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Hope College

Publication Date

Spring 2007

Program Name

Ethiopia: Sacred Traditions and Visual Culture


This study examines the motivations for name changes and the purposes the chosen names accomplish, specifically relating to the Ethiopian political sphere. Throne names and horse names were used solely by the emperors and the ruling class. Those name changes exalted the bearer by either stating his authority or connecting him to divine power. Pen names and field names were used by people not in power to hide their identity from people with the power to harm them. Although the purpose of those name changes was to disguise, the names that were chosen identified the bearer with another person or made a statement about the situation.


African History | History | Political Science


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