Talk:Kingdom of Aksum

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date change[edit]

I reverted User:TheOipian who changed the dates to make the establishment of the kingdom about a millenium earlier. He has asked me to explain my reversion on my talk here, so I am doing so. The dates to which I reverted are inline with Wikipedia's internal links, e.g. Axum, and with the external links at the bottom of the article here. TheOipian, your turn to argue your case and provide backing sources. - BanyanTree 01:33, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

(Restored contrib)[edit]

The following was deleted, probably bcz the cont'r removed (secn hdg incl) the preceding contrib by BanyanTree:

Aksums where great leader or thier Kingdom
— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:07, 24 February 2006

Whether it might represent support for TheOpian's position is indecipherable, but there seems to me no harm in subordinating its section to the "date change" one, just for thoroughness.
It does seem logical that it could be a de facto appeal for a Dab of "Aksums" between or among the polity and all or each of the monarchs.
--Jerzyt 19:58, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

(I have just published... )[edit]

The former heading, added by someone other than than the contributor, gives the appearance of deliberate incivility, and has been replaced. (Any links to the old one will continue to have the same effect.)

I have just published "Queen of Sheba and Biblcial Scholarship", ( which argues that the D'mt kingdom inscriptions about four Sheban kings and three Sheban queens ruling the SB and 'BR the Reds and the Blacks, refers to a mixed Sabaean and Hebrew population. This evidence supports the Sheba-Menelik Cycle of the Kebra Nagast. It discusses the Hamasien settlement and suggests that the ancient kingdoms of Judah and Israel were in western Arabia not Palestine. Regards, Dr Bernard Leeman (
— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:38 & :40, 26 March 2006

  • Leeman is mentioned in about a dozen of our articles. BTW, a reviewer self-profile at Amazon purports to be his, and implies i was wrong in being about to say that this one is not the same author as Lt. Col. Bernard Leeman. (I would gobble up any 40-p. bio of him, and very possibly a 200-p or longer one! I'm not certain of his notability, but i may start a WP bio.)
    --Jerzyt 22:02, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
  • This section is out of order and i intend to move it to its chronological position.
    --Jerzyt 22:02, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Indigenous or not[edit]

Firstly, here's what I wrote on Codex Sinaiticus's Talk page:

The theory that Axum was an indigenous empire (as well as it's predecessor D'mt) is not that new. It's only "new" in relation to the older theory that it was founded by Sabaean immigrants, a thesis that is no longer accepted by many prominent Ethiopian historians. Firstly, the former theory was introduced by Conti Rossini, according to foremost Ethiopian historian Richard Pankhurst, "based on largely conjecture." Moreover, the finding of Ge'ez Graffitti and inscriptions just as old as the Sabaean one greatly undermines the former theory and even the current belief that Ge'ez script (if not language) is derived from South Arabian. Moreover, work by Jacqueline Pirenne showed that Sabaean immigrants were in Ethiopia for just a few decades. Not to mention that the kingdom of D'mt was already established by the time of this South Arabian migration. (by Richard Pankhurst)

Dr. Stuart Munro-Hay, a foremost scholar on Axumite history, also is doubtful of the Sabaean colonization hypothesis and presents sound evidence undermining it:

This period is not of major concern to us here, and in any case we have very little information about it; but some consideration should be given to the situation in Ethiopia before the rise of Aksum, since the source of at least some of the characteristics of the later Aksumite civilisation can be traced to this earlier period. Perhaps the most interesting phenomenon in this respect is that by around the middle of the first millenium BC — a date cautiously suggested, using palaeographical information (Pirenne 1956; Drewes 1962: 91), but possibly rather too late in view of new discoveries in the Yemen (Fattovich 1989: 16-17) which may even push it back to the eighth century BC — some sort of contact, apparently quite close, seems to have been maintained between Ethiopia and South Arabia. This developed to such an extent that in not a few places in Ethiopia the remains of certain mainly religious or funerary installations, some of major importance, with an unmistakeable South Arabian appearance in many details, have been excavated. Among the sites are Hawelti-Melazo, near Aksum (de Contenson 1961ii), the famous temple and other buildings and tombs at Yeha (Anfray 1973ii), the early levels at Matara (Anfray 1967), and the sites at Seglamien (Ricci and Fattovich 1984-6), Addi Galamo, Feqya, Addi Grameten and Kaskase, to name only the better-known ones. Fattovich (1989: 4-5) comments on many of these and has been able to attribute some ninety sites altogether to the pre-Aksumite period.

From Aksum, a Civilization of Late Antiquity:

Evidently the arrival of Sabaean influences does not represent the beginning of Ethiopian civilisation. For a long time different peoples had been interacting through population movements, warfare, trade and intermarriage in the Ethiopian region, resulting in a predominance of peoples speaking languages of the Afro-Asiatic family. The main branches represented were the Cushitic and the Semitic. Semiticized Agaw peoples are thought to have migrated from south-eastern Eritrea possibly as early as 2000BC, bringing their `proto-Ethiopic' language, ancestor of Ge`ez and the other Ethiopian Semitic languages, with them; and these and other groups had already developed specific cultural and linguistic identities by the time any Sabaean influences arrived.

