorge De Torres, Andreu Martínez d’Alòs-Moner, and Carlos Cañete, The Archaeology of the Jesuit Missions in Ethiopia (1557–1632) (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2017).

(54.) On the first decades of the Jesuit mission, see Andreu Martínez d’Alós-Moner, Envoys of a Human God: The Jesuit Mission to Christian Ethiopia, 1557–1632 (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2015), 83–95; Leonardo Cohen, The Missionary Strategies of the Jesuits in Ethiopia (1555–1632) (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2009), 20–22; Hervé Pennec, Des jésuites au royaume du prêtre Jean, (Ethiopie). Stratégies, rencontres et tentatives d’implantation, 1495–1633 (Paris: Centre Culturel Calouste Gulbenkian, 2003), 45–158.

On Yәsḥaq’s initiatives, see Carlo Conti Rossini, “La guerra turco-abissina del 1578,” Oriente Moderno 1 (1921–1922): 634–636; 684–691.

(55.) Pennec, Des jésuites au royaume du prêtre Jean, (Ethiopie). Stratégies, rencontres et tentatives d’implantation, 1495–1633, 111–113.

(56.) Renato Lefevre, “L’Abissinia nella politica orientale di Gregorio XIII,” Gli Annali dell’Africa Italiana 1, no. 3–4 (1938): 1171–1209.

(57.) Martínez d’Alós-Moner, Envoys of a Human God, 148–172.

(58.) Martínez d’Alós-Moner, Envoys of a Human God, 149–172.

(59.) At the time, Yolyos appears to have been both baḥәr nägäš and tәgre mäkʷännәn (i.e., governor of the kingdom’s two northern provinces).

(60.) Martínez d’Alós-Moner, Envoys of a Human God, 114–117, 170–173, 210–219.

(61.) Barreto had been appointed to the same office, but he had died without setting foot in Ethiopia, let alone been recognized by the Ethiopians as such.

(62.) Martínez d’Alós-Moner, Envoys of a Human God, 172–176.

(63.) For a discussion of the many reforms, see Martínez d’Alós-Moner, Envoys of a Human God 134–200; Cohen, The Missionary Strategies of the Jesuits in Ethiopia (1555–1632), 51–70, 161–187.

(64.) Galawdewos, The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros: A Seventeenth-Century African Biography of an Ethiopian Woman, ed. Wendy Laura Belcher, trans. Michael Kleiner, 2015; Wendy Laura Belcher, “Sisters Debating the Jesuits: The Role of African Women in Defeating Portuguese Proto-Colonialism in Seventeenth-Century Abyssinia,” Northeast African Studies 13, no. 1 (2013): 121–166.

(65.) Martínez d’Alós-Moner, Envoys of a Human God, 299.

(66.) Pennec, Des jésuites au royaume du prêtre Jean, (Ethiopie). Stratégies, rencontres et tentatives d’implantation, 1495–1633, 232–240; Martínez d’Alós-Moner, Envoys of a Human God, 277–317.

(67.) Leonessa, Santo Stefano Maggiore degli Abissini e le relazioni romano-etiopiche, 250–255. The monks supported the Carmelite Jacob Wemmers (1598–1646) and Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc (1580–1637) in their Ethiopianist interests. Gianfranco Fiaccadori, “Santo Stefano dei Mori,” ed. Siegbert Uhlig and Alessandro Bausi, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2003–2014).

(68.) Delsere and Raineri, Chiesa di S. Stefano dei Mori, 100.

(69.) Leonardo Cohen, “The Jesuit Missionary as a Translator (1603–1632),” in Ethiopia and the Missions: Historical and Anthropological Insights (Munich: Verlag, 2005); Martínez d’Alós-Moner, Envoys of a Human God, 355–358.

(70.) Martínez d’Alós-Moner, Envoys of a Human God, 311–320; Charles Fraser Beckingham, “The ‘Itinerario’ of Jeronimo Lobo,” Journal of Semitic Studies 10, no. 2 (1965): 262–264; See Lobo’s account of his remarkable journey in J. Lobo et al., The Itinerário of Jerónimo Lobo (Cambridge, UK: Hakluyt Society, 1984).

