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Kingdom of Simien information


Kingdom of Simien
ממלכת סאמיאן
Map of Jewish settlements in Ethiopia
Map of Jewish settlements in Ethiopia
StatusACCORDING TO LEGEND
Jewish kingdom
Sovereign Kingdom (350-351) (according to legend)

Axumite Territory (351-960)

Reestablished (960-1329)

Vassal State of the Ethiopian Empire 1329-1625
LocationSemien Mountains and Semien Province Tzelmet province,wegera province
CapitalAmba Yehouda[1]
Common languagesGe'ez, Kayla, Qwara, Amharic
Demonym(s)Ethiopian
Beta Israel
History 
• Established
LEGEND: 350
• Disestablished
LEGEND: 351 (re-established in 960 until invaded again in 1329 by Ethiopia and annexed in 1625)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Simien Kingdom of Aksum
Ethiopian Empire Kingdom of Simien
Today part ofEthiopia

The Kingdom of Simien (Hebrew: ממלכת סאמיאן), sometimes referred to as the Kingdom of Beta Israel (ממלכת ביתא ישראל), refers to a legendary Jewish kingdom said to have been located in the northwestern part of the Ethiopian Empire. The existence of such a kingdom somewhere in the Horn of Africa was first mentioned by the traveller Benjamin of Tudela in the 12th century CE.[2]

A late Ethiopian-Jewish legend dates the establishment of a Kingdom of Simien to the 4th century CE, right after the Kingdom of Aksum turned to Christianity during the reign of Ezana.[3][4] Local history holds that, around 960, a Jewish Queen named Gudit defeated the empire and burned its churches and literature. While there is evidence of churches being burned and an invasion around this time, her existence has been questioned by some western authors. According to one traditional account, she reigned for forty years and her dynasty lasted until 1137 AD, when it was overthrown by Mara Takla Haymanot, resulting in the inception of the Agaw-led Zagwe dynasty.[5] In 1329, during Amda Seyon I's conquests, he campaigned in the northern provinces of Semien, Wegera, Tselemt, and Tsegede, in which many had been converting to Judaism and where the Beta Israel had been gaining prominence.[6]

The existence of such a nation plays a significant role in the modern traditions of the Beta Israel.

  1. ^ Morié, Louis J. (1904). Histoire de L'Éthiopie (Nubie et Abyssinie): Histoire de L'Abyssinie. Paris. p. 115.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  2. ^ Fauvelle-Aymar 2013, p. 383.
  3. ^ Bruce 1804, p. 485.
  4. ^ Kaplan 1992, p. 94.
  5. ^ Henze, Paul B. (2000). Layers of Time: A History of Ethiopia. Hurst & Company. ISBN 978-1-85065-393-6.
  6. ^ Pankhurst, Borderlands, p. 79.

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