He shortly returned to court, where he attacked Amda Seyon himself, for defying Christian sexual morality in having married more than one wife, in keeping concubines and in committing incest with one of the wives of his father.25 New here were not the practices, which were deep-seated and were to persist for generations, but the fervour in attacking them. BaSalota Mika'el was again exiled to northern Ethiopia, where he died. Around 1337 a new metropolitan, Abuna Ya'qob, reached Ethiopia and picked up the threads of BaSalota Mika'el's mission. Relations between the metropolitans and the monasteries were often uneasy, mediated by the royal court, on which the metropolitans were dependent for imposition of their authority. Ya'qob allied himself with the monks and excommunicated the king, who then flogged and exiled Ya'qob's monastic allies. Tension carried over into the reign of Amda Seyon's successor, Sayfa Ra'ad (1344-71), who imitated his father in marrying three wives. Continuing opposition from bishop and monks led to exile - the bishop back to Egypt and the monks beyond the frontiers of the kingdom. The kings prevailed in these clashes, but found the price of attack from the church to be high. The accession of Sayfa Ra'ad's son Dawit (1382-1411) brought a transition from confrontation to a new synthesis and integration in the fifteenth century.26 This synthesis involved the absorption of the new monasticism into the mould of the old: in other words, the conversion of charisma into establishment, which was made possible through rich royal grants of land.27
While the monks of central Ethiopia consciously stood in the tradition of St Anthony and of the historic monasteries dating to Aksumite times, and honoured the discipline which they had inherited, they were also restlessly innovating, wary of their autonomy and prone to controversy over numerous points of doctrine, the Trinity included. Some of their beliefs and practices challenged a royal court increasingly concerned to impose a unity of belief and practice in the church.28 In northern Ethiopia, a monk called Estifanos gathered a following with his preaching of austerity and his insistence that
99-100 (trans.); F. Beguinot, La Cronaca Abbreviata d'Abissinia: nuovo versione dall'Etiopico (Rome: Tipografia della casa edit. italiana, 1901), 7-10.
25 This follows the account in Crummey, Land and society, 25-6. Cf. Taddesse, Church and state, 98-118. For religious disputes within the Ethiopian Church at this time, see Getatchew Haile, 'Religious controversies and the growth of Ethiopic literature in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries', Oriens Christianus 65 (1981), 102-36.
26 See Getatchew Haile, 'From strict observance to royal endowment: the case of the monastery ofDabra Halle Luya, EMML 6343, fols. I77r-ii8v', LeMuseon 93 (1980), 163-4. Cf.Kaplan, Monastic holy man, 55.
27 See Crummey, Land and society, 17-49.
28 See Taddesse, Church and state, ch. 6.
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