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By Harold G. Marcus

Surveying the evolution of the oldest African state from prehistoric to fashionable occasions, this examine demonstrates that there's extra to Ethiopia's lifestyles than colonial common sense. It exhibits how geography, economics and tradition have served to unite Ethiopians opposed to fractionalization.

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So far, so good, but the emperor's fundamental aim was to return Ethiopia to its previous greatness. To do so, Susneyos imagined, required an alliance with Western Christendom, now personified in the dignified and diplomatic Pedro Paez, a Spanish Jesuit. html[1/18/2011 6:02:21 PM] next page > page_40 < previous page page_40 next page > Page 40 and diplomat to bring the Ethiopian sheep into the Roman flock. In 1612, Susneyos himself converted, refraining, however, on Paez's advice, from a public declaration until 1622.

When the defenses were destroyed during the Muslim war, the Oromo resumed infiltrating, even as Lebna Dengel restored a semblance of Solomonic government in the empire's periphery. The Oromo, among other East African peoples, had developed a generational-grade form of government, the gada system, which defined male activities in eight-year segments. The pastoral nature of Oromo life dictated a loose, egalitarian society led by officials elected by the gada responsible for government. In the sixteenth century, the Oromo probably were divided into exogamous moieties, the Borena and the Barettuma.

In the sixteenth century, the Oromo probably were divided into exogamous moieties, the Borena and the Barettuma. They identified themselves as members of moieties, gada classes, clans, and lineages. The elders, the jarsa biyya, dealt with day-to-day moral and legal issues, ceremonies, and religious life. The qallu, Oromo leaders who represented the forces of nature, had a powerful, if vague, authority over religious and political matters great and small. html[1/18/2011 6:02:19 PM] next page > page_36 < previous page page_36 next page > Page 36 12.

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