(^) denotes Amharic translation


The Imperial Orders and Decorations of Ethiopia

The civil war in Ethiopia, from 1974 to 1991, which resulted in the death of Emperor Haile Selassie and a diaspora of Ethiopians around the world, caused an interregnum which, until 1996, meant that few Imperial Orders or Decorations were issued. This was compounded by the dislocation, and subsequent re-establish-ment of the Crown in exile, and the deterioration of the health of Emperor Amha Selassie I. In order to begin preparing the Monarchy for a return to Ethiopia, Emperor Amha Selassie restructured the Crown Council and authorised it to take over many of the functions of the Crown. Upon the death of the Emperor, in January 1997, and in accordance with the Constitution promulgated before the 1974 civil war, the Crown Council now has devolved upon it all the responsibility for Imperial Orders, Decorations, Appointments and Titles.

At present, the President of the Crown Council, HIH Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, and the Viceroy, HIH Prince Bekere Fikre-Selassie, are individually Grand Masters of most of the Imperial Chivalric Orders, except where noted.

In recent years, descendents of other branches of the Solomonic line — such as descendents of Lij Iyasu, who was removed from office in 1916 just before the coronation of Empress (Negeste-Negestate) Zauditu as Empress — have attempted to claim titles such as “Crown Prince of Ethiopia”, and to issue Imperial decorations. Titles such as Crown Prince must be authorised by a serving Emperor and/or the Crown Council, and only serving Heads of the Ruling Family or — during an interregnum — the Crown Council have the authority to confer Imperial honours and titles, as confirmed by the Imperial Constitution, a fact confirmed by the last Imperial Afe-Negus and Minister of Justice, Afe-Negus Teshome Haile-Mariam to this author.1 No other member of the Imperial Family at present has the right to issue Imperial Honours other than the Crown Council through its President, who is advised by his Honours Committee to which all proposals for recognition are submitted.

The following Orders comprise the pantheon of Imperial Honours currently sanctioned and under the authority of the Crown Council of Ethiopia:

Links to other websites - not affiliated with The Crown Council of Ethiopia - with additional images of Imperial Orders, Decorations and Medals

Military and Civil Decorations:

The Imperial Orders and Decorations are listed above in order of precedence with one notable exception. The Order of St. Anthony is considered separate. It is believed to be the oldest chivalric order in the world, and is a body of knights and companions, to which appointments are made only rarely and with distinct chivalric obligations.

As with all orders of chivalry and State or Royal decorations in countries which employ them, some orders fall into disuse or out of fashion, and new orders are from time-to-time created to reflect the distinct form of recognition which a sovereign or the Royal or Imperial house wishes to bestow. This is true of the Ethiopian orders. The Order of Solomon, for example, is rarely given; the same applies to the Order of Solomon’s Seal, and the Order of the Queen of Sheba. These orders are, however, and despite the rarity of their use, still valid and official.

Some of the Orders, Decorations and Medals carry the right of the recipient to use post-nominal initials signifying the honour. This is not an Ethiopian custom, but rather an accommodation permitted by the Crown Chancery for use in international situations to conform with international practice.


The Order of Solomon
SolomonCollar.JPGThe Order of Solomon was established initially as a collar by Ras Tafari Makonnen in 1922 — whilst he was still Regent under Empress Zauditu — “to be awarded to foreign Kings who had the rank according to Emperor”3. But it seems likely that the collar was not awarded until after his coronation as Emperor in 1930. The Collar was originally envisaged by Emperor Haile Selassie, it is believed, as the highest rank of the Order of Solomon’s Seal, created by Emperor Yohannes IV in 1874, which was itself often referred to as “the Order of Solomon”, but became a separate order which was awarded only rarely.

The Order was originally referred to as “The Cross of Solomon”, and even during Menelik’s reign was in five classes plus “une categorie spéciale”, according to authoritative accounts published in 1913.4 French explorer Dr George Montandon, a graduate of the Société de Geographie of Paris, had spent two years in Ethiopia’s Ghimirra region, in the country’s south-west, and had extensively documented a wide range of natural and cultural phenomena. His paper, like many published by the French, provides detailed and scholarly background on Ethiopian history and geography not published in any other language. Dr Montandon said that Emperor Yohannes created the order of the “Cross of Solomon” possibly at the instigation of his Italian counsellor, Sr Naretti, and that he had created it in three classes, initially. These were, initially, the Premier (or First) Grade (Fitagnia Maëreg ^); the Second Grade (Houlatagnia Maëreg ^); and the Third Grade (Sostagnia Maëreg ^).  

The idea for a Grand Collar of the Grand Cross Order of the Cross of Solomon, specifically designed to be given to foreign monarchs, came, according to Montandon’s 1913 paper, from Sir J. L. Harrington, the British Minister to Ethiopia [“Vers cette même époque fut adoptée, sur les conseils de Sir J. L. Harrington, Ministre d’Angleterre, une catégorie spéciale de la grand croix de Salomon, la grand’croix avec grand cordon vert, uniquement destinée aux souverains.5

The concept and design of this order may have been influenced by its Savoyard counterpart, the Order of the Annunziata, which the Emperor Haile Selassie held from King Victor Emannuel III. Paris jeweller Arthus-Bertrand has apparently been the principal maker of this Order.

The Order of Solomon is limited to the Emperor, Empress, Crown Prince, Crown Princess, President of the Crown Council, and Viceroy of Ethiopia, and reigning monarchs of any religion. Having said that, Le’ul Ras Kassa Hailu, President of the Crown Council (1941-1957) was the only Ethiopian apart from Alga-Worrach Asfa Wossen (later Emperor Amha Selassie I), Prince Makonnen and Princess Tenagne Work to be awarded the “Collar of the Seal of Solomon”. The Le’ul Ras was given the honour in 1955.6

Recipients have included Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran, and Emperor Hirohito of Japan. The Order was also bestowed, in 1945, on King Gustav V, of Sweden, and on Swedish Crown Prince (as he then was) Gustaf Adolf.7

SolomonStarNew.JPGSolomonStarFirst.JPGKing George V, of the United Kingdom, also received the Collar, in 1935, and his particular example of the Order’s chain, medal and star is illustrated in the book, Royal Insignia.8 The chain has 44 square links of gold set with a Star of David, surrounded by a filigree border. The suspension is set with a square-cut ruby. On 11 squares, the Ge’ez inscription says: Amlakäna Haylenä Wäsawannä (^ Our God, Our Strength, Our Protector). The badge shows crowned Lions of Judah supporting a Star of David with cross within, under an Imperial Ethiopian crown. Left this is a gold badge, the tips set with eight pear-shaped diamonds, four emeralds and three rubies. In the centre, on two oval platinum plates: on the left, a pictorial representation of the phrase from Psalms 68, “Ethiopia shall reach her hand unto God” (^) with the text in Ge’ez around it to the left; on the right platinum plate is an illustration of the Queen of Sheba meeting King Solomon, with the inscription “The Queen of Sheba Came to Hear Solomon’s Wisdom” (^) around it to the right. The two ovals are themselves surrounded by two branches of palm leaves.9 The breast star is the same as the badge, but without the suspension device.

