Emperor Susenyos the Catholic (part 4)

Emperor Susenyos
Emperor Susenyos gives an Imperial reception to the Papal Legate, Archbishop Alfonso Mendez.

During period, a man said to be named Amdo, arrived at the Monastery of Debre Bizen (in modern day Eritrea), his face covered in bandages, claiming to have been severly wounded in the face during a great battle. When the monks continued to quiz him, he announced that he was in fact the Emperor Yacob, who had been wounded in battle against Susenyos, but who had been miraculously saved and brought to Debre Bizen by the protection of the Lord. Soon news of this man who claimed to be Emperor Yacob spread like wildfire across the north, and a rebellios army was raised in Simein on his behalf. Susenyos’ brother Sahle Christos, who was governing Tigrai crushed the rebellion and imprisoned the “false Yacob”. The claimant however escaped and fled to Hamasein to raise yet another rebellion when the Emperor and his brother had marched south to fight an Oromo uprising. Having looted the district of Shire, he was attacked and killed by those left by Sahle Christos to protect Tigrai. The false Yacob was then revealed to have actually been an adventurer from Egypt. Then a new threat came in the person of Ras Ze Selassie. The Ras had been a regent, and a man who had come close to seizing full power at times. It is said the only thing keeping him from seizing the throne itself was his lack of royal blood. Ras Ze Selassie was overheard during a drinking binge to say “Just as I have brought Yacob and Ze Dingel down from the throne, so shall I bring Susenyos down!” This comment earned him immediate arrest and imprisonment on Amba Urey. Ras Ze Selassie escaped and led a marauding band of rebles in Gojjam for a few months. However, he was assasinated by a band of Oromo tribes men loyal to the Emperor, and his head was cut off and presented by them to Susenyos. This was not the end of the rebellions against Susenyos. Shortly after his formal coronation at Axum, the Emperor took ill. Rumors began to spread that Susenyos was dead. Therefore, the governor of Wegera, Melke Tsedek, anounced that he was raising the flag of rebellion on behalf of Abeto Arzon, a grandson of Emperor Minas, whom he proclaimed Emperor. After several intial successes, Melke Tsedek and Arzon were defeated by Susenyos’ brother Ras Yemane Christos and were both executed. Behind all these rebellions, Emperor Susenyos and his supporters saw the hands of the Orthodox Church heirarchy, and determined to break the power of the Orthodox clergy once and for all. He suspected the Orthodox clergy in engaging in a whispering campaign against him and giving support and comfort first to Ras Ze Selassie, and then to Melke Tsedek of Wegera and the pretender to the throne, Abeto Arzon. He even suspected them of possibly causing his brief illness through poisoning.

Parts: 123 – 4