Ancient South Arabian script
The Ancient South Arabian script branched from the Proto-Sinaitic script in about the 9th century BC. It was used for writing the Old South Arabian languages of the Sabaic, Hadramautic, Hasaitic, Ge'ez in Dʿmt; the earliest inscriptions in the script date to the 9th century BC in the Northern Red Sea Region, Eritrea. There are no letters for vowels, its mature form was reached around 500 BC, its use continued until the 6th century AD, including Ancient North Arabian inscriptions in variants of the alphabet, when it was displaced by the Arabic alphabet. In Ethiopia and Eritrea it evolved into the Ge'ez script, with added symbols throughout the centuries, has been used to write Amharic and Tigre, as well as other languages, it is written from right to left but can be written from left to right. When written from left to right the characters are flipped horizontally; the spacing or separation between words is done with a vertical bar mark. Letters in words are not connected together, it does not implement any diacritical marks, differing in this respect from the modern Arabic alphabet.
Six signs are used for numbers: The sign for 50 was evidently created by removing the lower triangle from the sign for 100. The sign for 1 doubles as a word separator; the other four signs double as both numbers. Each of these four signs is the first letter of the name of the corresponding numeral. An additional sign is used to bracket numbers. For example, These signs are used in an additive system similar to Roman numerals to represent any number. Two examples: 17 is written as 1 + 1 + 5 + 10: 99 is written as 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 50: Thousands are written two different ways: Smaller values are written using just the 1000 sign. For example, 8,000 is written as 1000 × 8: Larger values are written by promoting the signs for 10, 50, 100 to 10,000, 50,000, 100,000 respectively: 31,000 is written as 1000 + 10,000 × 3: 40,000 is written as 10,000 × 4: 253,000 is written as 2 × 100.000 + 50.000 + 3 × 1000: Perhaps because of ambiguity, numerals, at least in monumental inscriptions, are always clarified with the numbers written out in words.
Zabūr known as "South Arabian minuscules" is the name of the cursive form of the South Arabian script, used by the Sabaeans in addition to their monumental script, or Musnad. Zabur was a writing system in ancient Yemen along with Musnad; the difference between the two is that Musnad documented historical events, meanwhile Zabur Writings were used for religious scripts or to record daily transactions among ancient Yemenis. Zabur Writings could be found on palimpsest form written on palm-leaf stalks; the South Arabian alphabet was added to the Unicode Standard in October, 2009 with the release of version 5.2. The Unicode block, called Old South Arabian, is U+10A60–U+10A7F. Note that U+10A7D OLD SOUTH ARABIAN NUMBER ONE represents both the numeral one and a word divider. Photos from National Museum of Yemen: Photos from Yemen Military Museum: Ancient North Arabian script Arabist and archeologist Eduard Glaser Geographer Carl Rathjens Stein, Peter. "The Ancient South Arabian Minuscule Inscriptions on Wood: A New Genre of Pre-Islamic Epigraphy".
Jaarbericht van het Vooraziatisch-Egyptisch Genootschap "Ex Oriente Lux". 39: 181–199. Stein, Peter. Die altsüdarabischen Minuskelinschriften auf Holzstäbchen aus der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek in München. Beeston, A. F. L.. "Arabian Sibilants". Journal of Semitic Studies. 7: 222–233. Doi:10.1093/jss/7.2.222. Francaviglia Romeo, Vincenzo. Il trono della regina di Saba, Roma. pp. 149–155.. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Omniglot's entry on South Arabian
Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, sex, fertility, war and political power. She was worshipped in Sumer and was worshipped by the Akkadians and Assyrians under the name Ishtar, she was known as the "Queen of Heaven" and was the patron goddess of the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk, her main cult center. She was associated with the planet Venus and her most prominent symbols included the lion and the eight-pointed star, her husband was the god her sukkal, or personal attendant, was the goddess Ninshubur. Inanna was worshipped in Sumer at least as early as the Uruk period, but she had little cult prior to the conquest of Sargon of Akkad. During the post-Sargonic era, she became one of the most venerated deities in the Sumerian pantheon, with temples across Mesopotamia; the cult of Inanna-Ishtar, which may have been associated with a variety of sexual rites, including homosexual transvestite priests, sacred prostitution and hierogamy between Sumerian kings and her priestesses, was continued by the East Semitic-speaking people who succeeded the Sumerians in the region.
