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Menelik I (originally named Ebna la-Hakim, Arabic: Ibn Al-Hakim, "Son of the Wise"), first Jewish Emperor of Ethiopia, is traditionally believed to be the son of King Solomon of ancient Israel and Makeda, Queen of Sheba and ruled around 950 BC, according to traditional sources.[1] Tradition credits him with bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Ethiopia, following a visit to Jerusalem to meet his father upon reaching adulthood. According to the Kebra Nagast, King Solomon had intended on sending one son of each of his nobles and one son each of each temple priest with Menelik upon his return to his mother's kingdom. He is supposed to have had a replica made of the Ark for them to take with them. Upon the death of Queen Makeda, Menelik assumed the throne with the new title of Emperor and King of Kings of Ethiopia. According to legend, he founded the Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia that ruled Ethiopia with few interruptions for close to three thousand years and 225 generations later ended with the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974. However, the medieval incarnation of the Solomonic dynasty didn't come into power until 1270, claiming descent from the Kings of Aksûm, while their predecessors, the Zagwe dynasty, were said to not be of "the house of Israel" (i.e. of Solomon and Menelik). The claims of descent of the Aksûmite Kings preceding the Zagwe dynasty are uncertain, though early pagan inscription denote the King as "son of the unconquerable [god] Mahrem" (translated in Greek as Ares), while medieval Ethiopian sources ascribe them a similar claim of descent. This is consistent with the earliest records that testify that one half of Ethiopians followed the laws of Moses, while the other half worshipped pagan gods.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ "Regnal Chronologies" claims his reign was around 204 - 179 BC, but this is implausibly late.
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