-Yom 18:16, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

The theory is not very "new," and it seems to be pretty widespread and mainstream among more recent scholars who concern themselves with the question of Axum's origins. Of course, there are still many sources online saying that Aksum was the product of Sabaean immigrants, but the overwhelming majority of these are either sites copying off of Wikipedia or are sites that are just parroting what has been said in the past. Though, as pointed out in Munro-Hays book in the quotations above, there are a few that still hold this view:
Until relatively recently South Arabian artefacts found in Ethiopia were interpreted as the material signs left behind by a superior colonial occupation force, with political supremacy over the indigenes — an interpretation still maintained by Michels (1988). But further study has now suggested that very likely, by the time the inscriptions were produced, the majority of the material in fact represented the civilisation of the Ethiopians themselves.
Keep in mind this book was published in 1991, and no undermining evidence has come out over the past 15 years. Finally, if you want a more well-known source, the Encyclopaedia/Encyclopedia Britannica (or at least the online - but uneditable - version) asserts that the Axumite Kingdom is autochthonous. - Yom 05:14, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I wasn't going by any "online" sources. I was going by the Ethiopian history books of the History of Ethiopia, written in the Amharic language. It is stated as historical fact that the "Ag'azyan" were Semitic pioneers who crossed the short stretch of water between from what is now Yemen, to what is now Eritrea, giving their name to the Ge'ez language. One of their first sites in Eritrea is said to be Hamasien. I am hardly surprised that you can find any number of western sources that would say something different. But in my mind, to discount the Ethiopian histories that say the Agazyan migrated from over the Red Sea, I'd want to see a little more concrete evidence that they didn't do so, more than simply "because scholars say so". You can find "scholars" that will say any number of things, depending on their agendas. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 15:12, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Your Ethiopian sources sound to more like what a Eurocentrist trying to place Ethiopian origins outside of Africa would say rather than what an Ethiopian or peer-reviewed scholar would say, so please stop implying that I am merely using Western sources because they are biased. Firstly, what year are these sources from, and whom do they cite (and from what years are those works), or do they simply repeat what has been said in the past (which many works do). I'm pretty certain that the "Ag'azyan" were not from South Arabia (though they did speak a Semitic language). The South Arabian immigrants would have been Sabaeans, Himyarites or Dhu-Raydan, I'm pretty certain. These are the peoples most often referred to in an Axumite title when dominion is held over Yemen. Agazyan is first mentioned in the MeTera inscription I showed earlier (Agaze) and also in an inscription regarding D'mt referring to a man of "Yeg'az." This first inscription is written in Ge'ez and using the Ge'ez script, which points to an Ethiopian origin of the "Ag'azyan." Moreover, the theory you are embracing implies that Semitic languages in Ethiopia begin with these "Semitic [speaking - Semitic is a linguistic term only] pioneers," whereas Semitic languages are now thought to have originated in Northern Ethiopia/Eritrea/Northwestern Sudan. I'm not simply pointing out Western sources "saying" things. I'm showing you sources that provide evidence of a limited impact of a Sabaean arrival that did not, as once thought, colonize Ethiopia, but rather existed in some sort of symbiosis (maybe through treaty) for just a few decades and then either left or was completely assimilated. - Yom 17:42, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I just don't get what is so "Eurocentrist" about proposing that the Semitic ancestors of Ethiopians crossed the Red Sea from ASIA, and then mixed with the "indigenous" (Cushitic) Africans... If anything, this view could be called "Asia-centrist"... But centrist or not, that is exactly what Ethiopians claim for their own ancestry in their own books... I am very sorry to say I have misplaced or lost my copy of my Amharic Ethiopian history book, but I'm 100% certain this is what it stated. I will try to turn up another copy, but that could take some time, as these hings are hard to come by where I live now. It's very easy for anyone on wikipedia to say "This is what is now thought", with some brand new theory, like "the Semitic language family are now thought to have originated in Sudan"... I see people making claims like this on wikipedia every single day... But it takes more than that to really be able to say "this is what is now thought", it doesn't just change overnight... It takes something like "evidence" mainly, and I'm still wondering exactly what the suddenly new "evidence" is, that the Semitic language family originated in Sudan... ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 18:06, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
"Eurocentrist" is a bad choice of words, but you understand that it implies an external origin for Ethiopian civilization, much like Egyptologists in the past used to imply external origins to Egyptian civilization because of their inability to accept that an African civilization could be so great without some sort of Western or Middle Eastern influence. Now, certainly Ethiopia and Yemen have ancient historical ties dating back to the early first millenium BC and earlier, but this does not mean that one colonized the other. Cultures by living next to each other naturally become more alike, and it is possible that we were even the same people before the Arab and Islamic invasion of Yemen and the rest of the Middle east in the 7th and 8th centuries (though I'm just making some guesses here). Either way, the evidence does not point to a colonization by Yemen, but rather a small -scale migration to Ethiopia (where an already established civilization - D'mt - was already in situ) that only lasted for a few decades before assimilation or return. This runs contrary to the belief that Sabaeans founded Ethiopian civilization. As to the root of Semitic languages, it is not thought to be Sudan, but rather Tigray/Eritrea, and some of the western Red Sea coast and slightly inland areas of the Gash lowlands that extend into Sudan and the Red Sea area bordering Eritrea. By the way, my main quoted source (Munro-Hay) was not an online one, but rather an entire book (Aksum: a Civilization of Late Antiquity) put online. Likewise, I believe the Addis Tribune is actually a printed newspaper, but it has many issues put up online. - Yom 19:23, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Yom I'm going to have to agree with everyone else here. Your suggestions are highly controversial and unproven to say the least. Also your strongest reference, you claim you can't find so none of us have a way of verifying the info you are giving us. Maybe we could make a part of the article called skeptical theories of origins or something like that and you can state whatever it is, is in your book.
From a logical point of view I don't see why people would leave Yemen to go to Ethiopia when Yemen is much more fertile. There would have to have been something that occured in Yemen to cause such a migration. I'm mean why would they all of a suddenly they get up and build boats and sail across a sea to set up an empire when they could do it in Yeman? Its not like there were any civlizations in Yemen at that time. To me it would seem more logical that a unified state would sail across the sea to create am empire than a loose bunch of people mass migrating across a sea and starting an empire right back where they came from.