The Order presented to King George V may have been the most ornate example produced. There are a number of variations of it, and there is some suggestion that it had been intended that the star and badge were to have been (and in some cases may have been) the same as what is now referred to as the Order of Solomon’s Seal [see below], the sister order. However, the insignia evolved very differently in the Order of Solomon’s Seal.

British sovereigns King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II have also received the Order, as did Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.

Holders of the Order may identify themselves with the use of the post-nominal initials KS or DS (Knight or Dame of the Order of Solomon).


The Order of Solomon’s Seal
The Order of Solomon’s Seal (sometimes referred to as the “Order of King Solomon’s Seal”10 or the “Order of the Seal of Solomon” or the “Order of the Crown of Solomon”11, and earlier — before the current collar Order of Solomon came into being — just as the “Order of Solomon”) was founded by Emperor Yohannes IV in 1874, as noted above [see The Order of Solomon]. The insignia comprised a badge and star. The badge  — a combination of a cross and a star of David — is a pendant from an emerald green moiré sash. This sash is the same as for the Order of Solomon, but with the different insignia (badge) and star. The star, badge and sash of Solomon’s Seal are below. Paris jeweller Arthus-Bertrand has been the principal maker of the Order, although it was also made by the Addis Ababa-based crown jeweller, B. A. Sevadjian, which, after several generations of work on Imperial Orders and artefacts, was reportedly taken over by the State during the current interregnum.

Eisenhower.JPGThe Order of Solomon’s Seal was frequently worn by Ethiopian sovereigns. Originally it was reserved for members of the Imperial Family, heads of foreign states, and to individuals who had rendered particularly meritorious service to the Throne.12 Among the foreign heads of state to receive the Order was King Paul of Greece, who was invested with it in 1959 during the visit of Emperor Haile Selassie to Greece.13 The Order was bestowed on princes of the dynasty and foreign princes. It was also always bestowed on the Abuna of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and very occasionally on international figures, including US President Dwight Eisenhower, of the United States, and Earl Mountbatten of Burma. The Order was presented in its original form — that is, the design instituted by its founder, King Yohannes IV — to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. The Order in its original form had also been bestowed upon Queen Victoria in 1897 for her Diamond Jubilee.

SolomonsSeal.JPGPresident Eisenhower is shown at left wearing the Order of Solomon's Seal, and carrying a traditional Ethiopian shield and spear. With him is the famous Ethiopian statesman, Ras Imru, a cousin and close friend of the Emperor, who served as Ambassador to India and the U.S., and was also a member of the Crown Council.

The Order of Solomon’s Seal was frequently worn by Ethiopian sovereigns. Originally it was reserved for members of the Imperial Family, heads of foreign states, and to individuals who had rendered particularly meritorious service to the Throne.12 Among the foreign heads of state to receive the Order was King Paul of Greece, who was invested with it in 1959 during the visit of Emperor Haile Selassie to Greece.13 The Order was bestowed on princes of the dynasty and foreign princes. It was also always bestowed on the Abuna of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and very occasionally on international figures, including US President Dwight Eisenhower, of the United States, and Earl Mountbatten of Burma. The Order was presented in its original form — that is, the design instituted by its founder, King Yohannes IV — to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. The Order in its original form had also been bestowed upon Queen Victoria in 1897 for her Diamond Jubilee.

The President's Order of Solomon's Seal is shown to the right.

Emperor Haile Selassie in 1930 instituted the collar to the order as the highest form of honour in the Imperial pantheon.14 [See The Order of Solomon, above.] This then became the separate Order of Solomon, as noted. Even so, there was often confusion and, indeed, a lack of official clarity in the distinction between the Order of Solomon and the Order of Solomon’s Seal even in the 1930s. And today, the Paris jeweller, Arthus-Bertrand, refers to the Solomon’s Seal order as the “Crown of Solomon”. In 1936, the two orders were listed together, with the order being in a total of five grades: the Collar of Solomon (the Chain; now the Order of Solomon); Grand Cordon (or Grand Cross) of Solomon with Plaque; Grand Officer of (the Order of) Solomon; Commander of (the Order of) Solomon; and Knight or Chevalier of (the Order of) Solomon.15 However, the Order today is awarded only in the one grade: that of Knight Grand Cross.16

Holders of the Order may identify themselves with the use of the post-nominal initials KSS (Knight of the Order of Solomon’s Seal) or DSS (Dame of the Order of Solomon’s Seal).


The Order of the Queen of Sheba
The Order of the Queen of Sheba was established in 1922 during the reign of Empress Zauditu and the Regency of Ras Tafari, but does not appear to have been awarded — or was, at least, little used — until the coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I  in 1930. The Order was originally intended for royal ladies.

ShebaCollar.JPG“We... had an order with a gold chain made called ‘The Queen of Sheba Order’ which is awarded to the Queen Consort and to foreign queens,” Emperor Haile Selassie said in his memoirs.17 However, by l950, the Order was being conferred on presidents and prince consorts, usually with a special collar chain. Recipients of the Order with collar include HM Queen Mary (wife of King George V, of the United Kingdom) in 1935, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh of the United Kingdom, President Charles De Gaulle of France, President Dwight D. Eisenhower of the United States, and Emperor Bokassa of Central African Empire. Queen Frederica, of Greece, was invested with the Grand Cross of the Order in 1959, during Emperor Haile Selassie’s visit to Greece.18 HRH Prince Mohamed bin Talal, of Jordan, was invested with the Order by Emperor Haile Selassie. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands received the Order with Collar.

The Collar of the Order of the Queen of Sheba in gold, is shown left.

ShebaSash.JPGThe sash, star and badge of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Order of the Queen of Sheba is illustrated to the right, in a photograph supplied by Spink, the Queen’s medallists, of London. Spink has made the order, although Arthus-Bertrand has also made it. Significantly, however, new copies of the set have recently appeared at auctions, marked as having been made by the original manufacturer, B. A. Savadjian, in Addis Ababa. The coloured enamelling (noted below) has been absent from the insignia of these sets. This modification was not authorised. It is believed that either incomplete insignia were obtained from Sevadjian’s facilities during the civil war, or from Imperial stores, and never completed. Alternately, it is possible that the original Sevadjian dies have been obtained illegally as a result of the upheaval of the civil war, and that counterfeit copies are being produced.

US President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Order of the Queen of Sheba may be viewed at The Eisenhower Foundation, in Abilene, Kansas, in the US.

