GONDAR, properly Guendar, a town of Abyssinia, formerly the capital of the Amharic kingdom, situated on a basaltic ridge some 7500 ft.
Asmara, an Amharic word signifying "good pasture place," is a town of considerable antiquity.
The speech of the inhabitants, Amharic, which differs in several features from the dialects spoken in Tigre and Shoa, is the official language of Abyssinia.
In Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Amharic and Syriac. The Arabic section includes a unique collection of 2677 korans.
Therefore the ancient Abyssinian language, Geez, and its living dialects, Amharic and Tigrina, are Semitic, although modified by the influence of the old Hamitic Agau or Agao.
(See Ethiopia.) The best modern representative of Geez is the Tigrina of Tigre and Lasta, which is much purer but less cultivated than the Amharic dialect, which is used in state documents, is current in the central and southern provinces and is much affected by Hamitic elements.
As, however, the Italians became more and more friendly with Mangasha and Tigre the apprehensions of Menelek increased, till at last, in February 1893, he wrote denouncing the Uccialli treaty, which differed in the Italian and Amharic versions.
According to the former, the negus was bound to make use of Italy as a channel for communicating with other powers, whereas the Amharic version left it optional.