The troops, it is agreed by all observers, also seized whatever valuables they could find in and around the citadel. Markham records that they “dispersed” all over the mountain top and that the Emperor’s treasury was “soon entirely rifled”.
The nearby church of Madhane Alam, literally, the Saviour of the World, or at least its eqa bet, or store house, was apparently looted, though this action, constituting as it did a gross act of sacrilege, is glossed over in the British accounts. It is, however, evident that most of the many religious manuscripts, crosses, and other ecclesiastical objects acquired by the British troops at Maqdala could only have come from one or other of its two churches. Several Ethiopian manuscripts later brought to Britain moreover contain tell-tale inscriptions to the effect that they belonged to Madhane Alam Church, while a manuscript in the Bodleian Library, in Oxford, (MS Aeth, d 1) bears a pencil note, in English, stating that it was “taken from a church at Maqdala in 1868″, ie the year of the Expedition. One of the tabots, or altar slabs, in the British Museum, is likewise incised with the words “Tabota Madhana Alam”, ie Tabot of Madhane Alam.
The loot from Maqdala, according to Stanley, included “an infinite variety of gold and silver and brass crosses”, as well as “heaps of parchment royally illuminated”, and many other articles which were, before long, “scattered in infinite bewilderment and confusion until they dotted the whole surface of the rocky citadel, the slopes of the hill and the entire road to the [British] camp two miles off”.