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ERITREA: WHAT IN A NAME

A self-contemplation that was circulating for some-time in my head was brought to surface when the curious touche-à-tout Saleh Gadi Johar humorously discussed the origin of the name Eritrea in his Negarit No 123 entitled “Eritrea and Eretria”.1

Where did the name come from? And who coined it?

Johar did his own research. He was not satisfied by the Latin origin of Mare Erythraeum, too convenient and too straightforward to make it mythic. He didn’t want to settle as he did for his favorite natal city, Keren came from Keren. Period! For our beloved Eritrea, he needed something more crunchy and more legendary. Johar surfed from Indian ocean to Greece and fell upon an ancient Greek city, Eretria. A city, giant despite its size, envied by everybody. Civilizations fought to subdue it, including the Persians (the USA of that time), a mirror image of Eritrea today. See Negarit-123 for more.1

Following Johar’s footsteps along with some serious search in the same European vicinity there appears to be another plausible explanation from no other place than the former colonizing country, Italy. Interestingly the name Erythraen is smack in the middle of the most religious places on earth, the Vatican City, right in the Sistine chapel, painted by the master of masters Michael Angelo who labelled it ERITRAEA underneath the sybillic painting. For a legend, it doesn’t get better than this. Artistic, Mythic and Mystic, all in one.  Michael Angelo represented the Erythraen sybil on the ceiling of the great chapel. Sybil is prophecy, Erythrae an Ionian city now part of Turkey. In the city of Erythrae, in ancient Greece, there were several prophecies. The most notable Sybil and venerated by Christians was the one that drove Michael Angelo up to the ceiling to paint Eritraea along the creator and his creations. That sybil was the one that prophesied the coming of the redeemer (Jesus Christ). Hurrah! we outdid the Ethiopia Sybil  “Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God (Psalm 68:31)”.

Well before confirming or rejecting this hypothesis, let’s go see what the Italians said.

In 1890, Fortune fell upon Francesco Crispi to be the Prime Minister of Italy to present to King Umberto I, the decree announcing the bringing together of Italian colonies acquired along the Red Sea in the preceding years. Here goes the decree of January 1: Regio decreto 1.1.1890, n. 6592, i possedimenti italiani nel Mar Rosso sono costituiti in una sola colonia col nome di Eritrea. Google translated into: The royal decree 1.1.1890, n. 6592 the Italians possessions in the Red Sea are constituted in a single colony with the name of Eritrea.2 Boom!!! The first day of the year 1890, the decree containing a new consolidated colony befell upon the Italian parliament. The members were previously accustomed to hearing ‘la nostra Massaua’, ‘la nostra Assab’ and ‘la nostra Saati’ eccetera. From that day on, they had to get used to the new denomination “la nostra Eritrea” and to finding the additional financial burden the new colony brought over the already overburdened Italian budget. I can visualize the deputies glancing right and left at each other looking for anyone to decipher the meaning of Eritrea and on where the money for it is going to be taxed from.

Also of significant note was Crispi’s monopoly of power, adding another responsibility to his premiership, minister of interior and acting minister of foreign affairs. This was hilariously captured by the caricaturist of the time Casimiro Teja by representing Crispi’s riding a 3-horse and 1-camel ridden circus chariot, the 3 horses for his existing responsibilities, the camel for his new colonial responsibility, and a finanza (finance!) screaming at the arrival panel.3* “Crispi” gave the name Eritrea to Eritrea. Would it be too caricatural to say Casimiro Teja gave Eritrea its national Emblem? Teja’s imagination was premonitory to the essential role played by the Camel in serving as a train transporting goods, arms and the wounded in the fight for independence of Eritrea.

Italian authors attribute the coining of Eritrea to Crispi’s personal secretary of the time and the already well-known man of litrature Carlo Dossi.4 It should also be mentioned that an Eritrean author in French, Nafi Kurdi, had captured this information in his book written following Eritrea’s independence.5 Italy’s visionary son, Carlo Dossi in the 1870s had authored a book entitled “la Colonia Felice (the happy colony)”. Writing on Dossi, Francesco Lioce (2014) makes a link between the fiction Dossi wrote a decade previously and his interest in the colony and in naming it in 1890.4 It appears that the credit of naming was not duly attributed to Dossi at the time. Skimming through the political discourse given by Crispi in his parliament, it is interesting to note Crispi’s hesitation to talk clearly about the name ‘Eritrea’. He also stayed vague by not answering directly to interrogations from his colleague deputies on this new colony.2 Reverting to the possible Sybillic linkage, it is not farfetched to imagine Crispi with his bag holding secretary (Dossi) going to Pope Leone XIII to discuss European affairs and possibility of reconciliation with France, and on the way passed through the Sistine chapel. There, hanging their neck on Michael Angelo’s Eritraea Sybil the inspirational name for their colony fell upon them. If only things were so simple and locking together! Unfortunately, the more I push this mythic possibility the more I am dragged back by reality. It would be far-fetched to expect mysticism from a Jacobin Crispi6 and an atheist Dossi (it.wikipedia).

If we the inhabitants of Terra di Mare were consulted, we would have suggested ምድሪ ባሕሪ and stayed away from the difficulty in pronouncing our baptismal name ኤለትራ, ኤለትሪያ, ኤሪትራ ecctera. Nevertheless, we love the name that was thrown at us. We adopted it readily and placed it in our heart. We love Eritrea ኤርትራ to the point that we don’t even question where it came from. By reading the usual history books, one gets the usual short sentence saying the name was derived from Mare Erythraeum. It was the case when I turned the pages of ኢጣልያዊ መግዛእቲ ኣብ ኤርትራ (Italian colonization in Eritrea) by the Zemhret Yohannes (central committee member of PFDJ).7 I could have stayed Zen like Zemhret’s and other’s books on the subject, but Johar’s inquisitiveness and a knock on mine pushed me to trample the historian’s domain of looking around.

