BY STUART MUNRO-HAY
The period from the seventh to the twelfth century, though recognized here as postAksumite in the sense that Aksum was no longer the political center of the kingdom, has generally been included by previous writers on Ethiopian history as Aksumite; accordingly, a brief sketch of the few known events occurring during this time may be useful. Aksum’s name seems to have no longer been applied to the Ethiopian people, but `Habash’ remained, as usual, the Arab name for them, and the country was called `Habashat’ (Irvine 1965; but see Beeston 1987). The period concerned includes the greater part of the seventh century, and terminates with the advent of the Zagwé dynasty in about 1137 (another long-disputed date, see Munro-Hay, The Metropolitan Episcopate of Ethiopia and the Patriarchate of Alexandria 4th-14th centuries, forthcoming).
The reign of Ashama ibn Abjar, and the inscriptions of the Hassani Danael, are discussed in Ch. 15: 4-, and are suggested to represent the end of the Aksumite period in Ethiopia. An entirely different picture of the kingdom now emerges. The coinage, and with it the use of Greek and the trade connections into the Red Sea and the Roman Christian world gave way to a different economic and political orientation. Such commodities as cloth (al-Muqaddasi, in Vantini 1975: 176) and probably the ever-needed salt are used in barter, but now trade was, it seems, limited only to neighboring countries in Africa and Arabia. The kingdom, though almost always regarded by Arab writers during this period as a powerful and extensive state, eventually lost the use of the coast, and other areas formerly under a tribute relationship to the Ethiopian state became completely independent.
As Connah (1987: 71-2, 95) has pointed out, the new condition of relative isolation had both advantages and disadvantages, the greatest benefit being that Ethiopia could safely withdraw itself into the mountains and take up a strong defensive stance. This was, of course, offset by the loss of its international position, but, as we have said, the decline of the Red Sea trade was the result of great events in the outside world which Ethiopia could only accept by its own realignment. The country’s political connexions were nearly all with Muslim states from this time onwards, though a few brief mentions are made of the Christian Nubian kingdoms (see below). Al-Mas`udi speaks of a treaty between Abyssinia and Ibrahim, ruler of Zabid in the Yemen, by which the latter’s ships continually moved between the two countries with merchants and merchandise (de Meynard and de Courteille 1864: 34), and relations apparently remained intact with the Yemeni rulers after the country’s conquest by a neighbouring queen (see below). Ethiopia’s metropolitan bishops still came from the patriarchate of Alexandria, but were now obtained by application to the Muslim governor of Egypt (Munro-Hay, The Metropolitan Episcopate of Ethiopia and the Patriarchate of Alexandria, 4th-14th centuries, forthcoming). Muslim states arose in the Dahlak islands and on the coasts, and in later times became a grave danger to the Christian state.
But the Ethiopian kingdom itself did not remain static; as it lost in the north and east, it gained in the south, and the dynastic capitals of the later Zagwé (c1137) and Solomonic (c1270) dynasties were successively situated further in that direction. Trading objectives changed too; but still Arab traders continued to come to Ethiopia. The country still possessed excellent agricultural resources, gold, ivory, hides, and many other products, and doubtless the expansion southwards allowed the Ethiopians of the post-Aksumite era to develop certain aspects of their export trade in luxuries as much in demand in the Arab world as they had been in the Roman; we hear of merchants of Oman, Hejaz, Bahrein, and the Yemen trading there (see below). Ethiopia may have found itself increasingly outside the main stream, but was certainly not finished as a polity. The brief reports of the next few hundred years speak of a large and powerful Habash realm, and, as far as we can tell, only in the later tenth century did disaster strike.
2. Successor Capitals.
The immediate successor capitals to Aksum are mentioned mainly by Arab authors, illustrating well the new alignment of trade and therefore knowledge about the country. In many cases, these repeat the information of preceding writers, sometimes anachronistically. The astronomer Al-Battani, for example, who died in 929AD, repeats information from Ptolemy, and names `Ksumi, the town (or, land) of the king of Kush’ (Nallino 1907: II, 47). This obviously refers to Aksum, but most other Arab writers provide completely different names. The earliest is Jarmi or Jarma, followed by Ku`bar or Ka`bar.
Abu Ja`far al-Khuwarizmi, writing before 833AD, seems to be the first to cite a town called `Jarma, the town of the kingdom of Habash’, as well as `Jarmi, the great town’, in company with such other towns as Dunqula (Dongola), capital of the Nubian kingdom of Muqurra (Vantini 1975: 50). Al-Farghani, writing before 861AD, mentions `the towns of the kingdom of the Habasha, which are called Jarmi (Jarma), Dunqula and the town of the Nuba’ (Vantini 1975: 53). Ibn Rusta, who died before 913AD, wrote of `Jarmi, the capital of the Habasha and Dunqula, the capital of the Nuba’ (Vantini 1975: 87), and around 950AD Ishaq ibn al-Husain wrote that “The main town in the country of the Habashat is (the town of) Jarmi, (which is) the capital (dar) of the kingdom of the Habasha. This kingdom is ruled by the najashi”. Interestingly, this author repeats Kosmas’ old tale about silent trade in the lands of the Habasha (Vantini 1975: 122-3), as do others even later (e.g. al-Zuhri, Vantini 1975: 262).
About 966AD al-Maqdisi simply confirms the previous information, writing that “One of the towns of the First Climate is . . . Jarmi, a town of the king of the Habasha, another is Dunqula, the town of the Nuba” (Vantini 1975: 147), and a little later Ibn Yunus (d. 1009AD) listed both Jarmi and Madinat al-Habash (here Dongola/Dunqala?) with their latitudes and longitudes (Vantini 1975: 223). Al-Tusi, an astronomer who died in 1273AD, also mentions these two towns with their latitude and longitude (Vantini 1975: 380).
Al-Biruni (d. 1048), though a pupil of al-Mas`udi, does not mention Ku`bar (see below), but in his list of towns, he includes “Jarma (Jarmi), a town of the Habasha” and Aydhab as a Habasha town, the frontier between Beja and Habasha (Vantini 1975: 231-2), while al-Marwazi (d. after 1120AD) mentions that the First Climate “passes through a country called Jarma, which is the residence of the king of the Habasha, and through Dunqala, which is the capital of the Nuba” (Vantini 1975: 250). Yaqut (d. 1229) mentions among the towns of the First Climate `Jarma, the town of the king of the Habasha; Dumqula, the town of the Nuba’ (Vantini 1975: 341). Abu’-l-Fida` (1273-1331AD) wrote that “Jarmi is the capital of the Habasha. It is mentioned by the majority of the travelers in the books of routes” (Vantini 1975: 463), and Ibn al-Shatir (1304-1379AD) still notes the latitudes and longitudes of “Jarmi of the Habasha” and “Dongola of the Nuba” (Vantini 1975: 525). Finally, it may be that the name Tambra or Tarma, used by al-Wardi (d. 1457AD) is the last memory of Jarmi or Jarma; he describes the town as “a big town on a lake in which the Nile waters collect ” (Vantini 1975: 724).
Al-Ya`qubi (fl. c872-891) is the first of the Arab authors to mention Ku`bar or Ka`bar. His report is interesting in that it names five Beja kingdoms bordering on the najashi’s realms and on Alwa (the Arab name for the Nubian Christian state of Alodia, with its capital at Soba). They each had their own king, and there is no mention of dependence on the najashi’s kingdom; the last known Aksumite claim to control Beja and Noba is in W`ZB’s titulature (Schneider 1974). Al-Ya`qubi describes
“a vast and powerful country. Its royal town is Ku`bar. The Arabs go thither to trade. They have big towns and their sea coast is called Dahlak. All the kings of the habasha country are subject to the Great King (al-malik al-a`zam) and are careful to obey him and pay tribute” (Vantini 1975: 73).
This information, well over two hundred years after the time of Ashama ibn Abjar, indicates that the Ethiopian kingdom had maintained itself relatively well, and was still in control of some of the coastal area.
Al-Mas`udi, who died in 956AD, gives rather similar information in his geographical work Muruj al-Dhahab, the `Meadows of Gold’.
“The chief town of the Habasha is called Ku`bar, which is a large town and the residence of the najashi, whose empire extends to the coasts opposite the Yemen, and possesses such towns as Zayla`, Dahlak and Nasi” (Vantini 1975: 131).
He repeated this in his Akhbar al-Zaman;
“. . . the Habasha are the descendants of Habash b. Kush. b. Ham. The largest of their kingdoms is the kingdom of the najashi, who follows Christianity; their capital is called Kafar (Ka`bar). The Arabs used since the earliest times to come to this kingdom for trade” (Vantini 1975: 143).
Al-Harrani, writing about 1295AD, mentions that
“one of the greatest and best-known towns is Ka`bar, which is the royal town of the najashi . . . Zayla`, a town on the coast of the Red Sea, is a very populous commercial center. . . . Opposite al-Yaman there is also a big town, which is the sea-port from which the Habasha crossed the sea to al-Yaman, and nearby is the island of `Aql” (Vantini 1975: 448).
Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) also knew that Ka`bar was formerly the capital of Abyssinia (Trimingham 1952: 59).
Conti Rossini proposed that Ku`bar originated in a mistaken rendering of [A]Ksum in Arabic (1909: 263, n. 1). He says that “Aksum was the political capital still in the tenth century . . . I call . . . kings of Aksum the kings anterior to the Zagwé, who went down into Lasta”. Vantini (1975: 131), whose extremely useful compendium of translations from Arab authors we have used extensively in this section, also thought Ku`bar was Aksum, suggesting a distortion from an epithet, `kabur’, The Noble, or the name of some place near Aksum. Paul (1954: 71) identified Ku`bar with Adulis. The editors of Mas`udi’s book The Meadows of Gold, where he mentions Ku`bar, identified it with Ankober in Shewa, influenced by the current name for the Shewan capital (de Meynard and de Courteille 1844: 34). Taddesse Tamrat (1970: 87-8; 1972: 37) thought Ku`bar might be in southern Tigray or Angot; an Ethiopian legendary account (Kur 1965: 18) says that the (ninth-century?) king Dil Na`od moved the capital “from Aksum to the country of the east” in the seventh year of his reign, and since the same phrase elsewhere in the text describes the Lake Hayq region, Tamrat suggested Ku`bar was in that general direction. In fact, little reliance can be placed on the names and dates (Tamrat 1972: 36, n. 3) in these legends, and it seems that Ku`bar’s position must remain a mystery for the time being. It is almost certainly not Aksum, but could conceivably be some other major Aksumite town which, for various reasons, was considered to be a more suitable spot for the capital; possibly in the eastern region where many towns were built along the north-south route west of the escarpment.
We thus have Arab authors writing of Jarmi from before 833AD to well into the fourteenth or even fifteenth century, and of Ku`bar from the later ninth century until c1259AD. There seem to be three possibilities here. One is that the two cities were, in fact, one and the same. It is very unlikely that any of the later writers did anything more significant than simply copying the older works, and one might propose that this town, wherever it was, lasted as capital of Ethiopia only from the transfer from Aksum (between c616-630?), or later if there was another capital between this time and the first mention of the new one in Arab sources, until the fall of the kingdom to the Queen of the Bani al-Hamwiyya in the mid-tenth century (see below). This would credit the work of al-Ya`qubi and al-Mas`udi, who generally seem well informed.
The second possibility is that there are two cities in question. If the name Jarma were an epithet for the capital, perhaps from the Ethiopic word Girma, which means something like venerable or revered, it would seem likely that Jarmi was Aksum, to which this epithet was well-suited. Some authors would have simply repeated the outdated information that it was still the capital, and continued to do so even after Ku`bar had taken over that status, in spite of the more up-to-date reports of the better-informed writers such as al-Ya`qubi and al-Mas`udi. In support of this theory, according to Vantini (1975: 380, n. 1), it appears from al-Tusi’s own map that Jarmi corresponds to Aksum. However, the version of the map in Yusuf Kamal (1930-35: III, 1045r) as reconstructed by Lelewel, shows `Dziarmi’ considerably south of Aden following al-Tusi’s longitude, and Kammerer (1929: 48) noted that “la carte de Ahmad el-Tusi est un croquis élémentaire”.
The third possibility seems the most likely; that Jarmi has nothing to do with Abyssinian Ethiopia, but is, in fact, Ptolemy’s town of Garami, the metropolis of the Garamantes in Libya. Arab geographers would have taken Garami in `Ethiopia’ (the broad term used of all the area occupied by dark-skinned peoples) as the capital of the `Habash’, used as a similarly general term. Jarmi is thus no longer a rival to Ku`bar as the post-Aksumite capital. Other names for capitals are mentioned in the sources. An anonymous treatise of 982/3AD, written in Persian, the Hudud al-Alam, notes about the country of the Habash that
“This country has a very mild climate. The inhabitants are of a black complexion. They are very lazy and possess many resources. They obey their own king. Merchants from Oman, Hejaz and Bahrain often go to that country for trade purposes. Rasun, a town on the sea coast, is the residence of their king, while the army dwells in the town of Suwar: the Commandant-in-Chief resides at Rin, with (another?) army. In this province gold is abundant”. Rasun, it has been proposed, could stand for Jarmi through miscopied Arabic, though the coastal setting is unusual, and Minorsky proposed Aydhab and Zayla` for the other two (Minorsky 1937: 164, 473-4; Vantini 1975: 173). An Ethiopian legend mentions that king Degnajan, who is supposed to have lived at the period just before Gudit’s attack, left Tigray and made Weyna Dega his capital, apparently a place in Begemder east of Gondar (Sergew Hable Sellassie 1972: 203, n. 115; 231, n. 98).
Al-Idrisi, the famous geographer at the court of the Norman king Roger II of Sicily, writing before 1150AD, called the greatest of all the towns of the Habasha `Junbaitah’ (and variants), which seems likely to come from the Ethiopic phrase `jan-biet’, or king’s house (Vantini 1975: 278; Conti Rossini 1928: 324). Another interpretation identified the three Ethiopian towns mentioned by al-Idrisi (which Kammerer (1929: 54) thought were `toutes trois fantaisistes’) with present-day villages; Miller (1927) decided that Gunbaita (Junbaitah) was Genbita near Kassala, Markata was Hanhita near Gondar, and Kalgun was Aganiti about half-way between Aksum and Ankober.
Al-`Umari (1300-1348AD) was aware of the antiquity, and even the (more or less) correct name of Aksum. He was employed in the chancery of the Egyptian sultan and knew the protocol to observe when writing to the haty or king (Munro-Hay, The Metropolitan Episcopate of Ethiopia and the Patriarchate of Alexandria 4th-14th centuries, forthcoming), and perhaps had access to rather better archival material than many other writers. He states that a certain wadi
“leads to a region called Sahart, formerly called Tigray. Here there was the ancient capital of the kingdom, called Akshum, in one of their languages, or Zarfarta, which was another name for it. It was the residence of the earliest najashi, who was the king of the entire country. Next is the kingdom of Amhara, where is the capital of the kingdom nowadays, called Mar`adi; next is the territory of Shewa . . .” (Vantini 1975: 509).
Amda-Tseyon’s (1314-1344) chronicler confirms that his court was located at Mar’adé, apparently in Shewa (Taddesse Tamrat 1972: 274). Finally, we have the town of `Arafa or Adafa. This is mentioned in the History of the Patriarchs as the `city of the king’ of Ethiopia in 1210, with the additional note that the king was called Lalibela (Atiya et al: III, iii, 192). The town is called Adafa in the Gedle Yimrha-Kristos (Taddesse Tamrat 1972: 59), and was the capital of the Zagwé dynasty. This presumably means that those Arab writers who continue to mention Ku`bar after about 1200AD are simply repeating earlier information without updating.
3. The History of the Patriarchs and Ethiopia.
Beyond the brief descriptions of the country in Arabic historical or geographical works, we have almost no other information about events in Ethiopia except from the History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria (Evetts 1904 and Atiya 1948) and the Ethiopian Synaxarium (Budge 1928). The biographies of the Coptic patriarchs of Alexandria, spirit the Ethiopian Orthodox church, were careful to include references to the patriarchate’s dealings with the kingdoms of the south, Nubia and the Habash since the authority of the patriarchs there was a useful counter to their subordination to the Muslim government in Egypt. From this source, we have a few glimpses of conditions in Ethiopia, though the majority of references concern purely church matters and are not very informative on other questions. A detailed analysis of all the notes about Ethiopia in the ecclesiastical records can be found in Munro-Hay (The Metropolitan Episcopate of Ethiopia and the Patriarchate at Alexandria, 4th-14th centuries, forthcoming).
During the Patriarchate of James (819-830) the metropolitan John was ordained for Ethiopia (Evetts 1904: 508ff). During his Metropolitanate, military defeats, compounded by the plague which killed both men and cattle, and lack of rain, are mentioned. The metropolitan had been driven to return to Egypt by the opposition of the queen and people while the king was occupied at war, and he was only able to return in the Patriarchate of Joseph (831-849). Dates around c820-30 have been suggested for these events, and it is interesting to note that during that decade the king of Abyssinia was involved in unsuccessful military engagements. At just this time, in northern Abyssinia, the Beja tribes were growing stronger, and in 831 a treaty between the caliph al-Mu`tasim and Kannun ibn Abd al-Aziz, `king’ of the Beja (Hasan 1973: 49-51), seems to recognize his power even as far south as Dahlak. This may well indicate that there had been disputes between the Beja and the Ethiopians, with the Ethiopians, at least temporarily, coming off rather the worse in the conflict.
It is also noted in his biography that Joseph had problems over his Abyssinian pages, presented to the church as gifts by the Ethiopian king (Evetts 1904: 528-31). Nothing more is noted until the patriarchate of Kosmas III (923-934), when Ethiopian questions again came to the fore (Atiya 1948: 118-21; Budge 1928: III, 666-8). Interestingly, the eleventh century biographer, when he introduces al-Habasha (Abyssinia), adds the gloss that it is “the kingdom of Saba, from which the queen of the South came to Solomon, the son of David the king”, showing that this identification was current even then. The Ethiopian king, Tabtahadj (or Yabtahadj, Babtahadj — a name not recorded elsewhere — Perruchon 1894: 84; it is, in fact, a misreading of bi-ibtihaj `with joy’), received a new metropolitan, Peter, and is said to have given him authority to choose his successor on his death-bed. Peter selected the youngest of the late king’s two sons, but soon a monk, Minas, arrived with forged letters which declared that he himself was the rightful metropolitan, and Peter an imposter. This naturally found favour with the rejected brother, and Peter and the king he had chosen were deposed. Eventually the new king learned from Kosmas that Minas was actually the imposter, and he was executed, but meanwhile Peter had died in exile, and patriarch Kosmas refused to consecrate another metropolitan. The king therefore forced Peter’s assistant to take up the post, uncanonically, thereby instituting a quarrel between monarchy and patriarchate which lasted for the unconsecrated metropolitan’s lifetime, through four succeeding patriarchates and into a fifth. Eventually, during the patriarchate of Philotheos (979- 1003), the quarrel was resolved, but only after Ethiopia had suffered terrible devastation. The story is preserved in the History of the Patriarchs (Atiya 1948: 171-2) and in the Ethiopian Synaxarium (Budge 1928: I, 233-4), as well as in the accounts of certain Arab historians (see below). The first two refer to enemies who attacked Ethiopia, driving the king out and destroying his cities and many churches. In the History of the Patriarchs the enemy is named as the queen of the Bani al-Hamwiyya; a title which has not much assisted in identifying her. These ecclesiastical sources claim that the troubles were all due to the fact that metropolitan Peter had been deposed illegally, and when patriarch Philotheos, responding to the pleas of the king of Ethiopia sent through the agency of king Girgis II of Nubia, appointed a new metropolitan, Daniel, to Ethiopia, the troubles ceased.
The Arab historians add considerably to the history of Ethiopia at this point. Ibn Hawqal (Kramer and Wiet 1964: 16, 56) mentions that the country had been ruled for thirty years by a woman, who had killed the king, or hadani, and now ruled the hadani’s territory as well as her own lands in the south. This was written in the 970s or 980s, and so the queen’s advent was probably in the 950s. A confirmatory note occurs in a reference which states that the king of Yemen sent a zebra, received as a gift from the female ruler of al-Habasha, to the ruler of Iraq in 969-70 (el-Chennafi 1976). It seems more than likely that this queen is identical with the queen enshrined in Ethiopian legend as the destructive Gudit, Yodit, or Esato, who invaded the kingdom and drove the legitimate kings into hiding, in spite of her legendary association with the establishment of the Zagwé kings. In fact, it seems likely that a period of well over a hundred years yet had to elapse before this new dynasty came to the throne and that the Ge`ez chronicles have become hopelessly muddled at this stage.
Between 1073 and 1077 more trouble occurred because of a false metropolitan (Atiya 1948: 328-330; Budge 1928: IV, 995). A certain Cyril arrived with forged letters to claim the metropolitanate, and actually managed to bribe the ruling amir of Egypt to force the patriarch to ratify the appointment. The problem was only solved in the Patriarchate of Cyril II (1078-92), who consecrated a new metropolitan, Severus; Cyril fled to Dahlak, where he was arrested by the sultan, and sent to Egypt, where he was duly executed. Metropolitan Severus wrote to the patriarch in Egypt that the country was in good order but for the practice of polygamy by the Ethiopian ruler and some of his subjects. He was, however, soon in trouble. He apparently tried to please the Egyptian amir by building mosques in Ethiopia, for which he was arrested. Letters with threats from the amir to demolish churches in Egypt were despatched to Ethiopia, but the king’s reply was uncompromising and unimpressed; “If you demolish a single stone of the churches, I will carry to you all the bricks and stones of Mecca . . . and if a single stone is missing I will send its weight to you in gold” (Atiya 1948: 347-51).
