Book of Aksum

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The Book of Aksum or Mats'hafa Aksum (Ge'ez መጽሐፈ ፡ አክሱም maṣḥafa aksūm, Amharic: meṣhafe aksūm, Tigrinya: meṣḥafe aksūm, Latin: Liber Axumae) is the name accepted since the time of James Bruce for a collection of documents from St. Mary's Cathedral of Aksum providing information on Ethiopian history. The earliest parts of the collection date to the mid-15th century during the reign of Zar'a Ya`qob (r. 1434-1468).

The documents were classified by the book's editor Carlo Conti Rossini into three parts: the first, earlier, section describes the Church Maryam Seyon in Aksum prior to its damaging in the mid-16th century, the topography of Aksum and its history, and contains a list of services and the like regarding Maryam Seyon and its clergy. The second part is dated to the early 17th century and contains 103 historical and legal texts, many dealing with land grants, along with their protocols, while the third text dates to the late 17th century and contains 14 miscellaneous legal and historical texts regarding Aksum's history. The book was also supplemented in the mid-19th century with further later documents.[1]

According to the medieval Book of Aksum (Liber Axumae), the Kingdom of Aksum's first capital, Mazaber, was built by Itiyopp'is.[2] Ityopp'is was, according to the 15th century part of the Book of Aksum, a son (not mentioned in the Bible) of Cush, son of Ham, who founded the city of Aksum.[3] The name Ityopp'is may be the origin of the word Ethiopia.[4]


  1. ^ Lusini, Gianfrancesco "Aksum:Mäṣḥafä Aksum" in Uhlig, Siegbert et alii, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, vol. 1: A-C (Wiesbaden:Harrassowitz Verlag, 2003.), p. 185.
  2. ^ Africa Geoscience Review, Volume 10. Rock View International. 2003. p. 366. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Stuart Munro-Hay, "Aksumawi," in Uhlig, Siegbert, ed. Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: A-C (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2003), p. 186.
  4. ^ "Ethiopia". Berhan Ethiopia Cultural Center. Retrieved February 20, 2017. 

See also[edit]