Read avariciously
or at least like the books were going to disappear tomorrow.

Eritrea-Ethiopia Bibliography

This bibliography lists works that reference various aspects of Eritrea and Ethiopia. Read them for your research and enjoyment of the history and times of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Those that are available online include a link to that online location. You can find most of the others at your favorite library that includes African history among its topics. You can likely locate some of them at, Barnes and Noble, Borders, or I may even be talked into lending out those that I have now and then. Ask.

  • Anfray, Francis. "Les rois d'Axoum d'après la Numismatique." Journal of Ethiopian Studies, VI, No.2 (July, 1968), pp. 1-5. This article lists the Axumite Kings according do conclusions based on its coinage. Some of this chronology has been revised by Munro-Hay and others. No one chronology is generally accepted yet. (in French)

  • Buston, David. The Abyssinians. New York: Praeger, 1970. A historical work. David is using an old word Abyssinian to refer to what has since the second World War been called almost exclusively Ethiopia. The names are interchangeable.

  • ---------. Travels in Ethiopia. New York. Travel Book Club, 1950. This book includes many pictures from all over Ethiopia including some of the things on top of Debra Damo.

  • Cerulli, Enrico. La Literatura Ethiopica. 3rd ed. Milan: Sansoni-Accademia, 1968. An extensive listing and discussion of Ethiopian literature. (in Italian)

  • Di Salvo, Mario. Churches of Ethiopia: The Monastery of Narga Sellase. Milan: Skira, 1999. A detailed scholarly study of an Ethiopian Coptic Christian church on Lake Tana South of Gondar. This 9-by-11-inch hard cover book includes wonderful photographs and detailed architectural drawings of the layout of this church.

  • Fiore, Giacinto. 200 Pagine Sull'Eritrea. Asmara: Stabilimento Tipolitografico Percotto, 1952. In flowering Chamber of Commerce fashion, this book touts the grandeur of the economy of Eritrea in the early fifties. It lists the infrastructure and departments of most businesses in Eritrea. I have used it often over the years as a resource of facts. (in Italian)

  • Gill, Dennis. The Coinage of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Italian Somalia. Mineola, New York: Printing Mart of Long Island. 1991. A really good and thorough study on the coins and paper money of these countries along with extensive political and economic history.

  • Greenfield, Richard. Ethiopia: A New Political History. London: Pall Mall Press. 1965. This book told all the nitty gritty details of the 1960 attempted coup against Haile Selassie. The book's straight-forward discussion of the subject that was very taboo in the late '60s in Asmara made it also taboo. Though it was banned in Ethiopia, I managed to get a copy at Kagnew through non-traditional means in mid-1969.

  • Institute of Ethiopian Studies. Journal of Ethiopian Studies. Addis Ababa: Haile Selassie I University. This well-written periodical includes many articles on various aspects of Ethiopian culture and history.

  • Istituto di Studi Etiopici. Bollettino. Asmara. Scuola Tipographica Francescana, 196-. This periodic bulletin of scholarly articles was published by the University of Asmara. The particular issue I have has articles on Axumite coins and the history of Gondar. The latter article is written in Latin by a coptic priest! I thought it was the weirdest Italian I had ever seen until I got a couple paragraphs into it and realized I was reading Latin. (articles in English, French, Italian, and Latin!)

  • Kineally, Thomas. To Asmara: A Novel of Africa. New York: Werner Books, 1989. A story set in the midst of the Eritrean war for independence. Kineally is the author of Shindler's List so this book promises to be a good one to spend some time with. Sadly, I have only touched on it.

  • Kohl, Melvin J. Ethiopia - Treasure House of Africa: A Review of Ethiopian Currency and Related History. Society of International Numismatics. Santa Monica, CA, 1969.