It is now well established that the writer, diplomat and politician Carlo Dossi is the baptismal Godfather of Eritrea. Where did he get the idea from then? Dossi is an accomplished linguist in addition to his aforementioned qualities, able to interpret the history and geography of the region and name Eritrea most likely from the sea of Eritrea. Moreover, the presence of his Italian naturalist and missionary voyagers discovering habitats, acquiring land and documenting everything they observe could have given enough material for Dossi to depend on. Indeed Giuseppe Sapeto, the missionary who acquired the first implantation for Italy and Arturo Issel a renowned malacologist, in the books they published, the former on Assab and the later on molluscs profusely use the adjective Eritreo (Eritrean) to describe a fauna, a shore, a marina, a bay or the volcanic land or shell that anyone who is reading their books would be struck by.8,9,10 Others before them have used the latin term Erythraean from Mare Erythraeum to describe the fauna and flora. Therefore, it is conceivable that Carlo Dossi was inspired reading his compatriots books.

The question on why the Mare Erythraeum was called Erythraeum is a long story that Saleh Gadi Johar had touched upon.1 There are several possibilities. From the flora or fauna of the red sea or from Erythras king of Persia administering the area. Here is an old but very useful reference for these and other possibilities.11 Let us also not forget Erythras the son of Poseidon the God of the sea (Wikipedia), another mythic possibility from Greek mythology!

References

1 – Saleh “Gadi” Johar, March 2021, http://awate.com/eritrea-and-eretria/
2 – Discorsi di politica estera pronciati di Francesco Crispi, Presidente de consiglio, Ministro del interno, e Ministro ad interim degli affair esteri. Aprile 1887 – gennaio 1891. Roma, tipografia delle mantellate 1892.
3 – Caricature di Teja 1856-1897, annotate da Augusto Ferrerò. Pasquino. Torino. Viarengo-RE Editore, 1900. *To view the cartoon, type Casimiro Teja in google books. Then either search page 299 in the preview search or download the book and go to page 299 or cartoon No 232.
4 – Francesco Lioce, Dalla colonia facile alla colonia Eritrea. Cultura e ideologia in Carlo Dossi, Loffredo, Napoli, 2014. From a review by Fabrizio Miliucci, Università degli Studi Roma Tre.
5 – L’Érythrée, une identité retrouvée. Nafi Hassan Kurdi · Karthala, Paris 1994
6 – Jemolo A.C. Crispi, Uomini e idee. Vallecchi Editore Firenze, 1922
7 – ኢጣልያዊ መግዛእቲ ኣብ ኤርትራ 1882 – 1941. ዘምህረት ዮውሃንስ. ሕድሪ፡ ኣስመራ፡ 2010
8 – I Suoi Critici Del Professore Giuseppe Sapeto Assab. Stabilimento Pietro Pellas Genova, 1879.
9 – Malancologia del Mar Rosso, Riceche Zoologiche e Paleontologiche. Arturo Issel. Editore dell Biblioteca Malacologica. Pisa, 1869
10 – Viaggio e missione cattolica fra i Mensâ, i Bogos e gli Habab con un cenno geografico e storico dell’ Abissinia. Giuseppe Sapeto. Roma, 1857
11 – The Name of the Erythraean Sea. Wilfred H. Schoff. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1913, Vol. 33 (1913), pp. 349-362 Published by: American Oriental Society. Available at Jstor.

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  • said

    Greeting
    Reclaim
    Chauvin was a bad apple or an anomaly. No, as I mentioned above, the real truth is same as in the past hundreds of years , white supremacy do not start or end with this verdict . Chauvin he is a mirror of white supremacy.
    Floyd death, It is about white supremacy in purest form His Lawyer for Derek Chavin tried to put in trail Floyd’s history, his drug use and his actions – anything, that would shift the blame for his own death?
    Chauvin never exhibited remorse. This verdict has been a long time coming .
    What do you think President Joe Biden should have waited till appeal court give its verdict . presidents Joe did what presidents do , considered the verdict the right justice, but rather accountability and “a step in the right direction,

    So basally a conviction is not justice, Biden explained that the verdict was a giant step forward towards justice in America.
    Most black peoples in the United States are relegated to live precarious lives and they do what they can to survive and make merger life , white police man are there to manage the inequality. And it is much easier in the U S than to accuse a black man of a crime.
    underlying problems of inequality and unemployment and lack of opportunity. Life will go on like before and a prison sentence will not protect black people from the violence of the police. And are still being killed by the police daily .
    Caps Mostly white police men have killed more than 10,000 people of all races between 2005 and 2017; only 82 cops have been charged with murder or manslaughter. According to criminologist Phil Stinson, only 19 cops were convicted and mostly on lesser charges in that time period. a white cop in Columbus, Ohio killed Ma’Khia Bryant, a 15-year-old Black girl. police killings of Daunte Wright in Minnesota and 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago. White cops did not get the real message about justice if they do they would noticed , all of these victims were killed in the course of the Chauvin trial.
    As above mentioned. The early American immigrants to the New World, the core of the future WASPs, were motivated in their adventure to explore a new world, North America, by a fervent religious zeal, seeking a new world where they can practice their new reformed Christianity away from the persecution of dominant political and religious orders of Europe. Their concept of religion in its reformed yet fraught with collective memories of persecution and a deep sense self-victimization was rendered, in the face of unexpected existential challenges, the more exclusive, non-inclusive and the more parochial, even dogmatic. The New land of the New World was the new immigrant WASPs’ God Given territories to grab at will and colonize; aren’t they the chosen favorites who crossed oceans, suffered tremendous losses in the arduous journeys trying to make it to the New World: All in the Name of God seeking to establish and practice freely his brand of reformed Christianity.