(71.) On post-Jesuit efforts, see Metodio Carobbio da Nembro and Josef Metzler, “Martirio ed espulsione in Etiopia,” in Sacrae Congregationis Propaganda Fide Memoria Rerum 350 anni a servizio delle Missioni. 1622–1972, Vol. I/1: 1622–1700 (Freiburg: Herder, 1971), 624–649; Teodosio Somigli, Etiopia Francescana nei documenti dei secoli XVII e XVIII Preceduti da cenni storici sulle relazioni con l’Etiopia durante i sec. XIV e XV, vol. 1 (Florence: Quaracchi, 1928), cxviii–cl; Matteo Salvadore, “Muslim Partners, Catholic Foes: The Selective Isolation of Gondärine Ethiopia,” Northeast African Studies 12, no. 1 (2012): 51–72.

(72.) Ignazio Guidi, “La prima stampa del Nuovo Testamento in etiopico fatta in Roma nel 1548–1549,” Archivo della Regia società Romana di Storia di Patria IX, 1886, 273–278.

(73.) Camillo Beccari, Rerum Aethiopicarum Scriptores Occidentales Inediti a Saeculo XVI Ad XIX, 15 vols. (Rome: C. De Luigi, 1903); Chaîne, “Un monastère éthiopien a Rome aux XV et XVI siècle, Santo Stefano dei mori”; Leonessa, Santo Stefano Maggiore degli Abissini e le relazioni romano-etiopiche; Somigli, Etiopia Francescana nei documenti dei secoli XVII e XVIII Preceduti da cenni storici sulle relazioni con l’Etiopia durante i sec. XIV e XV.

(74.) Cerulli, “Eugenio IV e gli Etiopi al Concilio di Firenze nel 1441”; Enrico Cerulli, Etiopi in Palestina: storia della comunità etiopica di Gerusalemme (Rome: Libreria dello Stato, 1943); Conti Rossini, “La guerra turco-abissina del 1578”; Carlo Conti Rossini, “Il ‘Libro del Conoscimiento’ e le sue notizie sull’Etiopia,” Bollettino della Reale Società Geografica Italiana, Serie V 6 (1917): 656–679; Carlo Conti Rossini, Lo Hatata Zara Yaqob e il padre Giusto da Urbino, Sonderabdr. (Rome, 1920); Carlo Conti Rossini and Reale Accademia d’Italia., Portogallo ed Etiopia (Rome: Reale Accademia d’Italia, 1940); Carlo Conti Rossini, “Geographica,” Rassegna di studi etiopici III (1943): 167–199.

(75.) Renato Lefevre, “Appunti sull’ospizio di S. Stefano degli ‘indiani’ nel Cinquecento,” Studi Romani 15, no. 1 (1967): 16–33; Lefevre, “Documenti e notizie su Tasfa Seyon e la sua attivita romana nel sec. XVI”; Lefevre, “Documenti pontifici sui rapporti con l’Etiopia nei secoli XV e XVI”; Lefevre, “G.B. Brocchi da Imola diplomatico pontificio e viaggiatore in Etiopia nel 400”; Lefevre, “L’Abissinia nella politica orientale di Gregorio XIII”; Renato Lefevre, “L’Ambasceria di David re d’Etiopia a Clemente VII (1533),” Accademie e biblioteche d’Italia 34, no. 4, 5–6 (1966): 230–248, 324–338; Lefevre, “L’Etiopia nella stampa del primo Cinquecento”; Renato Lefevre, “Monaci e pellegrini d’Etiopia nella Roma dei Papi,” Rassegna Italiana, 1937, 7–10; Renato Lefevre, “Note su alcuni pellegrini etiopi in Roma al tempo di Leone X,” Rassegna di studi etiopici 21 (1965): 16–26; Renato Lefevre, “Nuovi documenti sulla comunità abissina in Roma dal sec. XV al XVIII,” L’Urbe 3, no. 5 (1938): 32–39; Lefevre, “Presenze etiopiche in Italia prima del concilio di Firenze del 1439”; Renato Lefevre, “Realta e leggenda dell’Etiopia nelle «Historiae» di Paolo Giovio,” Gli Annali dell’ Africa Italiana 4 (1941): 1189–1199; Lefevre, “Ricerche sull’imolese G. B. De Brocchi : viaggiatore in Etiopia e curiale pontificio (sec. XV–XVI)”; Renato Lefevre, “Riflessi etiopici nella cultura europea del Medioevo e del Rinascimento—Parte Prima,” Annali Lateranensi VIII (1944): 9–89; Renato Lefevre, “Riflessi etiopici nella cultura europea del Medioevo e del Rinascimento—Parte Seconda,” Annali Lateranensi IX (1945): 331–444; Renato Lefevre, “Riflessi etiopici nella cultura europea del Medioevo e del Rinascimento—Parte Terza,” Annali Lateranensi XI (1947): 254–342; Lefevre, “Roma e la comunità etiopica di Cipro nei secoli XV e XVI.”

