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Axum Empire of Africa

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Jesse Koenig

on 23 May 2011

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Transcript of Axum Empire of Africa

The Axum Empire Port of Adulis where most of the trade happened with Rome and other countries. Religion: Axum started its empire off with a pagan religion similar to the Greeks and Romans. It was a polytheistic religion with many varieties of gods, like a god of love, war ect... It wasn't until a pair of Christian Syrian boys named Aedisius and Frumentius introduced Christianity in the early 4th century. The axumite people captured them when their ship was docked at the Port of Adulis where the Axum people took them and employed them in the royal courts. Due to Frumentius's great education he became the secratary to King Ella Amida. When he died, a boy named Ezana took the throne. Frumentius mentored the boy who eventually converted the entire royal family to Christianity. This became the Empire's new religion. Christianity became very important the the Axumites, extravegant churches were built and missionaries summoned to spread the word of the religion. Axum was located in what is now Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Capitol was located directly on the Nile. It was also on the Red Sea as well as the Gulf of Aden. The kingdom developed from 3 smaller states which would have been around since 5th century BC. It had a major port of the Red Sea called Aulis. Many neigboring countries docked here. The Red sea was Axum's main center of trade. Merchants from the Roman Empire traveled here to trade with other African empires such as the Axum empire. Agriculture was the main export of goods. Most of Axum's land was fertile and great because of its proximity to the Nile. Location: Government: The government was an Empire with one soul king that held all of the power. The first known Aksumite king was Zoskales. He is mentioned in the Periplus which hints that he ruled sometime before 100 AD. The second known king was a man by the name of Gedarat who ruled in the 2nd century. It wasn't until Sembrouthes came along until a difference was made. He was nicknamed "The King of Kings", which implys that he was very powerful and knew how to run his Empire. The biggest emperor in my opinion was Ezana, who completely revolutionized Axum. He was a small boy when he started ruling as emperor but grew up with the Christian missionary named Frumentius who coverted him to a Christian. Ezana changed the religion and brought in culture and art and symbols that we still see today. Axum destoyed a major part of the Kush Empire called Meroë under the rule of Ezana. The last known great emperor of Axum was Kaleb, who protected the Christian ideas and people that Ezana brought into Axum. He defended the Christian people from a local Jewish ruler, Yusuf Asar. He also regained control of the part of the empire that is now Arabia at the beginning of his reign. All in all the government was souly an empire throughout the length of the nation. The people seemed to like the system for the most part because there was no rebellions and the emperors really did seem to care about the empire and its people. The King and his family. Priests and Warriors Merchants, artisans and farmers Slaves Most of the slaves the Axumite people had were prisoners of war. They lived in a feudal system where the slaves would work on the villagers farms in exchange for a place to live and for food. Social Structure The Axum Empire's most recognizable piece of architecture are their HUGE stone stelaes (also called Obelisks). They towered above the resting places of their empire's kings and weighed hundreds of tons each. THe largest stelae was 108 ft. tall but has fallen into many pieces.The tallest stelae still standing is 79 ft. tall.
The first stelaes were simple, but they soon became more elaborate and detailed. They engraved the king's noble rank, and some were made to looke like the facade of a palace (fake doors, fake windows, etc...).
These monsterous obelisks were put into place be a ton of manual labor, and stayed in place with the help of large underground counterbalances. stelaes: Christianity was the religion that revolutionized the Axum Empire. It is said that the Arc of the Covenant is held in the Axum Empire. The Arc of the Covenant is said to be a golden chest which holds the inscribed tablets of the ten commandments. The Ethiopians that live in the Axumite Empire claim that the Arc is up in the northern highlands of the empire in the Church of St. Mary of Zion in the town of Aksum. It was supposedly moved there 3,000 years ago and has since been guarded by virgin monks who are not allowed to set foot off of the chapel grounds until they die. Arc of the Covenant: This sacred church stands next to the chapel that housed the Arc of the Covenant. The church is surrounded by large walls to help protect it. This church is said to be where to Arc of the Covenant is. It has also been destroyed and rebuilt several times. The first of the St. Mary of Zion churches was built during the reign of the first Christian empire of Axum, Emperor Ezana. This is regarded as the most sacred place in all of Ethiopia because of what’s inside. Information from a Portuguese Monk that visited the church before its first demolition explained it as very large, with many concealed vaults, and the ceiling and the sides are all painted. The Church of St. Mary of Zion: Art and Architecture: Coinage: The Axumite Empire was the first African empire to have their own coinage system. They made the coins from various types of metals, and each one had their ruler’s face on it. As time went on and things changed in the Axum Empire, so did their coinage. They changed the faces of the kings and other details on the coins as well. One example is when the Axumite people switched from their polytheistic religion to Christianity, the crescent and disk that was originally on the top of the coin switched over to a cross. Capitol of Axum located halfway betweet the Blue Nile and the Red Sea. Created by Jesse Koenig and Kyle Fowler
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