The looted items were an eighteenth-century Coptic Bible and three horned beakers of unspecified date. Arguably this post should have been headed Coptic Watch, but the story also bears on Ethiopic matters
The artifacts are not particularly valuable. Their total estimated value was £400-£700. But their repatriation establishes a precedent that could have wider implications.
There are some 350 manuscripts in the British Library and at least five at the University of Edinburgh which were also looted at the Battle of Maqdala. They include two copies of the Ethiopian national epic the Kebra Negast and a copy of the Book of Isaiah, all presumably in the Ethiopic language. So far, requests for their repatriation to Ethiopia have been declined. It will be interesting to see if this latest development has any effect on that decision.
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