Mausoleum of Menelik I in Addis Ababa 1934
|Mother||Queen of Sheba|
He is alleged to have ruled around 950 BC, according to traditional sources. Tradition credits him with bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Ethiopia, following a visit to Jerusalem to meet his father upon reaching young adulthood.
According to the Kebra Nagast account, King Solomon had intended on sending one son of each of his nobles and one son of each temple priest with Menelik upon his return to his mother's kingdom. He is supposed to have had a replica made of the Ark of the Covenant for them to take with them. Upon the death of his mother Queen Makeda, Menelik assumed the throne with the new title of Emperor and "King of Kings of Ethiopia".
According to legend, Menelik I founded the Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia that ruled Ethiopia with few interruptions for close to three thousand years. This ended 225 generations later, with the deposition of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974.
The medieval incarnation of the alleged "Solomonic dynasty" did not come into power until 1262 AD, claiming descent from the Kings of Aksum. The dynasty, a bastion of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, came to rule Ethiopia on 10 Nehasé 1262 AD EC (August 10, AD 1270) when Yekuno Amlak overthrew the last ruler of the Zagwe dynasty Yilma. Their predecessors, the Zagwe dynasty, were said not to be of "the house of Israel" (i.e. of Solomon and Menelik). The claims of descent of the Aksumite kings preceding the Zagwe dynasty are uncertain, though early pagan inscriptions denote the King as "son of the unconquerable [god] Mahrem", while medieval Ethiopian sources ascribe them a similar claim of descent. This is consistent with the earliest records that testify that one half of Ethiopians followed the laws of Moses, while the other half worshipped pagan gods.
A 2004 short documentary, Menelik I, was filmed in Ethiopia. It tells the story of the son of the Queen of Sheba through tableau images and music.
- The name "Menelik" is Amharic (a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia) in origin, and has two meanings:
- "Son of the wise man"
- "What will he send?"
- A. K. Irvine, "Review: The Different Collections of Nägś Hymns in Ethiopic Literature and Their Contributions." Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. School of Oriental and African Studies, 1985.
- Menelik l on IMDb, on YouTube