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Axum

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Axum

  1. 1. THE KINGDOM OF AKSUM
  2. 2. CONTENT I. Introduction II. Origins III. Empire IV.Foreign Relations, Trade and Economy V. Coinage VI.Society VII. Culture Religion Palaces, stelae and Tombs VIII.Adewa mountains and emperor Yohanes II museum
  3. 3. INTRODACTION  The Kingdom of Aksum also known as the Aksumite Empire, was a trading nation in the area of Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, which existed from approximately 100– 940 AD. It grew from the proto-Aksumite Iron Age period. 4th century BC to achieve standing by the 1st century AD, and was a major player in the commerce between the Roman Empire and Ancient India. The Aksumite rulers facilitated trade by minting their own currency.
  4. 4. Cont…  The Axumites erected a number of large stelae, which served a religious purpose in pre-Christian times. One of these granite columns is the largest such structure in the world. Under Ezana (320–360) Aksum adopted Christianity. In the 7th century, early Muslims from Mecca also sought refuge from Quraysh persecution by travelling to the kingdom, a journey known in Islamic history as the First Hegira. The Kingdom used the name "Ethiopia" as early as the 4th century. It is also the invented resting place of the Ark of the Covenant and the supposed home of the Queen of Sheba.
  5. 5. Origins  Aksum was previously thought to have been founded by Semitic-speaking. Sabaeans who crossed the Red Sea from South Arabia (modern Yemen) on the basis of Conti Rossini's theories and abundant work on Ethiopian history, but most scholars now agree that it was an indigenous development. Scholars like Stuart Munro-Hay point to the existence of an older D’mt or Da'amot king Dom, prior to any Sabaean migration c. fourth or fifth century B.C.E., as well as to evidence of Sabaean immigrants having lived in the region for little more than a few decades.
  6. 6. Cont…  Furthermore, Ge'ez, the ancient Semitic language of Eritrea and Ethiopia, Sabaean influence is now thought to have been minor, limited to a few localities, and disappearing after a few decades or a century.
  7. 7. Empire  The Empire of Aksum at its height at times extended across most of present-day Eritrea, northern Ethiopia, Western Yemen, southern Saudi Arabia ,and Sudan. The capital city of the empire was Aksum, now in northern Ethiopia. Today a smaller community, the city of Aksum was once a active metropolitan area, cultural and economic center.
  8. 8. Cont…..  The Aksumites had cemeteries with elaborate grave stones called stelae, or obelisks. Other important cities included Yeha, Hawulti-Melazo, Matara, Adulis, and Qohaito, the last three of which are now in Eritrea.  In the 3rd century, Aksum began intervening in South Arabian affairs, controlling at times the western Tihama region among other areas. It dominated states on the Arabian Peninsula across the Red Sea, making them pay Aksum a regular tribute By the reign of Endubis in the late 3rd century it had begun minting its own currency and was named by Mani as one of the four great powers of his time along with Persia, Rome, and China.
  9. 9. Cont…  It converted to Christianity in 325 or 328 under King Ezana and was the first state ever to use the image of the cross on its coins. At its height, Aksum controlled northern Ethiopia, Eritrea, northern Sudan, southern Egypt, Djibouti, Western Yemen, and southern Saudi Arabia, totaling 1.25 million square kilometers.
  10. 10. Foreign Relations, Trade and Economy  Aksum was an important participant in international trade from the 1st century AD (Periplus of the Eritrean Sea) until about the later part of the 1st millennium when it submitted to a long decline against pressures from the various Islamic Powers leagued against it.  The economically important northern Silk Road and southern Spice (Eastern) trade routes. The sea routes around the horn of Arabia and the Indian sub-continent were Aksum's specialty for nearly a millennium.
  11. 11. Cont…  Aksum was deeply involved in the trade network between India and the Mediterranean (Rome, later Byzantium), exporting ivory, tortoise shell, gold and emeralds, and importing silk and spices. Aksum's access to both the Red Sea and the Upper Nile enabled its strong navy to profit in trade between various African (Nubia), Arabian (Yemen), and Indian states. According to the Periplus, the ruler of Aksum in the during this time was Zoscales, who, besides ruling in Aksum, also controlled two ports on the Red Sea Adulis (near Massawa) and Assab.
  12. 12.  Most Aksumite coins were found in the large trade centers with very few in remote villages, where trade would be more through exchange and not coinage based.  The main exports of Aksum were, as would be expected of a state during this time, agricultural products.