  • Last, Geoffrey and Pankhurst, Richard. A History of Ethiopia in Pictures. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Oxford University Press, 1969. As it says, this is a pictorial history. It is not a children's book, it is too detailed for that. But it doesn't quite measure up to a full fledged history book. None the less, it can give you an overall beginning knowledge of the country's history.

  • LeClerq, Henri. "Éthiopie." Dictionaire d'Archéologie Chrétienne et de Liturgie. Vol. V. A French version of Ethiopian history. (in French)

  • Leslau, Wolf. Documents Tigrigna. Paris. Librairie C. Klincksieck, 1941. Do you want to know everything there is to know about Tigrigna, the language of northern Ethiopia and Eritrea? This book is the one to read. I picked it up looking for some basic grammar and found that it had a lot more. I remember the wonderful sounds of the words cherki merki, begedi bewedi, and lublabe. The latter meant "heart beat." I have long since forgot the meaning of the first two. And then there was mukfuk tanica, "can opener." (in French)

  • Marcus, Harold G. The History of Ethiopia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. Though I have a lot of notes written in the margins, I don't remember this book.

  • Metras, Michael. The Arrival of Christianity in Ethiopia. Unpublished paper. 1971. This paper looks at the arrival of Christianity in Ethiopia based on contemporary documents and Axumite coins.

  • ---------. Axum, Coins and Places. Somonauk, IL. 1999. This video shows you pictures the modern highways and byways and ruins of cities you might have visited as a Greek merchant trading with the king of Axum at the height of Axum's power. Along the way you see some of the Axumite coins you might have used in those days. (23 minutes)

  • ---------. Ethiopia: Travels of a Youth. Somonauk, IL. 2002. A book with over 75,000 words and 440 pictures along with 11 videos and 11 sound tracks, Ethiopia: Travels of a Youth takes you down the highways and byways of Eritrea and northern Ethiopia returning to people places first visited in the late 1960's. All you need is your internet browser to read, enjoy, and learn from this book on CD-ROM.

  • Michelin Tires. Map of North-East Africa. Paris, 1966. The roads of Ethiopia. There are several other maps but this one is about as good as they come. [editor's note: I'll list more later.]

  • Mockler, Anthony. Haile Selassie's War: The Italian-Ethiopian Campaign, 1935-1941. New York: Random House, 1984. An extensive study of all the ins and outs and battles first of the Italian invasion in 1935 and then of the British driving out the Italians. It is easy and interesting reading.

  • Munro-Hay, Stuart. Aksum: An African Civilization of Late Antiquity. Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 1991. A modern book dedicated entirely to the history of the great city state of Axum. A great deal of its history is right here under one cover.

  • ---------. The Coinage of Aksum. New Delhi: Manohar Publications. 1984. An exhaustive study on the coins of Axum using the knowledge and data available at the time.

  • ---------. "Forgeries of the Aksumite Series." American Journal of Numismatics. Second Series 3-4, (1991-1992), pp. 49-64, pls. 5-6.

  • --------- and Juel-Jansen, Bent. Axumite Coins. London. Spink, 1995. A sequel to The Coinage of Aksum with many additional examples and photographs and new chronological conclusions.

  • Nakinishi, Akira. Writing Systems of the World: Alphabets, Syllibaries, Pictograms. Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle, 1990. Use this to find out what the Ethiopic syllibary looks like. Use it also to find out what several hundred other writing systems of the world look like. It's a fun little paperback with a lot of serious information.

  • Negistat, Yearuwachew, Yeaksum Tintawiyan Genzeboch [Axumite Coinage]. Asmara, Ethiopia: Betringali Press, 1960 [Ethiopian calendar] (1967). A wild and wonderful little book in Amharic. The pictures and the text headings are so good that it makes initial identification of Axumite coins almost easy in spite of the language barrier. (in Amharic)

  • Pakenham, Thomas. The Mountains of the Rasselas. London: Seven Dials, 1999. This travel narrative lavishly illustrated with photographs and line drawings details the author's travels through the mountains between Gondar, Bethlehem, Lalibella, and Dessie looking at the castles, churches, and mountain-top prisons of the children of the kings (Rasselas) of Ethiopia, in particular of the kings of Gondar and later. The story is great while pictures alone make this 9½-by-11½ book a fine addition to any library.