The Order continued to be conferred, as well, on female royalty: princesses of the Imperial Family and foreign princesses. In recent years, the Sheba has been given to dignitaries of the level of Governor-General in some Commonwealth states.

The order today comes in one class, and the insignia comprises a Star of David around a bust of the fabled Queen, enamelled in emerald and amethyst colours. The sash is deep violet with border stripes of emerald green.

Before World War II, the Order was listed fifth in order of precedence, after the Orders of Solomon (which subsequently became two separate orders), the Trinity, Menelik II, and the Star of Ethiopia. Today, it clearly ranks third in precedence after the Order of Solomon and the Order of Solomon’s Seal. As well, when it was created, the Order of the Queen of Sheba was issued in five grades: Grand Cordon (or Grand Cross) of the (Order of the) Queen of Sheba; Grand Officer; Commander; Officer; and Member or Chevalier.19 No records can at present be obtained as to whether the Order was ever presented in other than the Grand Cross form, but it is possible that some records still exist in the archives which remain inaccessible in Addis Ababa.

It is possible that the Order of the Queen of Sheba may have had its origins in, or taken inspiration from, the Ethiopian Order of the Red Cross, founded by the Empress-consort (Itegé Taitu) in 1901-1902.20 The insignia of the Order of the Red Cross was, like the Order of Solomon, based on the Star of David (two overlapping triangles), although the Red Cross was in silver; the Sheba in gold. The Order of the Red Cross had the red cross of St. George superimposed upon it; the Sheba has the visage of the Queen of Sabæ superimposed.21

Holders of the Order of the Queen of Sheba may use the post-nominal initials GCQS (Grand Cross of the Order of the Queen of Sheba).


The Order of the Holy Trinity
The Order of the Holy Trinity was established by Emperor Haile Selassie I in 1930 for his coronation. The Order was generally limited to the nobility, high clergy and a handful of courtiers. Trinity.JPG

The Order of the Trinity appears to have been awarded to some of the Ethiopian regiments which resisted the occupation of 1936-41 and who took part in the liberation of the country; banners of some regiments have been decorated with the cross of the Order and can be viewed at the Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa. Werlich, in his Orders and Decorations of All Nations, noted that the Order was “for outstanding service, civil or military, to the throne”, and that the Order could be awarded to foreigners.22

The Order was originally created in five grades: Knight Grand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer and Member (or Chevalier).23 The Crown Council has restored the Order to a one grade honour: that of Knight Grand Cross, with the addition of a Grand Collar in certain extraordinary circumstances. The London medallists, Spink & Co., and Paris jewellers Arthus-Bertrand, make the order, although Bertrand is the only maker of the lapel rosettes of the Order.

The Order is bestowed by the Crown on very distinguished individuals, Ethiopian and foreign, who have served the Council in a variety of rôles as Special Advisors and as Envoys. The Order has also been given to Chamberlains and Chancellors of Royal Houses. The post-nominal identifying initials for this order are GCHT. Holders of the Grand Collar append an asterisk to the initials — GCHT* — to signify the additional honour.  

Recent foreign recipients of the Trinity — after the revolution — include, for example, Gen. William Westmoreland, the US military leader who led US forces during the Vietnam War. He was a close friend of Emperor Haile Selassie. whom he visited in Ethiopia in 1971 as his guest. He was installed in 1998 as Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Holy Trinity. Among the recent conferrals of Knight Grand Cross of the Holy Trinity with Grand Collar was, in 1998, the Afe-Negus of Ethiopia, Teshome Haile Mariam, who served as Afe-Negus to HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I and HIM Emperor Amha Selassie I, and subsequently to the Crown Council of Ethiopia, from its reconstitution in 1993. He was a former Chief Justice of Ethiopia and Ambassador to the United States. As well, noted Ethiopian-born British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger, KBE, DSO, CSE, who had received the Commander of the Order of the Star of Ethiopia at the Coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1930, was in 1998 made Knight Grand Cross of the Holy Trinity with Grand Collar. HIH Grand Duke George of Russia received the GCHT with Grand Collar in 1998.


The Order of Emperor Menelik II
The Order of Emperor Menelik II was founded in 1924 by the Regent, Ras Tafari Makonnen, during the reign of Empress Zauditu, and is one of the most attractive of the Imperial Orders. It is also sometimes referred to as “The Order of the Lion of Judah”24 or as “The Order of the Ethiopian Lion”; indeed, these names appear to have applied to what was essentially one comprehensive honour. In 1996, the Crown Council decided to end this anomaly by establishing two separate Orders with distinct insignia and ribands: the old insignia designated for Menelik and the new design for the Lion. Thus both Orders (Emperor Menelik II and the Ethiopian Lion) can be said to have been founded in 1924 with modification into two Orders in 1996. Arthus-Bertrand, in Paris, has traditionally made the Order, while Spink, in London, has made the Order of the Ethiopian Lion.

Menelik.JPGThe Order has always been in five grades of Knight Grand Cross, Knight Commander, Commander, Officer and Member, and is made by the Paris firm of Arthus-Bertrand. It is probable that the design of the Order was influenced by the Montenegrin Order of Danilo which had passed into abeyance with the fall of the kingdom and its absorption into the United Kingdom of Yugoslavia. This Order was also made by Arthus-Bertrand in Paris.

The Order of Menelik II (left), created by the then-Regent, Ras Tafari Makonnen, in 1924 in honour of the late Emperor, was, with the Trinity created at the same time, an "order of very high rank", according to Emperor Haile Selassie's memoirs. 

The Order of Menelik was sparingly awarded in the higher grades: senior officers of the armed forces and high court officials were fortunate to retire with a Grand Cross of the Order and it may have been the highest Order available to prime ministers. It is known to have been presented to, among others, Prince Bertil, of Sweden, in 1945.25

The green and red enamel cross depicts the Ethiopian Lion and is suspended from a yellow riband bordered with the Ethiopian tricolour of green, yellow and red. Around the Imperial Lion are the words in Ge‘ez: Mo’a Anbasa Z. Y. (^), an abbreviation for the phrase “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah hath conquered”: Mo’a Anbessa Zemene Gede Yehuda (^) which appears on the Imperial Crest, the Crown Council Crest, and on the Throne of Solomon itself.

The various grades of the Order are represented by the use of the following post-nominal initials: GCEM (Grand Cross), GOEM (Knight Commander), CEM (Commander), OEM (Officer), and MEM (Member).


OrderofHaileSelassie.JPGThe Order of Emperor Haile Selassie I
The Crown Council established the Order of Emperor Haile Selassie I to commemorate the anniversary of His Imperial Majesty’s One Hundredth Birthday, which occurred July 23, 1992. The Order may be conferred with Grand Collar. The Order is primarily intended to recognise outstanding Pan-Africanists and contributors to Pan-African heritage, and ranks equally with the Order of the Menelik II in precedence. In particular, the Order has been conferred on African kings and presidents and on African and Caribbean prime ministers.

