The Prince and the Plunder

A book on how Britain took one boy and piles of treasures from Ethiopia

The Berlin drinking horn ‘found during the storming of Magdala’

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: Drinking horn with leather cover and metal mouthpiece, said to belong to Emperor Tewodros

Where: The Ethnological Museum of Berlin, Takustraße 40, 14195 Berlin, Germany

Fotonachweis: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Ethnologisches Museum /CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

The catalogue entry includes a picture of the horn and a description of how it was found:

“The present drinking horn was found by me (Stumm, A. d.) During the storming and the taking of Magdala by the English on April 13, 1868, in the tent of Emperor Theodore of Abyssinia … As one of the first to climb over and enclose the fence of the fortress in which Theodore and 19 companions had encircled, I found the emperor’s corpse, apparently barely a few moments after Theodoros had taken his life by a pistol shot far from the entrance of the tent, which was immediately recognizable by its size and splendor as that of the emperor. A divan and a heap of piled blankets occupied the interior, and on the latter the drinking horn, half-filled with araki, was evidently the last part of the emperor known by his drunkenness.

“The closure of the drinking horn consisted of a wooden stopper with a brass button, which was lost during the transport to the coast, and was later restored in Germany, according to the original form in … (illegible) silver.”
Florenz den 1. December 1868. Gez. Stumm, Second Lieutenant à la suite of the Hanoverian Hussar Regiment No. 15 (Letter to Wilhelm I of Prussia).

The catalogue entry says Stumm gave the drinking horn to the Prussian king who later passed it onto the museum.

The mouthpiece is marked with the inscription: “Trinkhorn des Kaisers Theodoros von Abissinien – Magdala 13. April 1868”.

Length: 62 cm
Diameter: 14 cm (bottom)
ID No. III A 252

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