16. Nov 2021, 6.00 pm | Campus Gotha, Centre for Transcultural Studies

Die geraubten Objekte Tewodoros aus Magdala

Tuesday Talks
Centre for Transcultural Studies / Perthes Collection
Peter Gaehtgens (Berlin)
Event type

Online lecture by Peter Gaehtgens (Berlin) as part of the series "Tuesday Talks" in the winter semester 2021/22 at the Centre for Transcultural Studies / Perthes Collection. The event takes place in cooperation with the Collection and Research Network Gotha / Gotha Transdigital 2027, model project "Exemplary Indexing of Ethnographica" and the research initiative "Wissensdinge".


About the lecture:

Magdala 1868 was a 'mini-event' in the history of the imperialist competition of the European powers, whose echoes in the Orient also included the Ottoman Empire with its satellite Egypt and, marginally, Christian Abyssinia: The history of Ethiopia provides only the regional background: in 1855, the militarily gifted Kassa Hailu from the province of Quara had assumed imperial power - and with the coronation name Tewodros the political vision of unifying the empire, which had disintegrated in conflicts between feudal rulers. The trigger for Magdala in 1868, however, was the arrest of the English consul and several other Europeans - a reaction to the lack of answers to his pleading letters to Queen Victoria for military support against Islam.

This provocation presented the government of the English Empire with a tricky decision: The years of Palmerston's gunboat policy were over, the reputation of English troops tarnished after the Crimean War and the Sapoy Revolt. But Napoleon's Egyptian adventure and the experience of the Continental Blockade had shown the vulnerability of the important trade routes to India, and so London decided on a military solution: the Bombay Army and Ltn. Gen. Sir Robert Napier as commander-in-chief were charged with liberating the prisoners.

The lecture will describe the effort and outcome of this military enterprise - the capture of Magdala, Tewodros' suicide and the looting of his unusual collection of Abyssinian cultural property - and highlight issues for further research, including in particular problems of reconstructing Tewodros II's collection, now scattered in museums around the world.

Information about the series

Under the title "Tuesday Talks", there will be lectures with discussion every Tuesday from 12 October in the winter semester 2021/22. The series was created in cooperation with the Erfurt Chair of the History of Science, the Göttingen Chair of Modern and Contemporary History, the "Wissensdinge" research initiative, the Thuringian State Agency for Civic Education and the Gotha Collection and Research Network / Gotha Transdigital 2027. Guests can look forward to exciting topics that address the diverse areas of interest and research at the Centre.

The event will begin at 6 pm. To register, please send an email to: Mail to: fkts.gotha@uni-erfurt.de

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