Agaw


Agaw

The Agaw (Ge'ez አገው "Agaw", modern "Agew") are a people of Ethiopia. They are primarily bilingual, speaking both Agaw languages (a subgroup of the Cushitic languages), as well as Amharic, Tigrinya or Tigre.

History

The Agaw are perhaps first mentioned in the 3rd c. AD Aksumite inscription recorded by Cosmas Indicopleustes in the 6th century. The inscription refers to a people called "Athagaus" (or Athagaous), perhaps from ʿAd Agaw, meaning "sons [Herausgegeben von Uhlig, Siegbert, "Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: A-C". Wiesbaden:Harrassowitz Verlag, 2003. pp117] of Agaw."Herausgegeben von Uhlig, Siegbert. "Encyclopaedia: A-C". pp. 142.] The Athagaous first turn up as one of the peoples conquered the unknown king who inscribed the "Monumentum Adulitanum". [ Munro-Hay, Stuart. Aksum: An African Civilization of Late Antiquity (Edinburgh: University Press, 1991), pp. 187] The Agaw are later mentioned in an inscription of the 4th c. Aksumite King Ezana and 6th. c. King Kaleb. Based on this evidence, a number of experts embrace a theory first stated by Edward Ullendorff and Carlo Conti-Rossini that they are the original inhabitants of much of the northern Ethiopian highlands, and were either forced out of their original settlements or assimilated by Semitic-speaking Tigray-Tigrinya and Amhara peoples . [Taddesse Tamrat, "Church and State in Ethiopia (1270 - 1527)" (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), p. 26.] Cosmas Indicopleustes also noted in his "Christian Topography" that a major gold trade route passed through the region "Agau". The area referred to seems to be referring to an area "east of the Tekezé River and just south of the Semien Mountains, perhaps around lake Tana. They currently exist in a number of scattered enclaves, which include the Bilen in and around Keren in Eritrea; the Qemant and the Qwara, who live around Gondar in the Semien Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, west of the Tekezé River and north of Lake Tana; a number of Agaw live south of Lake Tana, around Dangila in the Agew Awi Zone of the Amhara Region; and another group live around Sokota in the former province of Wollo, now part of the Amhara province, along its border with the Tigray Region.

The Cushitic speaking Agaw people ruled during the Zagwe dynasty of Ethiopia from the end of the Kingdom of Axum at an uncertain date in the 9th or 10th century to 1270. The name of the dynasty itself came from the Ge'ez phrase Ze-Agaw, meaning "of Agaw" and refer to the Agaw people.

Also included in this ethnic grouping are the Beta Israel, who formerly lived in the northern Amhara region with the Qemant and Qwara, but in the late 1990s nearly all of this group had emigrated to Israel.Fact|date=March 2008

Subgroups

* The Northern Agaw are known as Bilen, cap. Keren
* The Western Agaw are known as Qemant, cap. Gondar
* The Eastern Agaw are known as Xamta, cap. Soqota
* The Southern Agaw are known as Awi, cap. Injibara

References

ee also

* Zagwe dynasty
* Central Cushitic languages


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