    The indigenous inhabitants of the land, the Red Indian Tribes, original inhabitants of the land, , were a non-issue in the grander scheme of a non-inclusive, most exclusive White Supremacist, White Anglo Saxon Protestants (“WASPs”) religious zealots. Dehumanized as the lesser others, the undeserving multitudes interfering in the Providence’s decree, the indigenous inhabitants of the land, the Red Indians, became, in the logic of the colonialist WASPs, intruders that the doctrinaire Protestants judged must be uprooted and exterminated to make room for the flood of new WASP pilgrims from the Old Continent. Desensitized by the process of dehumanization of the lesser others, the WASPs rendered the acts of violence, systematic dispossessing and uprooting of the Indigenous population remorseless and an admissible act.
    American WASPs against the Red Indians more than two centuries earlier. In both situations: Zealots in the name of religion as The exclusive preserve of selective supremacist committed acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing against the indigenous populations.
    Colonialism is an expression that is synonymous with the intrinsic and indelible identity of both: The American WASPs and the European settlers in south Africa . Colonialism signifies a deliberate act and a very conscious process of usurpation of new lands and new territories; that’s in tandem with the discarding and even annihilation of the indigenous population; as well as the deployment of crude methods and brute force to achieve the colonialists’ expedient Machiavellian objectives.
    The American WASPs grabbed new territories, by mere force and coercion, thus annexing to the newly founded commonwealth: California, Texas and Arizona, and many other adjacent foreign lands.

    The American WASPs, the elite in control of the American political system and Americans’ destiny, and they are drunk with power, the love of unrestrained deployment of excessive brutal force as means to achieving narrow objectives. , the American WASPs the show total callousness to human sufferings and complete insensitivity to generally observed moral values and ethical codes. Both, the American WASPs and the Israelis adhere to a deep-seated sense of supremacy, and an arrogant false pretension of permanent invincibility, the American WASPs are trigger happy, readily applying massive force to overcome carefully picked much weaker adversary targets; all prompted by urges to project a reassuring sense of security, supremacy and reinforcing of a legacy of invincibility.
    The Moral and Wisdom entailed in the above analysis are an open. Message to Eritreans aspirants wishing one day to influence the American foreign policy to a more pro Eritreans people, for their liberty and the need to consider other convincing and more viable options than soft diplomacy and appealing to Universal Value System when seeking to influence the stand and opinions of American decision makers.

  • said

    Greetings,
    Misleading Notion about Our American Founding Fathers’ Legacy of ‘All Men Born Equal’

    The Glorifications of America’s Founding Fathers (George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Jay) and the Hypocritical Declaration of Independence that “All Men Born Equal;” appears to me way over misplaced. This, judging by the facts that the Blacks continued to be held as chattel and the new-founded American Republic continued with its schemes of colonization and the continuing task of the annihilation of the native American population.
    Derek Chauvin rarer guilty verdict
    How ironic two and a half centuries after the American Declaration of Independence of “All Men Born Equal” the American city of Minneapolis, the place of the final trial of the racial murder of George Floyd. Derek Chauvin guilty verdict. Relief finally murderer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder for killing George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minute. The jury swiftly and unanimously convicted Chauvin of all the charges he faced – second- and third-degree murder, and manslaughter.
    There nothing new becoming the scene of the murder in cold blood by the white policemen of another innocent American black, 20-years old Daunte Wright! Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Floyd family, said in a statement: “Justice for Black America is justice for all of America. This case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state.” Joe Biden told the family: “Nothing is going to make it all better, but at least now there is some justice.” He added: “We’re all so relieved.”
    American Founding Fathers and their Declaration of Independence “All Men Born Equal” is proven over centuries more of a White Wash belied – Before and After – by lingering institutionalized and de facto consciously racist Segregationist system, this, besides, an ongoing hegemonic and colonization policies, all embraced with consciously deliberate Race Supremacist policies.

    The American Founding Fathers of two and a half centuries ago are so Holy and Sacrosanct by the WASP- controlled American polity that continue to shape to this day American politics, that the glorification of the American Founding Fathers is reminiscent of the exaltations of the Patriarchs in the Holy Bible that remain central in the WASPs’ mindset, the WASPs’ ideology and the WASPs’ governing doctrine.

    As the American human rights’ activists are taking to the streets of Minneapolis protesting the murder in cold blood by the city’s predominately White police of an innocent 20-years old black American, America’s simmering deep racial tensions, an integral part of the system, is anew popping up onto the surface painting a dark shadow on America’s prospects for the future. It would seriously undermine.

    America’s societal harmony and seriously compromise America’s ambitious bid for revival in America’s desperate attempts at catching up with an ever-fast racing China.
    However, upon deeper reflections, the American Story of the “All Men Born Equal” as enshrined in the American constitution two and a half centuries ago by the Founding Fathers is misconstrued to actually meaning the American White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (the “WASPs.”)
    Enslaved in the most brutal, most inhuman and most unthinkable conditions for nearly a whole century by the time of the creation of the American Constitution by the Founding Fathers, the fate of the enslaved Blacks was intently overlooked by the Founding Fathers in the writing of the said constitution. Rather, ironically, on the contrary, many of the Founding Fathers themselves, if not all, owned and held as chattels hundreds of the black slaves. Yet, these Founding Fathers dared to speak of “All Men Born Equal.” In actuality, the Founding Fathers’ reference to MEN here appear to increasingly mean, as judging by the consequences, the White Anglo Saxon Protestants, the WASPs, who continue to rule over America well into this day.
    Ironically, no reference whatsoever was made in the edified constitution by the Founding Fathers of 1776 to closely to ending of brutal slavery of the blacks until still another hundred years later. It was in the 13th amendment introduced to the American Constitution in 1865 in the aftermath of a bloody 4-year American civil war, that the American Constitution, that slavery was abolished by the letter, De Jure, as it continued in force after De Facto rules and regulations, especially at the State’s level..

