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Title: Re-imagining Empire : Ethiopian political culture under Yohannis IV, 1872-89
Author: Orlowska, Izabela Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2727 292X
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis is concerned with the question of how the Ethiopian monarchy reconstructed and reinvented itself after more than a century of decline. It examines the internal dynamics of this process, by utilising primary source materials in indigenous Ethiopian languages. The main sources used are chronicles commemorating the reign of Y ohannis IV, the second of the monarchs who presided over the period widely regarded as marking the beginning of modem Ethiopian history. Chapter 1 outlines the main social and political themes essential for an understanding of Ethiopia in the late-nineteenth century. It deals with the origins of the national ideology, church-state relations, patronclient relations, the economic basis of society and land tenure. I then sketch the historical debate surrounding the period that provides the immediate context for the monarchy of Y ohannis IV. Chapter 2 examines the rise to power of Y ohannis and analyses this process by addressing understandings of authority, leadership and the role of charisma in the Ethiopian context. Chapter 3 examines how Solomonic genealogy and the religious symbols embedded in the glorious past of the monarchy were mobilised by Y ohannis to further his project of imperial reconstruction. Particular attention is paid to his coronation ceremony in 1872, as an example of the mobilization of imperial ideology, here expressed through the pageantry of political ritual. Chapters 4 and 5 look at the functioning of the Ethiopian political scene. Here oral sources supplement documentary material in order to identify new mechanisms and institutions that characterised the political culture of late nineteenth-century Ethiopia. Using historical narrative, reconstructed by tracing the lives and careers of prominent individuals on the political scene, I explain the dynamics of the centrifugal and centripetal forces that characterised centre-periphery relations. Chapter 6 examines the revived structure of the empire based on the concept of the king of kings and his relationship with his subordinate regional ruler.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available