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Mara Takla Haymanot was Nəgusä nägäst of Ethiopia, and the founder of the Zagwe dynasty. Some King Lists give his name simply as "Mararah", and other King Lists as "Takla Haymanot".[1]

Mara was born in the province of Lasta, which was his powerbase. Originally a general of Dil Na'od, whose daughter Masoba Warq became his wife, Mara overthrew his father-in-law to found the new dynasty.

There is some disagreement over the exact time when he came to the throne: there are two different traditions for how long the Zagwe dynasty ruled: the more common tradition states that it was for 333 years, while a less common one gives the time as 133 years. The Italian scholar Carlo Conti Rossini accepted the shorter period, and working back from the accepted date of 1270 for the end of the Zagwe dynasty, claims that this dynasty started around 1137. He supported this theory with the recorded exchange between Patriarch John V of Alexandria and an unnamed king of Ethiopia, who asked for a new abuna because the current one was too old; Conti Rossini argued that the actual reason was that the abuna refused to condone the coup which resulted in Mara Takla Haymanot gaining the throne.[2]

The extent of his kingdom was much smaller than the later Solomonic dynasty came to rule, embracing parts of Lasta, Wag, Tigray, and perhaps northern Begemder.


  1. ^ See G.W.B. Huntingford, "'The Wealth of Kings' and the End of the Zāguē Dynasty", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 28 (1965), pp. 1-23
  2. ^ Taddesse Tamrat. "The Legacy of Aksum and Adafa" in Church and State in Ethiopia. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972, pp. 53-64.
Preceded by
Dil Na'od
Emperor of Ethiopia Succeeded by


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