The insignia comprises a cross potent bearing a full colour portrait of Emperor Haile Selassie and is pendant from a sky blue sash bordered in the Ethiopian tricolour of green, yellow and red.

The internationally acclaimed musician Bob Marley (Birhane Selassie) received the Order posthumously, along with the title of bitwoded, the equivalent of the rank of Count in court circles.

Holders of the Grand Collar rank of the Order may use the post-nominal initials GCHS; holders of the normal rank of the Order may use the post-nominal initials OHS.


The Order of the Ethiopian Lion
LionOrder.JPGThe Order of the Ethiopian Lion has its origins in the Order of Menelik II and acquired Insignia of its own in March 1996 on the one-hundredth anniversary of the Victory of Adwa. The Order may be said to rank equally with the Order of Emperor Menelik II, from which it derived, and the Order of Haile Selassie I.

The Order comprises five grades: Knight Grand Cordon, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer and Member. The Order is bestowed for distinguished and meritorious service to the Crown Council and is under the personal Grand Mastership of Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie. The Order has been accorded to Christians and Moslems and thus departs from most other Imperial Orders in that there is no overt religious symbolism. Ambassadors, Ministers, Staff Officers, Academicians and other professionals have received the Order with a preponderance of conferrals to Africa, the Caribbean and Middle East.

London medallist Spink has made the Order, although it is now made by the Crown Medallist, Bezant.

The Insignia depicts the Lion of Ethiopia on a circular shield which in turn is engraved with rays of the sun. The Julian calendar (ie: Ethiopian calendar) dates “1889” and “1933” (equivalent to the Gregorian calendar dates 1896 and 1941) appear in Amharic below the lion, commemorating two years when Ethiopia resisted European colonialism. On the original striking of the Order, the dates appeared with the Gregorian calendar dates in Western script. The Imperial Crown is attached to the badge by way of an enamelled bow in the colours of the Ethiopian tricolour. The riband is a rich hue of salmon pink with the tricolour of green, gold and red in the centre.

It is interesting to note that the Imperial Lion appears on the Imperial Order of the Lion facing left, instead of the more customary right-facing position. This is to indicate that the Order, although it had its origins in the Order of Emperor Menelik II, was given its independent status when the Crown was in exile. The left-facing lion is meant to show that the Order was created when Ethiopia was in a condition of adversity and distress, and it honors those who fought for Ethiopia’s reconstruction and resurrection during this period.

Holders of the order may identify their award with the use of the following post-nominal initials: GCEL (Knight Grand Cordon); GOEL (Grand Officer); CEL (Commander); Officer (OEL); and Member (MEL).


The Order of the Star of Ethiopia
StarofEthiopiaComman.GIFThe Order of the Star of Ethiopia was founded by Emperor Menelik II in 1884-85, in his capacity as Negus of Shoa,26 and before he became Emperor of Ethiopia (in 1889). It is one of the older awards in the Imperial pantheon. It was originally awarded, according to Montandon, in five levels, plus une catégorie speciale. However, at that time, it was listed as being in three classes, with two sub-grades. The First Class was the Grand Cross; the Second Class grade of Grand Officer was Second Class avec plaque; the Second Class grade of Commander, was without the plaque; the Third Class grade of Officer was with rosette; the Third Class grade of Chevalier (or Member, in the English parlance) was without the rosette. It would seem that there was a conscious effort at the time to emulate the French structure as indicated by the Legion d’Honneur.

Domenico Guadagnini, in his Storia degli Ordini Vigenti ed Estinti, noted that the five grades of the Order were named as: Negus (Knight Grand Cross, for sovereigns); Ras (Knight Grand Officer, for princes); Dje Asmache (Knight Commander); Kague Asmache (Knight Officer); and Gra Asmache (Knight) [Guadagnini’s spellings]. He also noted that the insignia of a Knight Officer, worn on the breast, showed a five-pointed star, joined across the bottom, similar to the emblem in the medal of the rank of Member of the Order today, but without the circular medal surrounding it. The insignia for Knight Officer was suspended from what he called “a characteristic Ethiopian coronet” which was, in fact, a Europeanised coronet, with the riband attached through a loop atop the coronet. The insignia of a Knight Commander, suspended from a neck riband, showed an eight-pointed star in white gold, again surmounted by the coronet and a loop for the riband.27 It seems likely that the Order was originally given to Ethiopian recipients in the ranks suggested by Guadagnini, although the protocol and the insignia have changed somewhat today. The medal for the grade of Member of the Order of the Star (shown below) is far more simple than before. The Knight Grand Cross version, shown below, which was the one awarded to the Duke of Harar, is, although now Westernised, far more elaborate, of a pattern similar to the original design. The Grand Cross level uses the much more complex star as its motif.

Star of Ethiopia: rank of Commander. (right)

Cordon.JPGThe Order of the Star, sometimes referred to as the Order of the Star of Honour of Ethiopia, has been awarded sparingly, but to notable Imperial and military figures, such as HH Prince Ras Kassa Hailu, a lifelong friend of Emperor Haile Selassie and a key figure in the Imperial Ethiopian Army, who was presented the Order in its highest form of Knight Grand Cross and Collar; and HH Prince Ras Asserate Kassa, who served as a Colonel in the Imperial Army, as governor-general of various regions, and as Vice-President and President of the Senate (awarded the Order of Knight Grand Cross of the Star of Honour).28

The Cordon (Sash) and Star of the Order of the Star of Honour of Ethiopia. This example (left) was presented to HIH the First Duke of Harar.

StarofEthiopia2.JPGRecipients of the Grand Cross of the Order included Ambassador Phaidon Anninos-Kavallieratos, the Greek Chief of Protocol, and Amb. Panayotis Rellas, Greek Ambassador to Addis Ababa, during the visit by Emperor Haile Selassie to Greece in 1959.29 Earlier, in 1955, four Greek officials, three of them from the Army, were made Officer, Commander and Knights, respectively of the Order.

In recent years, since the revolution, the Order of the Star has continued to be awarded, including the Award to Maj.-Gen. Stanhope S. Spears, for example, of the United States, for his efforts to aid the cause of the Crown.

The Order still comprises five grades: Knight Grand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer and Member. It is no longer awarded with Collar. In its earlier incarnations, under Emperors Menelik and Haile Selassie, some Grand Crosses were jewel embellished when given to foreign dignitaries. Arthus-Bertrand, in Paris, currently makes the Order.

The design of the Order is in the Ethiopian traditional filigree pattern, based on the shield. The Order has never been enamelled, and some original pieces were solid gold. The Order was originally made in Ethiopia by B. A. Sevadjian of Addis Ababa. During the Emperor’s exile in England, the Order was made by Mappin & Webb (1936-41) in London. StarofEthiopia.JPG

The riband of the Order is in equal thirds of the tricolour: (from right) red, yellow and green. The original riband, when the order was created, was in equal vertical stripes of blue, yellow, green and red,30 but were replaced, probably before the turn of the century, by the national tricolour.

