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SC Wednesday Talk: Speaker: Michael Gervers, History, U of T Title: “What do we know about the Ethiopian Dark Ages (7th-12th centuries)?”, February 22, 2023, 2-4pm

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February 22 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

February 22, 2023 

Speaker: Michael Gervers, History, U of T

Title: “What do we know about the Ethiopian Dark Ages (7th-12th centuries)?”

Introducer: Marty Klein

Abstract: The Axumite kingdom flourished from the 1st to the 6th century, after which economic decline set in. Several explanations have been put forward for this change: the defeat of the Ethiopians in the Yemen by the Sassanids in the later 6th century; the foundation of Islam and a consequent loss of maritime activity by the highlanders in the Red Sea; soil exhaustion after centuries of over use in the dry and stony landscape of the region (today, Eritrea and Tigray). The gold standard was abandoned and coins no longer minted (not for a thousand years, in fact). At the same time, there is archaeological evidence of continuous habitation and even of population growth, but no signs of stone inscriptions or manuscripts. What was the state of Christianity? Were churches being built, or in the absence of funding and building materials is this the period when communities turned to carving them out of the rock?

Bio: Michael Gervers is a medieval historian who divides his time between analyzing by statistical means tens of thousands of English charters (property transfer documents) from the 11th through early 14th centuries, and documenting through field work Ethiopia’s cultural heritage. He is currently co-authoring a major publication on Ethiopia’s best-preserved medieval church called Yemrehanna Krestos, built in the mouth of an enormous cave near the well-known rock-hewn site of Lalibela. It is to be published by the Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto.

The link to register is  https://forms.office.com/r/5KAfhYRmw4

The deadline to register is the Monday before the event at noon. The Zoom link will be sent to registrants only.