    This, as it was not before another exactly another 100 years, in President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” Bill made into a law in 1964, that Segregation against blacks was declared unlawful. It was another nearly two centuries of the Founding Fathers’ Declaration of Independence emblazoned with the Shrined Phrase “All Men Born Equal” that the American Blacks were virtually set free.
    After the American Civil war and the introduction of the 13th Amendment in 1865, the racist WASP Confederates, Separatists of the American South of the Bible Belt (the generally White Supremacist Evangelical Christian Right), still managed, found ways, such as in the Jim Crow Law enacted by the American Southern States (that’s currently being revived by nearly 45 out of the 50 American states) to circumvent the 13th Amendment of the American Constitution. The American.

    Southern States continues the most abhorrent act of Segregation against the Blacks and of restricting the voting rights of the American Blacks until the enactment of the Great Society’s laws by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Ironically, same WASPs organized under a Tea Party Republican Party who continue to this day to significantly influence the American Electoral Process and control over the American political process, both domestically and internationally. They remain at heart segregationist White Supremacists.
    Ironically, when the Founding Fathers met on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia two and a half centuries ago, the United States was comprised of only 13 states that after the creation of the Constitution, the American WASPs carried on with their hegemonic colonialist drive grabbing new territories; this, while simultaneously continuing the systematic annihilation of the remaining native populations and the continued brutal and most inhuman enslavement of the American Black population. Thus, goes the lingering story of the American Great Founding Fathers.

    This is why some time I tended to pity the naivety of the well-meaning Eritreans trying to appeal to the American polity’s sense of Universal Values

  • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

    ሰላማት

    ድብንብን ክብል ውዒሉ
    ኣይ ማይ ኣይ በረድ ኣንጠልጢሉ
    ‘ንታይ ደኣሉ
    ነገሩ
    ክብል ህዝቢ ጀሚሩ

    ክወረድ ይምስል ማይ-ኣይሂ
    ኢለ ክሓስብ
    ርስዕ ኣበልክዋ ጻሕሊ
    ጦቕ በለት
    ክንደይኳ ከይጥዕም
    ዘይቲ ዝወሓዶ ጸብሒ
    ኣንቲ ርግምቲ ሂወት
    ናበይ ኮን ተምርሒ

    ግዝያዊ መንግስቲ
    ይትከል ኣሎ ይሰምዕ
    ጣቋ ዘለዎ ‘መስል ዘድምዕ
    ይግበረልና ሃለዋት ዘምጽእ
    ማይ ማና ዘስርብ
    ዘስቲ ዘብልዕ

    ሃገራዊ ቅዋም ዝተከል
    ብሕጊ ዝግዛእ ዘኽብር
    ጠርናፊ ንሓጥያት ዝሓፍር
    ህዝቡ ዘይደፍር
    ይምስል
    ባህ ይብለኒ ኣብ ሃገረይ ክዓስል
    ይብል
    ኣነስ ተ ዘይተጋግየ

  • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

    ኣህለን ብርሃን ነብሲ

    ኤእ! ናተይ ገዲፍካ ተዛረብ
    ፍርሒ ኣቢላትኒ ቀጥቀጥ
    ህዝበይ በዚ ዲያብሎስ
    ክቕጥቀጥ

    ሽመይ ሕብእ
    ፈሪሐ ካብ ‘ዛብእ
    እዝስ ካልእ ኣይኮነን
    ፍርሒ ‘ዩ ብልክዕ

    ካባይ የድሕንካ

  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatista,

    Idriss Deby of Chad was reported dead today. According to the military, he was in the northern Chad battlefront inspecting troops. According to Chad’s constitution, if the head of the state passes away, the speaker of the parliament takes over for 40 days until a new one is elected. However, the military has bypassed that law, suspended the parliament and suspended the constitution and installed Idriss’ 37 year old son as a transitional head of government. This is how the military intimidates the civilian population. In the event of the fall/death of IA, expect the military/militia in our case to try to push its agenda for the next round of ransacking the people and the country. If hypothetically speaking, such was to materialize in Eritrea [the military installs Abraham Isaias Afewerki], how do you see the scenario play out?

    RIP Idriss Deby – Chad will always remember you! [for good or worse]

    • Haile S.

      Selam MoKsi,

      I was thinking the same thing when I heard the news this morning. But, probably not in Eritrea for two reasons:
      – Afewerqi junior has no star on his shoulder and probably not yet enough initiated. Deby junior already is a 4-star general who controls the army.
      – We Eritreans don’t copy others😁. We do things originally!! I hope, philipos and other generals will wake up and call the GiE to assume power given it develops strong tentacles. እንታይ ይፍለጥ መርየም ደዓሪትን ማርያም ደብረሲናን ተማኺረን ዝገብራልና!

      • Saleh Johar

        HaileS,
        I haven’t talked with Mariam Debresina since I was a boy scout and was there with the “troop”. Mariam Daari? I am still connected and she said, “do your job by yourselves, I will not do it for you?”

        BTW, the exact name is Daari without the T at the end.

  • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

    ሰላማት

    ግዝያዊ መንግስቲ ኣብ ወጻኢ
    ብጋህዲ ኣባልኩም ከይከውን
    ፈሪሐ
    ምሉእ ሽመይ ከይቀልዕ
    ከይወጽእ ኣብ ቃልዕ
    ፈሪሐ

    ሓሳባትኩም ይድግፍ
    ስለምንታይ ግን መሪጸ
    ክብል ሕብእ
    ፈሪሐ

    ኣጆኹም ክብለኩም ይፈቱ
    ኣብ መስርሕኩም ክትዕወቱ
    ይመርጽ
    ይድግፍ

    ስለምንታይ ደኣሞ ተሓቢአ
    ጉልባበይ ቀሊዐ
    ምስኻትኩም ኣለኹ ዘይብል
    ኤእ! ፈሪሐ
    መዓንጣ ዝበሃል ካብ ዘይሰረሐ
    ከማይ ኣይግበርኩም

    ኣይትሓዙለይ
    ንሳ ኴና ዓቕመይ
    ዶ ዋላስ ሕማመይ
    ፍርሒ ናይ ቀደመይ
    የግዳስ ትድሌትኩም ድሌት ናተይ
    ትፍርሒ ግን ናይ ብሕተይ

    ሕማም ፍርሒ ክሓስም

  • Bayan Negash

    Dear Saleh G.,

    You just solved my problem. A wonderful tip. We go through so many viewing, reading, listening episodes everyday, unless one finds a way of organizing it, it would be rather difficult to depend on one’s memory bank. Many thanks for sharing it in public so that others could make use of it. The Awate store, indeed, has everything one needs.

