View full screen - View 1 of Lot 109. Theodore II, Emperor of Abyssinia | letter to Hormudz Rassam, with Lion of Judah stamp, 1866.
109

Theodore II, Emperor of Abyssinia | letter to Hormudz Rassam, with Lion of Judah stamp, 1866

Estimate:

700 - 900 GBP

Theodore II, Emperor of Abyssinia | letter to Hormudz Rassam, with Lion of Judah stamp, 1866

Theodore II, Emperor of Abyssinia | letter to Hormudz Rassam, with Lion of Judah stamp, 1866

Estimate:

700 - 900 GBP

Lot sold:

4,788

GBP

Theodore II, Emperor of Abyssinia


Letter, to the archaeologist and diplomat Hormudz Rassam


sending compliments to him and his fellow prisoners and asking how they had spent the rainy season, also warning of his military preparations ("...By the power of God I am coming. Don't fear we shall meet again. Since we have separated by the power of God a big gun has been made. After it is finished I shall send you word again..."), in Amharic, 1 page, with black imperial ink stamp depicting the Lion of Judah, 1866, endorsed by recipient with date of receipt ("16th Sept. 1866"), with contemporary translation by Rassam also noting that the letter "was presented to Captain Anderson by [Rassam] in June 1868" 


A RARE LETTER BY THE EMPEROR WHO REUNITED ETHIOPIA BEFORE DYING AT HIS OWN HANDS FOLLOWING DISASTROUS MILITARY CONFRONTATION WITH BRITAIN. Theodore, or Tewodros, had brought Ethiopia together in a series of brutal military campaigns through the 1850s. In the early 1860s he attempted to enlist British aid in a crusade against Islam but, enraged at British indifference at his offered alliance, he took prisoner the British consul and European missionaries. Hormudz Rassam was sent with a letter from Queen Victoria to negotiate their release but was instead taken prisoner as well, although, as this letter attests, Rassam and the Emperor retained a surprisingly cordial relationship. Two years later, in April 1868, British troops led by Sir Robert Napier stormed the mountain fortress of Magdala and freed the hostages. Theodore killed himself as the British stormed the citadel.


Hormudz Rassam (1826-1910) was a Chaldean Christian from Mosul who had worked closely with the pioneer archaeologist Henry Layard in the excavation of Nimrud. His friendship with Layard brought him powerful friends in Britain, followed by work for the British government in Aden and elsewhere. In later years he was to undertake further important excavations in Mesopotamia on behalf of the British Museum. 

Condition is described in the main body of the cataloguing, where appropriate


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.