I'm going to have to agree with the other users, your explantaion seems to stretched to be true. Also the implications that come with your theory is even controversial, unproven, and out right bizzare. You are essetially saying that either the original inhabitants of Yemen are black, or that the original inhabitants of Ethiopia are white(in the broadest sense). If the original inhabitiants of Ethiopia are white, and Ethiopia was never occupied or invaded or subjugated by an outside nation except during ww2 for 5 years by italy. Then Ethiopians should still look fairly white today. They should not look like black people and rastafaris who think Ethiopians are the representation of black pride are all delusional. The other option is that people from Yemen are originally black. This explains why Ethiopians are black because their ancestors were black. When I say black I mean people who would be considered black not the eurocentric definition of sub-sahran africans. For example, people from papua new guinea consider themselves to be black and are the blackest looking people after sudanese people(do a gogle search or view their newspapers), yet they are not from sub-saharan africa so would therefore be considere not black. Yemen has been occupied by many outside forces most of them white in skin color, so miscegnegation can explain why they don't all look black per se. - —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dualldual (talkcontribs) 22:59, 12 March 2006 (UTC).
You seem to be grossly misunderstanding both sides of our discussion. Yom is certainly not arguing that Ethiopians were white while Yemenis were black. We both agree that some Semitic influence definitely came from Yemen, over the Red Sea, to the highlands (your opinion as to the relative climates of both must be chalked up to lack of actual knowledge), and mixed with the indigenous Africans. Our only real difference is when, who, and how much. Yom is a good defender of NPOV on many articles, by the way. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 01:01, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm arguing that there is no proof, no evidence, no suggestions by any credible scholar that even suggest such a migration took place. Forget credible, I could not find one scholar at all whos claim support a migration from Yemen to Ethiopia at any time bce. I was merely talking from a hypothetical pov(because there is no evidence that supports this claim) that stated that the Yemenities who crossed to form the aksum empire(as Yom is trying to claim) would have to either have been white or black. If they were white then ethiopians today should be white, and if they were black then ethiopians today should be black. Saying they are semite is a poor equivocation, eschewed, and purposely evasive and misleading. Semite is like saying they are latino or american. It indicates no race or specific culture. You can be talk about Arabic semities from Iraq, European jews, African tauregs from Niger. For all I know Ethiopians crossed into Yemen and crossed back into Ethiopia and you can be calling thi s a semitic influence because ethiopians are considered semities.
The biggest problem with your argument is that Yemenites would have to have ship building skills and materials to make ship as well they had to also have known exactly where the ethiopian highlands were in order to get there. They would have been going against the current of the red sea and I find it hard to believe that the Yemenities who could not even establish a civlization would have been able to co-ordinate an effort to sail counter-current of the Ocean. Something that was extremly difficlut to do before the steam engine. - —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dualldual (talkcontribs) 04:04, 13 March 2006 (UTC).
First of all, here are my comments from Dualldual's talk page:
Even if Aksum was not founded by Sabaeans (which modern scholars no longer think), I still think it should be in some way included in the article since it was formerly so prevalent. Nevertheless, the existence of a Sabaean presence, though in no way dominant, is pretty certain from archaelogical evidence (it's possible that it's simply due to a closeness of cultures, but that is not the common view; I don't know the exact evidence being pointed to). Unless you provide further reasoning for your change, I will revert the text in about 24 hours. Regards, Yom 05:27, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
(this was before I read what he wrote on the talk page - I only saw the changes in the article)
Dualldual, as Codex Sinaiticus (Fetade, or the guy with the Amharic script signature) said, you are greatly misunderstanding my argument.
Firstly, Yemen is not much more fertile than Ethiopia. Today, Ethiopia is much more fertile; in the past, the northern region (Mereb Melash or Eritrea) was much more fertile; the Afar depression was formerly a very salty lake and temperatures along the coast were much more moderate (some of the areas conquered by the Axumites even had snow up to their knees in the highlands).
Secondly, Yemenis most likely possessed the boatmaking abilities required to cross the Red Sea. At its shortest point, it is only 20 miles wide, and small rickets can make it across if skillfully navigated. We know that there was trade with India as early as the 7-8th century BCE (w/ Ethiopia), and there's no reason to believe that Ethiopia would posses this technology and Yemen wouldn't (the technological diffusion would be relatively easy due to the short distances involved anyway). And this is a sea we are talking about, not an Ocean.
Thirdly, I never implyed Ethiopians were once white or that Yemenis were once black. Although I do believe that Yemenis probably looked more like Ethiopians in the past due to the great amount of gene flow that has occurred between the two regions for the past tens of thousands of years (After all, over the Red Sea was probably the first route out of Africa), it would be silly to think that a huge difference between the two populations would exist; there is still a bit of a gradient in the region, though the Yemenis have probably become more Arabized since the Islamic invasions.
Now, as to the Yemenite influence, I never said that Yemenis came and founded the Aksumite empire; in fact, it is the opposite that I have been arguing the whole time, that the Empire was indigenous. I do however admit that there is evidence of a small Sabaean presence in a few towns that probably lasted for a few decades. It is very unlikely that this presence would have been dominant, but it is possible (as forwarded by Munro-Hays) that they existed in some sort of symbiosis due to perhaps some military treaty, probably (in my view) as merchants. I disagree with Codex that they mixed significantly with the general population and were the ones who brought the Semitic language to the area for the following reasons:
1. The evidence of a Semitic speaking Ethiopia at least as far back as 2000 BCE (if this is the missing source you are speaking of, then you are right that I haven't found it, but it has been cited as a source by Munro-Hays in his Greater Ethiopia and its proof is evident with just a cursory search)
2. One of the arguments is that Ethiopians seem to have physical features similar to Yemenis and a bit different from other Africans, but other peoples in the region (Somalis, Oromos, Afars, Beja, etc.) possess the same features and are known not to have mixed significantly with other peoples.
By the way, Yemenis definitely had a civilization at that point in time. For example, the Himyarites, whose kings were listed as contemporaries of the kings of D'mt in their king lists, showing the close ties of the two regions (but not a dominance of one over the other, again implying their similarity).
The Sabaeans, are not at all mythical, by the way. They are known to exist; they are referenced in the Bible and archaelogy in Yemen adds further proof. - Yom 05:27, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Reality check[edit]

