chapter
Abyssinian Literature
Pages 18

From first to last Abyssinian literature is CHRISTIAN in cha­ racter and consists of works translated from Greek, Syriac, Coptic and Arabic, or from compositions based upon them. When dealing with the principal characters in non-Christian works, the translators represented them not as pagans but as good Christians. Thus in the History of Alexander the Great which the Abyssinians derived from the Arabic versions of the Greek of the Pseudo-Callisthenes, Alexander is made to begin his letters to kings and his army with the words, “ In the Name of God, the Merciful and Gracious,” or “ In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit/' He is made to hold converse with angels, and to preach continence and chastity, and parts of the narratives put into his mouth are clearly extracts from homilies written by Christian Fathers. In one version of the story Alexander is made to visit Queen Candace, whose eunuch was baptized by Philip in Palestine, and having ex­ pressed sentiments of the highest religious character, he was taken by the queen into her chamber and passed a night with her. Abyssinian translators did not trouble themselves to consider the facts of history.