  • Haile S.

    Kokhob,

    This is bulling! You hit and wants to run. You brought back the discussion yourself. It is natural for me to ask you to continue on that thread which was on a specific accusation you made.

  • Haile S.

    Selam Kokhob,

    Why don’t you continue on that thread and ask the question there so that we all see what our disagreement was on instead of generalising it to ‘reactionary’.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Selam HaileS and all
    Thanks for this one of a kind article. ሓንቲ ትሕየኽ article ነቢበ።

    • haileTG

      ኣንታ በየን ተረኸብካ ማሕሙዳይ! Very nice to see you, Hoping all is well.

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Selamat HTG
        Welcome back to you too, sir. Thanks.

        • Saleh Johar

          Welcome back Mahmouday,
          I hope you and your colleagues have eradicated COVID. Ramadan Kareem

          • Mahmud Saleh

            MerHaba Saleh
            Allahu Akram, and thanks. Get your shot, COVID is going to be around, so the specialists say, if you really meant COVID-19:)

          • Saleh Johar

            No Mahmouday, I mean COVID 104.:-) is there another COVID that we should know about? I took the first and I and I will take the second soon. Take care

          • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

            Saleh,
            Well, Yes, there is. Custom made for Eritreans: COVID-91

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Ahlan Saleh
            You never know. There may as well be Covid something looking at the rate it is changing.

    • Haile S.

      Selamat Mahmud,

      Welcome back to the forum and thank you! Please stay around, you and your refreshing inputs have been greatly missed!

    • Ismail AA

      Hayak Allah Ustaz Mahmud,
      Welcome back. Your inputs have been missed at a time they were very much needed.
      Ramadan Kareem.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Mahmuday,

      Good to see you back to your family. You know our talk on the phone and our talk in this forum is different in nature. So I am glad to have you back here.

      Regard

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Selamat Ema
        People’s true self is usually revealed when they are at normal temprature. We are all looking for goodness. It turns once we get heated up we lose the essentiality of the topic we fight on. For instance I will avoid talking to Saleh Younis while he is on the steroid, aka GiE. I will let him blow out some air:)

  • saay7

    Hey Haile:

    I think you and SGJ are having a lot of fun with this:) Is this because you find Occams Razor boring: that all things being equal, the simplest explanation is the correct one? That is: just as there are seas named after countries, there can be countries named after seas? And the Red Sea has been known as the Red Sea since 3rd century before the Common Era. And the Italians got to Massawa on ships, no?

    Besides, as you know well, the one that most historians agree with now is that the Red Sea does not signify the reefs or the colors but the direction: just as black (Black Sea) signified north, red (Red Sea) signified south.

    But I do dig the 3 horses and the camel!

    saay

    • Haile S.

      Selam Sal,

      Indeed, Occam’ razor is boring. Do you want to see AwateU’s department of history closed ፡)? Following the interesting twist you brought as an example, El Bruto is not simply brute, but deranged in trying to find triumph from subjugation when he talked of Eritrean muscle and courage. If indeed he added brain (ደርሆ ንኸታልልዋ …) in there, it was not doing anything other than controlling the muscle and the courage. His threshold for satisfaction and disappointment are dangerously close.

  • Abi

    ሰላም መምህር ኃይለ
    Can we talk about the picture on the front page article?
    ምነው ግመሏ አንድ ሃሙስ የቀራት መሰለች? ወይስ ለገምተኛ መሆኗ ነው?
    ጋላቢውም እምዬ ምኒልክን ይመስላሉ:: የፈረስ እንጂ የግመል አያያዝ የሚያውቁ አይመስልም::

    • Haile S.

      Selam Abi,

      The camel is young like Eritrea, wild and untamed yet. Crispi has difficulty in managing her. Menelik with white Walrus moustache? That would be funny? Because of his strong personality and his Walrus moustache, Crispi was the favorite of european cartoonists at that time. Casimiro Teja drew him in every imaginable situation possible. Download the book in reference No 3 and check and he might have cartoon of Menelik, but probably not so flattering*.
      * not sure, I might have seen by french cartoonist of the same period.

    • Saleh Johar

      Abi,
      Are you sure it was a horse? I though he liked mules? Why is the infatuation with mules when they had horses? I really do not understand it, any reason why?

  • Aman Y.

    Selam Haw Haile S. and all,

    Going through the few article at Awate recently I find yours to be different We have a few eulogies for individuals and collectively like the refugees in Ethiopia.

    • Haile S.

      Selam Haw Aman Y.

      Noted! If you feel I am derailing the discourse of GiE, I can only say I am sorry for you and anyone with similar feeling. I didn’t do it purposely, if that is what you are alluding to. I would like to assure you that I don’t have any ill intention on anyone. I reflected on something that came up here weeks ago and expanded it and submitted it. If the editor felt my article was out of the objectives of the website, i.e inform, inspire, embolden and reconcile, it is up him/her to reject it.
      Kind regards

  • Ismail AA

    Selam Haile S,

    An accomplished and lucid article. Thank you for the time well spent. The power of a good inquisitive narrator like Saleh Johar rests in inspiring like-minded persons to get provoked and embark on adding and expanding knowledge as our good brother Haile did. Both have complemented one another to inspire yet others, especially the young, to get initiated; perhaps someone or more may consider a subject in that field of study for academic reward. Thank you both, because as an old student of history you provided me valuable perspectives on an area of history that has been in waiting to be studied.

