II. The looting of the fortress
The pillage, and subsequent destruction, of Maqdala is well documented in contemporary British accounts. The geographer Clements Markham, one of the leading British historians of the Expedition, recalls that Napier’s men, on entering the citadel, swarmed around the body of the deceased monarch. They then “gave three cheers over it, as it if had been a dead fox and then began to pull and tear the clothes to pieces until it was nearly naked”. This account is corroborated by the Anglo-American journalist Henry M Stanley, who reports seeing a “mob, indiscriminate of officers and men, rudely jostling each other in the endeavour to get possession of a small piece of Theodore’s blood-stained shirt. No guard was placed over the body until it was naked”.