  • Paice, Edward. Guide to Eritrea. London: Guernsey Press, 1996. A guide to the towns and countryside of Eritrea in the mid-'90s.

  • Pankhurst, Richard. An Introduction to the Economic History of Ethiopia from Early Times to 1800. London: Lalibela House, 1961. A ponderous, detailed look at the economy of Ethiopia through the ages.

  • Pankhurst, Richard and Rita. Ethiopia Observer. Vol. XII, No. 3. London: Percy Brothers, 1969. A periodical with various anthropological subjects. This particular edition includes articles on Gondar and the rock churches of Lalibela. It was always a good read.

  • Pankhurst, Sylvia. Ethiopia: A Cultural History. Essex, England: Lalibela House, 1955. This is a wide-ranging tome covering all manner of Ethiopian culture.

  • Parkyns, Mansfield. Life in Abyssinia. London: Frank Cass & Co., Reprint 1966. This 1853 book tells of the Mr. Parkyns three years' wanderings in northern Ethiopia in the mid-1800s. It's great reading, particularly once you have a basic feel and understanding for the region.

  • Rasmusson, Joel. Welcome to Ethiopia: A Tourist Guide. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Artistic Printers, 1965(?). This was the official tourist guide to Ethiopia put out by the Imperial Ethiopian Tourist Organization. It includes a lot of good general information about the country. But you have to go to other sources for the details.

  • Rasmuson, John. A History of Kagnew Station and American Forces in Eritrea. Asmara. Il Poligrafico, 1973. This is the only official statement of what the U.S. forces were doing in Eritrea. It includes a lot of detail that is not available anywhere else without doing a lot of digging.

  • Selassie, Sergew Hable. Bibliography of Ancient and Medieval Ethiopian History. Addis Ababa. Star Printing, 1969. If you are looking for something on this subject, this is a good source book. It includes sources in English, French, Italian, Latin, German, Russian, but none in Amharic or Tigrinya. (in English)

  • Sestante. Asmara: Il Poligrafico, 196-. A periodical that announced on its head that it was an "Illustrated Biennial Documentary of the Political, Economic, and Social Life of Ethiopia." The particular edition I have (December, 1968) includes a description of Asmara's Expo 69 when a moon rock was on display. It also included the story of the founding of Asmara. (in Italian)

  • Sullenger. Ted. Three Day Field Trip of Special Anthropological Interest to Koloe, Matara, Debra Damo, Yeha, and Axum. Asmara, Eritrea: Unpublished, U. of Maryland, 1970. The notes for our U. of Md. Anthropology field trip that was aborted due to liberation movement activity. It contains a lot of good anthropological and archeological material that is otherwise scattered in many resources.

  • Ullendorff, Edward. Ethiopia and the Bible. London: Oxford University Press, 1968. An extensive study of Ethiopia's version of the Bible along with myths associated with it. It has an excellent, detailed rendition of the King Solomon and Queen of Sheba story.

  • ---------. The Ethiopians: An Introduction to the Country and People. 2nd ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1965. A good general history of the culture and people of Ethiopia. We used it in the U. of Maryland Anthropology class in 1970.

  • Vaccaro, Francisco. Le Monete di Aksum. Mantova, Italy: Casteldario. 1967. This book has another listing of Axumite coinage and kings. Francisco Vaccaro had a shop in Asmara behind the Catholic Cathedral and I didn't know it. (in Italian)

  • Vocabulary - Vocabulaire. Dire Dawa, Ethiopia: St. Lazare, 1956. An English-Amharic-French dictionary.

Copyright © 2001 Mike Metras,