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Menelik II became Emperor of Ethiopia (in 1889). It is one of the older awards in the
Imperial pantheon. It was originally awarded, according to Montandon, in five levels,
plus une catégorie speciale. However, at that time, it was listed as being in three
classes, with two sub-grades. The First Class was the Grand Cross; the Second Class
grade of Grand Officer was Second Class avec plaque; the Second Class grade of
Commander, was without the plaque; the Third Class grade of Officer was with
without the rosette. It would seem that there was a conscious effort at the time to
emulate the French structure as indicated by the Legion d’Honneur.

Domenico Guadagnini, in his Storia degli Ordini Vigenti ed Estinti, noted that the five
grades of the Order were named as: Negus (Knight Grand Cross, for sovereigns); Ras
(Knight Grand Officer, for princes); Dje Asmache (Knight Commander); Kague
Asmache (Knight Officer); and Gra Asmache(Knight) [Guadagnini’s spellings]. He also
noted that the insignia of a Knight Officer, worn on the breast, showed a five-pointed
star, joined across the bottom, similar to the emblem in the medal of the rank of
Member of the Order today, but without the circular medal surrounding it. The
insignia for Knight Officer was suspended from what he called “a characteristic
Ethiopian coronet” which was, in fact, a Europeanised coronet, with the ribbon
attached through a loop atop the coronet. The insignia of a Knight Commander,
suspended from a neck ribbon, showed an eight-pointed star in white gold, again
surmounted by the coronet and a loop for the ribbon.  It seems likely that the Order
was originally given to Ethiopian recipients in the ranks suggested by Guadagnini,
although the protocol and the insignia have changed somewhat today. The medal for
the grade of Member of the Order of the Star (shown below) is far more simple than
before. The Knight Grand Cross version, shown below, which was the one awarded to
the Duke of Harar, is, although now Westernised, far more elaborate, of a pattern
similar to the original design. The Grand Cross level uses the much more complex
star as its motif.
Imperial Order of the Star of Ethiopia: rank of Commander
The Imperial Order of the Star, sometimes referred to as the Imperial Order of
the Star of Honour of Ethiopia
, has been awarded sparingly, but to notable Imperial
and military figures, such as H.H. Prince Ras Kassa Hailu, a lifelong friend of Emperor
Haile Selassie I and a key figure in the Imperial Ethiopian Army, who was presented
the Order in its highest form of Knight Grand Cross and Collar; and H.H. Prince Ras
Asserate Kassa, who served as a Colonel in the Imperial Army, as governor-general of
various regions, and as Vice-President and President of the Senate (awarded the
Order of Knight Grand Cross of the Star of Honour)
The Cordon (Sash) and Star of the Order of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia
This example (below) was presented to H.I.H. the First Duke of Harar.