The Prince and the Plunder

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

Tag: Boston College Law Library – Boston

An illustrated manuscript of Genesis “found in a soldier’s chest” – link to Maqdala now doubted (RBR 165.86) *

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: An Ethiopian manuscript of Genesis, described in one record as c. 1500, with illustrations including “quails in the land of milk and honey”. According to that record, it was found in a chest “dating from the Wars of King Theodore” and was “said to be looted”. But there are now doubts about that the dating and the account of its discovery.

Where: Boston College, Law Library, The Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room, 885 Centre Street, Newton, Massachusetts 02459

A guide to the exhibit “Recent Additions to the Collection – Spring 2007”: describes:

This copy was found in a British officer’s chest dating from the Wars of King Theodore in the Victorian era. It was said to be looted from the famous library at Gondar after it was captured by British troops.
Gift of Daniel R. Coquillette.”

It is also mentioned in this brochure for the Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room.

But after further examinations, library staff raised doubts about that account and estimated that the manuscript was from the late 19th century. The current library catalogue entry mentions that dats and has no mention of Maqdala.

Library ref: RBR 165.86