Sir Wilfred Thesiger received the Order with the rank of Commander from Emperor Haile Selassie in 1930, when he attended the coronation.

Emperor Amha Selassie I awarded the Order of the Star quite liberally during the 1980s.

Holders of the various grades of the Order may identify themselves by the use of the post-nominal initials: GCSE (Grand Cross), GOSE (Grand Officer), CSE (Commander), OSE (Officer), MSE (Member).

The Order of the Star of Ethiopia in the rank of Member of the Order (MSE) (pictured left).



The Order of St. Anthony
StAnthonyOrder.JPGThe Order of St. Anthony is believed to be one of the oldest Orders of Chivalry in the world, and stands apart from the other chivalric, State and Imperial orders. It was founded as a religious Order of Knighthood by the Negus known in the West as “Prestor John” in the year 370 CE. The Order was created following the death of St. Anthony the Hermit in 357 or 358 CE, when many of his disciples went to live in austerity in the desert until eventually submitting to the monastical rule of St. Basil and moving to monasteries where they retained the “title and habit of St. Anthony”. According to traditional texts on the subject: “It is said, that about the year of our Lord 370, John Emperor of Æthiopia (commonly called Prester John) erected these Monks into a Religious Order of Knighthood, under the Title and Protection of St. Anthony, Patron of His Empires and bestowed upon them great Revenues and many Privileges. And thus being instituted Knights, they received the aforesaid Rule of St. Basil, and submitted to his Constitutions.”31

An Order of the same name existed later in Italy, France and Spain and these derivations of the Order originated in Constantinople. The objects of both Orders — the Ethiopian and the Constantinople — were the defence of the Christian faith. The knights wore a black gown lined with blue, having a blue cross fixed to the breast comprised of three arms. It is said that the senior Knights wore a double cross of the same colour.32 Traditionally, “the chief Seat of the Order is in the Isle of Meroé [now in the Sudan], where the Abbots both spiritual and temporal have their residence, but in other parts of Æthiopia they have a very great number of Convents and Monasteries, and not less than two Millions of annual Revenue”.33

The Order today has a badge consisting of an Ethiopian cross in royal blue and edged with a gold rim, and surmounted by a gold Imperial Ethiopian crown. The Order is in two grades: the Knight Grand Cross, and Companion. (pictured right)

The Order of St. Anthony has as its current Sovereign Grand Master and Captain-General His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile Selassie, the President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia. Knights of this Order are inducted only rarely and their duties remain chivalric in nature. The Members of the Order may identify themselves with the post-nominal initials: KGCA (Knight Grand Cross); and CA (Companion of the Order of St. Anthony).

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Military and civil decorations within the Imperial gift

The Military Medal of Merit of the Order of St. George
The Military Medal of Merit of the Order of St. George, sometimes referred to merely as the Military Medal of St. George, or the Medal of Merit of St. George, is the premier decoration for military service available to the Crown. The Military Medal of Merit replaces, and basically grew out of, the Military Medal of Menelik II, created in 1901-1902 by Emperor Menelik II. It was worn by the first Duke of Harar first in order of precedence of his medals, followed by the Distinguished Military Medal of Haile Selassie the First [see below]. The Duke’s decoration was the result of his extensive and highly successful military service against the Italians during the 1935-1941 War. He received the decoration twice (hence the bronze palm leaf on the riband).

The Crown Prince at the time (later Emperor Amha Selassie I), Asfa Wossen, also received the Military Medal of Merit of the Order of St. George, which he wore 10th in order of precedence on his riband bar, wearing the Distinguished Military Medal of Haile Selassie the First in eighth place.

It is not known whether the medal was ever awarded to any foreign nationals, but under the Chancery rules, there is nothing which precludes this. The Military Medal of Merit of the Order of St. George is for outstanding military service, including acts of extreme gallantry or for distinguished leadership during hostilities, and is awarded very rarely. None have been issued since the death of Emperor Haile Selassie.

The medal is bronze in the form of a trilobe, with the obverse showing St. George slaying the dragon, surrounded by text in Ge’ez. The medal is linked by a Trinity (three-pointed) star to a loop which attaches to a riband which is broken horizontally into two equal colours. Where a “bar” is awarded to the medal — that is, the recipient is awarded the medal for a second time — a bronze palm leaf is afixed to the riband at the joining point of the two colours. Holders of the decoration may use the post-nominal initials MMM.

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The Distinguished Military Medal of the Emperor Haile Selassie the First [obverse left, reverse right], showing the palm leaf attachment on the riband.

The Distinguished Military Medal of Haile Selassie the First
The Distinguished Military Medal of Haile Selassie the First, sometimes known as the Medal of Merit of Haile Selassie the First, was created by the Emperor during the campaign against the Italians who had overrun Ethiopia from October 3, 1935, to 1941. The decoration was presented to Ethiopians and, on rare occasions, to foreigners who fought in the campaigns for Ethiopia’s freedom. The medal was awarded for both single acts of extreme gallantry and for protracted military service of a distinguished nature.

The medal is bronze in the form of a trilobe, with the obverse showing a traditional portrait of Emperor Haile Selassie wearing the Ethiopian Crown, and with the inscription in Ge’ez “Haile Selassie the First”. The reverse has the three-pointed Star of the Trinity surmounting a pair of crossed batons, and the medal’s shape — like three overlapping circles — is designed to accommodate that. The 32mm wide riband is attached to the medal by a ring atop a horizontal oval laurel wreath. The riband itself is pale green in the top half and red in the lower half. A second award of the medal was signified by the addition of a palm leaf in bronze, placed horizontally across the riband where the red and green meet.

Emperor Haile Selassie wore the Distinguished Military Medal himself, ranking it sixth in order of precedence after the great State orders (Solomon’s Seal, the Queen of Sheba, the Holy Trinity, the Menelik II, and the Star), a real indication of the value of the DMM. His son, as Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, wore the DMM in eighth place on his riband bar.

The DMM continues to be a current decoration within the Imperial gift, although, at press time, the Crown Council had not authorised the striking of a new batch of the medal. It is understood that such a striking was being considered to recognise those Ethiopians who fought with great valour against the Dergue which overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie, while at the same time maintaining the fight for Ethiopian unity.

The medal was originally struck by Mappin & Webb, in London. Dennis Gill’s otherwise outstanding book on the coinage of Ethiopia shows the DMM without riband, incorrectly identifying it as “a bronze coronation medal” of Emperor Haile Selassie.34 Holders of the medal may use the post-nominal initials DMM.

