Solomonic Dynasty

The Solomonic Dynasty (or Solomonic Restoration) is a period of history in Ethiopia between 1270 to 1636. It is so called because, in 1270 when Emperor Yekuno Amlak became emperor and he declared to be the lineal descent of Menelik I, son of King Solomon and Queen Sheba, he ended the short lived rule of the Zagwes off of Ethiopia, whom did not claim descent to Menelik I.

Emperors in the Solomonic period did not utilize capital cities like preceding empires. They instead had what were termed as instant or moving capitals. The emperor, his army, nobles, and other members of the monarchy lived in tents and huts. They often did not stay in one place no more than four months at a time, moving only when they had exhausted the land or the residents, which were required to supply cattle or food or any other thing that was demanded.

During the Solomonic period of Ethiopian history, the Christian highland and the Muslim coast were in constant fighting, often for the right to control trade routes. (Pankhurst 1998, 72) During the 14th century emperor Amda Seion and his successor, his son Sayfa Ar’ad, fought consistently with the rulers of Ifat. In the mid-16th century, the campaigns of Ahmad Gragn, nearly wiped out the Christian empire. It was only with the help of the Portuguese army that the monarchy was able to defeat Ahmad Gragn. By the end of the 16th century, the Christian monarchy had been greatly weakened.

In the 17th century, Ethiopia flirted with Catholicism. After the Portuguese had helped the monarchy defeat Ahmad, they had stayed put and they started preaching their religion. (Pankhurst 1998, 93-4) This was a problem for the emperors of the late 16th and early 17th century but upon Susneyons taking the throne in 1607, with the influence of the Jesuits and under the illusion that it will lead to further Portuguese military support, he slowly began to attack Orthodox Christianity and eventually made Roman Catholicism the official religion of the state. Susneyons instituted forced conversions but it only lead to wide spread rebellion and the Portuguese weren't forthcoming with military assistance. Eventually the emperor gave way to the demands of the masses and reinstituted Orthodox Christianity in 1632. (Pankhurst 1998, 103-7)

List of Rulers of the Solomonic restoration

1270-85 Yekuno Amlak
1285-94Yigba Tseyon
1299-1314Widim Ra'ad
1314-44Amda Tseyon
1344-72Sayfa Arad
1372-82Newaya Maryam
1382-1411Dawit I
1434-68Zara Ya'qob
1468-78Baeda Maryam
1508-40Lebna Dengel
1563-97Sarsa Dengel
1603-04Za Dengel
1667-82 Yohannes I
1682-1706 Iyasu I, the Great
1706-08 Takla Haymanot I
1708-11 Tewoflos
1711-16 Yostos
1716-21Dawit III
1730-55Iyasu II