Queen of Sheba: a journey in search of wisdom | African history | -

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The queen of Sheba would have lived more than three thousand years ago. The veracity of its story is sometimes disputed, but it remains central to Ethiopian mythology. The story of his story is found in several religious accounts.

Why is the Queen of Sheba so well known?

Königin von Saba (Comic Republic)

Wishing to quench her thirst for knowledge, the Queen Saba would have visited the wise king of Israel, Solomon, in Jerusalem. Written accounts of the meeting tell that she gave a son to the king, who became the first Ethiopian king of the Solomon Dynasty. This meeting in Jerusalem is recounted in various texts, among them the Jewish Bible, the Koran, where the Queen is called Bilqis, and an ancient Ethiopian document called Kebra Nagast, where she is called Makeda. She is also mentioned in the New Testament as "Queen of the South".

What is Kebra Nagast?

Kebra Nagast was first compiled in Ethiopia in the fourteenth century. Its sources come from different texts: the Old and New Testaments, texts from Egyptian, Arab and Ethiopian sources. It is this Kebra Nagast who gives the most detailed account of the Queen's meeting with King Solomon. The story goes that after convincing Makeda, that is to say the Queen of Sheba, of her wisdom, Solomon spends the night with her. It is from this union that King Menelik I, the founder of the Salomon dynasty in Ethiopia, is born, who will continue to rule until the dismissal of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974.

Königin von Sheba (Comic Republic)

But where does the Queen of Sheba come from?

The origin of the Queen of Sheba is still disputed. The Ethiopians claim it as one of theirs. But this is also the case for Yemenis who say that Saba is a reference to the Yemeni kingdom of Sheba. Ethiopians believe that his palace was located in the city of Aksum, in northern Ethiopia, where ruins can still be visited.

Who is inspired by the Queen of Sheba?

The meeting of a queen and a king, driven by the appetite for knowledge, remains today a source of inspiration for many people. Around the world, everyone expresses their impressions in different ways: in painting, poetry, sculpture or any other means. And since the queen's story is a reminder of love, unity and friendship, she just draws a lot of attention.


Mantegaftot Sileshi and Getachew Tedla Haile-Giorgis contributed to this story which is part of the series "Roots of Africa". A series launched in early 2018 by Deutsche Welle, in cooperation with the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

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