Yemen and Africa are so close across the narrows of the Red Sea, they are in sight of each other... And Mr. critic sitting in his La-Z-boy here is suggesting that they were incapable of crossing it before Europeans brought them the Steam engine! Talk about narrow minded arrogance!

I'm going to check this out so you might want to revise it cause it seems very false to me. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dualldual (talkcontribs) 00:55, 14 March 2006 (UTC).

Why don't you try looking on a map??? Remember, the Highlands of Ethiopia and Eritrea are very, well, high. That makes them even easier to see from a short distance. And the distance is very, very short. By the time the Portuguese (Vasco da Gama) got to East Africa coming from the South around 1498, the Arabs had already been there for centuries with about a dozen colonies, and voila, they did it all without any Steam ships! ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 01:09, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Furthermore, he is suggesting that no Semites came to Ethiopia, because they would have to be either white or black. I guess the principle of a male and a female mixing is evidently completely alien to this critic. Let me explain it very simply in case he missed it somewhere along the line: When a male and female mix, their children will have characteristics of both the parents. Or, we could accept his theory that there are no Semitic speakers in Ethiopia. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 13:12, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Semite the term is so broad. Semite can be a person of any race or culture so you might as well have said they had eyeballs or heads. There are Preuvian jews, Uganadan jews, Russian jews, Arabic jews, and believe it or not asian jews. All of these people are Semitic so which Semite are you talking about here? This is purposely evasive to say Semtiies came to Ethiopia. Well Afro-Asiantic languages are comprised of semities and only in africa are all these languages spoken. My question to you is how can you be so certain that Semities(which ever one you are talking about) came from Yemen when evidence points counter to that and so does simple logic. I'll have to ask you for credible refernces here because these claims are nuts plain and simple. Also why has only recently this discovery of Semitic migrations and creation of Yemenis to Ethiopia been added to the article if according to you it existed since the 90's? My suggestion is opposite of yours. It makes most logical sense and historical that aksum existed before Yemen and colonized it not the other way around as you are suggestion. Any encylopedia will tell you that. Ps. Semitic speaker doesn't = Semite. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dualldual (talkcontribs) 00:55, 14 March 2006 (UTC).
For that matter, if no one left the Arabian peninsula, then one would have to also explain why Somalis speak the Arabic language. On the other hand, perhaps the Yemenis left for some other reason: not in search of new land, or establishing empires etc., but maybe simply because they could? (Though I'm not sure this is what Dualldual was suggesting.) -- Gyrofrog (talk) 13:59, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Somalis speak Arabic like how all muslims speak arabic to varying extents even in Indonesia. So by your logic Arabs took over Indonesia because that is the only way they could have learned Arabic. People did leave the Arabian Pennisual into africa. Just using a different route than he is claiming. Ethiopians trace their history back to the 10th century bc, but Yemen was a colony of Ethiopia and Persia and was not its own country for a long long time.
I'm sure you know this, Gyrofrog, but for clarification, some Somalis speak Arabic, but all speak Somali as their first language (or almost all). Either way, I will be reverting the text tonight (UTC-5) unless Dualldual can actually support his very unlikely claims. - Yom 17:33, 13 March 2006 (UTC).
No, I was completely confused, must have been in my pre-caffeinated state. Of couse I know Somalis speak Somali. Just ignore that man behind the curtain... However on a similar note the spread of Islam to the Horn of Africa certainly predates steam-powered transport. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 17:40, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
P.S. I think Codex Sinaiticus has already reverted to your last edit. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 17:45, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm don't see what makes my claims unlikely. I'm simply stating the events as the history books say. No where can I find no such hyopthesis-theories that support cliams of Ethiopians being Semtic immigrants from Yemen. There is such on Somalia but I think you will have to conceed that this information regarding ethiopia doesn't exist. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dualldual (talkcontribs) 00:55, 14 March 2006 (UTC).