  13. 13. Cont….  The land was much more fertile during the time of the Aksumites than now, and their principal crops were grains such as wheat and barley. The people of Aksum also raised cattle, sheep, and camels. Wild animals were also hunted for things such as ivory. The empire was also rich with gold and iron deposits.
  14. 14. Coinage  The Empire of Aksum was also the first African polity to issue its own coin. From the reign of Endubis up to Armah (approximately 270 to 610), gold, silver, and bronze coins were minted. Issuing coinage in ancient times was an act of great importance in itself, for it proclaimed that the Axumite Empire considered itself equal to its neighbors.  Many of the coins are used as signposts about what was happening when they were minted. An example being the addition of the cross to the coin after the conversion of the empire to Christianity.
  15. 15. Cont.…. The presence of coins also simplified trade, and was at once a useful instrument of propaganda and a source of profit to the empire. The first Aksumite coins used had writing in Greek. This explains why the Aksumites began to use coins; to participate in the highly influenced Greco- Roman trade of the Red Sea. Coins of king Endybis -235 C. Coins of after Christianity Silver coin of Ezana
  16. 16. Society  The Aksumite population consisted of Sematic-speaking people, Cushitic-speaking people, and Nilo-Saharan- speaking people (the Kunama and Nara).  The Aksumite kings had the official title ነገሠ ፡ ነገሠተ ngś ngśt - King of Kings (later vocalization Ge ez ንጉሠ ፡ ነገሥት nigūśa nagaśt,Modern Ethiosemitic nigūse negest).  Aksumites did own slaves, and a modified feudal system was in place to farm the land.
  17. 17. Culture The Empire of Aksum is notable for a number of achievements, such as its own alphabet, the Ge ez alphabet which was eventually modified to include vowels, becoming an abugida. Furthermore, in the early times of the empire, around 1700 years ago, huge Obelisks to mark emperor's tombs (underground grave chambers) were constructed, the most famous of which is the Obelisk of Aksum.
  18. 18. Cont.  Under Emperor Ezana, Aksum adopted Christianity in place of its former polytheistic and Judaic religions around 325.
  19. 19. Religion  Before its conversion to Christianity the Aksumites practiced a polytheistic religion not unlike the Greek’s system. Astar was the main god of the pre-Christian Aksumites, and his son, Mahrem (Maher), was who the kings of Aksum traced their ancestry. In about 324 C.E., the King Ezana was converted by his slave-teacher Frumentius, the founder of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
  20. 20. Cont…  Axumites converted to Christianity because in their coins they replaced the disc and crescent with the cross. Frumentius was in contact with the Church in Alexandria and was appointed Bishop of Ethiopia around 330 C.E.  Aksum is also the alleged home of the holy relic the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark is said to have been placed in the Church of Mary of Zion by Menelik I for safekeeping.
  21. 21. Christianity  The introduction of Christianity to Ethiopia was during the reign of King Ezana (320 - 356), the first African king to become a Christian and make Christianity the official religion of his country.
  22. 22. The Nine Saints  In 451 CE, the Council of Chalcedon declared Monophysitism heretical. Those that fled the Byzantine Empire to escape anti-Monophysitism prosecution settled in Egypt, Arabia, and Ethiopia. Those Christians were known as Tsadkan in Ethiopian. The most famous escapees to take refuge in Ethiopia were known as the Nine Saints.
  23. 23. Cont….  The Aksum royal court had converted to Christianity over a century earlier, but much of the country, outside of Aksum, had yet to hear about the Gospel. The Nine Saints established missionaries in areas outside of Aksum. They built churches, translated the Bible from Greek to Geez, and created Christian centers in various. A late 17th century picture from a Life of Aregawi, written and painted at Dabra Damo, showing the Nine Saints.
  24. 24. Cont…  The Nine Saints came from many areas of the Byzantine Empire. Their backgrounds included Syria, Constantinople, Cilicia, Cappadocia, and Rome .Their names were Abba Aregawi (Ze-Mikael), Abba Pantelewon, Abba Gerima (Issac, or Yeshaq), Abba ftse, Abba Guba, Abba Alef, Abba Yem’ata, Abba Liqanos, and Abba Sehma
  25. 25. Cont..  Each of these mean has a saint’s day on the Ethiopian religious calendar .These men are not only important to the Ethiopian church but also to biblical studies because they helped translate books such as the Book of Jubilees and the Book of Enoch (both are part of the Apocrypha), which had been lost to the outside world until the late eighteenth century .The Ethiopian Bible contains the Apocrypha which Jewish and Protestant canons of the Old Testament exclude.
