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Video: Historians have discovered facts that deny the superiority of Europe over Africa
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
Modern science has long proved that Africa is the homeland of humanity. The history of this continent is incredibly ancient and very rich. Since ancient times, the Europeans have established trade relations with various regions of this continent. Then the "white people" tried with might and main to belittle the knowledge and power of the African empire. The age-old ignorance of the truth has cost everyone dearly. New history and recent research are fundamentally changing the historically formed erroneous stereotype about the superiority of Europe.
At the very beginning of 2020, historian, professor at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Verena Krebs was visiting her parents in rural Germany. The pandemic forced the professor to stay there for several months. Among the fields of rapeseed and barley, ancient dense forests, Verena enjoyed peace, but not idle. She needed to finish the work of her life - a book on the history of late medieval Ethiopia.
The historian completed the manuscript and signed a contract with a major academic publication. Everything seemed to be fine. But the professor did not like the book she wrote. Krebs knew her sources contradicted the dominant narrative. According to him, Europe helps needy Ethiopia. A backward African kingdom, it is desperately seeking military technology from its more advanced northern neighbors. And the text of the book almost completely corresponded to generally accepted judgments, but did not correspond to the professor's own historical research.
What worried Krebs the most was that her interpretation of the original medieval sources was too "out of there." She struggled with herself and doubted. In the end, Verena made a radical decision. She decided to do what good historians do and follow the sources. Instead of correcting what had already been written, the professor practically deleted her manuscript. She just wrote the book over again.
The book was published this year under the title "Medieval Ethiopian Kingdom, Crafts and Diplomacy with Latin Europe." This is a story that completely changes the scenario that everyone is familiar with. Traditionally, Europe has always been at the center of the plot. Ethiopia is a periphery, a technologically backward Christian kingdom, which in the late Middle Ages turned to Europe for help. But, following the sources, Krebs demonstrates the activity and power of Ethiopia and the Ethiopians of that time. Europe in those days appears as a kind of homogeneous mass of foreigners.
The point is not even that modern historians of the medieval Mediterranean, Europe and Africa at one time ignored contacts between continents. The problem is that they had a completely opposite power dynamics. The traditional narrative has always emphasized that Ethiopia is weak and in distress. Especially in the face of aggression from outside forces, such as the Mamluks in Egypt. Therefore, Ethiopia turned for military assistance to its fellow Christians in the north - the expanding kingdoms of Aragon (in modern Spain) and France. But the true history that became known from medieval diplomatic texts simply has not yet been collected by modern scholars.
Krebs' research is fundamentally changing the understanding of specific relationships between Ethiopia and other kingdoms. According to Professor Solomon's kings of Ethiopia, “discovered” the kingdoms of late medieval Europe, and not vice versa. This was done in the process of establishing interregional ties. It was the Africans who sent ambassadors to foreign and distant countries at the beginning of the 15th century. They looked for various curiosities and sacred relics from foreign rulers that could serve as symbols of prestige and greatness. Their emissaries traveled to what they considered more or less homogeneous territory. Realizing at the same time that this is a diverse land of many peoples. At the beginning of the so-called era of exploration, there were narratives in which European rulers were portrayed as heroes. They sent their ships to foreign lands, discovering a lot of new things. Krebs found evidence that the kings of Ethiopia sponsored their own diplomatic, religious and commercial missions.
But the history of medieval Ethiopia goes back much further than the 15th and 16th centuries. From the very beginning of the spread of Christianity, the history of the African empire was closely intertwined with the more famous history of the Mediterranean. The Ethiopian kingdom is one of the oldest Christian kingdoms in the world. Aksum, the predecessor kingdom of what is now called Ethiopia, converted to Christianity at the very beginning of the 4th century. This is much earlier than the bulk of the Roman Empire, which converted to Christianity only in the 6-7 centuries. The Solomon dynasties emerged around 1270 AD in the highlands of the Horn of Africa and solidified their power by the 15th century. Their name originated from their claims of direct descent from the king of ancient Israel, Solomon, through his alleged relationship with the Queen of Sheba. Despite the fact that they faced several external threats, they consistently fought them off. The kingdom grew and flourished for quite a long time, causing astonishment throughout Christian Europe.
It was at this period that the rulers of Ethiopia loved to look back with nostalgia. It's kind of their own little renaissance. Ethiopian Christian kings actively returned to late antiquity and even revived late antique models in art and literature, trying to make it their own. Thus, in addition to investing in a common culture, they followed the outdated model used by the rulers of the Mediterranean, Europe, Asia, and Africa in turning to religion. They built churches and reached out to Coptic Christians living in Egypt under the rule of the Islamic Mamluks. This made them a theoretical advocate. The Solomon kings of Ethiopia united under their rule a huge multilingual, multi-ethnic, multi-confessional kingdom, a kind of empire.
The empire needed beauty. According to Krebs, Europe was a mysterious and perhaps even a bit barbaric country for the Ethiopians. Their history was interesting and full of sacred things that Ethiopian kings could receive. The professor is determined to be an outsider - a European rewriting Ethiopian history. Much of the existing research on late medieval Ethiopia and Europe was based on colonial, even fascist, ideology. While Ethiopian behavior is awash with new discoveries, wonderful philological and historical works, some older works and authors remain popular and influential to this day. Following them leads the researcher to a dead end. Most of the works come from Italy in the 1930s and 1940s, which was held captive by fascism and new colonial ambitions. They culminated in the successful invasion of Ethiopia in 1935.
The book already has an impact not only on historical science, but also on the lives of many people. Solomon Gebreyes Beyen, an Ethiopian researcher who now works at the University of Hamburg, says: “Many ordinary Ethiopians who graduated from high school and even university always knew that Ethiopia had a closed door policy in the Middle Ages, desperately seeking military aid and weapons from north. Perhaps because of this, medieval Ethiopia is not the period that is generally discussed in our society. According to him, Krebs's book changed everything. She opened this period from a completely new side. This allowed Ethiopian scholars and the general public to learn more about their country's glorious diplomatic history. Also, the work serves as a reference material for students and university teachers. The book is without doubt an outstanding contribution to the historiography of Ethiopia's medieval history.
Read more about the ancient history of Christianity on the African continent in our article: in Ethiopia, one of the oldest Christian churches of the Aksumites was discovered.
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