    • Haile S.

      Selam Ismail,

      Thank you a lot Ismail! While jotting this article, I thought of you in several aspects including a question you had asked me to develop on the role or relationship of religion and power in Abyssinia. Not that I am assigned to anything in this forum, but because we discussed it, I felt I was lacking. The reason is, it is a difficult subject and I can only do it in amateurish way collecting the anecdotes I read and to read. This needed time and tranquility. Hope one day.
      SGJ is an arsonist of thought. He provoked me. I hope I didn’t deceive him. Best

      • Ismail AA

        Selam Haile,
        Thank you, sir. I understand the stress time imposes. I am sure you shall do it some time in the future, because you are not the one you with humility think about yourself (an amateur knowledge hunter). You are indeed capable of doing some work on the subject we had conversed about sometime ago. Further, you’re right SGJ is an arsonist you have aptly described him to be – one who carries a match stick and kerosene on his tongue and pencil at that. May God bless him with health and tongue life.

      • Saleh Johar

        Haile S,
        Arsonist? Yes but I don’t like my attempts to produce flickers ቁልዒ: I love it when I see a bonfire, and you are good at that.

        Until I flesh it out, I saw the sanctity issue come up. What’s ቅዱስን ቅድስትን? We always associate it with the divine but isn’t the description bestowed on a few people by humans? What’s ቅዱስ ስራሕ; ቅዱስ ሰብ etc? Isn’t it all in our minds perceived by us with all the prejudice, adoration, twisted judgement and the like? What’s are the universal qualifiers since we reach to the extent of killing each other defending the sanctity we create ourselves as if it is divine?

        Okay, another idea that disturbs me: is the Solomonic dynasty (the source of all our problems) not considered saintly by many? Isn’t our region a theocracy in varying degrees?

        Show how big a bonfire you can make of it, if you wish:-)

        • Haile S.

          Selam SGJ,

          Thank you!
          I can’t agree more on what you said about “sanctity we create ourselves”.
          On the proverbial Abyssinian dynasty, we will see.

          • Saleh Johar

            HailS, Beyan and all,
            Your store has everything. Just ask 🙂 here is Adonai’s story as he told me seven years ago:
            “… President Isaias ordered me to do the work for the palace… I am sure you have read how Michelangelo was suspended, laying on his back while painting the ceiling of the Sistine chapel! For five months I went through similar experience, suspended on ropes, on scaffoldings and ladders doing the work. The president personally selected eleven of my paintings that he liked to be hanged on the walls of the palace. These paintings were my best and I consider them masterpieces. The presidential office never acknowledged my work or my paintings, and they didn’t pay me at all. A man named Eritros was managing the project of renovating the palace…they took my paintings, my five-month worth of work, and they let me go with nothing, it was just like grabbing a handful of water!”

            The link to the unconventional interview:

            http://awate.com/presenting-master-painter-michael-adonai/

          • Haile S.

            Saleh,

            Magnificent interview! Revolution eats its own children. He was almost devored. Reading the top comment that followed his interview, the usual revolutionary stick followed tried to slash and tarnish him. Fortunately, he was able to save his life and his talent and out of reach.

            Saleh, it appears the only person you didn’t interview is the one on everyone’s nerve.

          • Saleh Johar

            Yes HaileS, and one time I made a public request to interview him (as a challenge) when his tails went nuts over my interview with Mefles, which was the first in the history of the opposition for whic many pfdjites conside a crime to this day.

          • Bayan Negash

            Hala Ustazna,

            ኣዲኣ ገዲፋስ ሓትነኣ ትናፍቕ ኮይኑ’ቲ ነገር. Instead of searching in my own store, I went in search in the neighborhood far and near. I should’ve known better than to rely on YouTube, a search of which turned out to be in vain. I was so sure it was an interview I heard, not read, that I went straight to the optics. Lessons learned. Next time, when I need memory-aid I know where to search first, right in my own virtual home, the Awate U, to borrow Haile’s descriptor.

          • Saleh Johar

            Beyan,
            I used to make the same mistake. I see something but when I want it later on, I can’t find it.

            The social platform have unlimited capacity. Save your YouTube references on your YouTube channel. Everyone with a gmail account should have one. On face book, create folders and just save them there. On tweeter, bookmark it and all will be there to make your life easier. If you know that, consider this a reminder, if not I solved your problem.
            Cheers

        • haileTG

          Hey SGJ

          Q’dus is the joker card in religious terminology. I doubt anyone can define it accurately.

          Q’udus Egziabher, mexhaf Q’udus etc… give the meaning holy.

          Q’dus Yowhans, Q’disti Mariam etc… give the meaning Saint

          Q’dus qurban, bet meqdes, etc… give the meaning consecrated

          Q’dase etc… gives the meaning sermon

          Q’dus Mealti, Q’dus sirah etc… gives the meaning blessedness

          Q’dus Lebona, Q’disna etc… gives the meaning devotion

          Q’dus MelaK, etc… gives the meaning archangel

          • Abi

            ኃህላችን
            What is in short supply is ቅዱስ ሰው::
            ብቻዬን መቅረቴ ነው:)

          • haileTG

            Hey Guad Abi,

            ኣቢ ሲሉ ቅዱስ ነው ሰብዕነቱ
            እንደ ወርቅ ኣዘቦ ይብለጨለጫል ደረቱ
            እንደ ክርስቶስ ኣንድ ነው ለናቱ

          • Abi

            ኃይልሽ
            ይህ ሁሉ ለኔ?
            አሸከምከኝ እኮ ጃል!
            የቐንየለይ::

            I will be back with a proper response.