  26. 26. The Queen of Sheba  A large part of the history of Ethiopia is centred on the legend of the Queen of Sheba of Ethiopia and King Solomon of Israel. Many Ethiopians believe that the relationship between Sheba and Solomon resulted to a son who founded the Solomonic Dynasty in Aksum. According to Ethiopian traditional history the Queen of Sheba learned about the wisdom of King Solomon from a merchant called Tamrin, how he worshiped God and his skills building a great Temple in Jerusalem.
  27. 27. Cont…  The Queen of Sheba decided to visit and see for herself King Solomon's wisdom, how he worshiped God and his many skills. When the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon in Jerusalem she gave him many gifts and she asked him many questions, which he was able to answer.
  28. 28. Cont…  According to the legend of the Ethiopian history, while she was with him; King Solomon made Queen Sheba promise not to take anything from his house. King Solomon went to bed one night on one side of the chamber and Queen Sheba went to bed at the other side of the chamber. Before King Solomon slept, he placed a bowl of water near Queen Sheba's chamber. As she was thirsty, Queen Sheba woke up at the middle of the night and found the water, which she drank. At this point Solomon heard noises, woke up and found her drinking the water.
  29. 29. Cont… He accused her of having broken her promise not to take anything from his house. Nevertheless the beauty of Queen Sheba attracted King Solomon and the relationship between King Solomon and Queen Sheba was consummated, resulting in the birth of a son named Ibn-al-Malik (known as Menelik), the founder of Ethiopian Solomonic Dynasty.  The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon's fame and came to test him with hard questions. She arrived in Jerusalem with a very large retinue, camels laden with spices, gold in great quantity, and expensive stones.
  30. 30. Cont….  When she came to Solomon, she told him everything she had in her mind, and Solomon answered all her questions; not one of them was too abstruse for the king to answer. When the queen of Sheba saw all the Wisdom of Solomon, the house which he had built, the food on his table, the courtiers sitting round him, and his attendants standing behind in their dress, his cupbearers, and the whole-offerings which he used to offer in the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit left in her. Then she said to the king, 'The report which I heard in my own country about you and your wisdom was true, but I did not believe it until I came and saw for myself,
  31. 31. Cont… Indeed I was not told half of it; your wisdom and your prosperity go far beyond the report which I had of them. Happy are your wives, happy these courtiers of yours who wait on every day and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God who has delighted in you has set you on the throne of Israel; because he loves Israel for ever, he has made you their king to maintain law and justice.' Then she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great abundance, and precious stones. Never again came such a quantity of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
  32. 32. Cont…  When Menelik grew up (about 22 years old), he asked his mother who his father was and told him that it was King Solomon of Israel. Menelik told his mother that he wanted to go to visit his father in Jerusalem. He went to Jerusalem to visit his father and Solomon received him with great honor. Menelik stayed with his father in Jerusalem and learnt the Law of Moses for 3 years. Menelik looked very like his father, which confused the Israelites as they had difficulty in telling the difference between Solomon and Menelik.
  33. 33. Cont… • Because of this confusion they complained to King Solomon and asked him to send Menelik home. King Solomon said if they wanted him to send his son back home the high priests would have to send their oldest son and 1000 people from each tribe of Israel with Menelik. The high priests agreed to send their oldest son and 1000 people from each tribe with Menelik.
  34. 34. Cont… • Menelik then returned to Aksum, amongst those accompanying him was Azariah the son of the high priest (Zadok) of the temple of Jerusalem. Before the journey Azariah had a dream that told him to take the Ark of the Covenant with him to Ethiopia. Azariah did what the dream told him to do and he stole the Ark from the Temple, putting in its place a copy. Azariah told Menelik what he had done and Menelik was angry with him but Azariah convinced Menelik to take the Ark with them.
  35. 35. Cont… • Zadok, the high priest of the Temple, discovered the Ark's disappearance and informed King Solomon. King Solomon and his army followed Menelik but could not catch him. While this was taking place Solomon dreamt that his son should have the Ark and he returned to Jerusalem and ordered his high Priests to keep its disappearance a secret.
