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FROM 1283 TO 1312.
ICON AMLAC is succeeded by Igba Sion, and after him by five other princes, his brothers, all in five years. So quick a succesfion in fo few years seems to mark very unsettled times. Whether it was a civil war among themselves that brought these reigns so roon to an end, or whether it was that the Moorish states in Adel had increased in power, and fought fuccessfully against them, we are not certain.
Å M D A'S EO-N.
FROM 1312 TO 1343.
AMDA SION succeeded his father, Wedem Araad, wlio 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 Christian name was Guebra Mascal. His reign began with a scene as disgraceful 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 sort of incest, he soon after had seduced his two sisters,
Patience was as little among this princes: virtues as-chastity, as he immediately ordered Honorius to be apprehended, stripped naked, and severely whipped through every street of his capital. That same night the town took fire, and was en. tirely consumed. 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 otherwise, and supposed 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 Aussa 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, vizi oxen, sheep, and
honey, which are the greatest necessaries 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 screen themselves from the inclemency of the weather, the country being deluged with daily rain. The soldier, the husbandman, and, above all, the wonien, dedicate this season to festivity and riot. These villages and towns are always placed upon the highest mountains, the valleys that intervene are soon divided by large and rapid torrents. Every hollow foot path becomes a stream, and the valleys between the hills become so miry as not to bear a horse ; the water is both deep and violent, are too apt to shift their direction, to fuffer any one on foot to pass safely. All this season, and this alone, people fleep in their houses in safety; their lances and fhields are hung up on the sides of their hall, and he saddles and bridles taken off their horses ; 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 necessary funds and armaments, which the present exigencies of the ftate require on the return of fair weather.
The Abyssinians 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 possession of certain genii, averse to intercourse with men, and very yindictive, if even by accident they are ruffled or put out of their way by their interference. This, indeed, is carried to so 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 should have to fall, the dignity of some 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 superstitions of the
Abyslinians, and not unfrequently avail themselves of them. A verse of the Koran, sewed up in leather, and tied round their necks or their arms, secures them from all these incorporeal enemies; and, from this known advantage, if other circumstances are favourable, they never fail to fight the Abyssinians at or before the dawn of the morning, for in this country there is 110 twilight.
Amda Sion died at Tegular in Shoa, after a reign of thirty years, which was but a continued series of vi&ories, 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 said of this monarch worth mentioning here, nor of the several succeeding kings from this period to 1434.
ZARA ја со в.
FROM 1434 TO 1468. ZARA JACOB, fourth son of David II. succeeded his ne. phew, and reigned 34 years, and, at his inauguration, took the name of Constantine. He is looked upon in Abyssinia to have been another Solomon, and a niodel of what the best of sovereigns Mould be. From what we know of him, he seems to have been a prince who had the best opportunity, and with that the greatest inclination to be instructed in the politics, inanners, and religion of other countries.
A convent had been long before this established at Jerusalem for the Abyssinians, 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 Jerusalem, there are now any Abyffinians. By his defire, and in his name, ambas.
fadors (i.e. priests from Jerusalem) were sent by Abba Nicodemus, the then Superior, who affisted at the council of Flo. rence, where, however, they adhered to the opinion of the Greek church about the proceeding of the Holy Ghost, which created a schism between the Greek and Latin churches. This embassy was thought of consequence enough to be the subject of a painting in the Vatican, and to this picture we owe the knowledge of such an embassy having been sent.
BÆDA MARIA M.
FROM 1468 TO 1478. BÆDA MARIAM succeeded to the throne against his father's inclination, after having received much ill usage during the earlier part of his life. His mother took so violent and irregular a longing to see her son king, that the formed a scheine, by the strength of a party of her relations and friends, trusting 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 Abyffinian annals, but those times were now no more. A strong jealousy had succeeded io an unreasonable confidence, and had thrown both the per. fon and pretensions of the heirs-apparent of this age to as great a distance as was poflible.
Sion Magass, or the Grace of Sion, for such was the name of the queen, first began to tamper with the clergy, who, though they did not absolutely join her in her views, shewed her, however, more encouragement than was strictly confiftent with their allegiance. From these the applied to some of the principal officers of state, and to those about the king, the best affected to her son and his succession. These, aware, of the evil tendency of her scheme, furft advised her, by every means, to lay it alide; and afterwards, seeing the still perlifted, and afraid of a discovery that would involve her accomplices in it, they disclosed the matter to the king hinıself, who refented the intention so heinoully, that he ordered the queen to be beaten with rods till Are expired.
Though nothing had hitherto appeared to criminate the young prince, it was soon told the king, that, after the death of the queen, her son, Bæda Mariam had taken frankincense and wax-tapers from the churches, which he employed, at stated times, in the observation of the usual solemnities over his mother's grave. The king, having called his son 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 wbat he said was his duty, and denying that he was accountable to any man on earth for the marks of affection which he chewed to his mother.
Bæda Mariam considering his son's justification as a reproach made to himself for cruelty, ordered the prince, and with him his principal friend Meherata Christos, to be loaded with irons, and banished to the top of a mountain ; and it is hard to say where this punishment would have ended, had not the monks of Debra Koffo and Debra Libanas, and all those of the desert, (who thought themselves in fome measure accomplices with his mother, ) by exhortations, pretented propheciés, dreams and visions, convinced the king, that providence had decreed unalterably, that none but his son,' Bæda Mariam, should succeed him. To this ordinance the old king bowed, as it gave him a prospect of the long continuance of his family on the throne of Abysinia,
This king, while he was busy in planning the conquest of Adel, was seized with a pain in his bowels, whether from poison or otherwise, 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 estab. Jished church, but steady in his resistance to the monks and other clergy in all their attempts towards persecution, inno. vation and independency.
FROM 1478 TO 1495. KING Bæda Mariam being dead, the history of Abyssinia informs us, that a tumultuous meeting of the nobles brought from the mountain of Gelhen the Queen Romana, with her