Question 20

The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.

It’s not that modern historians of medieval Africa have been ignorant about contacts between Ethiopia and Europe; they just had the power dynamic reversed. The traditional narrative stressed Ethiopia as weak and in trouble in the face of aggression from external forces, so Ethiopia sought military assistance from their fellow Christians to the north. But the real story, buried in plain sight in medieval diplomatic texts, simply had not yet been put together by modern scholars. Recent research pushes scholars of medieval Europe to imagine a much more richly connected medieval world: at the beginning of the so-called Age of Exploration, there is evidence that the kings of Ethiopia were sponsoring their own missions of diplomacy, faith and commerce.


The passage touches upon the historical relationship between Ethiopia and Europe during the medieval period. The traditional narrative of this relationship has portrayed Ethiopia as weak and in need of military assistance from Europe, but recent research has revealed that this narrative is not accurate and that Ethiopia was actually a well-connected and outward-looking culture that engaged in missions of diplomacy, faith, and commerce with Europe. The passage also notes that these new findings challenge historians to re-imagine the connections between Ethiopia and Europe during this period and to consider the role of Ethiopia as a more active participant in these relationships. Option C accurately reflects the main points made in the passage [that the traditional narrative of Ethiopia's relationship with Europe is inaccurate]

Option A is incorrect because it suggests that the connections between Ethiopia and Europe were primarily military and commercial in nature, which is not stated in the passage. Similarly, Option B implies that historians had a mistaken view of Ethiopia's relationship with Europe, which is not stated in the passage. The idea in Option D - which suggests that medieval texts were biased in favour of Europe and against Africa - cannot be understood from the discussion.

Hence, Option C is the correct choice. 

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