(76.) Charles Fraser Beckingham and George Wynn Brereton Huntingford, eds., Some Records of Ethiopia, 1593–1646; Being Extracts from the History of High Ethiopia or Abassia, by Manoel De Almeida, Together with Bahrey’s History of the Galla (London: Hakluyt Society, 1954); Alvares, The Prester John of the Indies; a True Relation of the Lands of the Prester John, Being the Narrative of the Portuguese Embassy to Ethiopia in 1520; Osbert Guy Stanhope Crawford, “Some Medieval Theories about the Nile,” Geographical Journal 114, no. 1/3 (1949): 6–29; Crawford, Ethiopian Itineraries, Circa 1400–1524; Beckingham and Huntingford, Some Records of Ethiopia, 1593–1646; Being Extracts from the History of High Ethiopia or Abassia, by Manoel De Almeida, Together with Bahrey’s History of the Galla; Charles Fraser Beckingham, “Notes on an Unpublished Manuscript of Francisco Alvares: Verdadera Informaçam Das Terras Do Preste Joam Das Indias,” Annales d’Ethiopie 4, no. 1 (1961): 139–154; Beckingham, “The ‘Itinerario’ of Jeronimo Lobo”; Charles Fraser Beckingham, “European Sources for Ethiopian History before 1634,” Paideuma 33 (1987): 167–178; Beckingham, “An Ethiopian Embassy to Europe c. 1310”; Beckingham and Hamilton, Prester John, the Mongols, and the Ten Lost Tribes.

(77.) Taddesse Tamrat, Church and State in Ethiopia, 1270–1527; Taddesse Tamrat, “Ethiopia, the Red Sea and the Horn,” in The Cambridge History of Africa, ed. Roland Oliver, vol. 3 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1977), 99–182; Merid Wolde Aregay and Girma Beshah, The Question of the Union of the Churches in Luso-Ethiopian Relations, 1500–1632 (Lisbon: Junta de Investigações do Ultramar, 1964); Merid Wolde Aregay, “Southern Ethiopia and the Christian Kingdom, 1508–1708: With Special Reference to the Galla Migrations and Their Consequences,” 1971.

(78.) Davis, “Background to the Zaaga Zab Embassy: An Ethiopian Diplomatic Mission to Portugal (1529–1539)”; Asa J. Davis, “Pope Julius III, Bull of 1554: Its Political Significance in Ethiopia,” Ibadan., no. 26 (1969): 63–68; Asa J. Davis, “The Sixteenth Century Jihad in Ethiopia and the Impact on Its Culture. [Part One],” Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria. 2 (1963): 567–592; Jean Aubin, “Duarte Galvão,” Arquivos Do Centro Cultural Português 9 (1975): 43–85; Aubin, “L’ambassade Du Prêtre Jean a D. Manuel”; Jean Aubin, “Le Prêtre Jean Devant La Censure Portugaise,” Bulletin Des Etudes Portugaises et Brésiliennes Paris 41 (1980): 33–57.

(79.) Tedeschi, “Etiopi e Copti al concilio di Firenze”; Tedeschi, “L’Etiopia di Poggio Bracciolini”; Salvatore Tedeschi, “Ludovico de Varthema nel Corno d’Africa,” Africa 35, no. 2 (1980): 273–280; Salvatore Tedeschi, “Paolo Giovio e la conoscenza dell’Etiopia nel Rinascimento,” in Atti del convegno su Paolo Giovio: il Rinascimento e la memoria (Como, 3–5 giugno 1983), ed. T. C. P. Zimmerman, vol. 17 (Presso la Società a Villa Gallia, 1985), 93–116; Tedeschi, “Profilo storico di Dayr as-Sultan”; Salvatore Tedeschi, Nuova luce sui rapporti tra Venezia e l’Etiopia (sec. XV) (Addis Abeba, 1974).