The Gold Medal of Menelik II
The Gold Medal of Menelik II was one of the major medals which the Crown could dispense, and was listed as a current decoration in 1936.35 However no record of its award can be found in recent years, and the Crown Council has no plans at this time to issue this decoration. It was, however, a very senior decoration, ranking just behind the two major military gallantry awards.

The Gold Medal of Haile Selassie I
The Gold Medal of Haile Selassie I was created by Emperor Haile Selassie I to provide a (then) current senior decoration of the same rank as the Gold Medal of Menelik II. The Gold Medal was listed as a current decoration in 1936.36 It was awarded sparingly, however. For example, it was awarded to the first Duke of Harar, who was extremely active in military operations against the Italian invaders (1935-1941), but the same medal was not given to his older brother, Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, who was also active in this campaign.

The Silver Medal of Menelik II
The Silver Medal of Menelik II was one of the significant decorations within the Crown’s gift, theoretically ranking just behind the Gold Medal of Haile Selassie I (after that medal was introduced during the reign of Haile Selassie).37 There is no record, however, that a recipient would be likely to receive both the Menelik and the Haile Selassie medals, so the matter of precedence scarcely, if ever, would arise. When it was originally created, it was to rank second to the Menelik II Gold Medal [see above]. No recent awards have been made of this decoration, and the Crown Council currently has no plans to re-issue it.

The Silver Medal of Haile Selassie I
The Silver Medal of Haile Selassie I was created as the second tier of the Gold Medal of Haile Selassie I, in the same manner as the Gold and Silver Medals of Menelik II were created [see above]. It was listed in 1936 as one of the current decorations of the Crown.38 There are no records currently available to indicate who may have received this decoration. The Medal, like its counterpart Gold Medal and the Gold and Silver Medals of Menelik II, is still a current and valid decoration. However, the Crown Council has no plans at this stage to award this decoration.

The Lalibela Cross
The Lalibela Cross was established on July 23, 1997, as a special award to recognise service to Ethiopia, for charitable endeavours and volunteer work in fields such as health, education, food and agriculture.

The Cross is simple in design, of polished silver and silver gilt and is suspended from a burgundy riband with a gold stripe down the centre.

Recipients of the Medal may use the post-nominal initials LC.

The Refugees’ Medal
RefugeesMedal.JPGThe Refugees’ Medal was created by Emperor Haile Selassie I during or following the Italian invasion of Ethiopia (1935-1941), and was intended to acknowledge those who had assisted the enormous number of refugees which that war created. The first Duke of Harar was actively involved in repelling the Italians and worked strenuously to assist the Ethiopians displaced by the war, and was, as a result, awarded the Refugees’ Medal no less than five times.39

The Refugees’ Medal is a bronze circular medal about 35mm in diameter, showing on its face Emperor Haile Selassie I, bareheaded, in a circle above the three-pointed Trinity star (sometimes called the Bethlehem star), with an inscription in Amharic on each side. The date “1935” is shown on the obverse, along with the words in Amharic: “The star led them”. The reverse shows five lines of Amharic: “Hope established in faith is a proven instrument of victory”. The riband is a bright, dark blue with the Ethiopian tricolour of green, yellow and red running narrowly down each side, with the green outermost.40 Subsequent awards of the medal to the same recipient are indicated by the addition of a bronze palm leaf across the riband. The medal is a current decoration within the Crown’s gift, although no recent issuances have been made of it. Given the refugee problems caused by the coup d’etat of the Dergue in 1974, and the subsequent civil war and the 1998 war with Eritrea, the Crown Council feels that it would be appropriate to re-issue the Refugees’ Medal to recognise recent outstanding efforts on behalf of displaced peoples.41 The medal carries no post-nominal initials.

The Refugees' Medal is pictured left.


The Emperor Haile Selassie I & Empress Menen Celebration Medal
The Emperor Haile Selassie I & Empress Menen Celebration Medal has been authorised for bestowal, during the interregnum, by the President of the Crown Council (and in normal times by the Emperor) on any individual who has helped to maintain the legacy of Their late Imperial Majesties. It is a re-issue of the Silver Jubilee Medal (1955) bearing the Emperor’s and Empress’s joint portraits with the Jubilee Palace depicted on the reverse. The Medal is executed in sterling silver, and is made in Paris by Arthus-Bertrand. The riband is dark violet moiré. The Award carries no post-nominal initials.

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The Centenary of the Victory of Adwa Meda;: the example on the left shows the medal with the Royal riband; in the centre is the medal with the Diplomatic riband. The reverse of the medal is shown on the right.

The Centenary of the Victory of Adwa Medal 1896-1996
The Adwa Centenary Medal was authorised by the Crown Council to commemorate the Victory of the Battle of Adwa of March 2, 1896, at which European colonialism was prevented from securing control over Ethiopia.

The Medal was authorised for bestowal beyond the centenary anniversary of March 2, 1996.

The Medal is gilded and bears the portrait of Emperor Menelik II wearing the Imperial crown. There are two ribands: Royal and Diplomatic. The Royal Riband is purple with yellow borders whilst the Diplomatic Riband is in the Ethiopian tricolour with a centre stripe of black. The reverse bears the Imperial Lion. The Royal Riband is restricted to members of the Imperial Family and to foreign royalty and is violet with gold edges. Both ribands bear a circular Imperial Lion device which is bronze-gilded.

The first minting of the medal took place in 1996, when 150 were struck by Spink, in London. The second minting of the medal was authorized by the Crown Council on the 103rd anniversary of the Battle, on March 2, 1999. With the second striking, however, a significant change was made to the design on the medal: the Imperial Ethiopian Lion, which had been left-facing on the first striking, was transformed to be right-facing on the 1999 striking.

The Centenary Medal has been bestowed on royalty, presidents, ministers, ambassadors, military officers and friends of Ethiopia including African and Caribbean scholars and liberation fighters.

The Victory of Adwa medals are presented in person by the Chairman of the Crown Council, His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile Selassie, grandson of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie; or by the Viceroy, His Imperial Highness Prince Bekere Fikre-Selassie, great-grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie. On occasion, Adwa medals have been presented by the Special Representative of the aforementioned princes, and the medal is presented in a navy blue and gold leather case. [See Adwa page for a brief history of the Battle of Adwa.] The medal carries no post-nominal initials.

The Medal of Scholarship
ScholarshipMedal.JPGThe Medal of Scholarship, originated in 1959 by Emperor Haile Selassie, primarily to recognise teachers, has been sustained by the Crown Council to recognise the achievement of Ethiopians, and those teaching in Ethiopia or involved in Ethiopian scholarship, the arts or science.

