The true interest of an absolute monarch generally coincides with that of his people. Their numbers, their wealth, their order, and their security, are the best and only foundations of his real greatness; and were he totally devoid of virtue, prudence might supply its place, and would dictate the same rule of conduct.
--Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (published 1776-1788), Vol. 1, ch. V.
Marsden conceived the crazy notion of traveling on foot between the two sacred cities of the Ethiopians: Lalibela...and Axum.
...The track between them leads past some of Ethiopia's most wonderful monasteries: Yimrehana Krestos, built inside the mouth of a cave, over which (though only in the rainy season) a waterfall thunders in spate. Abba Salama, founded in a mountain top above vertiginous precipices, up which the "chains of heaven"...provide the final means of ascent; Debra Damo [left], the most ancient...in a site so inaccessible that its founding father had to be carried there by angels, and could only then let down the rope on which other monks and visitors could visit it.