Sons of Yagbe'u Seyon

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Sons of Yagbe'u Seyon
Emperor of Ethiopia
Predecessor Yagbe'u Seyon
Successor Wedem Arad
House Solomonic dynasty
Father Yagbe'u Seyon
Religion Ethiopian Orthodox

Five men known as sons of Yagbe'u Seyon ruled as Emperor (nəgusä nägäst) of the Ethiopian Empire in succession between 1295 and 1299. Their names were:

  • Senfa Ared IV (Amharic: ሰይፈ አርድ ፬ኛ) (1294–1295)
  • Hezba Asgad (Amharic: ህዝብ አስገድ) (1295–1296)
  • Qedma Asgad (Amharic: ቅድመ አስግድ) (1296–1297)
  • Jin Asgad (Amharic: ጅን አሰገድ) (1297–1298)
  • Saba Asgad (Amharic: ሳባ አሰገድ) (1298–1299)

Though later tradition remembered them as sons of Yagbe'u Seyon, their actual relationship is not clear, though they did succeed him.


Yagbe'u Seyon's five successors ruled Ethiopia between his reign and that of Wedem Arad. Although all of the primary sources agree that Yagbe'u Seyon and Wedem Arad were sons of Yekuno Amlak, sources disagree about how these five are related to each other and the previous two Emperors. Both James Bruce and the traditions collected by Antoine d'Abbadie state that these were the sons of Yekuno Amlak, yet the oldest surviving list of Ethiopian kings lists four of these five (omitting Saba Asgad) without any mention of their filial relationship. The Gadla of Saint Basalota Mikael, however, does state that Qedma Asgad was the son of Yekuno Amlak.[1]

Historians disagree over the situation that his successors experienced. Paul B. Henze states that Yagbe'u Seyon could not decide which of his sons should inherit his kingdom, and instructed that each would rule in turn for a year.[2] Tadesse Tamrat, on the other hand, records that his reign was followed by dynastic confusion, during which each of his sons held the throne.[3] E.A. Wallis Budge adds the tradition that Jin Asgad initiated the use of Amba Geshen as a royal prison for troublesome relatives of the Emperor, when he was forced to imprison his treacherous brother Saba Asgad; at the same time he imprisoned his other three brothers and his own sons in Amba Geshen.[4]

Whatever the succession situation truly was, it came to an end when Wedem Arad seized the throne.


  1. ^ Taddesse Tamrat, "The Abbots of Dabra Hayq, 1248-1535," Journal of Ethiopian Studies, 8 (1970), pp. 92f and notes
  2. ^ Paul B. Henze, Layers of Time, A History of Ethiopia (New York: Palgrave, 2000), p. 60.
  3. ^ Taddesse Tamrat, Church and State in Ethiopia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), p. 72.
  4. ^ E. A. Walis Budge, A History of Ethiopia: Nubia and Abyssinia, 1928 (Oosterhout, the Netherlands: Anthropological Publications, 1970), p. 287. According to G.W.B Huntingford, this information comes from the Jesuit historian Pedro Páez, who was told this story by Emperor Susenyos (The Historical Geography of Ethiopia [London: The British Academy, 1989], p. 75).
Preceded by
Yagbe'u Seyon
Emperor of Ethiopia Succeeded by
Wedem Arad