She was beloved by the Assyrians, who elevated her to become the highest deity in their pantheon, ranking above their own national god Ashur. Inanna-Ishtar is alluded to in the Hebrew Bible and she influenced the Phoenician goddess Astarte, who influenced the development of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, her cult continued to flourish until its gradual decline between the first and sixth centuries AD in the wake of Christianity, though it survived in parts of Upper Mesopotamia as late as the eighteenth century. Inanna appears in more myths than any other Sumerian deity. Many of her myths involve her taking over the domains of other deities, she was believed to have stolen the mes, which represented all positive and negative aspects of civilization, from Enki, the god of wisdom. She was believed to have taken over the Eanna temple from An, the god of the sky. Alongside her twin brother Utu, Inanna was the enforcer of divine justice. In the standard Akkadian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar asks Gilgamesh to become her consort.
When he refuses, she unleashes the Bull of Heaven, resulting in the death of Enkidu and Gilgamesh's subsequent grapple with his mortality. Inanna-Ishtar's most famous myth is the story of her descent into and return from Kur, the ancient Sumerian Underworld, a myth in which she attempts to conquer the domain of her older sister Ereshkigal, the queen of the Underworld, but is instead deemed guilty of hubris by the seven judges of the Underworld and struck dead. Three days Ninshubur pleads with all the gods to bring Inanna back, but all of them refuse her except Enki, who sends two sexless beings to rescue Inanna, they escort Inanna out of the Underworld, but the galla, the guardians of the Underworld, drag her husband Dumuzid down to the Underworld as her replacement. Dumuzid is permitted to return to heaven for half the year while his sister Geshtinanna remains in the Underworld for the other half, resulting in the cycle of the seasons. Inanna and Ishtar were separate, unrelated deities, but they were equated with each other during the reign of Sargon of Akkad and came to be regarded as the same goddess under two different names.
Inanna's name may derive from the Sumerian phrase nin-an-ak, meaning "Lady of Heaven", but the cuneiform sign for Inanna is not a ligature of the signs lady and sky. These difficulties led some early Assyriologists to suggest that Inanna may have been a Proto-Euphratean goddess related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, only accepted into the Sumerian pantheon; this idea was supported by Inanna's youthfulness, as well as the fact that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, she seems to have lacked a distinct sphere of responsibilities. The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not accepted by modern Assyriologists; the name Ishtar occurs as an element in personal names from both the pre-Sargonic and post-Sargonic eras in Akkad and Babylonia. It is of Semitic derivation and is etymologically related to the name of the West Semitic god Attar, mentioned in inscriptions from Ugarit and southern Arabia; the morning star may have been conceived as a male deity who presided over the arts of war and the evening star may have been conceived as a female deity who presided over the arts of love.
Among the Akkadians and Babylonians, the name of the male god supplanted the name of his female counterpart, due to extensive syncretism with Inanna, the deity remained as female, despite the fact that her name was in the masculine form. Inanna has posed a problem for many scholars of ancient Sumer due to the fact that her sphere of power contained more distinct and contradictory aspects than that of any other deity. Two major theories regarding her origins have been proposed; the first explanation holds that Inanna is the result of a syncretism between several unrelated Sumerian deities with different domains. The second explanation holds that Inanna was a Semitic deity who entered the Sumerian pantheon after it was fully structured, who took on all the r
Arabic is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term used to describe peoples living in the area bounded by Mesopotamia in the east and the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, in the Sinai Peninsula. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, derived from Classical Arabic; as the modern written language, Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools and universities, is used to varying degrees in workplaces and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic, the official language of 26 states, the liturgical language of the religion of Islam, since the Quran and Hadith were written in Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic, uses much of the same vocabulary. However, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have any counterpart in the spoken varieties, has adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties.
Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-classical era in modern times. Due to its grounding in Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic is removed over a millennium from everyday speech, construed as a multitude of dialects of this language; these dialects and Modern Standard Arabic are described by some scholars as not mutually comprehensible. The former are acquired in families, while the latter is taught in formal education settings. However, there have been studies reporting some degree of comprehension of stories told in the standard variety among preschool-aged children; the relation between Modern Standard Arabic and these dialects is sometimes compared to that of Latin and vernaculars in medieval and early modern Europe. This view though does not take into account the widespread use of Modern Standard Arabic as a medium of audiovisual communication in today's mass media—a function Latin has never performed. During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe in science and philosophy.
