Classic DACB Collection

All articles created or submitted in the first twenty years of the project, from 1995 to 2015.

Michael IV (Ethiopia)

Orthodox Church

Michael IV, Al-Habis was a Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria said to have been dispatched on a mission to Ethiopia to dissuade the Ethiopians from interrupting the flow of the Nile to Egypt. It appears that the Egyptians attributed exceptionally low flood waters, resulting in famine, to Ethiopian intervention at the source of the Nile subsequent to the dispute with Egypt arising from the activities of Abunä Säwiros. Holding office from c. 1092 to c. 1100 A.D., Michael IV was sent to Ethiopia, according to the thirteenth century Coptic historian al-Makin, by the Fatimid Caliph al-Mustansir (1035-1094 A.D.), and took with him many gifts to placate the Emperor.

Richard K. P. Pankhurst

For the complete biography of Michael IV, see Michael IV.


Enrico Cerulli, Etiopi in Palestina (Roma, 1953), Vol. I, 117.

M. Chaine, La chronologie des temps chrétiens de l’Egypte et de l’Ethiopie (Paris, 1925), 253.

J. Spencer Trimingham, Islam in Ethiopia (Oxford, 1952), 65.

This article is reproduced, with permission, from The Dictionary of Ethiopian Biography, Vol. 1 ‘From Early Times to the End of the Zagwé Dynasty c. 1270 A.D.,’ copyright © 1975, edited by Belaynesh Michael, S. Chojnacki and Richard Pankhurst, Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. All rights reserved.