To Kill a Matriarchy: Makədda, Queen of Ethiopia and Specters of Pauline Androprimacy in the Kəbrä Nägäśt

Luis Josué Salés


This article examines how the gendered language that is attributed to the apostle Paul, particularly what I call “androprimacy” (defined as male precedence however conceptualized and deployed), plays out in subtle ways in the narrative delegitimization of Makədda, the queen of Ethiopia, as recounted in the medieval Ethiopic Kəbrä Nägäśt (The Glory of Kings). Accordingly, I bring gender-theoretical concepts and methods to bear on the objectives of this medieval text and argue that the major concern of its central section is to erode the right to rule of women as instantiated in the legendary figure of Makədda and not, as most scholars have suggested, to legitimate the Solomonic line following the overthrow of the Zagwe dynasty by Yekwənno ’Amlak in 1270.

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