Emperor Susenyos the Catholic (part 1)

Emperor Susenyos Castle
Emperor Susenyos Castle Via: http://wikimapia.org/12972955/Emperor-Susenyos-Castle

The birth of Emperor Susenyos is among the more interesting stories of the monarchs of Ethiopia. His father was Abeto Geram Fasil, son of Abeto Yacob, and grandson of Emperor Libne Dingel. As seen previously in the history of Emperor Libne Dingel, Abeto Yacob his youngest son was hidden by his father in Shewa during the Gragn wars to ensure the continuation of the dynastyin case the rest of the Imperial family were captured and killed by Gragn. Fasil was the son of this same prince Yacob. He was nicknamed Geram, which translates to “confused“. It is said that he cultivated an image of being confused and slow, a front to hide that in reality, he was a very shrewd and calculating man. Once people realized that he was far from the simpleton he liked to portray himself as, they began to refer to him as “Geram” Fasil as an ironic nickname. It is said that Abeto Fasil decided to leave Shewa and enter the service of his first cousin Emperor Sertse Dingel. During his service at court, he fell ill with tapeworm and needed treatment with the harsh kosso remedy. Empress Mariam Senna had him brought to her quarters to be nursed, as he was a member of the Imperial family, and delegated the job to a young nobelwoman in her service named Hamelmalawit. The Empress was Hamelmalawit’s guardian, and as such, she was responsible for making sure she was brought up in her household in purity and respectability. Young Geram Fasil however seduced the innocent young girl and she became pregnant. When she showedsigns of pregnancy, the Empress began to interrogate her as to whether she was with child. Hamelmalawit is said to have replied “Your Majesty, I live guarded in your household, would a man enter here as a flea?” The Empress is said to have replied that time would tell. When it became obvious that Hamelmalawit was indeed with child, the Empress threatened her with a severe flogging unless she revealed what man had dared to violate the Empress Mariam Senna’s household. When the fearful girl revealed that it was Geram Fasil, the Empress became truely alarmed. She had once been told by a soothsayer that one born in her household, but not of her house would inherit the throne. The Empress had only born Emperor Sertse Dengel daughters and no sons. She was now faced with a posible future claimant having been concieved under her very nose. Geram Fasil fled before the Empress could have him arrested, and went to Gojjam. The Empress then ordered that Hamelmalawit’s belly be massaged with the chaff of Teff grain dipped in water. It was believed that this would cause the baby to be born blind, thus eliminating him from succession to the throne. However, Hamelmalawit was able to send messages to her relatives who were able to rescue her and help her escape to Ginde Beret where she gave birth to her son, who was not blind much to his mother’s relief. The child was named Susenyos and given the honorific of Abeto. Once news of the birth of this new prince arrived however, Sertse Dingelinsisted that the boy be brought to court and raised as a prince. Empress Mariam Senna, accepted the Emperor’s decision and Susenyos was raised at court with the other royal children.

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