As a result, many European languages have borrowed many words from it. Arabic influence in vocabulary, is seen in European languages Spanish and to a lesser extent Portuguese, Catalan, owing to both the proximity of Christian European and Muslim Arab civilizations and 800 years of Arabic culture and language in the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in Arabic as al-Andalus. Sicilian has about 500 Arabic words as result of Sicily being progressively conquered by Arabs from North Africa, from the mid-9th to mid-10th centuries. Many of these words relate to related activities; the Balkan languages, including Greek and Bulgarian, have acquired a significant number of Arabic words through contact with Ottoman Turkish. Arabic has influenced many languages around the globe throughout its history; some of the most influenced languages are Persian, Spanish, Kashmiri, Bosnian, Bengali, Malay, Indonesian, Punjabi, Assamese, Sindhi and Hausa, some languages in parts of Africa. Conversely, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages, including Greek and Persian in medieval times, contemporary European languages such as English and French in modern times.
Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims, Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations. All varieties of Arabic combined are spoken by as many as 422 million speakers in the Arab world, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography. Arabic is a Central Semitic language related to the Northwest Semitic languages, the Ancient South Arabian languages, various other Semitic languages of Arabia such as Dadanitic; the Semitic languages changed a great deal between Proto-Semitic and the establishment of the Central Semitic languages in grammar. Innovations of the Central Semitic languages—all maintained in Arabic—include: The conversion of the suffix-conjugated stative formation into a past tense; the conversion of the prefix-conjugated preterite-tense formation into a present tense.
The elimination of other prefix-conjugated mood/aspect forms in favor of new moods formed by endings attached to the prefix-conjugation forms. The development of an internal passive. There are several features which Classical Arabic, the modern Arabic varieties, as well as the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions share which are unattested in any other Central Semitic language variety, including the Dadanitic and Taymanitic languages of the northern Hejaz; these features are evidence of common descent from Proto-Arabic. The following features can be reconstructed with confidence for Proto-Arabic: negative particles m *mā.
Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although of leaders of some type, are contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, are linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its form. Other myths explain how a society's customs and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals; the study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers.
Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject; the academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Scholars now speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar.
Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a cited definition: Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. In a broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story, popular misconception or imaginary entity. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale in that neither are considered to be sacred narratives; some kinds of folktales, such as fairy stories, are not considered true by anyone, may be seen as distinct from myths for this reason.
Main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans, while legends feature humans as their main characters. However, many exceptions or combinations exist, as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Moreover, as stories spread between cultures or as faiths change, myths can come to be considered folktales, their divine characters recast as either as humans or demihumans such as giants and faeries. Conversely and literary material may acquire mythological qualities over time. For example, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, seem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries and became mythologised over the following centuries. In colloquial use, the word myth can be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story; this usage, pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. However, as used by folklorists and academics in other relevant fields, such as anthropology, the term myth has no implication whether the narrative may be understood as true or otherwise.
In present use, mythology refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may mean the study of such myths. For example, Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Hittite mythology all describe the body of myths retold among those cultures. Folklorist Alan Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". Anthropologist Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form." The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythography, a term which can be used of a scholarly anthology of myths. Key mythographers in the Classical tradition include Ovid, whose tellings of myths have been profoundingly influential.
A sickle, bagging hook or reaping-hook, is a hand-held agricultural tool designed with variously curved blades and used for harvesting, or reaping, grain crops or cutting succulent forage chiefly for feeding livestock, either freshly cut or dried as hay. Falx was a synonym but was used to mean any of a number of tools that had a curved blade, sharp on the inside edge such as a scythe. Since the beginning of the Iron Age hundreds of region-specific variants of the sickle have evolved of iron and steel; this great diversity of sickle types across many cultures can be divided into smooth or serrated blades, both of which can be used for cutting either green grass or mature cereals using different techniques. The serrated blade that originated in prehistoric sickles still dominates in the reaping of grain and is found in modern grain-harvesting machines and in some kitchen knives; the development of the sickle in Mesopotamia can be traced back to times that pre-date the Neolithic Era. Large quantities of sickle blades have been excavated in sites surrounding Israel that have been dated to the Epipaleolithic era.
