The Aksumite kingdom was located in the northern province of Tigray and there it remained the capital of Ethiopia until the seventh century CE.
Aksum (Axum) owes its prosperity to its location. The Blue Nile basin and the Afar depression are both within a close proximity of Aksum.
The Aksumites built temples, palaces, and tombs for the wealthy ruling classes. Among their most impressive stone buildings were huge monuments. Known as stele, these tall and thin monuments of solid stone were placed to make the tombs of their rulers and are thought to date about 300 AD. Some of these stele are among the largest known form the ancient world.
The Axum Obelisk, represents one of the biggest stele monuments from the ancient world.
Who were the Axumites??
Aksumites were a people formed from the mix of Kushitic people in Ethiopia and Semitic people in southern Arabia who settled the territory across the Red Sea around 500 BC.
They lived in the Ethiopian highlands near the Red Sea, and enjoyed a strategic position in the trade routes between Yemen and the cities of Nubia. They spoke and wrote semitic language.
Religion of Axum
Aksumite religion was derived from the Arabic religion. It was a polytheistic religion which believed that the gods controlled the natural forces of the universe.
Ezana, the king of Axumite at 350 AD’s, converted to Christianity under the tutelage of a Syrian bishop.
Ezana declared Axum to be a Christian state, and as the new religion took hold among the people, Christian churches replaced older temples.
Natural Resources and trade of Axum
ivory, glass crystal, brass, copper and frankincense
Axum's trade increases during 400s despite the disintegration of the Roman Empire and the decline in world trade.
Aksum extended its rule to Nubia, Yemen, Ethiopian Highlands, and Cape Guardafui.
Aksum's trade diminished in the late 600s by over-exploitation and the cutting down of trees.
Glass goblets excavated from a grave in Axum are believed to come from Syria about the time of Christ
Time span of Kingdom/ Empire
Axum is one of those powerful urban kingdoms contained in sub-Sahara societies and was at the height of its power between 100-700 AD.
For a while in the sixth century Axum was powerful enough to expand across the Red Sea to enclose the region of Saba (modern Yemen) within its borders.
Axum declined at 800 AD that may have been largely to do with their loss of trade to the Persians and Arabs.
2~3 most significant rulers
The Axum kingdom was a strong and large empire when Aksumite king Ezana (320~350 AD) assumed power. The king's main wealth and power came from his control of foreign trade.
King Ezana of Axum conquered and absorbed the ancient Nile kingdom of Nubia. Located to the southeast of Nubia, Axum extended the present-day Ethopia to the shores of the Red Sea.
Axum's Partial Kings List: Zoskales 100 AD Endubis 270 AD (Coinage begins) Ezana 320 AD Eon 400 AD Kaleb 500 AD Gersem 600 AD Armah 614 AD al-Walid 705-715 AD
Uniqueness of the Empire
Axum had the only ancient Jewish roots and Christian traditions of Byzantine origin in the areas of Africa. The peoples of Axum were descended from African farmers and from traders who brought Jewish traditions through Arabia. This variety of cultures brought another religion to Axum and also gave a rise to a unique written language, Geez.
Axum was the first African civilization to produce coins excluding African cities under the Roman Empire. They first began producing by King Endubis, around 270 AD and were issued in gold, silver, and bronze. These coins were written, that meant they were to participate the highly influenced Greco-Roman trade of the Red Sea Coins
Who lives in Axum today?
Axum, is a city in northern Ethopia, located in the Mehakelegnaw Zone of the Tigray Region near the base of the Adwa mountains. It was the centre of the Axumite Kingdom, contributing to the shift of the power centre of the Ethiopian Empire further inland.
The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was installed in August 1995. The Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) assumed control of Eritrea and established a provisional government by an ally in the fight against the Mengistu regime