I don't think that we should have such controversial and unproven claims in the article until this matter is resolved, other wise this would just lead to an edit war which is a real waste of time. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dualldual (talkcontribs) 00:55, 14 March 2006 (UTC).
Dude, you think the Sabaeans were a "myth"? (Would that be a "true myth" or a "false myth"? ;o) ) I guess it's a "true myth" then, because here at the Smithsonian website is one very large, heavy myth, with very large Sabaean writing on it, with the name of an Ethiopian Christian King, and it was found in (gasp) Yemen! [1]
I can't believe you say there are no sources for Semites coming to Ethiopia from across the Red Sea. Why, I'm reading one right now, and it's not even a very good source. Try looking it up in the Library: Colin McEvedy, Atlas of African History, page 29. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 01:16, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
McEvedy is a well known eurocentrist so I would rather not. He claimed great zimbabwe was built by Native americans. I'm not saying there is zero documentation on it by the only info I find says axum occupied yemen until persia took it over. If you want to insert theories you should at least state it as such at the end of the article. I think I'm being more than fair to you here and trying to avoid a counter-productive edit war. Ethiopians claim that there kingdom was around in 10th bc but I don't see that in there. If you really believe what your saying is true put it as an alternate theory, because its not 100% proven fact so we shouldn't present as such. I can't be any more fair than that at this point.```` —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dualldual (talkcontribs) 01:29, 14 March 2006 (UTC).
You must be thinking of a different McEvedy; he may be a bit eurocentric, but he certainly doesn't make any such claims about Zimbabwe nor attribute their architecture to anyone other than the Bantu. I'm assuming good faith, but really isn't up to you to tell a consensus of editors what is fair and what isn't, when you don't even seem to be able to get your facts straight, like the steam ships thing. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 01:36, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Incorporating a theory as a fact is fair? Lets remember you 'editors' believed Somalis only spoke Arabic, I think you may have the problem getting your facts seperated from your theories. The Sabean theory is a theory so why is it presented as a fact at the begining of the article?
The Askumites = "the Aethiopians", not the "Omeritae" or the Yemenites, as was clearly attested by late Greco-Roman writers. This shouldn't even be a debate, all of these revisionist alternative theories are racist!
Procopius of Caesarea: History of the Wars, c. 550 CE
Book I.xix.1, 17-22, 27-37, xx.1-13
At that time the idea occurred to the Emperor Justinian to ally himself with the Ethiopians and the Omeritae, in order to injure the Persians. . . .About opposite the Omeritae on the opposite mainland dwell the Ethiopians who are called Auxumitae, because their king resides in the city of Auxomis [Axum]. And the expanse of sea which lies between is crossed in a voyage of five days and nights, when a moderately favoring wind blows
At about the time of this war Ellestheaeus, the king of the Ethiopians(Ezana?), who was a Christian and a most devoted adherent of this faith, discovered that a number of the >Omeritae on the opposite mainland [modern Yemen] were oppressing the Christians there outrageously; many of these rascals were Jews, and many of them held in reverence the old faith which men of the present day call Hellenic [i.e., pagan]. He therefore collected a fleet of ships and an army and came against them, and he conquered them in battle and slew both the king and many of the >Omeritae. He then set up in his stead a Christian king, an Omeritae by birth, by name Esimiphaeus, and, after ordaining that he should pay a tribute to the Ethiopians every year, he returned to his home. In this Ethiopian army many slaves and all who were readily disposed to crime were quite unwilling to follow the king back, but were left behind and remained there because of their desire for the land of the >Omeritae; for it is an extremely goodly land. Please! - Taharqa 15:07, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Ellestheaeus = Ella Asbeha = "He who brought the dawn," the regnal name of Kaleb of Axum. — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 00:25, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
^Oh, ok, thanx...Taharqa 08:40, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Aksum extra theories[edit]

We could make up theories or incorporate theories into the article until we have a sci-fi documentary on Aksum but it is misleading and makes us look stupid. ```` the preceding comment is by Dualldual - 00:57, 14 March 2006: Please sign your posts!

