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FROM 1283 TO 1312.
ICON AMLAC is fucceeded by Igba Sion, and after him by five other princes, his brothers, all in five years. So quick a fucceffion in fo few years feems to mark very unfettled times. Whether it was a civil war among themselves that brought these reigns fo foon to an end, or whether it was that the Moorish ftates in Adel had increased in power, and fought fuccessfully against them, we are not certain.
FROM 1312 TO 1343.
AMDA SION fucceeded his father, Wedem Araad, who was youngest brother of Icon Amlac, and came to the crown after the death of his uncles. He is generally known by this his inauguration name; his Chriftian name was Guebra Mascal. His reign began with a scene as difgraceful to the name of Christian as it was new in the annals of Ethiopia. Having for a time privately loved a concubine of his father, but had now taken her to live with him publicly; and, not content with committing this fort of inceft, he foon after had feduced his two fifters.
Patience was as little among this princes virtues as chastity, as he immediately ordered Honorius to be apprehended, ftripped naked, and feverely whipped through every street of his capital. That fame night the town took fire, and was en.. tirely confumed. The clergy loft no time to pursuade the people, that it was the blood of Honorius that turned to fire whenever it had dropped upon the ground. The king, perhaps better informed, thought otherwife, and fuppofed the burning of the city was owing to the monks, He therefore banished those of Debra Lebanos out of the province of Shoa.
The inhabitants of Adel and Auffa are tawney, and not black, and have long hair. They are rich and powerful; but there is no current coin in Abyffinia. Gold is paid by weight; the revenues are chiefly paid in kind, viz, oxen, sheep, and honey,
honey, which are the greatest neceffaries of life. As for luxuries, they are obtained by a barter of gold, myrrh, coffee, elephant's teeth, and a variety of other articles which are carried over to Arabia, and exchanged for whatever is commiffioned.
The rainy season in Abyffinia generally puts an end to the active part of war, as every one retires then to towns and villages to fcreen themfelves from the inclemency of the weather, the country being deluged with daily rain. The foldier, the husbandman, and, above all, the women, dedicate this season to festivity and riot. Thefe villages and towns are always placed upon the highest mountains; the valleys that intervene are foon divided by large and rapid torrents. Every hollow foot path becomes a stream, and the valleys between the hills become fo miry as not to bear a horfe; the water is both deep and violent, are too apt to shift their direction, to suffer any one on foot to pass safely. All this feason, and this alone, people fleep in their houses in fafety; their lances and shields are hung up on the fides of their hall, and the faddles and bridles taken off their horfes; for in Abyffinia, at other times, the horses are always bridled, and are accustomed to eat and drink with this incumbrance. The court, and the principal officers of government, retire to the capital, and there administer justice, make alliances, and prepare the neceffary funds and armaments, which the prefent exigencies of the ftate require on the return of fair weather.
The Abyffinians are every one of them fearful of the night, unwilling to travel, and, above all, to fight in that season, when they imagine the world is in poffeffion of certain genii, averse to intercourfe with men, and very vindictive, if even by accident they are ruffled or put out of their way by their interference. This, indeed, is carried to fo great a height, that no man will venture to throw water out of a bafon upon the ground, for fear that, in ever so small a space the water fhould have to fall, the dignity of fome elf, or fairy, might be violated. The Moors have none of these apprehensions, and are accustomed in the way of trade to travel at all hours, fometimes from neceffity, but often from choice, to avoid the heat. They laugh, moreover, at the fuperftitions of the Abyffinians,
Abyffinians, and not unfrequently avail themselves of them. A verfe of the Koran, fewed up in leather, and tied round their necks or their arms, fecures them from all these incorporeal enemies; and, from this known advantage, if other circumstances are favourable, they never fail to fight the Abyffinians at or before the dawn of the morning, for in this country there is no twilight.
Amda Sion died at Tegular in Shoa, after a reign of thirty years, which was but a continued series of victories, no instance being recorded of his having been once defeated.
FROM 1342 to 1370.
SAIF ARAAD fucceeded his father Amda Sion; and in his time all was peaceable on the fide of Adel, as nothing is mentioned relative to the war. Little is faid of this monarch worth mentioning here, nor of the feveral fucceeding kings from this period to 1434.
ZARA JACO B.