The oval-shaped medal shows on its obverse centre an open book, with stems of corn or wheat on either side, and with a rising sun above clouds situated above the book.42 Surmounting this is a Crown topped with a small cross. An inscription in Amharic surrounds the image: “Education is the laurel of the wise man”. At the foot of the obverse, in Amharic, is the date 1952 [Ethiopian calendar]. The medal is joined to its riband by a small Imperial crown and fixed loop. The reverse features Amharic text around the top of the Medal, saying “Emperor Haile Selassie I, and at its base the words, in Amharic, “Scholarship Medal” or “Teachers Medal”, depending on the translation. Within the surrounding text is the three-pointed cross of the Trinity within a trilobe pattern. At the base of the design, in Ge‘ez, are the words “Go and Teach”. The medal is in a silver finish, and the riband is light green with two vertical stripes of rich purple. The award carries no post-nominal initials.

The Scholarship Medal pictured left.


The Royal Medal of the Lion
RoyalMedalofLion.JPGThe Royal Medal of the Lion is not connected with the Order of the Lion. The Medal is bestowed at the discretion of hih Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie and is for loyal and faithful service to his person. As a result, the medal is not within the gift of the Crown Council, but rather is a decoration awarded by Prince Ermias personally. His authority to issue medals stems from his function as de facto guardian of the Crown (President of the Crown Council).

The medal is bestowed on individuals of any nationality, sex or religion.

The Medal is of polished silver in the traditional circular style, 35mm in diameter, and depicts on the obverse the Imperial Lion surmounted by the letter , the first letter of Prince Ermias’s name in Amharic, and above that the Prince’s Crown. The legend “For Faithful and Good Service(^) appears in Ge‘ez around the top of the design, and the word “Ethiopia” (^) in Amharic at the base.

The Royal Medal of the Lion pictured right.

The riband, suspended from a horizontal bar affixed atop the medal, is predominantly black with borders in the Ethiopian tricolour, arranged, from the outside, in red, green and yellow bands.

Recipients may use the post-nominal initials RML.

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Other Medals

Other medals have been struck by Imperial instruction. Perhaps one of the most important of those medals not currently issued is the Military Medal of Menelik II, which has basically been replaced by the Military Medal of Merit of the Order of St. George. Emperor Menelik’s original Military Medal, created in 1901-1902, was principally given to military figures in the immediate entourage of the Emperor.43

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The Star of Victory: The medal commemorates Ethiopia's victory over Mussolini's forces in 1941. The obverse is in Amharic; the reverse is in English, recognising Britain's rôle in helping to oust the invading force.

Equally, the little-discussed Ethiopian Order of the Red Cross, is significant in that it was, like the Military Medal, created in 1901-1902, under the patronage of the Empress,44 and employed the same insignia as the Red Cross symbol employed by the Swiss-founded medical relief agency. In the original version of the Order, the cross surmounted a silver Star of David.45 Later, according to HH Prince Asfa-Wossen Asserate, the Order showed the Red Cross overlain with the Imperial Ethiopian Lion, and with the Crown of Ethiopia atop the Cross.

Also of note was the medal struck to commemorate the end of the Korean War. Arthus-Bertrand, in Paris, made that particular medal, as did C.C. Sporrong & Co., of Sweden. That silver medal is in the shape of a Coptic cross with an Imperial Crown surmounting the medal. Included on the inscription are the words “Korea 1943 [Ethiopian calendar], year of mercy”.

The Star of Victory 1941 medal was issued after the defeat of the Italians in 1941. The medal was made by Mappin & Webb, in London, and is in the shape of a Coptic Cross, surmounted by an Imperial Crown. The Star of the Trinity is in high relief in the centre. A loop is attached to the top of the medal, with a hanger, and a multi-striped red, yellow and green riband. The inscription in Amharic on the medal reads: “Star of Victory 1933 [Ethiopian calendar]. Unforgettable Achievement” and on the reverse “Star of Victory 1941”.

The first Duke of Harar, who was active during the conflict, had the medal fourth in order of precedence of his campaign decortions, after the Military Medal of the Order of St. George, the Distinguished Military Medal of Haile Selassie I, and the Gold Medal of Haile Selassie I.46

25thAnniv.JPGSubsequently, in 1966, a medal was issued for (and entitled) the 25th Anniversary of the Victory of 1933. [The date is in the Ethiopian calendar.] This silver medal shows, on the obverse, the standing figure of Emperor Haile Selassie raising the Ethiopian flag at Omedla, where he had re-entered Ethiopia from the Sudan in 1941. In Amharic, it has the inscription “1933 [Ethiopian calendar], year of mercy. Victory 25th Year Commemoration”, and in the centre, “Omedla”. The reverse has the inscription in English “25th Anniversary of the Victory of 1941” around the outside, with “1966” at the bottom. In the centre is a graphic of the war memorial to the Ethiopian dead. The circular medal is surmounted by an Imperial crown, topped by a circular loop for the riband. The riband is bright orange with a white stripe down the centre.

25th Anniversary of the Victory of 1933 Medal pictured left.

HaileSelassiePrizeMe.JPGThe Haile Selassie I Prize Medal: A gold medal was also struck by Spink, in London, for the Haile Selassie I Prize. Some 60 to 80 of these were minted, using the distinctively-coloured Ethiopian gold. Emperor Haile Selassie donated a considerable number of his personal assets, including properties, to fund this Prize, and noted: “We have established this chartered and completely independent organisation [The Haile Selassie I Prize Trust] by donating Our personal estates and appointing distinguished officials as Trustees to ensure the promotion and encouragement of activities and proficiencies of the Ethiopian people in the diversified fields of Amharic literature, fine arts, agriculture, industry, educational activities and humanitarian activities.”

“Our desire to encourage outstanding contributions transcends the boundaries of Our Empire. The advancement of Ethiopia is not Our sole interest. The African Research Award and the Empress Menen Award are therefore intended to provide strong incentives throughout the Continent of Africa and the world at large.”

The Awards were granted with a substantial cash grant, as well as the valuable and attractive collar medal. Prime Minister Tsehafe Tezaz Aklilu Habte Wold, chairman of the HS I Prize Trust, said in 1973: “In the course of the nine years since the institution was established, 29 National, 18 International, and two Empress Menen Awards were made in the fields that the Prize Trust encourages.”

The properties donated by the In 1974, the winners included Prof. Edward Ullendorf, the man who later translated Emperor Haile Selassie’s autobiography. His award was for his work in Ethiopian studies. Fitawrari Amde Aberra won the award in the field of agriculture, and Liqe Tebebt Aklile Berhan Wolde Qurqos won the Award for educational activities.

Emperor to the Trust Fund theoretically remain its property, and steps are being taken by the Crown Council to restore the Fund and the Prize to operation once again.

Significantly, the current Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, was a recipient of a scholarship from the Haile Selassie Prize Trust, as were many others. It is to be noted that the Emperor also donated the Genete Leul Palace to establish the Haile Selassie I University

The Haile Selassie I Prize medal, an international award which may yet be revived as an important recognition of intellectual accomplishment (right).

