Ethiopia: Notes - Archontology

Ethiopia: Notes


Traditionally, the name and style of the Emperor of Ethiopia at the head of a document was preceded by the motto

Mo‘a ’Anbäsa zä ’Əmnägädä Yəhuda (The Lion of the Tribe of Judah hath Prevailed)
taken from the Biblical text (Rev. 5:5, AV translation).

In the reign of Mənilək II this phrase was mis-translated to constitute a style of the ruler: "The Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah"; and this interpretation of the phrase was appropriated by all the rulers to 1974. This matter is discussed in detail by Sven Rubenson in "The Lion of the Tribe of Judah: Christian Symbol and/or Imperial Title", Journal of Ethiopian Studies vol. 3 no. 2 (1965), pp. 75-85 (excerpt)