FROM 1434 TO 1468.
ZARA JACOB, fourth son of David II. fucceeded his nephew, and reigned 34 years, and, at his inauguration, took the name of Conftantine. He is looked upon in Abyffinia to have been another Solomon, and a model of what the best of fovereigns fhould be. From what we know of him, he seems to have been a prince who had the beft opportunity, and with that the greatest inclination to be inftructed in the politics, manners, and religion of other countries.
A convent had been long before this established at Jerufalem for the Abyffinians, which he in part endowed, as appears by his letters still extant, written to monks of that convent. He also obtained from the Pope a convent for the Abyffinians at Rome, which to this day is appropriated to them, though it is very seldom that either there, or even at Jerufalem, there are now any Abyffinians. By his defire, and in his name, ambaf fadors
fadors (i. e. priests from Jerufalem) were sent by Abba Nicodemus, the then Superior, who affifted at the council of Florence, where, however, they adhered to the opinion of the Greek church about the proceeding of the Holy Ghost, which created a fchifm between the Greek and Latin churches. This embaffy was thought of confequence enough to be the subject of a painting in the Vatican, and to this picture we owe the knowledge of fuch an embaffy having been fent.
BEDA MARIA M.
FROM 1468 TO 1478.
BÆDA MARIAM fucceeded to the throne against his father's inclination, after having received much ill ufage during the earlier part of his life. His mother took fo violent and irregular a longing to fee her fon king, that she formed a scheme, by the strength of a party of her relations and friends, trufting to the weakness of an old man, to force him into a partnership with his father. Examples of two kings, at the same time, and even in this degree of relation, were more than once to be found in the Ábyffinian annals, but those times were now no more. A ftrong jealoufy had fucceeded to an unreasonable confidence, and had thrown both the perfon and pretenfions of the heirs-apparent of this age to as great a distance as was poffible.
Sion Magafs, or the Grace of Sion, for fuch was the name of the queen, first began to tamper with the clergy, who, though they did not absolutely join her in her views, fhewed her, however, more encouragement than was strictly confiftent with their allegiance. From thefe fhe applied to fome of the principal officers of state, and to those about the king, the best affected to her fon and his fucceffion. Thefe, aware, of the evil tendency of her scheme, first advised her, by every means, to lay it afide; and afterwards, feeing the ftill perfifted, and afraid of a discovery that would involve her accomplices in it, they disclosed the matter to the king himself, who re-. fented the intention fo heinously, that he ordered the queen to be beaten with rods till fhe expired.
Though nothing had hitherto appeared to criminate the young prince, it was foon told the king, that, after the death of the queen, her fon, Bæda Mariam had taken frankincense and wax-tapers from the churches, which he employed, at ftated times, in the obfervation of the ufual folemnities over his mother's grave. The king, having called his fon before him, began to question him about what he had heard, while the prince, without hesitation, gave him a full account of every circumstance, glorying in what he said was his duty, and denying that he was accountable to any man on earth for the marks of affection which he shewed to his mother.
Bæda Mariam confidering his fon's justification as a reproach made to himself for cruelty, ordered the prince, and with him his principal friend Meherata Chriftos, to be loaded with irons, and banished to the top of a mountain; and it is hard to fay where this punishment would have ended, had not the monks of Debra Koffo and Debra Libanas, and all those of the defert, (who thought themselves in fome measure accomplices with his mother, ) by exhortations, pretented prophecies, dreams and vifions, convinced the king, that providence had decreed unalterably, that none but his fon, Bæda Mariam, fhould fucceed him. To this ordinance the old king bowed, as it gave him a profpect of the long continuance of his family on the throne of Abyffinia.
This king, while he was bufy in planning the conquest of Adel, was feized with a pain in his bowels, whether from poison or otherwife, is not known, which put a period to his life. He was a prince of great bravery and conduct, very moderate in his pleasures, very devout, zealous for the estabHifhed church, but steady in his refiftance to the monks and other clergy in all their attempts towards perfecution, innovation and independency.
ISCANDER, OR ALEXANDER.
FROM 1478 TO 1495.
KING Beda Mariam being dead, the history of Abyffinia informs us, that a tumultuous meeting of the nobles brought from the mountain of Geshen the Queen Romana, with her