He was the son of Abeto Fasil, as well as the grandson of Abeto Yakob and the great-grandson of Dawit II: History Assignment, UniKL, Malaysia

University Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL)
Subject History

He was the son of Abeto Fasil, as well as the grandson of Abeto Yakob and the great-grandson of Dawit II. As a result, while some authorities list Susenyos as a member of the Solomonic dynasty, others consider him—rather than his son, Fasilides—as the founder of the Gondar line of the dynasty.

The life of Susenyos is known through his chronicle, written by several official writers. The Jesuits, who were closely associated with Susenyos’s reign, also left numerous documents on their mission in Ethiopia.

Manuel de Almeida, a Portuguese Jesuit who lived in Ethiopia during Susenyos’ reign, described the emperor as tall with the features of a man of quality, large handsome eyes, “and an ample and well-groomed beard.” He wore “a tunic of crimson velvet down to the knee, breeches of the Moorish style, a sash or girdle of many large pieces of fine gold, and an outer coat of damask of the same color, like a capelhar.”


Of Amhara descent, Susenyos I was born to Hamalmal Warq, the daughter of a provincial chief from the noble family of Shime, and Abeto Fasil the son of Prince Abeto Yaeqob, who in turn was the son of King Dawit II

Susenyos was the youngest of his mother’s five sons. His brothers Se’ela Krestos, Make’d Krestos, Yamana Krestos, and Afa Krestos held the most important posts during his reign.

Early life

As a boy, a group of marauding Oromos captured him and killed his father Abeto Fasil and a number of others. Susenyos were held captive for over a year until they were rescued by the Dejazmach Asbo in 1585 in a military campaign against the Oromos led by Emperor Sarsa Dengel, his uncle.

Upon his rescue, Susenyos was entrusted to the care of Dowager Empress
Admas Mogasa, who supervised his early education. The Queen mother was the mother of Sarsa Dengel and widow of Emperor Menas, and great-aunt of Susenyos. So that he could support himself, the queen’s mother, returned to him the lands previously held by his father in Gojjam.

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