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There is a significant amount of documentary evidence, as well as oral history, to support the story that the Askumite dynasty was harassed by a non-Christian queen, Gudit (c. 960 AD), or Judith, who laid waste to the city and countryside, destroyed churches and monuments, and attempted to exterminate the members of the royal House of David.

It is believed by many scholars that the warrior queen was ruler of the once-powerful kingdom of Damot, and that her rebellion represented an attempt by one of the indigenous Sidama peoples of southern Ethiopia to avenge harsh treatment by the Christian regime, reassert their independence, and resist absorption by Christian north. It is said that this queen, Gudit, adopted the Jewish faith from her husband Zenobis, prince of a kingdom located to the north of Ethiopia on the Red Sea coast, and made it her mission to wipe out Christianity in Ethiopia.