The Black Saints of the Carmelite Order: Ancient Ethiopia in the Early Modern European Imagination
Erin Kathleen Rowe (Vice Dean for Undergraduate Education, Professor of History, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University) will give a talk about African and Black saints in early modern Iberia.
Beginning in the seventeenth-century, members of the Carmelite order adopted two ancient Ethiopian saints, Efigenia and Elesban. While their interest in ancient saints was tied to the order’s longstanding efforts to prove the antiquity of their order dating back to the Prophet Elijah, the inclusion of Ancient Ethiopia in these efforts tell a more complex story about how early modern Spaniards thought with and about Ancient Ethiopia. The inclusion of Ethiopia in early modern ideas about the Biblical Near East clashed with the treatment of enslaved people from West and Central Africa being brought to the peninsula in vast numbers, while devotion to Ethiopian saints by White and Black Spaniards transformed the spiritual and historical landscape.
Co-sponsored by Department of History, CMRS-CEGS, The Atlantic History Colloquium, Peter H. Reill Chair in European Studies, and The Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies.