By Stuart Munro-Hay
Since a very large part of the information, we have about the Aksumite rulers comes from their inscriptions, it seems useful to give English translations of the most important of these. The published versions are very varied; and it is admittedly not easy, given the damaged state of some of the inscriptions, and the uncertainty of the meaning of certain words in others, to see what precisely is meant, or where a new train of thought has begun. These translations, then, cannot be thought of as in any way definitive. Even so, something of the mood of the Aksumite inscriptions still comes over in these translations, and there are many interesting details. A number of early Ethiopian inscriptions were published by Drewes (1962), and others by Schneider in various volumes of the Annales d’Ethiopie. These are not repeated in this section but have been quoted where appropriate in other chapters. A Recueil des Textes antiques de l’Ethiopie, a very much needed compendium, is also in preparation (Bernand 1982: 106). The label DAE indicates the number given to those inscriptions published by the Deutsche Aksum-Expedition (Littmann 1913, IV), and some of Ezana’s inscriptions were also published by Littmann in 1950.
DAE 2. This much-damaged inscription was found at Abba Pantelewon near Aksum. Greek. It has neither name nor titles preserved but appears to be an Aksumite royal inscription of the pre-Christian period. The translation is from Sergew Hable Sellassie 1972: 69. . . . in this space . . . and he orders(?) to be repaired . . . it and the other side of the sea . . . unconquerable (god) of the Aksumite . . . the first and only(?) . . . in distant (and) big . . . an infantry . . . I have dedicated . . . to unconquered Ares of Aksumite. . . . Monumentum Adulitanum. Greek.
This anonymous inscription only survives in the copy made in the early sixth century AD by Kosmas Indikopleustes at Adulis (Wolska-Conus 1968: 372-8).
. . . and after I had commanded the peoples near my country to maintain the peace, I entered valiantly into battle and subdued the following peoples; I fought the Gaze, then the Agame and the Siguene, and, having conquered, I reserved for myself half of their lands and their peoples. The Aua and Singabene and Aggabe and Tiamaa and Athagaous and Kalaa and the Samene people who live beyond the Nile in inaccessible mountains covered with snow where tempests and cold are continuous and the snow so deep that a man sinks up to the knees, I reduced to submission after having crossed the river; then the Lasine, and Zaa and Gabala, who inhabit very steep mountains where hot springs rise and flow; and the Atalmo and the Beja and all the people who erect their tents with them. Having defeated the Taggaiton who dwell up to the frontiers of Egypt I had a road constructed going from the lands of my empire to Egypt.
Then I fought the Annine and the Metine who live in precipitous mountains as well as the people of Sesea. They took refuge on an inaccessible peak, but I besieged them on all sides and captured them, and chose among them young men and women, boys and virgins. I retained also their goods.
I defeated also the barbarian people of Rauso who live by the aromatics trade, in immense plains without water, and the Solate, whom I also defeated, imposing on them the task of guarding the sea-lanes. After I had vanquished and conquered, in battles wherein I personally took part, all these peoples so well protected by their impenetrable mountains, I restricted myself to
imposing tribute on them and voluntarily returning their lands. But most peoples submitted of their own free will and paid me tribute.
I sent an expedition by sea and land against the peoples living on the other side of the Erythraean Sea, that is the Arabitas and the Kinaidokolpitas, and after subjugating their kings I commanded them to pay me tribute and charged them with guaranteeing the security of communications on land and sea. I conducted war from Leuke Kome to the land of the Sabaeans.
I am the first and only of the kings my predecessors to have subdued all these peoples by the grace given me by my mighty god Ares, who also engendered me. It is through him that I have submitted to my power all the peoples neighboring my empire, in the east to the Land of Aromatics, to the west to the land of Ethiopia and the Sasou; some I fought myself, against others I sent my armies.
When I had re-established peace in the world which is subject to me I came to Adulis to sacrifice for the safety of those who navigate on the sea, to Zeus, Ares, and Poseidon. After uniting and reassembling my armies I set up here this throne and consecrated it to Ares, in the twenty-seventh year of my reign.
The 8th to 10th century manuscripts in which this inscription is preserved have some explanatory glosses about some of these names; thus Gaze apparently means the Aksumites, still called Agaze, the Siguene are the Suskinitai, the tribes near Adulis are called the Tigretes (the earliest mention of Tigray?), the Tiamaa are the Tziamo and Gambela, the Atalmo and Beja are the Blemmyes, the Taggaitai (Tangaitai) are also called Attabite.. and Adra..s, the Sesea are tribes of Barbaria, the Solate are those living by the sea in Barbaria, called the Tigretai of the coast in Barbaria, and Sasou is the furthest part of Ethiopia, beyond which lies the ocean and the Barbareotes who traffic in incense (Huntingford 1989: 43).
DAE 8. Geez written in the South Arabian script.
An inscription attributed to Ezana, but possibly of his predecessor Ousanas (Ella Amida?) Bisi Gisene. For a note about the problems in attributing this text, see Schneider 1987: 615.
. . Ella Amida, Bisi ..s.m, king of Aksum, Himyar, Raydan, Saba, Salhen, Tsiyamo, Bega and of Kasu, king of kings, son of the invincible Mahrem. He departed on a campaign to re-establish his empire and put it again in order. Those who obeyed him, he spared; those who resisted him, he put to death.
He came to `LBH and there came with presents SWSWT king of the Agwezat with his people, and he received his submission and he was made subject.
Then he sent him away to return to his country. Then he arrived at FNSHT and there arrived with his people and presents the king of Gabaz, SBL and he received his submission and he was made subject. Then he sent him away so that he could return to his own country. Next, he came to HMS, and there came all the tribes of Metin, and he received his submission and let them return to their own country. And he improved the roads and subdued the country?
And he provided safe conduct on the road for the bringing of tribute together with provisions for men and women, and gave food to his four armies in an enemy country? At the camp where he installed himself, he assured provisioned by requisitions imposed on the enemy. He fought with them, and held a muster (of his troops) in the field and completed their complement (?).
Then he came to ..mo, and he received its (his?) submission; he came also to MTT and fought it (him?) and he reduced MTT with spilling of blood. Then he (came to) Samen . . . he extracted tribute . . . and he received a submission and sent them off so that they could re-establish order in their country. From there he crossed the rivers, and then came ..L the king of WYLQ who said `Our people are come and with them . . . establish order with you . . . O our king . . . (the remaining lines are too fragmentary to be useful).
The Meroë Inscriptions. Apart from an unvocalized Ge`ez graffito on one of the pyramids of group A (no. 19) at Meroë, reading `. . . son of Julius . . . all the world . . .’ (Lepsius, R., Denkmäler aus Ägypten und Aethiopien 1913, abth. VI, bl. 13, 1), and another on a wall of temple T at Kawa (Laming-Macadam, M. F., The Temples of Kawa, I, The Inscriptions, London 1949: 117-8), these inscriptions are the only ones found on Meroitic territory. New versions have at last succeeded to those of Sayce (1909 and 1912). Meroë I. Greek. Translation of Bersina (1984).
. . . king of the Aksumites and Himyarites . . . immediately attack those who rival . . . did not submit contrary . . . kingdoms(?) to them, and I destroyed them . . . the said ones, heading for this place . . . originating from another ten . . . with the king as far as . . . most of all in Sue . . . chiefs and all their children . . . I came immediately . . . to your homes . . . besides the fruit (tribute) . . . copper . . . years 21 (or 24?). . . . As a good example of the difficulties of these inscriptions in their broken and worn state, the interpretation by Hägg (1984: see also his forthcoming note in Meroitic Newsletter) is contrasted; it appears to fit well with the usual phraseology and content of Aksumite inscriptions. of Axum and Himyar . . . [son of the invincible god] Ares.
When [the people of] . . . disputed . . . I conveyed from . . . (?) and I pillaged the . . . (?) having arrived here . . . is produced, and another (or (women) of noble birth and another) . . . together with the king as far as . . . most (things) in the . . . generals and children . . . I went against [the?] at once . . . I shall [?] to you . . . subject to pay tribute . . . a bronze [statue?] . . . 21 (or 24). Meroë II. Greek. Translation of Hägg (1984).
. . . of Ares . . . having arrived here I sat down . . . giving [as a recompense? . . .] . . . [to Ares] this throne.
The Inscriptions of Ezana.
DAE 4. Greek, from the three-script versions DAE 4, 6 and 7.
The Campaign against the Beja; (I). Aeizanas, king of the Aksumites, the Himyarites, Raeidan, the Ethiopians, the Sabaeans, Silei (Salhen), Tiyamo, the Beja and Kasou, king of kings, son of the unconquered god Ares. Since the people of the Beja rose up, we sent our brothers Saiazana and Adefan to fight them. When these had taken arms against the enemy, they made them submit and they brought them to us with their dependents, with 3112 head of cattle, 6224 sheep, and beasts of burden. My brothers gave them meat and wheat to eat, and beer, wine, and water to drink, all to their satisfaction whatever their number. There were six chiefs with their peoples, to the number of 4400 and they received each day 22,000 loaves of wheat and wine for four months until my brothers had brought them to me. After having given them all means of sustenance, and clothed them, we installed these prisoners by force in a place in our land called Matlia. And we commanded again that they are given supplies, and we accorded to each chief 25,140 head of cattle.
In the sign of recognition to he who engendered us, the unconquered Ares, we have raised statues to him, one of gold, one of silver, and three others of brass, to his glory. DAE 6 and 7 are written respectively in the epigraphic South Arabian and unvocalized Ge`ez scripts and are more or less the same as DAE 4 in content. The dedications at the end are to Astar, Beher, and Mahrem (DAE 6), and Astar, Meder and Mahrem (DAE 7). The land of Matlia is referred to as Dawala-BYRN in these versions (according to Littmann; Schneider (1984: 155) reads the phrase as “the land MD, a region of our country”, supported by the as yet unpublished new version noted below), and both also end with a curse formula against anyone damaging the inscription and the record of extra gifts to Mahrem.
The Geza `Agmai inscription (DAE 4, 6 and 7 bis).
Three more versions of the same inscription as above (DAE 4, 6 and 7), also in Greek, epigraphic South Arabian, and unvocalized Ge`ez scripts, translated by Bernand 1982.
The Campaign against the Beja (II). Aeizanas, king of the Aksumites, Himyarites, and Raeidan, the Ethiopians, the Sabaeans and Silei, Tiamo and the Beja and Kasu, king of kings, son of the invincible god Ares. When once the Beja tribe revolted, we sent our brothers Suzanna and Adiphan to make war upon them, and when they came back, having made them submit, they led them to us with their entire horde and their animals, 3112 cattle, 6224 sheep and 677 beasts of burden, feeding them with cattle, wheat, wine, mead, beer and water to satiety, during four months, amounting to 4400 people, provisioned each day with 22,000 loaves, until I had changed their residence. These people who had been brought to us, after having granted them all that was necessary for them, having clothed them and changed their residence, we established them in a part of our territory called Matlia and ordered that they be further provided there, giving to each kinglet 4190 cattle, so that the six kinglets had 25,140 cattle. As a thank -offering to the invincible Ares who begat me, we consecrated to him a statue of gold, one of silver, and three of bronze. I have consecrated this stele and dedicated it to Heaven, the Earth, and the invincible Ares who begat me. Should anyone wish to damage it, may the god of Heaven and Earth lead him to ruin, and his name ceases to exist in the land of the living. In gratitude, this has been consecrated for well-being. Furthermore, we have consecrated to the invincible Ares a COY’ATE and a BE?IE.
The deities mentioned are named by the Ge`ez and South Arabian script versions as Astar, Beher, and Mahrem; Beher here is definitely associated with the earth (Ch. 10: 1). These versions render the last but one line as a formula not dissimilar to the coin-mottoes which seem to have begun with Ezana’s Christian issues (Schneider 1984, 1987), and the Ge`ez version also adds the extra line found in the Greek version; And as we have erected (this stelae), let it be propitious for us and for our country forever. And we have offered to Mahrem an SWT and a BDH; both terms of unknown meaning.
DAE 9. Vocalised Ge`ez.
The name and most of the titulary are restorations, and the inscription could be differently attributed; the pagan epithet and the vocalization, however, make Ezana a likely candidate for it. The Campaign against the Agwezat. [Ezana, son of Ella Amida, Bisi Halen, king of Aksum, Himyar, Raydan, Saba, Salhin, Tsiyamo,] Beja and of Kasu, king of kings, son of the invincible Mahrem.
The Agwezat took the field and arrived at Angabo. There came to meet us Aba’alkeo, king of the Agwezat, with his tribe, and he brought tribute. And, when later we arrived at `Alya the camp in the land of Atagaw, we obtained camels and beasts of burden, men, women, and provisions for twenty days. But the third day after our arrival, since we recognised the perfidy of Aba’alkeo, we delivered the Agwezat who had come with their king to pillage; and those whom we plundered we bound, and as for Aba’alkeo, we left him naked, and chained him to the bearer of his throne (or, after Huntingford 1989: 53, Aba’alkeo king of the Agwezat we did not leave, but we bound him (also) along with the bearer of his throne; or, after Schneider 1984: 159, this passage means that only Aba’alkeo was not put in chains).
We then ordered the column Mahaza and the commanders of the columns to march night and day. Then they sent the column Mahaza and the column Metin, and they were ordered to go and fight the Agwezat. Then they went to . . . and arrived at Asala? and came to Ereg? and took what they found. And they left by the pass of Asal and . . . river Nadu (or, Huntingford 1989: 53, And they went to the place of assembly . . . and reached `Asala (?); they came to Ereg and . . . and went out by the slope of Asal and . . . river Nadu), and killed all those whom they met. From there they came to the territory of Agada where they killed and captured men and beasts. Then they sent the troop Daken and ordered it to go by Se`ezot and from the east . . . they retired . . . and the carriers of water brought water (or, Huntingford 1989, and they turned by Tabenya and descended where the waterfalls). And the three columns Daken, Hara, and Metin rallied at Ad(ya)bo. . . . Then they sent the column Hara and ordered them to go towards Zawa..t.
And from there for the third time they sent the column Laken and dispatched it and ordered it to proceed to Hasabo and it left for the pass (Huntingford 1989: 53, slope) of Tuteho and descended . . . the river, and reached Lawa and descended towards Asya. . . . And together they departed from Hezaba, and camped at . . . and they entered and passed the night. And at dawn, they attacked . . . followed to the mustering place of Magaro and the three columns . . . to the river, with Falha and Sera.
DAE 10. Vocalised Ge`ez.
The Afan Campaign. [E]zana, son of Ella Amida, Bisi Halen, king of Aksum, Himyar, Raydan, Saba, Salhin, Tsiyamo, Beja and of Kasu, son of the invincible Mahrem. The Tsarane, whose country is Afan (Huntingford 1989: 55, suggests Awan), attacked and annihilated a merchant caravan. And we went to war against them, and we sent columns, those of Mahaza, Daken and Hara and we ourself followed and camped at the place of encampment of the troops at `Ala (Huntingford 1989: 55, Alaha) and from there we sent out our troops. And they killed some of the Tsarane, and captured others and took booty. We vanquished Sa`ene and Tsawante and Gema and Zahtan, four peoples, and we seized Alita (Huntingford 1989: 55, Alitaha) and his two children. And 503 men of Afan and 202 women were put to death, in all 705. Men and their women (Huntingford 1989: 55, belonging to the baggage train) were made prisoner, 40 men and 165 women, total 205. The booty comprised 31,900 (Huntingford 1989: 55, 31,957) head of cattle and 827 beasts of burden.
And he (the king) returned in safety with his people and raised a throne here in Shado which he put under the protection of the gods Astar, Beher, and Meder. And should anyone remove or displace it, let him and his race be exterminated; let him be extirpated from these lands. And he brought a thank -offering to Mahrem who begot him, 100 head of cattle and 50 captives.
DAE 11. Vocalised Ge`ez.
The `monotheistic’ inscription; there have been many speculations about the form of the dedication of this inscription, some authors attributing it to a monotheism not specifically Christian. This complication seems unnecessary when what seem to be the Greek and South Arabian script versions (below) are considered. It may rather reflect an uncertainty as to how to refer to the Christian god in the earliest Christian period of the country. The Noba and Kasu Campaign. By the might of the Lord of Heaven who in the sky and on earth holds power over all beings, Ezana, son of Ella Amida, Bisi Halen, king of Aksum, Himyar, Raydan, Saba, Salhin, Tsiyamo, Beja and of Kasu, king of kings, son of Ella Amida, never defeated by the enemy.
May the might of the Lord of Heaven, who has made me king, who reigns for all eternity, invincible, cause that no enemy can resist me, that no enemy may follow me! By the might of the Lord of All, I campaigned against the Noba when the Noba peoples revolted and boasted. `They will not dare to cross the Takaze’ said the Noba people. When they had oppressed the Mangurto, Hasa and Barya peoples, and when the blacks fought the red people and they broke their word for the second and third times and put their neighbors to death without mercy, and pillaged our messengers and the envoys whom I sent to them to admonish them, and they plundered them of what they had including their lances; when finally, having sent new messengers to whom they did not wish to listen but replied by refusals, scorn, and evil acts; then I took the field. I set forth by the might of the Lord of the Land and I fought at the Takaze and the ford Kemalke. Here I put them to flight, and, not resting, I followed those who fled for twenty-three days during which I killed some everywhere they halted. I made prisoners of others and took booty from them. At the same time, those of my people who were in the field brought back captives and booty.
At the same time, I burnt their villages, both those with walls of stone and those of straw. My people took their cereals, bronze, iron, and copper and overthrew the idols in their dwellings, as well as their corn and cotton, and threw them themselves into the river Seda (Blue Nile). Many lost their lives in the river, no-one knows the number. At the same time, my people pierced and sank their boats which carried a crowd of men and women. And I captured two notables who had come as spies, mounted on camels, by name Yesaka and Butala, and the chief Angabene. The following nobles were put to death: Danoko, Dagale, Anako, Haware. The soldiers had wounded Karkara, their priest, and took from him a necklace of silver and a golden box. Thus five nobles and a priest fell. I arrived at the Kasu, fought them and took the prisoner at the confluence of the rivers Seda and Takaze. And the day after my arrival I sent into the field the columns Mahaza, Hara, Damawa? Falha? and Sera? along the Seda going up to their cities with walls of stone and of straw; their cities with walls of stone are Alwa and Daro. And my troops killed and took prisoners and threw them into the water and they returned home safe and sound after terrifying their enemies and vanquishing them thanks to the power of the Lord of the Land.
Next, I sent the columns of Halen, Laken? Sabarat, Falha, and Sera along the Seda, going down towards the four towns of straw of the Noba and the town of Negus. The towns of the Kasu with walls of stone which the Noba had taken were Tabito(?), Fertoti; and the troops penetrated to the territory of the Red Noba and my peoples returned safely after taking prisoners and booty and killing by the might of the Lord of Heaven. And I erected a throne at the confluence of the rivers Seda and Takaze opposite the town with walls of stone which rises on this peninsula. And behold what the Lord of Heaven has given me; prisoners, 214 men, 415 women, total 629; killed, 602 men, 156 women and children, total 758, and adding the prisoners and killed 1,387. The booty came to 10,560 head of cattle and 51,050 sheep.
And I set up a throne here in Shado by the might of the Lord of Heaven who has helped me and given me supremacy. May the Lord of Heaven reinforce my reign. And, as he has now defeated my enemies for me, may he continue to do so wherever I go. As he has now conquered for me and has submitted my enemies to me, I wish to reign in justice and equity, without doing any injustice to my peoples.
And I put this throne which I have raised under the protection of the Lord of Heaven, who has made me king, and that of the Earth (Meder) which bears it. And if anyone is found to root it up, deface it or displace it, let him and his race be rooted up and extirpated. They shall be cast out of the country. And I have raised this throne by the power of the Lord of Heaven.
Christian Inscription of Ezana. Greek. (Anfray, Caquot and Nautin 1970; Judge 1976). This appears to be the beginning of the Greek version of the above inscription
DAE 11. If these were somehow arranged on a stone throne, the rest may have continued on another part. On the reverse is the South Arabian script version (below). In the faith of God and the power of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who saved for me the kingdom, by the faith of his son Jesus Christ, who has helped me and will always help me. I Azanas king of the Aksumites, and Himyarites, and Reeidan and of the Sabaeans and of Sileel and of Khaso and of the Beja and of Tiamo, Bisi Alene, son of Ella Amida servant of Christ thank the Lord my God, and I am unable to state fully his favors because my mouth and my mind cannot (embrace) all the favors which he has given me, for he has given me strength and power and favored me with a great name through his son in whom I believed. And he made me the guide of all my kingdom because of my faith in Christ by his will and in the power of Christ, for he has guided me. And I believe in him and he became to be a guide. I went out to fight the Noba because there cried out against them, the Mangartho and Khasa and Atiaditai and Bareotai saying that `the Noba have ground us down; help us because they have troubled us by killing’. And I left by the power of Christ the God in whom I have believed and he has guided me and I departed from Aksum on the eighth day, a Saturday, of the Aksumite month of Magabit having faith in God and arrived in Mambarya and there I fed my army.
Inscription in South Arabian script.
This appears to be the third version of the DAE 11 text and is important in that it ends (on one of the sides) with a cross, similar to that found on the coins attributed to this period just after the conversion of Ezana. It lacks a name, but the content and style allowed Schneider (1974, 1976) to suggest the attribution. His suggestion is backed up by the fact that this inscription is on the back and one side of the Greek version, which stops at a higher level, where it is supposed that the seat on the throne on which it was inscribed intervened.
Kaleb Inscription. Ge`ez in the South Arabian script.
This damaged inscription has been translated by Schneider (1974), who also translated what little was possible of the W`ZB inscription below. It chiefly relates a campaign against the Agwezat and Hasat.
The Lord strong and brave, the Lord mighty in battle. By the power of the Lord and by the grace of Jesus Christ, the son of the Lord, the victorious, in whom I believe, who has given me a strong kingdom by which I dominate my enemies and trample underfoot the head of my adversaries, who has guarded me since infancy and established me on the throne of my fathers . . . , I trust myself to Christ so that all my enterprises might succeed, and that I may be saved by him who pleases my soul? With the help of the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Kaleb, Ella Atsbeha, son of Tazena, Be’ese LZN, king of Aksum, Himyar, Raydan, Saba, Salhen, and of the High Country and Yamanat, and the Coastal Plain and Hadramawt and of all their Arabs, and the Beja, Noba, Kasu, Siyamo and DRBT . . . of the land ATFY(?), servant of Christ, who is not defeated by the enemy.
With the help of the Lord I fought the Agwezat and HST. I fought them, having divided my troops . . . (here follow some troop names) my country and with . . . march day and night . . . kill . . . Agwezat . . . iniquity? and I sent the Atagaw and the (more troop names?) they killed the HST and I followed with . . . peace . . . refuge . . . by the might of the Lord . . . made captive . . . there, their country with their offerings . . . thousand . . . and the cattle which they had taken . . . return . . . carry on the back . . . and the number killed of the Agwezat and the HST was men 400 . . . women and children I . . . the total . . . captives, men, women, and children 4.. total of the killed and captives was . . . and the booty of cattle . . . hundreds, camels 200. This the Lord gave me . . . make war . . . Himyar . . . I sent HYN SLBN ZSMR with my troops and I founded a maqdas (church) in Himyar . . . the name of the Son of God in whom I put my reliance. . . . I built his GBZ and consecrated it by the power of the Lord . . . and the Lord has revealed to me his holiness? and I shall remain on this throne . . . and I have set it under the tutelage of the Lord, creator of heaven and earth, against he who should destroy, pluck up, or break it. And he who would tear up or destroy it, let the Lord tear up. . . .
Drewes (1978) suggested that lines 34-7 of this inscription actually mention HYWN’, or Hiuna, known from the Book of the Himyarites; his translation reads `He (God) gave me a great name, that I might wage war against Himyar. I sent HYN (..)BN ZSMR with my troops and I founded a church in `QN’L (. . .) the name of the Son of God, in Whom I believe. I constructed its gabaz and I consecrated it by the might of God. . . .’ Inscription on an alabaster lamp acquired at Aden (Grohmann 1911). Ge`ez.
. . . Zadagan and has fallen . . . (s)ons and his two brothers a(nd) . . . ? and their land . . .while . . . till the (sun) set . . . they return. . . .Marib Inscription.
Vocalised Ge`ez, attributed to Kaleb (Kamil 1964; Caquot 1965; Müller 1972). `and he shall exalt you’ . . . I passed through the port of Zala? . . . I fought with their army . . . as the Psalm says . . . `his enemies shall flee before your face’ . . . making prisoners and taking booty . . . he chased the gentiles before . . . aboard ship . . . its coast which God had delivered to me . . . and half my army . . . my army descended by the opening . . . half of my army descended. . . .
Pirenne and Tesfaye (1982) published some new ideas about this and another fragment from Marib — see also Müller 1972 — and an inscription from the Himyarite capital Zafar in which the designation `Angebenay’ appears, which they conjecture to signify Kaleb. Igonetti (1973) has also published the Zafar Ge`ez inscription as follows, and he authorized . . . the faith of the Father . . . ‘Angabenay . . . Christ . . . in Greece . . . and they arrived. . . .
W`ZB Inscription. Ge`ez in the South Arabian script.
This inscription is very difficult to read (only Huntingford 1989: 65-6 seems to have attempted it — his translation is that used here — though Schneider (1974) published a preliminary analysis), but some useful phrases can be distinguished. Wa`zeb, king of Aksum, and Himyar, and Dhu-Raydan, and Saba and Salaf (= Salhen) and of the Beja, and Kasu, and Siyamo and WYTG(?), Bisi Hadefan, son of Ella Atsbeha, servant of Christ.
and my troops fought . . . I fought . . . with the army and soldiers . . . I will kill your enemies and I will fight against your enemies . . . my God . . . the troops under my orders. . . . God will fight for you, and you shall keep you peaceful . . . by the power of the Lord, I entered their country. . . . I found them fleeing, refugees in their fortress the name of which is DGM . . . I lived within the enclosure of the fortress . . . they occupied the entire camp and the fortress . . . all nations compassed me about, in the name of the Lord I have vanquished them . . . having been killed then? and for that? I sent . . . the troops HDQN and S.RT and SBH and DMW and `GW. . . . O Lord, fight against them who make war against me, take hold of shield and spear and stand up to help me; let them be dust before the wind, that the angel of the Lord chase them, and it is said in the Psalms, I will pursue my enemies, and capture them. You gird me with strength in battle, and You make all those falls who stand up against me and You make my enemies turn their backs on me, and it is also said, the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly, the right hand of the Lord has exalted me . . . and praise Your holy name . . . the troops which I had sent submitted and killed and prayed and took captives . . . safe and sound, by the power of the Lord, and I set up a throne in methm? . . . WYT(L); and I returned safe and sound with my troops, by the power of the Lord; and I lived at ZWGS and they found refuge there in a place uninhabited by the combatants . . . our county? and a battle? en route and for that I sent in an expedition the troop Hara . . . and they killed, and took captives and booty, by the power of the Lord, and returned safely. . . and that which the Lord gave me at the time of the first expedition and at the time of the last expedition . . . prisoners, men . . . women and children . . . ; killed, men . . . women and children . . . all the `gd of the WYTL submitted in offering their presents. . . .
