March 19, 2013

"Although Medieval Ethiopia was very isolated from the other Christian Nations..."

"... they did maintain a degree of contact through Jerusalem."
Like many other nations and denominations, the Ethiopian Church maintained a series of small chapels and even an annex at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Saladin, after retaking the Holy City in 1187, expressly invited the Ethiopian monks to return and even exempted Ethiopian pilgrims from the pilgrim tax. His two edicts provide evidence of Ethiopia's contact with these Crusader States during this period. It was during this period that the great Ethiopian king Gebre Mesqel Lalibela ordered the construction of the legendary rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.

Ethiopia is today's "History of" country.

I'm going to make a list of the 10 most beautiful names of countries in the world today. Ethiopia is the list.


St. George said...


Great Joni Mitchell song.


Youngblood said...

I know you were talking about country names, but Lalibela is a mellifluous city name, if you ever do a list of those.

kentuckyliz said...

Ethiopian eunuch
The Candace

Great biblical titles & alliteration.

YoungHegelian said...

Some believe the Ark is still being preserved today at the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia.

DC is full of Ethiopians, and every one I've ever spoken to believes that this church really does hold the Ark of the Covenant.

Also, they made it very clear to me, in a very polite but unmistakable way that "Just so you're sure to know, you stupid American asshole, we're not black, we're not African, we're ETHIOPIAN."

The first Ethiopian restaurant I ever ate at was called Lalibela. It was about two blocks north of Dupont Circle on Connecticut Ave in the early 80's.

edutcher said...

In some ways, WWII in Europe started there.

Supposedly, the Ark is guarded by a series of monks who die within a few years of acceding to the duty. The symptoms resemble radiation sickness and some have speculated the Ark's power may have been radiological.

PS Thank you for another country, Madame.

PPS Is its British name, Abyssinia, any more appealing?

Methadras said...

YoungHegelian said...

The first Ethiopian restaurant I ever ate at was called Lalibela. It was about two blocks north of Dupont Circle on Connecticut Ave in the early 80's.

Was the daily special a plate of flies?

YoungHegelian said...

Can we swear right now a blood-oath-among-blogger-brothers that anyone making an Abyssinia/I'll be seein' ya pun will be entombed alive like a wayward Vestal Virgin?

YoungHegelian said...

Was the daily special a plate of flies?

Yeah, I know a load of Ethiopian famine jokes, too. My favorite is "Why is Yoko Ono like an Ethiopian? Because both are living off of dead beetles."

But seriously, Ethiopian food is very tasty, but it is the most relentlessly spicy & hot cuisine in the world. I do like Doro Wot with a load of fresh injera bread, though.

Mark said...

Ethiopia is one of the nations/regions on the list of "screwed regularly for whatever reason".

Means it must be beautiful with beautiful people living there.

Chip Ahoy said...

I too tried an Ethiopian restaurant on Colfax, and right then, that very moment, a gay parade went by, and that was like the BEST tableside entertainment I've had since 4th of July at Aspen where they put on an adorable local parade. So those two.

But the Ethiopian meal was memorable, it was yellow sludge on a plate next to light brown sludge next to dark brown sludge next to reddish-brown sludge and large flatbread like a sponge you tear and use as a spoon to scoop up individual portions of flavorful colorful sludge, or combinations of flavorful colorful sludge as you become more and more adventurous.

And now you're most likely thinking, "Well, yes, but was it delicious? And would you go back?" And the answer would be, "Yes, you bet Djubouti.

phx said...

I'd like to see that most beautiful names list. Ethiopia is one.

Basta! said...

I always liked the name Abyssinia, which I'd thought derived from "abyss", likely the oldest word in use in English, coming from the Sumerian Abzu through the Greek abyssos. I just looked up the etymology of Abyssinia, to see what was considered so abyss-y about it, and am now saddened to have learned that it is merely the anglicization of Al-Habashah, an Arabic word for the area.

So let me think instead on Ras Tafari aka Haile Selassie, the Lion of Judah and King of Kings of Ethiopia, or Rimbaud, who set up as a trade agent, gun-runner and slaver (though I see there are recent books out trying to *disappear* the last charge) in Harar, where he became quite friendly with, of all people, Ras Makonnen, governor of Harar who later fathered Haile Selassie.

Bender said...

I was going to say that the first Ethiopian place I went to (in Adams Morgan, I think, somewhat near Dupont Circle) served a plate with five piles of mud, but sludge works too.

David said...

Ethiopian food is considerably better in the USA than it is in Ethiopia, where it can be truly awful. And indeed the Ethiopian women are quite beautiful. There are many very black people in Ethiopia but mostly in the south. The Ethiopians are very class and caste conscious. They are also generally kind, except when they fight and then they are cruel and dangerous.

The country is still a great disaster waiting to happen. The population continues to grow rapidly as cropland is exhausted by poor farming techniques.

Dr Weevil said...

I believe it was at Lalibela 20 years or so ago that I was unable to convince my companions (one of whom was in fact YoungHegelian) to order the Ethiopian Steak Tartare as part of our meal. I went back another day by myself to order some and found it way rawer than Korean Steak Tartare, which I'm very fond of. (I've never tried the French version.) The Korean kind has soy sauce, pine nuts, lemon or lime juice (not sure which), garlic, green onions, and sesame seeds mixed with the ground beef, with a raw egg yolk on top: delicious. The Ethiopian kind appeared to be three-quarters of a pound of raw beef run though a blender with a little bit of salt and pepper as its only adornment. As I said, a little too raw even for me.

Balfegor said...

I would like to visit Gonder and Lalibela and if it didn't involve climbing a sheer cliff, Debra Damo as well.

Never tasted Ethiopian cuisine, but I did once read an Ethiopian grammar. The main university library didn't have one -- I had to go to the local school of theology, where there were two, if I recall correctly. One from the early 19th century, in Latin, and another from the late 19th century in English, by some British soldier or other. People cared more about learning about other lands, languages, and cultures in those days.

All I remember is ambossa sau gaddala, which I think was "the lion kills the man." Or something like that. Lovely script too, all of which I have forgotten.

Balfegor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wyo sis said...

Ethiopia is a pretty word, but it's recent history sort of ruins it for me. Same with Somalia.

Mitch H. said...

Man, that's a country with a lot of history, most of it totally detached from the outside world. Inland nation, which economically speaking is a slow-moving catastrophe. They managed to avoid colonization, which is no mean feat in Africa. No mention of the Ethiopian Jews, who are probably remnants of the pre-Islamic relationship of Ethiopia with Yemen and the Jewish state or states of that era.

Peter said...

According to(sometimes reliable) Wikipedia, "marriage by abduction accounts for 69% of the nation's marriages, with around 80% in the largest region, Oromiya, and as high as 92% in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region."

...In parts of Ethiopia, a man working in co-ordination with his friends may kidnap a girl or woman, sometimes using a horse to ease the escape. The abductor will then hide his intended bride and rape her until she becomes pregnant. As the father of the woman's child, the man can claim her as his wife."

So, maybe it's not so pretty after all.

eddie willers said...

I remember once reading that Cellar Door is the most beautiful phrase in the English language.

After rolling it around my mind and tongue, I finally agreed.

Two beautiful country names are now trash.

Ceylon and Persia.

How wonderful they sound against the clunky Iran and Sri Lanka!

And don't get me started on Siam / Thailand.

Emil Blatz said...

World's oldest and grandest outdoor urinal. Reasonable prices.