post Abba Gorgoryos

December 10th, 2007

Filed under: Academic Cooperations — Admassu @ 12:45

When it is said that Hiob Ludolf was the founder of Ethiopian studies in Europe, it is generally forgotten that Abba Gorgoryos (refered to in European literature as Abba Gregorios) has an equally valid claim to this title. Without him, much of Hiob Ludolf’s enormous work could never have been written, and he was always a friend and partner of equal rank. With the fine portrait reproduced here, which Hiob Ludolf chose as the frontispiece for his Commentarius ad suam historiam Aethiopicam, he created an immortal monument to Abba Gorgoryos - a monument of gratitude and friendship, marking the beginning of Ethiopian-German academic collaboration.

Abba Gorgoryos (1595 - 1658)

Abba Gorgoryos (to give him his ecclesiastical name) was born in about 1595 in Makana Sellase in the celebrated Amhara Province - one of the great centers of classical Ethiopian culture. He belonged to a family of “makwanent”. After receiving an excellent education in his home country, he became a page in the service of Emperor Susenyos, who had tied his fate entirely to that of the Catholic church. Like other Ethiopians attached to the Catholic cause, he left Ethiopia after the abdication of the Emperor and traveled via India to Rome.

There, in the gardens of the Vatican, he met Hiob Ludolf in the spring of 1649 - an encounter which was of a decisive importance not only for the two men but also for Ethiopian studies in General. Later, in 1652, Abba Gorgoryos visited his friend Hiob Ludolf in Gotha, where the latter was then living, and they were able to devote several months to intensive scholastic collaboration. Then Abba Gorgoryos set out again for Ethiopia. He was drowned off the coast of Syria in 1658.

Booklet: “Three Hundred Years of Ethiopian-German Academic Collaboration.”
Author: Eike Haberland
1986. 39 pages, EUR 5,—. ISBN 3-515-04766-2
Frobenius Institute
Johann Wolfgang Goethe University
Frankfurt, Germany

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