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Ethiopian Psalms to be returned

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  • Thomas Daniel
    Ethiopian Psalms to be returned By Hugh Macleod 30 September 2003 http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/story.jsp?story=448349 An ancient, handwritten
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2003
      Ethiopian Psalms to be returned
      By Hugh Macleod
      30 September 2003


      An ancient, handwritten copy of the Bible's Book of Psalms is to
      be returned to Ethiopia 135 years after it was looted by British
      soldiers during the bloody siege of Magdala city.

      The 300-year-old book, 7in square and written in the old Ethiopian
      language of Ge'ez, was part of a huge haul taken by troops in the
      1868 invasion of Ethiopia to free Western diplomats imprisoned by
      Emperor Theodore II.

      After the battle, the soldiers loaded 200 mules and 15 elephants
      with gold crowns, swords, altar slabs and manuscripts, then burned
      the city to the ground.

      Most of the plunder made its way into institutions such as the
      British Museum and Oxford's Bodleian Library. But a large number of
      smaller items were taken home by individual soldiers and ended up in
      private collections. The holy book, which will be returned to the
      Ethiopian studies department of Addis Ababa University this week, was
      bought from a private collector for £750 after being spotted in a
      book dealer's catalogue by members of Afromet, the Association for
      the Return of the Magdala Ethiopian Treasures.

      The return will increase pressure on the British museums and
      galleries which still hold illuminated manuscripts and other looted
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