LITERATURE IN THE 15TH CENTURY ETHIOPIA: KING AND AUTHORZARA YAQOBAND THE DEVELOPMENT OF MEDIEVAL ETHIOPIAN LITERATURE
Keywords:`The Golden Age`, Medieval Literature, KingZara Yaqob, Ethiopic Literature.
The article uncovers the literary activity in the 15th century Ethiopia. The general purpose of the study is surveying literary development in the period of Emperor Zara Yaqob, and specifically pays focus on the personal efforts and contributions of the King himself in the growth of literature in his reign. It also intends to endorse whether these texts are qualify in literary features. Almost no researches were conducted on Zara Yaqob and his literary contribution, this fact is taken as inspirational point to do the study. Qualitative research method is applied, for the study is done on a text. The Emperor has collected men of letter and scholars in the court yard and highly encouraged them to have a huge engagement in literary activities. These scholars, like Abba Giorgis of Gassecca, wrote numerous books which are religious but have great literary value and qualities. The King has written more than ten books; most of them have religious thematic preoccupation but also have secular subjects. These are: MatsehafäBerhan; MatsehafäMilad; EgziabherNagsä; SebhatäFequr; MatsehafäSellassie; MatsehafäBahrey; Tä’aqeboMestir; TomaräTesebe’it; KehedatäSäytan; DarsanäMalaekt; Ra’eyäTa’amer; Melke’aGubae, and MangadäSamay. These texts are investigated out in content and literary value. In addition, he has produced hymns which are prepared in poetic form, and the lines are rhymed as rhymeisthemostfamiliarelementofpoetry; the hymns are constructed in end rhyme. In his hymns, figurative speeches especially simile and metaphor are well applied. The researcher has long realized potential value of the literary productions in the period of Zara Yaqob as source for the study of Ethiopian literature and history. The works are very important to study social, economic, historical, religious, and the political history of Ethiopia in addition to their literary values. It is recommended that interested researchers shall explore this untouched field which is rich for literary and any kind of study.