          • Saleh Johar

            Beautifully expanded., HailTG,
            It wouldn’t bother if people didn’t force others to treat everything they consider holy, with an auto of divinity. Like Mai dgaam

          • haileTG

            Q’dus hasab eyu Haw Sal 🙂 means devout thought.

          • Saleh Johar

            HaileTG,
            That could be the intention but the word is a religious term and it has repercussions. You name an aggression or a genocide ቅዱስ ውግእ implying it’s sanctioned by the Almighty. All Solomonic wars were qdus just like ISIS’s were. The term is very popular in theocratic countries. And MM’s innocent jealousy becomes vengeance stirred by qdus qn’ee 🙂

            Simply out, the word has no place in a secular setting.

          • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

            ሰላማት ‘ንዳ ሳህለ [ሳልሕ + ሃይለ]
            ባይቶ ‘ንዳባ ክእከቡ ከለዉ ከምዚ ናታትኩም ሃባን-እንካን ምስ ሰምዑ ምስ ደገዝማቲ መን ተማጓቲ ይብሉ ኔሮም [አሉና]።
            ከምዚ ከማይ ድማ ኣብ ክንዲ ጽን ኢልና ንሰምዕ ጦብሎቕሎቕ ንብል።

            ዘይፈልጥ ሰብ ከምዘይፈልጥ ስለዘይፈልጥ ኣብ ዘይፈልጦ መኣዲ ይቕረብ።

          • Saleh Johar

            MM
            ቅዱስ humility ይጽናሓልካ: ጥሕን ውዒለን ቅዱስ መዓልቲ ይብላ ::

          • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

            ሳልሕ
            Minor correction…ጥሕን ውዒለን ቅድስቲ [not ቅዱስ] መዓልቲ ይብላ 🙂
            Anyho, ቅዱስ ፈተነ ዩ ኔሩ…..የግዳስ በላሕቲ ምሓላፍ ከሊእኩምና

          • Saleh Johar

            MM,
            If a word ends in ቲ it’s feminine gender. Others say day is a masculine So is day, a beautiful lady.l to you and hairy ugly man to me .

          • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

            ሳልሕ
            ‘ታ ምስላ ካብ “ጥሕን ውዒለን በዓል ኣደይ ማርያም ይብላ” ስለዝኾነት ‘ያ ካብ ምባል የ ተበጊሰ። ስለዚ “ቅድስቲ” ክትከውን ኔርዋ ዝበልኩ።

          • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

            ያጀምዓ
            ቅዱስ ቅንኢ ረሲዕኩምኒ ትብል ኣላ

          • haileTG

            Ha! Good one MM – I think it means faithfulness [trusting you can do any Q’dus sirah that others did well]. Also, shimka yiqedes means hallowed be thy name, so hallowed is yet another…

            BTW the antonym of Q’dus is Rukus:-) In this context anything that is not Q’dus is Rukus, there is no grey area!

          • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

            Selamat haileTG
            ማስያ ‘ንዶ ግደፍ ይብለካ ‘ሎ ኣርሓ ዓዲ-ሃሎ።
            ቁርስስ ትብል ቃል ን ዓቢ-ዓርጌን [I hope I am not infringing Gadi’s patent here] ካብ ትሕዛእ ዳርጋ 20 ዓመታት ሓሊፉ። ስለዚ ብዘይከውን ኣይተልዕላ።

          • Saleh Johar

            MM,
            You will be violating the copy right if you don’t use it very often. 🙂

          • Saleh Johar

            HaileTG,
            I am still laughing. What happened to me? I was slow in getting it:-) beautiful.

          • haileTG

            Ha ha, SGJ glad we are on the same page:)

    • Bayan Negash

      Selam Ismail AA, Haile S., and Awatawyan,

      The eternally curious duos brought forth something that had not been tapped until SGJ delved deeper. That now is being explored further by another eternally curious, Haile S. Awate readers are the beneficiaries of this. If these two gentlemen do some shared effort to expound on this, they could probably unearth a work of history that can be published in some scholarly journal.

      Similar to Michael Angelo’s, not sure what drove him but Michael Adonai, in one of the rare interviews he did, I heard him doing some coptic artworks, in some public space in Asmara somewhere doing painting work that took months on end. No recollection whatsoever though what it was he painted, or what prompted such artwork. Was it at the behest of someone in authority ordering Michael Adonai, too to dangle up in the air to paint the ceiling? I found an interview he did six years ago with Assenna. I listened up to forty minutes now, but I have yet to find what I am looking for related to his artworks post-independence Eritrea. At any rate, I have yet another 20 minutes to go. Meanwhile, let me just say, I second your motion, Ismail AA that hopefully someone will yet take it to a scholarly endeavors.

      https://youtu.be/4jaeM3VBzgE?t=158
      Check the gallery in the link below. The above is the interview, which is fascinating to listen to as the discussion veers to various aspects of art, the refugee crisis, the Lampedusa, Italy where 361 individuals perished in the sea. Art and censorship they discuss in depth.
      http://michaeladonai.net/ar

      • Haile S.

        Selam Beyan,

        Thank you for the compliments and for the links. You brought a nice artistic twist in our own Michael ‘Angelo’. M. Adonai is a talented artist with his own touches and originality. I don’t recall seeing any ceiling painting he did back home, but wouldn’t surprise me.

  • Semere Tesfai

    Selam Haile S.

    Simply a magnificent – informative, educational, thought provoking, challenging, refreshing, brainstorming, invigorating – something expected from your caliber.
    I don’t know why they didn’t name you Haile The Great. Thanks anyway.

    Having said that……… Few things for the curious mind.

    1. – “Michael Angelo represented the Erythraen sybil on the ceiling of the great chapel. Sybil is prophecy. In the city of Erythrae, in ancient Greece, there were several prophecies. The most notable Sybil and venerated by Christians was the one that drove Michael Angelo up to the ceiling to paint Eritraea along the creator and his creations. That sybil was the one that prophesied the coming of the redeemer (Jesus Christ).