  36. 36. Cont….  On his return to Ethiopia, Menelik founded the "Solomonic Dynasty" and the Aksumite kingdom adopted Judaism and the Law of Moses. The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon as mentioned in the Holy Bib le signifies to the Ethiopians their claim to be direct progenies of the "Solomonic Dynasty". This shows that Judaic culture was established and followed in Ethiopia since the reign of King Menelik. When the Aksumite kingdom accepted the arrival of Christianity, during the reign of King Ezana in the fourth century, the Felashas (Beta Israel or Ethiopian Jews) refused to accept Christianity and continued to practice Judaism, which they still do today.
  37. 37. Ark of the Covenant  The Ark of the Covenant is the most reserved holy relic of God's alive and became part of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christian belief. A copy of the Ark of the Covenant, known as the tabot, is kept in the holy of holies (Maqdas) in every Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. According to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, this priceless treasure (the Ark of the Covenant) still exists and rests in a small chapel in the monastic complex of Saint Mary of Zion church in Aksum. This makes Saint Mary of Zion the holiest sanctuary in Ethiopia.
  38. 38. cont….  One holy monk is elected and charged with its care and preservation. The elected monk becomes the official guardian of the Ark and no one, except the elected Guardian (a monk) who looks after the Ark of the Covenant, is allowed to enter the chapel. Before the guardian dies, according to Aksumit tradition, he must nominate his successor.
  39. 39. Dungur palace of Queen of Sheba
  40. 40. The new building of holy sent merry zion
  41. 41. Muslims  Muslims arrived in the Axumite Empire during the Hijarat as immigrants from Mecca, offended by the ruling Quraysh tribe. They were received by the ruler of Axum, whom Arabic tradition has named Ashama ibn Abjar, and he settled them in Negash. Located in the Region. When Mohammed saw the persecution to which his followers were subjected to in Mecca, he told them to find safe haven in northern Ethiopia, Abyssinia, where they would "find a king there who does not wrong anyone.
  42. 42. Cont…  It was the first hijra (migration) in Islam history. While the city of Medina, north of Mecca, ultimately became the new home of most of the exiles from Mecca, a 7th-century cemetery excavated inside the boundaries of Negash shows the Muslim community survived their departure.
  43. 43. YEHA  Yeha's Temple are believed to have been built around 800 BC. Yeha, the country's pre-Aksumite foundation of Ethiopian civilization, is situated between Aksum and Adwa in the province of Tigray.
  44. 44. Evolution of the stelae  The stelae of Aksum are among ancient Africa’s greatest architectural victories. The funerary monuments at Aksum include man-made stone platforms, stelae, pit graves, shaft tombs, staircase tombs, and constructed tombs. The stelae are the most distinctive monuments in the area and were most likely erected to remember lineages rather than individuals. They vary from simple unshaped monoliths in a natural shape to dressed, symmetrical and sculpted pillars. Their height ranges from about two metres to over 30.
  45. 45. Cont..  The Stelae are perhaps the most identifiable part of the Aksumite legacy. These stone towers served to mark graves or represent a magnificent building. The largest of these towering obelisks would measure 33 meters high had it not fallen. The Stelae have most of their mass out of the ground, but are stabilized by massive underground counter-weights. The stone was often carved with a pattern or symbol denoting the king's or the noble's rank King Ezana's Stele is the tallest standing stele -- 70 feet
  46. 46. Many tombs in Aksum such as:- Northern stelae field Tombs Tomb of the Brick Arches Tomb of the False Door Tomb of Nefas Mawcha Mausoleum Than we discuss about in the only tombs of king Kaleb and Gebremeskel
  47. 47. Tombs of Kings Kaleb & Gebre Meskel  Set on a small hill 1.8km northeast of the Northern Stelae Field and offering views of the pointed mountains of Adwa, local tradition attributes these two tombs to the 6th- century King Kaleb and his son, King Gebre Meskel.
  48. 48.  Although the twin tombs’ architecture resembles the Tomb of the False Door, they show more sophistication, using irregular-shaped, self- locking stones that don’t require iron clamps. Tombs of King Gebre Meskel Entrance to the Tomb of the False Door
  49. 49. Cont….  The Gebre Meskel (south) tomb is the most refined. The tomb consists of one chamber and five rooms, with one boasting an exceptionally finely carved portal leading into it. Inside that room are three tombs, one decorated with a cross similar to Christian crosses found on Aksumite coins. This point towards an age around the 6th century, which, as once in a while happens, resembles with local tradition. Though the rest of the story has Meskel buried at Debre Damo.
