Empress Eleni: Overturning Falsified Narratives on Her Consort, Ethnicity, and Religious Background

  • Yeshambel Kindie Bayu Bahir Dar University, Department of History


Abstract Empress Eleni, also known as Romna, was the consort of Emperor Ba’eda Maryamand she was renowned among the court dignitaries of Ba’eda Maryam and his successors. Eleni was an eminent politician and a devout Christian. A lot has been said and written about the political career and religious devotion of Empress Eleni. Regrettably, however, Empress Eleni’s belongingness, religious background and consort remain controversial. Nearly all the published books and articles on medieval Ethiopian history introduced Empress Eleni by her mistaken identity and this was generally accepted as an ultimate truth, at least, for the last sixty years. This article attempted to examine the chronicle of Emperor Zar’a Yaeqob and his son Emperor Ba’eda Maryam and other contemporary sources intensively and offers the real identity of Empress Eleni in connection with her belongingness, consort and religious background.