The patriarchal biographies continue, without much useful information about Ethiopian affairs, to relate the history of the metropolitan George (Atiya 1948: 394-5), consecrated by patriarch Michael IV (1092-1102). This prelate behaved so badly that he was arrested and sent back to Egypt. A successor, consecrated by Macarius II (1102-28), was the metropolitan Michael (Sergew Hable Sellassie 1972: 203). He was at the center of a dispute in the time of patriarch Gabriel II (1131-45) with the reigning king of Ethiopia, who wanted him to consecrate more bishops than was allowed by custom (Atiya 1950: 56-7; Budge 1928: 800-1). This would have allowed the king to elect his own metropolitan since ten bishops could constitute the synod necessary to do so, and Ethiopia and Nubia were therefore limited to seven. The Egyptian caliph was at first supportive of the king, but when the patriarch, anxious not to lose his influence in Ethiopia, pointed out that the Ethiopian king, absolved from his obedience to the patriarch, could attack Muslim lands with impunity, he seems to have changed his mind. In any event, famine in Ethiopia is supposed to have persuaded the king that he was wrong, and the attempt to gain independence for the Ethiopian church was over.
Michael’s metropolitanate had one more trial to go through (Atiya 1950: 90-1). In 1152, when he was very old, a messenger arrived in Egypt from an Ethiopian king to the vizir with a request that patriarch John V (1146-67) replace Michael with a new metropolitan. Michael had apparently quarreled with this king, who was a usurper. Possibly this usurping ruler may be identified with an early king of the Zagwé dynasty of Lasta, who seem to have come to power around 1137. The fact that he did not write to the patriarch until 1152 may mean that the king had not found Michael too troublesome until then, or that the affair took some time to build up, and does not really militate against his identification as a Zagwé ruler; alternatively, the 1152 incident might have been the culmination of the old quarrel of the time of patriarch Gabriel, with the Ethiopian ruler taking revenge against Michael for thwarting him previously. In any event, John V declined to replace the metropolitan, who had done no wrong and could not, therefore, be legally deposed, and for this refusal was himself imprisoned; he was eventually released on the death of the vizir.
While limited in scope, the biographies of the patriarchs do allow glimpses of Ethiopia, which, combined with those from the Arab historians and geographers, are not uninformative. We learn that the kingdom was, if erratically, in touch with Egypt, and that the monarchy and ecclesiastical structure remained intact until around the 950’s. At some time before 1003 the foreign queen’s rule was terminated, the Ethiopian kingdom restored and the church hierarchy reinstated with metropolitan Daniel; but one might imagine that the destruction of cities and churches, and the death or captivity of part of the population, left the country in a weaker condition than before. In the reconstruction, foreign influences were not lacking; in patriarch Zacharias’ time (1004-32), Coptic Christians were allowed to emigrate to Abyssinia, Nubia, and Byzantine lands (Atiya 1948: 196), while near the town of Qwiha, in Enderta, funerary inscriptions of Muslims, perhaps a trading community, have been found dating from 1001-1154AD (Schneider, M. 1967); it may have been for such communities that some of Severus’ mosques were built. From the History of the Patriarchs, we learn that in the ninth century the country suffered from war, plague, and insufficient rainfall, that it suffered a major disaster in the tenth century with the depredations of the queen of the Bani al-Hamwiyya. The remainder of the information from the eleventh and early twelfth centuries deals mainly with ecclesiastical questions, or in the case of the Arab geographers of repetitive and more or less inaccurate travelers tales. But the story about the attempt to increase the number of bishops in metropolitan Michael’s time has some interesting facets. It mentions unless this is mere rhetoric to emphasize the contrast with the later state of affairs after the patriarch blessed the land, that between 1131 and 1145 Ethiopia suffered several disasters. The king’s palace was struck by lightning, and the land suffered from pestilence, famine, and drought. Although the country recovered in due course, it must have been at about this time that the change of dynasty actually occurred, and Zagwé rule was established until c1270.
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