Formal digs in Wadi Ziqlab, Jordan have unearthed various forms of early sickle blades. The artifacts possessed a jagged edge; this intricate ‘tooth-like’ design showed a greater degree of design and manufacturing credence than most of the other artifacts that were discovered. Sickle blades found during this time were made of flint and used in more of a sawing motion than with the more modern curved design. Flints from these sickles have been discovered near Mt. Carmel, which suggest the harvesting of grains from the area about 10,000 years ago; the sickle had a profound impact on the Agricultural Revolution by assisting in the transition to farming and crop based lifestyle. It is now accepted that the use of sickles led directly to the domestication of Near Eastern Wild grasses. Research on domestication rates of wild cereals under primitive cultivation found that the use of the sickle in harvesting was critical to the people of early Mesopotamia; the narrow growing season in the area and the critical role of grain in the late Neolithic Era promoted a larger investment in the design and manufacture of sickle over other tools.
Standardization to an extent was done on the measurements of the sickle so that replacement or repair could be more immediate. It was important that the grain be harvested at the appropriate time at one elevation so that the next elevation could be reaped at the proper time; the sickle provided a more efficient option in collecting the grain and sped up the developments of early agriculture. The sickle remained common both in the Ancient Near East and in Europe. Numerous sickles have been found deposited in hoards in the context of the European Urnfield culture, suggesting a symbolic or religious significance attached to the artifact. In archaeological terminology, Bronze Age sickles are classified by the method of attaching the handle. E.g. the knob-sickle is so called because of a protruding knob at the base of the blade which served to stabilize the attachment of the blade to the handle. The sickle played a prominent role in the Druids' Ritual of oak and mistletoe as described from a single passage in Pliny the Elder's Natural History: Due to this passage, despite the fact that Pliny does not indicate the source on which he based this account, some branches of modern Druidry have adopted the sickle as a ritual tool.
The sickle has been discovered in southwest North America with a unique structure. These sickles are said to have originated from the Far East. There is evidence that Kodiak islanders had for cutting grass “sickles made of a sharpened animal shoulder blade”; the artifacts found in present-day Arizona and New Mexico resemble curved tools that were made from the horns of mountain sheep. A similar site discovered sickles made from other material such as the Caddo Sickle, made from a deer mandible. Scripture from early natives document the use of these sickles in the cutting of grass; the instruments ranged from 13 to 16 inches tip to tip. Several other digs in eastern Arizona uncovered wooden sickles that were shaped in a similar fashion; the handles of the tools help describe how the tool was held in such a way so that the inner portion that contained the cutting surface could serve as a gathering surface for the grain. Sickles were sharpened by scraping a shape beveled edge with a coarse tool; this action has left marks on artifacts.
The sharpening process was necessary to keep the cutting edge from being dulled after extended use. The edge is seen to be quite polished, which in part proves that the instrument was used to cut grass. After collection, the grass was used as material to create bedding; the sickle in general provided the convenience of cutting the grass as well as gathering in one step. In South America, the sickle is used as a tool to harvest rice. Rice clusters are left to dry in the sun; the genealogy of sickles with serrated edge reaches back to the Stone Age, when individual pieces of flint were first attached to a “blade body” of wood or bone. Teeth have been cut with hand-held chisels into iron, steel-bladed sickles for a long time. In many countries on the African continent and South America as well as the Near and Far East this is still the case in the regions within these large geographies where the traditional village blacksmith remains alive and well. En
Awwam can refer to the region of ʾAwwām, now thought by most scholars to be Ma'rib, or to the famous temple of ʾAwwām otherwise known as the Maḥram Bilqis. In the pre-Islamic times, numerous pilgrims gathered in Ma'rib city and headed to almaqah temple of Harunum to perform their cultic rituals, continued to the sanctuary of Awwam using processional road. One of the most frequent titles of the god Almaqah was "Lord of ʾAwwām"; the Temple of Awwam or "Mahram Bilqis" is a Sabaean temple dedicated to the principal deity of Saba, near Ma'rib in what is now Yemen. The temple is situated 7 kilometres southeast of ancient Marib, was built in the city outskirt. Sabaean major sanctuaries are located outside urban centers, the reason behind it, is for religious privacy, to facilitate the conduct of rituals by arriving pilgrims from remote areas of Sabaean territories; such patterns are observed in several temples from the Hadramawt. The oldest inscription found in the complex was in reference to the building of the temple's massive enclosure by Mukarrib Yada`'il Dharih I in the middle of the 7th century BC.
