Horse name

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A horse name (yefaras sem in Amharic) is a secondary noble title or a popular name for members of Ethiopian royalty; in some cases the "horse names" are the only name known for a ruler. They take the form of "father of X", where "X" is the name of the person's warhorse.

Some known horse names include:

  • Däğğazmaó Bälay Zälläqä had the horse name "Abba Kostér", lit. means ‘father of sharpshooter’[1]
  • Ras Alula Engida had the horse name "Abba Nega", which is still seen in the airport name Alula Aba Nega Airport
  • Ras Lul Seged was also known by his horse name "Abba Balay"


  • Mehari, Krista. 2007. Throne names, pen names, horse names, and field names: A look at the significance of name change in the Ethiopian political sphere. [1]
  • Pankhurst, Richard. 1989. The Early History of Ethiopian Horse-Names. Paideuma 35, pp. 197-206.
  • Mahatama-Sellasie Walda-Masqal. 1969. A Study of the Ethiopian Culture of Horse Names. Journal of Ethiopian Studies Vol. 7, No. 2, pp


  1. ^ Getie Gelaye. 2005. Amharic Praise Poems of Däğğazmaó Bälay Zälläqä and the Patriots of Goğğam during the Italian Occupation of Ethiopia, 1936–1941. In Sigmund Uhlig, (ed.). Proceedings of the 15th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies in Hamburg, p. 587-597. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.