Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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Joachim Gregor PERSOON, Associate Professor ASFAD Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Egyptians say; he who drinks of the Nile cannot avoid returning. The Nile is the essential artery, the source of life which links Ethiopia
and Egypt. However, more than being a source of physical sustenance, the Nile is the source of mythology, spirituality, time reckoning and identity of the two countries. One Ethiopian reporter when describing the sacrificial customs which are carried out on the banks of the Nile, said that ancient Egypt lives on in a unique way in Ethiopia. Like-wise with the traditions of the Orthodox Christianity, narratives about the Nile abound in both countries. Coptic sources describe in detail the trajectory of the Holy Family visiting Egypt following the route of the Nile. The Ethiopian Dirsane Uriel likewise continues the narrative, describing the visit of the Holy family to Ethiopia miraculously transported on a silver cloud accompanied by lions, also following the course of the Nile. Cosmological ideas constitute primary inspiration for works of art, especially the visual arts. They also inform the way people relate to their environment, and thus their ecological ideas. This presentation seeks to pursue different trajectories to explore the inter-relatedness of themes connecting Ethiopia (Sudan) and Egypt associated with the Nile River.