  50. 50. The Rockheiown churches in tigray  Many rockheiown monasteries are found in tigray region. The Nine Saints come in Ethiopia to spread Christianity and all have settled their own church named after them.  List of rockheiown monasteries in tigray and select 3 examples in briefly 1, GHERALTA CLUSTER  Dugem selassie Abraha wa atsbeha Debre tsion abraham  Abune Gebre Mikael
  51. 51. Yohanes Maequde Mariyam Korkor Abune Yemata Gun 2,Taka Tisfi Cluster Medhanialem Kesho Mikael Milhaizengi Petros and Paulos 3,Wukro Cluster Cherkos
  52. 52. 4,Tembien Cluster Abba yohanni Gebriel Wukien 5,Atsbi Cluster Mikael Imba Debre selam
  53. 53. Debre Damo  Debre Damo monastery is situated on an isolated mountain in northern part of Tigray. It is unique compared with most Ethiopian monasteries. Debre Damo was built, in the sixth century AD, with curved wood panels, painted ceilings and walls dedicated to the legend of Saint (Abune) Aregawi.
  54. 54. Cont….  The history of Debre Damo is centred on the "Nine Saints" who came to Ethiopia from Syria to spread Christianity in the Tigray region. One of them was Saint Aregawi who settled on the mountain of Debre Damo. The other eight saints settled around Tigray countryside and all have their own church named after them.
  55. 55. Cont….. Many books have been written there and distributed to churches throughout Ethiopia.  Debre Damo is only accessible by hiking up by a rope, which is made of "plaited leather", lowered from the cliffs, which visitors tie around their waist and are then pulled up by a monk at the top of the cliffs. It is only accessible to men and male animals. Women and even female animals are forbidden to set a foot into the monastery, and must remain under the cliffs and pray from there
  56. 56. Cont….  The feast of Saint (Abune) Aregawi is celebrated on October 14 Ethiopian calendar (October 24 Gregorian calendar) which culminates in a pilgrimage to Debre Damo from all over the country.
  57. 57. Abraha WA Atsbeha  The wonderful church of Abreha wa Atsebha is situated 15 kms. West of Wuqro. A newly built gravel road leads to within a few meters of the church and beyond to Hawzien via Degum. The church is one of the best and largest of the rock churches of Tigray, dedicated to the famous kings of Axum, the brothers Abreha and Atsebha. They are known by that name to history, but they are said in Ethiopian legends to be kings who adopted Christianity in the 4th century.
  58. 58. Wukro Cherkos  Directly at the edge of the small town of Wuqro (47 Kms from Mekele), on a knoll of red rock, is the rock- cut church of Wuqro Cherqos.The church is supposed to have been constructed by the 4th C by the two kings Abreha and Asbeha. It is one of the first of the rock churches of Tigray. The upper part of the wool and the ceilings were painted, but now much destroyed. Nevertheless, a good impression of the decoration can be gained. A number of scenes can be distinguished: angles, the Abune Samuel, the Nine Saints, St. Cherkos. The priests tell the story that the church was burnet by Gudit, the distinctive queen who is supposed also to have fallen the Axum stelae.
  59. 59. The palace of Yohannes IV  The palace is bulled at the center of Mekelle. It was built at the Emperor's command by Giacom Naretti, who had served Yohannes already at Debre Tabor, with the assistance of William Schimper, and completed in 1884.The complex still stands and now serves as a museum, where the Emperor’s throne, royal bed, ceremonial dress, rifles and many other valuable historical collections can be seen.
  60. 60. Adwa  Adwa is a market town and separate woreda in northern Ethiopia. It is best known as the community closest to the decisive Battle of Adowa fought in 1896 with Italian troops. Notably, Ethiopian soldiers won the battle, thus being the only African nation to thwart European colonialism. Adwa is surrounded by Adwa woreda.
  61. 61. Cultural achievements  The Empire of Aksum is notable for a number of achievements, such its own alphabet, the Ge'ez alphabet (which evolved from Epigraphic South Arabian during the late pre-Aksumite and proto-Aksumite period), which was modified to include vowels, becoming an abugida. Furthermore, in the early times of the empire, around 1700 years ago, giant Obelisks to mark emperor's (and nobles') tombstones (underground grave chambers) were constructed, the most famous of which is the Obelisk of Axum.

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