There were other commemorative medals issued during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie. The Franklin Mint, of the United States, struck three medals in 1967 to commemorate the 75th birthday of the Emperor. They were, Dennis Gill noted,47 distributed through the Ethiopian Pavillion at that year’s Montreal World’s Fair. One was struck in .750 gold to present to the Emperor; 400 .999 fine silver pieces were struck and numbered and were sold in 200 sets of two pieces each. But the Franklin Mint medallions were not designed to be presented as recognition for achievement or service; rather, they were merely commemorative.

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The Eritrean Medal of Haile Selassie the First, Bronze pictured left, Silver pictured right.

The Eritrean Medal of Haile Selassie I: Another medal issued in two grades — silver and bronze — was struck during the Emperor Haile Selassie period to commemorate the ties between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The two medals are identical save for the finish, and both have a broad riband of yellow with a small stripe of green down the left side, and a small band of red down the right side: the traditional Ethiopian colours. The circular medal, about 38mm in diameter, is surmounted by an affixed Imperial Crown, with the loop for the riband behind the crown. The text on the face, around a portrait of a bare-headed Emperor Haile Selassie, is in Amharic: “no-one can separate”. The text on the reverse, What nature has bound together, “image of two women (one Crowned) embracing, to This bone is of my bone”, — encircling an represent Ethiopia and Eritrea — is in Ge‘ez.48 The year “1945” (Ethiopian calendar) is shown at the bottom of the design.

CoronationMedal.JPGThe Coronation Medal of Emperor Haile Selassie I was issued to celebrate the 1930 accession of the Emperor to the Throne. This silver medal features a profile of the Emperor, in coronation attire and Imperial Crown, facing to the left. The inscription around the front of the obverse says “Haile Selassie the First” in Ge‘ez. The reverse has text — “Ethiopia Shall Reach Her Hand Unto God”, the line from Psalm 68, the Song of David, from the Old Testament of the Bible — in Ge‘ez around the medal, which in the centre shows a trilobe pattern with a small Trinity star toward the bottom and ornamentation in the centre.49

The Coronation Medal, pictured left

The first Duke of Harar, one of the many recipients of the Coronation Medal, wore it in sixth rank with his campaign medals.50 The medal is, of course, still currently recognised, but was issued only at the time of the Coronation.

 

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1 Conversations between the author and the Afe-Negus during 1997, and confirmed by the 1998 statement by Afe-Negus Teshome Haile-Mariam.

2 The Royal Medal of the Lion, while sanctioned by the Crown Council, comes under the personal gift of HIH Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie directly, as a personal decoration. It is not an Imperial decoration, but a Royal one.

3 Emperor Haile Selassie: My Life and Ethiopia’s Progress, 1892-1937. Oxford, 1974, p.69.

4 Montandon, Dr George: Au Pays Ghimirra: Récit de mon voyage à travers le Massif Éthiopien. Neuchatel, France, 1913: Bulletin de la Société Neuchateloise de Géographie, Tome XXII, 1913, printed by Imprimerie Attingen Friènes, Neutchatel.

5 Montandon, Op Cit. Page 411.

6 HH Prince Asfa-Wossen Asserate, in correspondence to the author, June 30, 1998.

7 Archives of the Swedish Orders of Chivalry.

8 Patterson, Stephen. Royal Insignia. British and Foreign Orders of Chivalry From the Royal Collection. London, 1996: Merrell Holberton Publishers. pp.176-179.

9 The British book, Royal Insignia, by Stephen Patterson, which is the definitive work on the British and Foreign Orders of Chivalry from the [British] Royal Collection, said on page 176 that the right oval showed Ethiopia handing divine authority to the King-elect. This, as noted above, is incorrect; the oval picture shows the Queen of Sheba coming to hear the wisdom of Solomon.

10 Werlich, Robert: Orders and Decorations of All Nations. Quaker Press.

11 French manufacturer Arthus-Bertrand refers to it as the Order of “the Crown [Couronne] of Solomon”, as did the first Duke of Harar.

12 Werlich, Op Cit.

13 Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs Protocol Department archives.

14 Werlich, Robert. Op Cit.

15 Zervos, A. Le Miroir de l’Ethiopie Moderne 1906-1935. Op Cit.

16 Le’ul Ras Asserate Kassa, President of the Crown Council from 1972 to 1974, was a Grand Officer of the Order of Solomon (now clearly known as Solomon’s Seal). He was also Grand Cross/Grand Cordon holder of the Orders of Trinity, Menelik II, and the Star of Honour of Ethiopia (now Star of Ethiopia). He was the last President of the Crown Council before the 1974 coup and revolution.

17 Emperor Haile Selassie I: My Life and Ethiopia’s Progress, 1892-1937. Volume One. Translated and annotated by Edward Ullendorf.

18 Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs Protocol Department archives.

19 Zervos, A. Op Cit.

20 Montandon, Op Cit. Page 412.

21 Later versions of the Order of the Red Cross were different: the Order showed the Red Cross with the Imperial Lion of Ethiopia across it, and with the Imperial Crown atop the cross. Source: HH Prince Asfa-Wossen Asserate.

22 Werlich, Robert: Orders and Decorations of All Nations. Quaker Press.

23 Zervos, A. Op Cit.

24 Werlich, Robert: Orders and Decorations of All Nations. Quaker Press.

25 Archives, Swedish Orders of Chivalry.

26 Montandon, Dr George. Op Cit. Page 409-410.

27 Guadagnini, Domenico: Storia Degli Ordini Vigenti ed Estinti. Italy.

28 Burke’s Royal Families of the World, Vol. II. Op Cit.

29 Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs Protocol Department archives.

30 Montandon, Op Cit. Page 412.

31 Of the Religious Orders of Knighthood. Chap. II, pages 62-63.

32 Neville, D. G.: A History of the Early Orders of Knighthood and Chivalry. Limpsfield, Surrey, 1978.

33 Of the Religious Orders of Knighthood, Op Cit.

34 Gill, Dennis: The Coinage of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Italian Somalia. Page 150.

35 Zervos. A. Op Cit.

36 Ibid.

37 Ibid.

38 Ibid.

39 HIH Makonnen, Duke of Harar: Life & Records. 1957, Addis Ababa.

40 Medal in the author’s possession.

41 Statement by HIH Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council, to the author in private interview, June 1998.

42 Medal in the possession of the author.

43 Montandon, Dr George: Au Pays Ghimirra: Récit de mon voyage à travers le Massif éthiopien. In his brief description, published in 1913, Montandon briefly mentions that the medal was to “décernéo à des soldats d’escorte, etc.”

44 Ibid.

45 Ibid.

46 HIH Makonnen, Duke of Harar: Life & Records. 1957, Addis Ababa.

47 Gill, Dennis. Op Cit. Page 177.

48 Both medals in the author’s possession.

49 Medal in the author’s possession.

50 HIH Makonnen, Duke of Harar: Life & Records. 1957, Addis Ababa.