So little is known for certain about parts of Axumite history that the most responsible thing is to own up to the gaps in our knowledge and describe both sides of the controversy, eg, about the ethnicities of the Axumites or the chronology of Judith and the Zagwe kings. Of course, there's a responsibility not to claim that Lalibela was created by extraterrestrial gummi bears, but that doesn't negate the first point. -LlywelynII (talk) 04:08, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Sign your comments[edit]

I'll address your comments later, but Dualldual, please sign your comments!!! It's very frustrating when you have to go back to the history log to see who said what. It's easy, just type four tildes (~) like this: ~~~~. It will show up as your name and the date when you save the page. - Yom 03:45, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

So your arguments are based on who writes an argument not what an argument is about. Not good at debating I assume.—This unsigned comment is by Dualldual (talkcontribs) 00:43, 15 March 2006 (UTC).
Not at all; I feel I'm a pretty good debater, but it's very confusing and disorienting to have random comments inserted in other people's text or following/preceding their text without a clear break. Besides, your arguments have mainly been refuted now, so any further comments I make are more for completeness.
By the way, it's four ~s not four `s. Use shift+` (hold shift when you press `) to make a tilde (~). Yom 05:37, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

"Greek influence was little"[edit]

(From Yom's edit comment)

I don't think it was that little. For instance, remember that their neighbours to the North in Makuria civilisation etc. were even using the Greek alphabet to write their language, around the same time Ge'ez was vocalised from an abjad, maybe was one inspiration for the whole vowel idea?

There are also lots of everyday words that come from Greek, like for instance ጠረጴዛ "table" There was a huge influence on the language. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 21:45, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

I know of the words from ancient Greek like t'erep'eza, but they are generally few in number unless you include religious terms (e.g. diyaqon). Greek is unlikely to have been the inspiration for vocalization; Indic alphabets like Brahmi or a native development (as supported by the irregular development of the sadis form, which probably came first) are the most likely inspirations. Makuria and other Christan Nubian states didn't come into being until long after Ge'ez had become vocalized (though unvocalized Ge'ez was still often used), not arising until the 5th or 6th century after the Aksumite conquest of Meroe. You have to separate the Church influences (often mediated by Coptic or Arabic) and those of Aksum. Linguistic influence is rather little outside of this field, and cultural influence on Aksum isn't particularly significant considering Greek's position in the world that time (think e.g. of the Greek influence of Rome, which was significant, but that on Aksum was really nothing in comparison). There was certainly some Greek influence, as evidenced by early Ptolemic hunts for elephants, Zoskales's familiarity with Greek literature ca. 100 AD, and the use of Greek parallel with Ge'ez for some inscriptions (as well as on the coins, but that was more a practical matter as much of the Orient was Greek-speaking). However, foreign cultural elements only really appear, and to a relatively small degree, in the port of Adulis, where Greek, Roman, Indian, and other influences can be seen due to its importance as a port containing merchants from many areas. The interior was largely untouched by this influence (excepting to a degree the elite). — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 22:37, 31 August 2006 (UTC)


I've never come across a more insulting paragraph in all of Wiki, i'm not being facetious, I really haven't. Why would it say that 'historians' thought this civilization has its roots in Arabic or Indo European people? Because traditionally sub-saharan Africans are incapable? I'd change this but judging from the comments here, this sham of an intro would be reintroduced in minutes. This place is rife with eurocentricism. How laughably ironic considering Wikipedia is supposed to be the antithesis of the proverbial Eurocentrist gospel - Brittanica.

Yes, historians used to think this civilization had its roots in Arabic or Indo European people, because yes, historians used to be quite Eurocentric, so there is no lie here. Even great Zimbabwue used to be thought of "white" origin. Also, it makes reference to the whole "Queen of Sheba" thing. Wikipedia is supposed to be what we all make of it, so if you find something laughable, source it and change it. There are few things easier than that. Leirus (talk) 18:19, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
Modern human beings were around c. 240,000 years in Africa without developing civilization and in the Middle East, the techniques of grain-based agriculture spread outwards from Mesopotamia. So, in a sense, yes, Sub-Saharan Africans were incapable for a long time and you can rein in your own righteous indignation. (On the other hand, racialist ideas about inferiority are almost certainly unwarranted: it's more likely that growing aridity around Iraq was cutting off people's food and beer supplies and forced them into agriculture whereas traditional methods of food-acquisition remained relatively abundant in Africa; further, there were thousands of years here for the techniques to spread slowly and peaceably.) So absolutely find some cites for indigenous development, after checking through WP:FAITH and WP:ZEAL. — LlywelynII 01:20, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
Actually, agriculture arose independently in many different regions, including not only Mesopotamia but also China, Papua New Guinea, several locations in the Americas, and yes, even Sub-Saharan Africa. Western education heavily emphasizes the Neolithic Revolution from Mesopotamia because that is the one most pertinent to the development of our own civilization - Mesopotamian crops and techniques were imported to Europe to bring about the first sedentary farming cultures there. Meanwhile, in most other regions that invented agriculture on their own, crops remained localized, at least until the peoples who grew them came into contact with other cultures. Papuan agriculture never left a select few highland regions of that island, for example. Sub-Saharan Africans also developed iron-working on their own, notably without bronze or copper as a precursor as in the Middle East and Europe. -- (talk) 17:19, 27 December 2011 (UTC)