    Could our own traditional (biblical) names – ቅድስቲ for a girl, ቅዱስ for a boy or ጻድቃን for both genders be a sort of the Sybil you mentioned above?

    2. – The name Erythraen/Erythrae was a widely known famous name long before the advent of the Italians in Eritrea. And Google explains it this way:

    ” The name “Erythraean Sea” has been or is still used for the following places:

    A. – In the opening sentences of Herodotus’ history, written in the 5th century BC, he refers to the Phoenicians having come originally from the Erythraean Sea.

    B. – In the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, written in the 1st century AD, as well as in some ancient maps, the name of the sea refers to the whole area of the northwestern Indian Ocean, including the Arabian Sea.[6]

    C. – In centuries past, the name “Erythraean Sea” was applied by cartographers to the NW part of the Indian Ocean, mainly the area around Socotra, between Cape Guardafui and the coast of Hadhramaut. This appellation has now become obsolete and the name Gulf of Aden is used, although for a smaller area. In maps where the NW Indian Ocean is named thus, the Red Sea appears as “Arabian Gulf”.

    D. – The name “Erythraean Sea” was used as well to refer to some gulfs attached to the Indian Ocean, specifically, the Persian Gulf.[7]

    E. – As a name for the Red Sea, especially after the 19th century. The modern country of Eritrea was named after this ancient Greek name.

    F. – Since 1895, the name has also been applied to a large dusky region on the surface of planet Mars, known as Mare Erythraeum.”

    So, could we be overanalyzing things? Could the Italians just named their colony at the cost of the Erythraean Sea the obvious name, Eritrea? Just curious.

    Semere Tesfai

    • Haile S.

      Selam Semere Tesfai,
      Wow! Thanks a lot Semere!
      ኣንታ ሰመረ፡ ከተፋትሕ ፈረስ (HaileTG) ምስ ጥረ (Haile S) 😁😁😁.

      I agree in everything you said. We may be overanalyzing, but I think it was worth it. Although we arrived at the same conclusion, we learn a lot throughout the journey and I hope we did.
      In your question about the names (ቅዱስ), if I understood your question as ሽም ይመርሕ ጥዋፍ የብርህ, yes indeed. But I might have not understood you.

  • haileTG

    Merhaba Moksi!

    This is such a rigorous analysis of pertinent facts and myths to add to the theories that abound when it comes to the origin of the name Eritrea. I always thought that we have a country named after a bacteria – Trichodesmium erythraeum. This cyanobacteria is responsible for turning the normally blue-green water of the saltiest sea, into reddish-brown. Hence, the ancient Greeks called it Erythra Thalassa, translated into Red Sea – as it is known in the bible that was authored by the Romans (having conquered the ancient Greeks). Calling a group of colonies in and around Erythra Thalassa, Eritrea, wouldn’t be a long stretch really. In its proper country/land naming convention, it should have been spelt as Eritria rather than Eritrea. -ia in latin means “land of”. Replacing the -y with its equivalent -i and dropping the -h in Erythr and adopting it for “land of” by adding -ia would give Eritria.

    • Haile S.

      Sekam MoKsi,

      Nice addition.
      There is a 4th country ending in -ea, Papua New Guinea😁!

      • haileTG

        Selam TG 🙂 I meant Guinea to represent all the others: Papua and Besao derivative as well.

  • Reclaim Abyssinia

    Selamat All, Very nice article, I personally prefer the myth “the son of Poseidon the God of the sea”:- Erythras. Since we have a lot of juicy story in our region, one more wouldn’t hurt. I prefer to teach my kids the meaning of Eritrea as the son of the God of the sea . Boom!!!
    Everyone indeed falls in love with the name Eritrea. But, I am not sure why the writer suggested ‘ምድሪ ባሕሪ’ as the preferred name for Eritrea if consulted. Is the writer meant to say if high-lander consulted? How about ምድሪ ሙሐመዲያን: ባሮ ሙሐመዲን :ዓርቂቆ/ሒርጊጎ ?
    Cheers,
    Reclaim

    • Haile S.

      Salamat Reclaim,

      Thank you. Indeed, the writer (myself) could have called it Reclaimia. It was a miss😁. Well seriously, it just happens to be one of the names used to designate the region. Bahrenegash or as the portugese wrote it Barnegaxo could have been suggested. It was not by highlandic preference.
      While we are at it, a question for you since you seem to be from the sea side. James Bruce and many other travellers after him call the mountainous region seen coming from Massawa, Taranta. It could well be a Ferenji twist of a local name. Do you have any idea of the meaning and origin of the word Taranta? Is it Saho or any other regional language?
      Thanks!

      • Reclaim Abyssinia

        Thank you HaileX,
        I’m just being provocative, starting the conversation. Bahrenegash is really nice name & every Eritrean & all Muslims are proud of the name.
        Only somewhere in Tigray is a bit of confusion, in their mythology of the ‘ከዳዕ ማሪያም’, if you heard of it.
        I don’t know about Taranta, but I will ask relatives about it. I think my history brushup around that region stops at Henry Salt, both direction +/-.
        Cheers,
        Reclaim

        • Haile S.

          Selam Reclaim,

          Sorry for the belated response. I never came across the ማርያም you talked about.

          On Taranta, please ask and dig. I am interested to know its origin. It seems to be of local one but most likely twisted. It was given as a scientific name to one of the beautiful birds in the area. Agaponis taranta was coined for the abyssinian lovebird or black winged lovebird, ሕንጻይ in tigrigna. Google to see its image. The first who noticed and wrote about it could be Sir Henry Salt.
          Best

  • Abi

    Hello All Residents and visitors
    A beautiful and captivating article!!
    Why do I feel like the article is penned by the One and Only መምህር ኃይለ?

    • Haile S.

      Selam Abi,
      የቀንየለይ!

      • Abi

        መምህር
        ገንዘብካ!!!