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Princeton Ethiopic Manuscript No. 42: The Cycle of Kings (Awədä Nägäśət), Collection of Divination Texts, 1788-1800
Collection Description & Creator Information
- Scope and Contents
Illustrations: Fols. 34v-35v: Fortune-telling charts with birthdates and letters of names.
Illustrations: Fols. 36rv: Magical pictures representing the four quarters of the heavens.
Illustrations: Fols. 37r-44v: Sixteen magical circles.
Illustrations: Fols. 72v-73r: Talismanic symbol.
Fol. 114v: Note is made of the Ethiopian kings from the first king of the Solomonic dynasty, Yəkuno Amlak (r. 1270-1285), through King Takla Haymanot (r. 1788- 89) and "up to now," King Tekle Giyorgis, who ruled off and on from 1788 to 1800 AD.
According to Aethiopica Encyclopedia (p. 402), "The Cycle of the Kings" consists of "circular tables dealing with divination and fortune-telling." The "basis of the fortune-telling is 16 sixteen-sector schemes named after lakes or rivers ... in Ethiopia... The schemes always have the same division, there are only differences in the lettering (in alphabetical order) of the segments. Each scheme and its segments find their explanation (i.e. the answer to the question posed) in corresponding texts following the tables."
No owner listed.
No scribe listed.
Gift of Bruce Willsie, Princeton Class of 1986.
Arranged in manuscript number order, by accession. Numbers 29 and 67-71 are unassigned.
This cataloging project was made possible through generous support from the David A. Gardner '69 Magic Project, Princeton University.
- Processing Information
The present finding aid was prepared in June-July 2009 by Kesis Melaku Terefe , Virgin Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church in Los Angeles, with assistance of Prof. Wendy Laura Belcher , Department of Comparative Literature and Center for African American Studies, Princeton University. This cataloging project was made possible through generous support from the David A. Gardner '69 Magic Project, Princeton University.
In 2022, restrictions on manuscripts No. 54, 57, and 65 were lifted as part of a restrictions review project.
In 2022, manuscripts nos. 86-95 were added to the collection.
Access & Use
- Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research use.
- Conditions Governing Use
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
- Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.
- Credit this material:
Princeton Ethiopic Manuscript No. 42: The Cycle of Kings (Awədä Nägäśət), Collection of Divination Texts; Princeton Ethiopic Manuscripts, C0776, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Firestone LibraryOne Washington RoadPrinceton, NJ 08544, USA
Regarding previous cataloging of Cycle of the Kings, B.Turaev, Efiopskiya rukopisi v S. Peterburge, Sanktpeterburg 1906 III, 11, 23, 46; Strelcyn (Graule) 390, 391, 405, 641, 650; E. Ullendorff and Stephen G. Wright, Catalogue of Ethiopian manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, 1961. LVII; S. Strelcyn Catalogue of Ethiopian Manuscripts of the Wellcome Institute of the History of Medicine in London. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol.xxxv(1972), pp.27-54 XVII, For further information, see C.Conti Rossini " Lo 'Awda nagast scritto divinatorio etiopico" RSE, 1941,127-45; Marcel Griaule, Notes sur l'arithmomancie éthiopi éthiopienne enne" Journal de l Societe des Africanistes 4, 1934, 25-31 Strelcyn 98, Encyclopedia Aethiopica vol. 1, pp.402; Zä-Mänfäs Qəddus Abrəha Hatäta Mänafəst ... Wä-Awdä Nägäśt, Asmara, 1949 E.C.