Linguistically, the Ethiopic languages are South Semitic- closer to Old South Arabian than anything else. The South Semitic languages are more closely related to Central Semitic (Arabic and NW Semitic) than they are to East Semitic (Akkadian). See the Semitic languages page. This would seem to argue against Ethiopia as being the origin of the Semitic language family as a whole, as the chief split in the family separates the languages of Mesopotamia from all other Semitic languages, putting the origins of the family somewhere in Upper Mesopotamia or Syria, or perhaps north Arabia; I know at least some scholars say Ethiopia, but from what I've read it doesn't seem to be the dominant view. Note that I am not suggesting that Aksum or Dmt were founded by Sabaean colonists; only that the languages of the Ethiopian highlands arrived via South Arabia. I have no idea when, although it could have been well before the Sabaeans. As Codex noted there is a strong tradition in Ethiopia of some connection to the Sabaeans though.--Rob117 09:22, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Actually if you had read the wikipedia article they make arguments generally in favor of an Africa origin for "proto-semitic".
The Semitic family is a member of the larger Afro-Asiatic family, all the other five or more branches of which are based in Africa. Largely for this reason, the ancestors of Proto-Semitic speakers are now widely believed to have first arrived in the Middle East from Africa, possibly as part of the operation of the Saharan pump, around the late Neolithic [2][3],Taharqa 23:04, 12 March 2007 (UTC)


These are just my main reference materials. I've learned a lot of stuff online as well, but nothing says credibility like ink. I've compiled a document rich in information on every ethnic group (African that is) involved in the slave trade. Took me 4 months. I've got more info on the Mali Empire than anybody not tenured at a college, lol. Feel free to hit me up for any questions on African stuff in general. Scott Free 23:01, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Unlinked bibliography[edit]

These are ok for stubs and smaller articles, but on larger ones, they're just unhelpful filler, since the page ends up studded with [ cite needed ] tags anyway. Listed here for reinclusion as specific inline references:


  • Francis Anfray. Les anciens ethiopiens. Paris: Armand Colin, 1991.
  • Carlo Conti Rossini. Storia d'Etiopia. Bergamo: Istituto Italiano d'Arti Grafiche, 1928.
  • Stuart Munro-Hay. Aksum: A Civilization of Late Antiquity. Edinburgh: University Press. 1991. ISBN 0-7486-0106-6
  • Yuri M. Kobishchanov. Axum (Joseph W. Michels, editor; Lorraine T. Kapitanoff, translator). University Park, Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press, 1979. ISBN 0-271-00531-9
  • Karl W. Butzer. Rise and Fall of Axum, Ethiopia: A Geo-Archaeological Interpretation. American Antiquity, Vol. 46, No. 3. (Jul., 1981), pp. 471–495.
  • Joseph W. Michels. Changing settlement patterns in the Aksum-Yeha region of Ethiopia: 700 BC - AD 850 (BAR International Series 1448) Oxford: Archaeopress, 2005.
  • Mukhtār, Muḥammad Jamāl al-Dīn. 1981. Ancient civilizations of Africa. General history of Africa, 2. London: Heinemann Educational Books.ISBN 978-0-435-94805-4
  • David W. Phillipson. Ancient Ethiopia. Aksum: Its antecedents and successors. London: The British Museum, 1998.
  • David W. Phillipson. Archaeology at Aksum, Ethiopia, 1993-97. London: British Institute in Eastern Africa, 2000.
  • Williams, Stephen. "Ethiopia: Africa's Holy Land". New African, Vol. 458. ( Jan., 2007), pp 94–97.
  • Belai Giday. Ethiopian Civilization. Addis Ababa, 1992

LlywelynII 01:30, 29 October 2011 (UTC)


Although Munro was one of the main proponents that "proved" Axum to be indigenous- I looked through the e-book version of his work, and came across this:

"It may be as well to outline briefly here Aksumite historical development, and Aksum's position in the contemporary world, discussed in detail in later chapters (Chs. 4 & 3: 6). Aksumite origins are still uncertain, but a strong South Arabian (Sabaean) influence in architecture, religion, and cultural features can be detected in the pre-Aksumite period from about the fifth century BC, and it is clear that contacts across the Red Sea were at one time very close "

Did he change his views afterwards or what?

He's referring here to the D'mt kingdom, not to Aksum. Other authors (e.g. Fattovich) have dealt more specifically with the relations between D'mt and Saba', but that's beyond the scope of this article. As to Askum itself, however, Munro Hay is unambiguous in his assessment, at least in his article on Aksum and its development in the Encyclopaedia Aethiopica (A-C, 2003). I don't have it on hand, but I'll replace that citation from Aksum, since I can't find (in the online version) what the citation might be referring to. — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 07:46, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I know he's reffering to Dm't, but that was the precursor to Axum- so what's the final consensus on that relation? What is Munro really saying? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 20:42, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
There is no final consensus on the relations between D'mt and Saba'. Almost all scholars say that D'mt was indigenous in the sense that it was founded by Ethiopians and not Sabaeans, meaning the old, usually racist "colonization" hypothesis has been rejected by scholars (save a few like Joseph W. Michels, although he may have changed his view to large migration but not colonization?), but the degree of influence by Saba' (rather individual Sabaeans) on D'mt has not been ascertained (at least with much certainty). For a good overview of what's known, see Mathew C. Curtis, "Ancient interaction across the southern Red Sea: new suggestions for investigating cultural exchange and complex societies during the first millennium BC" in Trade and Travel in the Red Sea Region. Proceedings of Red Sea Project I Held in the British Museum by the Society for Arabian Studies Monogrpahs No. 2. Oxford: England, Archaeopress, October 2002, pp.57-70. The article is focused a little more on the Ona culture and relies too much on possible dichotomies between the elite and peasants, though.
Also, the degree of contiguity between Aksum and D'mt has also yet to be ascertained. A common hypothesis is that Aksum was one of multiple successor kingdoms that came to dominate the others. — ዮም | (Yom) | TalkcontribsEthiopia 03:21, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Empire o[r] kingdom[edit]

