Universal History: the Mystery of Ethiopia - Richard Rohlin (Ethiopia 1 of 4)

Updated: Jul 2


Video from Jonathan Pageau


"This is my third conversation about universal history with Richard Rohlin, philologist and co-host of the Amon Sûl podcast. We are very excited to discuss Ethiopia and its unique role in the universal history. We draw a lot on Scripture: the Queen of Sheba, Moses' Ethiopian wife and the Ethiopian eunuch mentioned in Acts. This topic is all about the symbolism of the margins, encountering the stranger and the flip that can happen at the end of something. Also relevant is the role of the feminine and in particular the foreign woman." from video introduction.


Early Ethiopia

"By 100 AD a kingdom called Axum arose in Ethiopia, influenced by Southern Arabia. Axum traded with Rome, Arabia, and India. Axum became Christian in the 4th century AD.

In 642 the Arabs conquered Egypt. In 698-700, they took Tunis and Carthage and soon they controlled all of the coasts of North Africa. The Arabs were Muslims, of course, and soon the whole coast of North Africa converted to Islam. Ethiopia remained Christian but it was cut off from Europe by the Muslims.

In the Middle, Ages Ethiopia flourished. The famous church of St George was built about 1200. However, in the 16th century, Ethiopia declined in power and importance although it survived. At that time the Portuguese reached Ethiopia by sea.

Modern Ethiopia

In 1848 the emperor of Ethiopia imprisoned British subjects and the British sent an expedition to rescue them. The British then withdrew.

However, in the late 19th century the Europeans divided Africa up between them. Soon all of Africa was in European hands except Liberia and Ethiopia. The Italians invaded Ethiopia in 1896 but they were defeated by the Ethiopians at the Battle of Adwa.

In 1923 Ethiopia joined the League of Nations. Then in 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia. The Italians behaved with great brutality using weapons like poison gas. They soon overran Ethiopia. However in 1941, the British liberated Ethiopia. Emperor Haile Selassie was restored to his throne.

However, in 1974 Communists seized power in Ethiopia and the emperor was deposed and murdered. Led by Mengistu the Communists introduced a tyrannical regime. They murdered thousands of their opponents (although resistance continued to Eritrea). They also cause great suffering by forced deportations. Ethiopia also suffered terrible famines during the Communist era.

Fortunately, the Communist regime in Ethiopia was overthrown in 1991. In 1993 Eritrea became independent. In Ethiopia, a new constitution was introduced in 1994, and elections were held in 1995. Today Ethiopia remains a poor and overwhelmingly agricultural country. In 2021 the population of Ethiopia was 110 million." from the article: A Brief History of Ethiopea


Patheos, By Daniel Petrson

"I published this article in the Provo Daily Herald back at the end of January 1999:

When the typical American thinks of Christianity, he or she usually visualizes a religion of western Europe and the New World. If we consider the issue for a moment, however, we must realize that Christianity is actually a Near Eastern religion. Its spread into Europe and especially into the New World came relatively late. Indeed, Christian missionaries were preaching in Africa, India, and even China when the English were still mostly pagans.

Under the Greeks and during the early years of Roman rule, Egyptians had worshipped their traditional gods as they had during the time of the Pharaohs. Some historians believe that there were elements within such traditional religion that made people receptive to the Christian message. Curtsy of BBC

Christianity took root in Africa long before it dominated Europe. In apostolic times, Philip converted an Ethiopian eunuch who was the treasurer of “Candace” (Acts 8:26-40). (“Candace” is not a name but a title given to the queens of the African monarchy of Meroe, in Nubia, in the modern Sudan.) Presumably, he returned thereafter to his assignment at court, perhaps founding a small Christian community in the Sudan in the first century AD. African tradition maintains that this eunuch–whom it knows as Qinaqis–preached in Ethiopia as well. In the following centuries, Christian teachers and merchants slowly entered Africa along the trade routes of the Nile valley, the Red Sea, and north Africa, which became home to both Tertullian and Augustine, two of the greatest early Latin Church Fathers.." from the article: Christianity in Ethiopia


Ancient Faith Ministries (link)


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