(80.) Kurt, “The Search for Prester John, a Projected Crusade and the Eroding Prestige of Ethiopian Kings”; Proverbio, “Santo Stefano degli Abissini. Una breve rivisitazione”; Weber, “Gli Etiopi a Roma nel Quattrocento”; Weber, “La bulle Cantate Domino (4 février 1442) et les enjeux éthiopiens du concile de Florence”; Lowe, “‘Representing’ Africa: Ambassadors and Princes from Christian Africa to Renaissance Italy and Portugal, 1402–1608”; Kelly, “Biondo Flavio on Ethiopia”; Kelly, “Ewosṭateans at the Council of Florence (1441)”; Kelly, “The Curious Case of Ethiopic Chaldean.”

(81.) Devisse and Mollat, “The Appeal to the Ethiopian”; Paul H. D. Kaplan, “Italy, 1490–1700,” in The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume III: From the “Age of Discovery” to the Age of Abolition, Part 1: Artists of the Renaissance and Baroque: From the “Age of Discovery” to the Age of Abolition, Part 1: Artists of the Renaissance and Baroque, ed. David Bindman, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Karen C. C. Dalton (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010); Mollat, Michel, and Jean Devisse, “The Frontiers in 1460.”

(82.) Stanislaw Chojnacki, “Notes on Art in Ethiopia in the 15th and Early 16th Century,” Journal of Ethiopian Studies VIII, no. 2 (1970): 21–65; Stanislaw Chojnacki, Major Themes in Ethiopian Painting: Indigenous Developments, the Influence of Foreign Models, and Their Adaptation from the 13th to the 19th Century (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1983); Heldman, “A Chalice from Venice for Emperor Dawit of Ethiopia”; Heldman, The Marian Icons of the Painter Frē Ṣeyon; Heldman, “Frē Seyon”; Spencer, “In Search of St. Luke Ikons in Ethiopia”; Diana Spencer, “Travels in Gojjam: St. Luke Ikons and Brancaleon Re-Discovered,” Journal of Ethiopian Studies 12, no. 2 (1974): 201–220; Diana Spencer, “The Discovery of Brancaleon’s Paintings.,” in Proceedings of the First International Conference on the History of Ethiopian Art Sponsored by the Royal Asiatic Society. (London, 1989); Campbell, “A Historical Note on Nicolo Brancaleon: As Revealed by an Iconographic Inscription”; Kristen Windmuller-Luna, “Building Faith: Ethiopian Art and Architecture During the Jesuit Interlude, 1557–1632,” 2016; Kristen Windmuller-Luna, “Giulio Romano’s ‘The Little Holy Family’ in Africa: Identifying an 18th-Century Ethiopian Painting,” Journal18, December 2016; Verena Krebs, “Windows onto the World: Culture Contact and Western Christian Art in Ethiopia, 1400–1550” (PhD diss., University of Konstanz, 2014).

(83.) James De Lorenzi, “Red Sea Travelers in Mediterranean Lands: Ethiopian Scholars and Early Modern Orientalism, ca. 1500–1668,” in World-Building and the Early Modern Imagination, ed. Allison B. Kavey (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 173–200; Belcher, “Sisters Debating the Jesuits”; Kristen Windmuller-Luna, “Guerra Com a Lingoa,” Journal of Jesuit Studies 2, no. 2 (April 9, 2015): 223–247, doi:10.1163/22141332-00202004

(84.) Pennec, Des jésuites au royaume du prêtre Jean, (Ethiopie). Stratégies, rencontres et tentatives d’implantation, 1495–1633; Cohen, The Missionary Strategies of the Jesuits in Ethiopia (1555–1632); Martínez d’Alós-Moner, Envoys of a Human God; Salvadore, The African Prester John and the Birth of Ethiopian-European Relations 1402–1555.

(85.) Galawdewos, The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros.

(86.) Siegbert Uhlig and Alessandro Bausi, eds., Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, 5 vols. (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2003).

(87.) Useful introductions to the Ethiopian Chronicles are J. McCann, “The Ethiopian Chronicles: An African Documentary Tradition,” Northeast African Studies 1, no. 2 (1979): 47–61; Richard Pankhurst, The Ethiopian Royal Chronicles Extracts (Addis Ababa: Oxford University Press, 1967); and Manfred Kropp, “La réédition des chroniques éthiopiennes: perspectives et premiers résultats,” Abbay 12 (1983): 1983–84.

(88.) The following collections include most of the known correspondence for the 15th and 16th centuries: Osvaldo Raineri, Lettere tra i pontefici romani e i principi etiopici (Rome: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2003); Camillo Beccari, Notizia e saggi di opere e documenti inediti riguardanti la storia di Etiopia durante i secoli XVI, XVII e XVIII (Rome: Casa Editrice Italiana, 1903).