The inscriptions of the hatseni Danael. Vocalised Ge`ez.
(Cerulli 1968; Kobishchanov 1979; for a cautionary note about these readings, see
Schneider 1984: 163).
DAE 12. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, I have written this, hatsani Danael, the son of Dabra Ferem. There came . . . hatsani Karuray . . . attacked him . . . and I swore that . . . 608 foals. And I captured 10,000 oxen and 130 steers . . . and our servants, who always . . . I summoned them . . . and there were none who did me good, except 30 people, all . . . they returned and went to KSL (Kassala?) and did not leave me? . . . the proclamation that they should go, and those who went for the giving of presents. And I surrounded those who came to Kassala . . . and they plundered? the Barya. Booty, 103 steers . . . and 200 sheep . . . and curse them forever. And they said to me, `Your land, woe’. As I heard these words, I marveled, and . . . they were doing; my translators advised them, and I went out. And as they showed themselves unfriendly to me, they attacked? and I made a judgment against them . . . and I fought them and captured massive booty: 17,830 foals, 10,030 oxen, and I captured 30 tribes.
DAE 13. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, I, hatseni Daniel, son of Debra Ferem. When the people of Wolqayt devastated the land of HSL and came to Aksum, I expelled them and was harsh to them and killed them and captured 102 foals and 802 cattle. And I made the people go . . . and the equipment, and from here I made them enter the country of Ablas . . . whose name is Maya Tsaltsal, and I plundered 10,000 sheep . . . 3000 cattle . . . and I went while my people were raiding and taking captive. And they returned home when I entered, day . . . our entry before . . . booty . . . we waited in the enclosure . . . I plundered it. . . .
DAE 14.And the king came, and desired to rule over me, while I was in Aksum, in the manner of his father, like a poor man (?). When he had taken booty, he came to Aksum. But I came out, and my enemy was frightened (?), I took the newcomer captive: before blood was shed, I subjected the king of Aksum and dismissed him to administer Aksum as the land of my dominion; and he was released (?). And . . . I sent into the field. . . .
Aksum: An African Civilisation of Late Antiquity
- 2-1. The Legends of Aksum
2-2. Aksum in Ancient Sources
2-3. The Rediscovery of Aksum in Modern Times
- 3-1. The Landscape
3-2. Origins and Expansion of the Kingdom
3-3. The Development of Aksum; an Interpretation
3-4. Cities, Towns, and Villages
3-5. The Inhabitants
3-6. Foreign Relations
- 4-1 The Pre-Aksumite Period
4-2 Early Aksum until the Reign of Gadarat
4-3 Gadarat to Endubis
4-4 Endubis to Ezana
4-5 Ezana after his Conversion, to Kaleb
4-6. Kaleb to the End of the Coinage
4-7. The Post-Aksumite Period
- 5-1. The Site
5-2. The Town Plan
5-3. Portuguese Records of Aksum
5-4. Aksumite Domestic Architecture
5-5. The Funerary Architecture
5-6. The Stelae
- 7-1. The King and the State
7-2. The Regalia
7-3. Dual Kingship
7-5. The Royal Titles
7-6. The Coronation
- 8-1. Population
8-2. Agriculture, Husbandry, and Animal Resources
8-3. Metal Resources
8-4. Trade, Imports and Exports
8-5. Local Industries
- 9-1. The Origins
9-2. Introduction and Spread of the Coinage
9-3. Internal Aspects of the Coinage
9-4. The Mottoes
9-5. The End of the Coinage
9-6. Modern Study of the Coinage
- 10-1. The Pre-Christian Period
10-2. The Conversion to Christianity
10-3. Abreha and Atsbeha
10-4. Ecclesiastical Development
- 11-1. The Inscriptional Record
11-2. The Military Structure
11-4. The Fleet
11-5. The Aksumite inscriptions
- 15-1. The Failure of Resources
15-2. The Climate
15-3. External and Internal Political Troubles
15-4. The Najashi Ashama ibn Abjar
15-5. The NatsaniDaniell