It seems odd that the page name is "Aksumite Empire" yet in the text, after the first sentence, the term "Kingdom of Aksum" is mainly used. Seeing "kingdom" at the top of the infobox and "empire" just to the left at the top of the page is particularly jarring. I understand that either term might be appropriate (as well as the various spellings of Aksum, Axum, etc), but shouldn't there be a little consistency? At least an explanation of why the name of the page differs from the name used in the text? Pfly (talk) 20:21, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Good point. I'm of the mind that it is definately more an empire than kingdom since it (like other empires throughout history) held sway over a bunch of ethnic groups different from itself (Arabs, Nubians, Sidama, Yemenite Jews and Arabs). I'll go through and edit for consistency. Scott Free (talk) 20:42, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
The rulers were 'Kings of Kings' over a polyglot and ethnically diverse realm - definitely go with empire. -LlywelynII (talk) 16:43, 21 June 2009 (UTC)


i would like to change the table to the right to an infobox similar to the one on the Ethiopian Empire page. I think its easier to read and would help maintain consitency sine they are so closely related . Amy objections?Scott Free (talk) 04:57, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Aksum vs Axum[edit]

eenie meenie miney moe? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Xaxafrad (talkcontribs) 06:42, 26 February 2007 (UTC).

We should aim for consistency across pages (esp. this page and the one about the city Axum), but I haven't seen any discussion about this. Traditionally, Αξουμ/Αξυμ has always been transliterated Axum; on the other hand, current scholarship (like this paper [or this one], which could be used to improve this article) seems to prefer "Aksum," which just looks like a 3rd grade misspelling. Could someone explain why they think Aksum is preferable? Is it based on the Ge'ez? Why isn't the x a better way to transcribe the Ge'ez, too? -LlywelynII (talk) 15:23, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Which one is it? Can we stick to one or the other? For example, currently, the capital city (in the infobox) says Aksum, yet it redirects to Axum.--Edward130603 (talk) 21:48, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

It's been years and this hasn't been resolved. Google provides ~2m non-Wikipedian pages for "Axum" without "Aksum" and ~1.4m non-Wikipedian pages for "Aksum" without "Axum". We should stick with Axum pending further developments. — LlywelynII 03:00, 29 October 2011 (UTC)


The Empire of Aksum was the first African polity, economically and politically ambitious enough, to issue its own coins; they bore legends in Ge'ez and Greek. 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.

Since the Aksumite empire did not come down until the 7th Century (far long than many of it's "neighbors") it seems out of place to say "considered itself equal to it's neighbors" as if the Empire or people were somehow inferior to the others around them. --- The wording is highly questionable. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:28, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

"Aksum" vs "Ethiopia"[edit]

Couldn't the lead somehow highlight the continuity with what we now know as Ethiopia? I had to read half the article to figure that out.-- (talk) 21:54, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Well, nevermind: it should be Aksum[edit]

Was requesting a move based on this

but there's some unrelated names thrown in there and almost every other matchup goes towards Aksum these days:

Anyway, we should mention the common alternate spelling, but standardize Aksum throughout including the city. — LlywelynII 03:24, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Oh, but "Empire"'s still off. — LlywelynII 03:27, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Vegaswikian (talk) 17:48, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Aksumite EmpireKingdom of Aksum – Per WP:ENGLISH WP:COMMONNAME. "Kingdom of Aksum" is ~10 times more common than "Empire". — LlywelynII 03:27, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Queen of Sheba citation[edit]

In the intro,there is a line that states "It is also the alleged resting place of the Ark of the Covenant[4] and the purported home of the Queen of Sheba.[citation needed]." If you click the "Queen of Sheba" link, it gives the citation for the Ethiopia-Queen of Sheba connection. I have copypasta the link below. I don't know how to add this, so if someone could add the link to the Kingdom of Aksum page I would appreciate it.

Flavius Josephus, Paul L. Maier Josephus, the Essential Works: A Condensation of "Jewish Antiquities", and "the Jewish War" Kregel Publications,U.S. (31 Mar 1995)ISBN 978-0825432606 p.140 [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:48, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

I'm not sure if I'm facing an IP and an editor, or a new editor editing logged out. The IP removed the fact tag from "which could be the god of Israel.[citation needed]". This is generally regarded as vandalism. The IP also replaced Gebre'Egziabeher (talk · contribs)'s 'However', a word which should rarely be used, see WP:Words to avoid as a violation of WP:NPOV, in this case an unsourced claim from which the editor removed the fact tag. Dougweller (talk) 15:23, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

They are unsourced edits to begin with, but coupled with verbiage such as "presumably" and "could have been," they carry even less weight. My $0.02. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 20:59, 26 February 2013 (UTC)