Indicating much earlier period of the temple's construction. Yada`'il inscription was carved outside the wall, contains the following: Yadaʿʾil Dharih, son of Sumhuʾalay, mukarrib of Saba', walled ʾAwwam, the temple of Almaqah, when he sacrificed to Athtar and he established the whole community by a god and a patron and a pact and a trea Almaqah; the largest part of the temple is occupied by an unguarded yard, enclosed by a stone wall with an irregular oval ground plan. On the inner wall of the hall were several dozen important inscriptions from the late period of the Sabaean kingdom. Partial excavation of Awwam peristyle in 1951-52 by the American Foundation for the Study of Man, led by Wendell Philips, cleared the entrance court completely and made numerous discoveries; such as elaborate bronze statues, the usage of the southern entrance in the elliptic wall for ablution rituals before entering the cella. The temple is situated in isolated area functioning as religious sacred place; the place name, ` wm, signify.
There is a possibility that the temple developed from a small shrine into an enormous complex encompassing multiple structures associated with the temple i.e. houses for priests, auxiliary rooms, workshops for metalworkers, cemetery connected to the sanctuary and residential area which make the so-called protected enclave. Geomorphological investigations have shown that the Awwam temple was erected on high natural platform, making it more impressive for the viewers; the temple itself was oriented towards the rising sun and consisted of eight pillars propylaeum marking the entrance, followed by large rectangular peristyle hall, massive oval shaped enclosure with other exterior linked structures. Pillars are the most widespread architectural feature used in ancient South Arabian religious structures; the peristyle hall might have reflected the numbers of the eight pillared propylaeum. Bronze bull and human statues used to be attached to the entrance gates of the temple. Access to the complex was controlled by doors leading to hierarchical series of courtyards and halls that served as transitional areas.
Many aspects of the decoration and figurine paintings, sculptures and dressed stones, finely carved inscriptions painted red, beautiful ornamental friezes on the wall's exterior, meant to impress the visitor and fill him with awe in the presence of god. The hall has a semi-rectangular form, with eight monolith pillared propylaeum entrance topped by square tenons designed to accommodate an architrave; the perimeter of the peristyle hall is 42 x 19 m and is flanked by the end of the oval-shaped enclosure in its western and eastern exterior walls. The interior of the structure contains a large library of inscribed stone blocks and 64 vertically fake double windows motif with 32 pillars made from single monolith except two that once supported stone beams. Number eight might reflect a sacred number, since it is used at the entrance, interior pillars and fake windows. Ancient South Arabian buildings, including Awwam peristyle hall, appears to be pre-planned according to advance system of measurement instead of fair using of space.
AFSM excavation in the paved courtyard revealed multiple South Arabian inscriptions, a group of broken column capitals, bronze plaques and numerous pottery statues, along with potsherds that date back to 1500-1200 BC. Visitors of the sanctuary are obliged to go through the annex via a gate of three entrances into the peristyle hall; the gate could be closed. An observable water conduit made from alabaster used to run through the hall and into a bronze basin placed in a room for purification purposes; the water fell on the floor like a fountain, it fell so long and with such force that it cut through a copper basin placed under and into the stone itself. The enclosure is defined by massive oval shaped wall that flank the peristyle hall from its western and eastern wings, the wall's length is measured 757 m and 13 m in height, however the original height can't be determined for certainty and it's difficult to assess the real extent. Many inscriptions, hundreds in quantity, were discovered in the sanctuary and nearby, only few that deals directly with the temple's construction
History of Ethiopia
The article covers the prehistory and history of Ethiopia from its emergence as an empire under the Aksumites to its current form as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia as well as the history of other areas in what is now Ethiopia such as the Afar Triangle. The Ethiopian Empire was first founded by Ethiopian people in the Ethiopian Highlands. Due to migration and imperial expansion, it grew to include many other Afro-Asiatic-speaking communities, including Oromos, Somalis, Afars, Gurage and Harari, among others. One of the earliest kingdoms to rise to power in the territory was the kingdom of D'mt in the 10th century BC, which established its capital at Yeha. In the first century AD the Aksumite Kingdom rose to power in the Tigray Region with its capital at Aksum and grew into a major power on the Red Sea, subjugating Yemen and Meroe and converting to Christianity in the early fourth century; the Aksumite empire fell into decline with the rise of Islam, forcing the Ethiopians to move south into the highlands for refuge.
