Abstract

This article maps a complex network of exchange between Ethiopians and Europeans in the early modern period. Through a combination of disparate sources such as cartographical treatises, chronicles, and archival fragments, the author shows that Ethiopian agents were active throughout the Mediterranean basin already in the fourteenth century. At a time when the European understanding of Africa was still grounded in classical and medieval myths, Ethiopian pilgrims and ambassadors ventured to Europe and became purveyors of knowledge about the unknown world. By virtue of their country's identification with the realm of Prester John, they related to European elites as Christian peers in an encounter where skin color appeared inconsequential.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-8050
Print ISSN
1045-6007
Pages
pp. 593-627
Launched on MUSE
2011-02-03
Open Access
No
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