(89.) Start from Siegbert Uhlig and Alessandro Bausi, “Manuscripts,” ed. Siegbert Uhlig and Alessandro Bausi, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2003–2014) and “An Introduction to the Ethiopian Manuscript Microfilm Library (EMML) Project,” HMML. For specific collections, see also O. Raineri, I manoscritti vaticani etiopici 300–323: inventario analitico, vol. 7 (Udine: Del Bianco Editore, 1993); Alessandro Bausi, “Ethiopian Manuscripts in the Vatican Library,” Coptic Treasures from the Vatican Library, 2012, 53–60; Alessandro Bausi, “I Manoscritti Etiopici Di J.M. Wansleben Nella Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Di Firenze,” Rassegna Di Studi Etiopici 33 (1989): 5–33; Giorgio Levi Della Vida, Ricerche sulla formazione del più antico fondo dei manoscritti orientali della Biblioteca vaticana. (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1939); Donald Crummey, Land and Society in the Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia: From the Thirteenth to the Twentieth Century (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000); Edward Ullendorf, S. G. Wright, and Cambridge University Library, Catalogue of Ethiopian Manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1961).

(90.) Flavio Biondo, Historiarum Ab Inclinatione Romanorum Imperii Decades (Venice: Octavianus Scotus, 1483); Paolo Giovio, Historiarum sui temporis, ed. Dante Visconti (Rome: Istituto poligrafico dello Stato, Libreria dello Stato, 1957); Paolo Giovio, Elogia Virorum Bellica Virtute Illustrium, Veris Imaginibus Supposita (Florence, 1551); Suriano, Il Trattato di Terra Santa e dell’Oriente; Serafino Razzi, Vite dei santi, e beati del Sacro Ordine de’ Frati predicatori, cosi hvomini, come donne : con aggiunta di molte vite, che nella prima impressione non erono (in Florence: Nella stamperia di Bartolomeo Sermartelli, 1577).

(91.) Afonso de Albuquerque and Walter de Gray Birch, The Commentaries of the Great Alfonso Dalboquerque, Second Viceroy of India (London: Hakluyt Society, 1875); Duarte Galvão, Cronica delrey dom Affomsso Hamrriques, primeiro rey destes regnos de Portuguall (Lisbon: Pelo Conde de Castro Guimaraes, 1918); João de Barros and Diogo do Couto, Da Asia de Joao de Barros dos feitos, que os Portuguezes fizeram no descubrimento, e conquista dos mares, e terras do Oriente. Decada primeira. Parte segunda. (Lisbon: na Regia Officina Typografica, 1777); Fernão Lopes de Castanheda, Historia do descobrimento e conqvista da India pelos Portvgveses (Lisbon: Typographia Rollandiana, 1833); Gomes Eanes de Zurara, The Chronicle of the Discovery and Conquest of Guinea, trans. C. Raymond Beazley and Edgar Prestage, Works of the Hakluyt Society (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1963); Gaspar Corrêa and Rodrigo de Lima Felner, Lendas da India Livro 3, P. 1–2 Livro 3, P. 1–2 (Lisbon: Acad. Real das Sciencias, 1862); Damiao Goes, Cronica Do Felicissimo Rei d. Manuel, Composta Por D. de Gois., Nove ed. (Coimbra Impr. da Universidade, 1926).

(92.) Alvares, The Prester John of the Indies; a True Relation of the Lands of the Prester John, Being the Narrative of the Portuguese Embassy to Ethiopia in 1520; De La Brocquiere, Voyage d’outremer de Bertrandon de La Broquiere; Miguel de Castanhoso and João de. Barreira, Historia das cousas que o muy esforçado capitão Dom Christouão da Gama fez nos Reynos do Preste Ioão com quatroce[n]tos portugueses que consigo leuou ([Lisbon]: Ioã de Barreyra, 1564); Whiteway, The Portuguese Expedition to Abyssinia in 1541–1543 as Narrated by Castanhoso; Pero Tafur, Travels and Adventures, 1435–1439, trans. Malcolm Letts (London: Routledge, 1926); Lobo et al., The Itinerário of Jerónimo Lobo.