The Aksumites gave way to the Zagwe Dynasty who established a new capital at Lalibela, before giving way to the Solomonic Dynasty in the 13th century. During the early Solomonic period Ethiopia went through military reforms and imperial expansion that made it dominate the Horn of Africa. Portuguese missionaries arrived at this time. In 1529, a conquest of Abyssinia by the Ottoman-allied Muslim Adal Sultanate devastated the highlands, was only deterred by a Portuguese intervention. With both Ethiopia and Adal weakened by the war, the Oromo people were able to invade into the highlands, conquering the remains of the Adal Sultanate and pushing deep into Ethiopia; the Portuguese presence increased, while the Ottomans began to push into what is now Eritrea, creating the Habesh Eyalet. The Portuguese brought modern weapons and baroque architecture to Ethiopia, in 1622 converted the emperor Susenyos I to Catholicism, sparking a civil war which ended in his abdication and an expulsion of all Catholics from Ethiopia.
A new capital was established at Gondar in 1632, a period of peace and prosperity ensued until the country was split apart by warlords in the 18th century during the Zemene Mesafint. Ethiopia was reunified in 1855 under Tewodros II, beginning Ethiopia's modern history and his reign was followed by Yohannes IV, killed in action in 1889. Under Menelik II Ethiopia started its transformation to well organized technological advancement and the structure that the country has now. Ethiopia expanded to the south and east, through the conquest of the western Oromo, Gurage and other groups, resulting in the borders of modern Ethiopia. Ethiopia defeated an Italian invasion in 1896 and came to be recognised as a legitimate state by European powers. A more rapid modernisation took place under Haile Selassie. Italy launched a second invasion in 1935. From 1935-1941, Ethiopia was under Italian occupation. A joint force of British and Ethiopian rebels managed to drive the Italians out of the country in 1941, Haile Selassie was returned to the throne.
Ethiopia and Eritrea united in a federation, but when Haile Selassie ended the federation in 1961 and made Eritrea a province of Ethiopia, the 30-year Eritrean War of Independence broke out. Eritrea regained its independence after a referendum in 1993. Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974 and the militaristic Derg Regime came to power. In 1977 Somalia invaded, trying to annex the Ogaden region, but were pushed back by Ethiopian and Cuban forces. In 1977 and 1978 the government tortured or killed hundreds of thousands of suspected enemies in the Red Terror. Ethiopia experienced famine in 1984 that killed one million people and civil war that resulted in the fall of the Derg in 1991; this resulted in the establishment of the Federal Democratic Republic under Meles Zenawi. Ethiopia remains impoverished, it was not until 1963 that evidence of the presence of ancient hominids was discovered in Ethiopia, many years after similar discoveries had been made in neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania. The discovery was made by Gerrard Dekker, a Dutch hydrologist, who found Acheulian stone tools that were over a million years old at Kella.
Since many important finds have propelled Ethiopia to the forefront of palaeontology. The oldest hominid discovered to date in Ethiopia is the 4.2 million year old Ardipithicus ramidus found by Tim D. White in 1994; the most well known hominid discovery is Lucy, found in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia's Afar region in 1974 by Donald Johanson, is one of the most complete and best preserved, adult Australopithecine fossils uncovered. Lucy's taxonomic name, Australopithecus afarensis, means'southern ape of Afar', refers to the Ethiopian region where the discovery was made. Lucy is estimated to have lived 3.2 million years ago. There have been many other notable fossil findings in the country. Near Gona stone tools were uncovered in 1992 that were 2.52 million years old, these are the oldest such tools discovered anywhere in the world. In 2010 fossilised animal bones, that were 3.4 million years old, were found with stone-tool-inflicted marks on them in the Lower Awash Valley by an international team, led by Shannon McPherron, the oldest evidence of stone tool use found anywhere in the world.
In 2004 fossils found near the Omo river at Kibbish by Richard Leakey in 1967 were redated to 195,000 years old, the oldest date in East Africa for modern Homo sapiens. Homo sapiens idaltu, found in the Middle Awash in Ethiopia in 1997, lived about 160,000 years ago; the earliest records of Ethiopia appear in Ancient Egypt, during the Old Kingdom period