INS professor’s research examines Ethiopian intellectual’s life, contributions

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Täsfa Ṣeyon appearing in a painting in the Chiesa del Gesù (Rome). (Photo copyright Zeno Colantoni 2012).

By Bissane El Sayed

UNIVERSITY CITY, SHARJAH – European scholars have overlooked the contributions of Ethiopian intellectual Täsfa Ṣeyon to 16th century Roman and African life, Associate Professor of History Dr. Matteo Salvadore said Feb. 15, an oversight he said his forthcoming work is meant to correct.

Salvadore’s remarks came during a research colloquium held in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building. About a dozen students, staff, and faculty attended.

Salvadore entitled his presentation “The Many Lives of Täsfa Ṣeyon (1510-1552): An Ethiopian Intellectual in Early Modern Rome.” He summarized Ṣeyon’s roles, achievements, and legacy. He highlighted Ṣeyon’s contributions to early modern oriental and African studies, and how these efforts were disregarded by modern scholars of Europe. 

Salvadore said he is working on a book on the subject. The goal, he added, is “to revise this biased narrative and hopefully we will start the process of recognizing his [Ṣeyon’s] contribution.”