(93.) Poggio Bracciolini, India Recognita. Christoforus bullatus ducis Isubrium senator Petro Carae ducis alobrogum Senatoris. Poggii Florentini de Varietate Fortunae (Mediolani [Milan]: Uldericus Scinzenzeler, 1492); Góis, Fides, Religio, Moresqve Æthiopvm Svb Imperio Preciosi Ioannis; Góis, Legatio Magni Indorum Imperatoris Presbyteri Ionnis Ad Emanuelem Lusitaniae Regem, Anno Domini M.D.XIII; Legatio David Aethiopiae Regis, Ad Sanctissimum D.N Clementem Papa VII; L’Ambasciaria di David, re dell’ Etiopia, al Santissimo S. N. Clemente Papa VII.; Hiob Ludolf, Confessio Fidei Claudii Regis AEthiopiae Cum Notis et Versione Latina Jobi Ludolfi J.C. Anthehac Sereniss. Electori Palatino Dedicata; Nunc Verò Edita, Curâ & Studio Johannis Michaelis Wanslebii, Qui Litergiam S. Dioscori Patriarchae Alexandrini AEthiopicè & Latinè Addidit., Early English Books Online (London: Thomam Roycroft, 1661); Hiob J. P. Ludolf and Gent, A New History of Ethiopia: Being a Full and Accurate Description of the Kingdom of Abessinia, Vulgarly, Though Erroneously Called the Empire of Prester John. In Four Books/Uniform Title: Historia Aethiopica. English (London: Printed for Samuel Smith, 1682); Hiob Ludolf, Ad Suam Historiam Aethiopicam Antehac Editam Commentarius : In Quo Multa Breviter Dicta Fusius Narrantur: Contraria Refelluntur: Atque Hac Occasione Praeter Res (Francofurti: Zunner, 1691); Manuel, Epistola Invictissimi Regis Portugalliae ad Leonem X.P.M. super foedere inito cum Presbytero Ioanne Aethiopiae Rege.

(94.) Charles Burns, “Cardinal Giuseppe Garampi: An Eighteenth-Century Pioneer in Indexing,” Indexer 22, no. 2 (2000): 61–65.

(95.) Enrico Cerulli, “Documenti arabi per la storia dell’Etiopia,” Memorie della Reale Accademia dei Lincei (MRAL), classe di scienze morali, storiche e filologiche, 6, 4, no. 2 (1931): 39–101; Enrico Cerulli, “L’Etiopia del secolo XV in nuovi documenti storici,” Africa Italiana 5 (1933): 80–99; Enrico Cerulli, Etiopi in Palestina. Storia della comunità etiopica di Gerusalemme (Rome: Libreria dello Stato, 1943); Lefevre, “Nuovi documenti sulla comunità abissina in Roma dal sec. XV al XVIII”; Lefevre, “Documenti pontifici sui rapporti con l’Etiopia nei secoli XV e XVI”; Lefevre, “Documenti e notizie su Tasfa Seyon e la sua attivita romana nel sec. XVI”; Comissão Executiva das Comemorações do v Centenario da Morte do Infante D. Henrique, ed., Monumenta Henricina (Portugal: Coimbra, 1960); Afonso de Albuquerque, Cartas de Affonso de Albuquerque 1 1 (Lisbon: Typ. da Acad. Real das Sciencias, 1884); Luiz Augusto Rebello da Silva, Corpo diplomatico Portuguez contendo os actos e relações politicas e diplomaticas de Portugal com as diversas potencias do mundo desde o seculo XVI até os nossos dias T. 2 T. 2 (Lisbon: Acad. Real das Sciencias, 1865); Whiteway, The Portuguese Expedition to Abyssinia in 1541–1543 as Narrated by Castanhoso; Beckingham and Huntingford, Some Records of Ethiopia, 1593–1646; Being Extracts from the History of High Ethiopia or Abassia, by Manoel De Almeida, Together with Bahrey’s History of the Galla; Crawford, Ethiopian Itineraries, Circa 1400–1524.

(96.) Beccari, Rerum Aethiopicarum Scriptores Occidentales Inediti a Saeculo XVI Ad XIX; Lobo et al., The Itinerário of Jerónimo Lobo; Pedro Páez, Pedro Páez’s History of Ethiopia, 1622, ed. Isabel Boavida, Hervé Pennec, and Manuel João Ramos, trans. Christopher J. Tribe (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011); Wendy Laura Belcher, ed., The Jesuits in Ethiopia (1609–1641): Latin Letters in Translation, trans. Jessica Wright and Leon Grek (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2017); Galawdewos, The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros. On Lobo’s narrative, see Wendy Laura Belcher, Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson: Ethiopian Thought in the Making of an English Author (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).