chapter
4 Pages

INTRODUCTION

A Note on Ethnographic Sources Systematic ethnography of the peoples included in this survey is scanty. There is an

abundant, diverse literature on the Amhara and Tigriña, the “Abyssinians” of classical history, for example, but precious little information is contained in it of interest to modern anthropologists. Beginning with Hiob Ludolfs Historia Aethiopica, first published in 1681, some history and customs of the Amhara and Tigriña have been recorded by travellers, missionaries, adventurers, as well as in the reports of scientific explorations carried out on the Central Ethiopian Plateau. These accounts, located in widely scattered sources, have yet to be collated in any systematic fashion. Moreover, the wealth of narrative descriptions of manners, customs, mores, and daily life styles contained in some records have a limited value because details are generally lacking about the organisational components of Amhara-Tigriña societies, as well as those of other Ethiopian poeples.