Eritrea the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa, with its capital at Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, Djibouti in the southeast; the northeastern and eastern parts of Eritrea have an extensive coastline along the Red Sea. The nation has a total area of 117,600 km2, includes the Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands, its toponym Eritrea is based on the Greek name for the Red Sea, first adopted for Italian Eritrea in 1890. Eritrea is a multi-ethnic country, with nine recognized ethnic groups in its population of around 5 million. Most residents speak languages from the Afroasiatic family, either of the Ethiopian Semitic languages or Cushitic branches. Among these communities, the Tigrinyas make up about 55% of the population, with the Tigre people constituting around 30% of inhabitants. In addition, there are a number of Nilo-Saharan-speaking Nilotic ethnic minorities. Most people in the territory adhere to Islam; the Kingdom of Aksum, covering much of modern-day Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, was established during the first or second centuries AD.
It adopted Christianity around the middle of the fourth century. In medieval times much of Eritrea fell under the Medri Bahri kingdom, with a smaller region being part of Hamasien; the creation of modern-day Eritrea is a result of the incorporation of independent, distinct kingdoms and sultanates resulting in the formation of Italian Eritrea. After the defeat of the Italian colonial army in 1942, Eritrea was administered by the British Military Administration until 1952. Following the UN General Assembly decision, in 1952, Eritrea would govern itself with a local Eritrean parliament but for foreign affairs and defense it would enter into a federal status with Ethiopia for a period of 10 years. However, in 1962 the government of Ethiopia annulled the Eritrean parliament and formally annexed Eritrea, but the Eritreans that argued for complete Eritrean independence since the ouster of the Italians in 1941, anticipated what was coming and in 1960 organized the Eritrean Liberation Front in opposition.
In 1991, after 30 years of continuous armed struggle for independence, the Eritrean liberation fighters entered the capital city, Asmara, in victory. Eritrea is a one-party state in which national legislative elections have never been held since independence. According to Human Rights Watch, the Eritrean government's human rights record is among the worst in the world; the Eritrean government has dismissed these allegations as politically motivated. The compulsory military service requires long, indefinite conscription periods, which some Eritreans leave the country to avoid; because all local media is state-owned, Eritrea was ranked as having the second-least press freedom in the global Press Freedom Index, behind only North Korea. The sovereign state of Eritrea is a member of the African Union, the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, is an observer in the Arab League alongside Brazil, Venezuela and Turkey; the name Eritrea is derived from the ancient Greek name for the Red Sea.
It was first formally adopted with the formation of Italian Eritrea. The name persisted over the course of subsequent British and Ethiopian occupation, was reaffirmed by the 1993 independence referendum and 1997 constitution. At Buya in Eritrea, one of the oldest hominids representing a possible link between Homo erectus and an archaic Homo sapiens was found by Italian scientists. Dated to over 1 million years old, it is the oldest skeletal find of its kind and provides a link between hominids and the earliest anatomically modern humans, it is believed that the section of the Danakil Depression in Eritrea was a major player in terms of human evolution, may contain other traces of evolution from Homo erectus hominids to anatomically modern humans. During the last interglacial period, the Red Sea coast of Eritrea was occupied by early anatomically modern humans, it is believed that the area was on the route out of Africa that some scholars suggest was used by early humans to colonize the rest of the Old World.
In 1999, the Eritrean Research Project Team composed of Eritrean, American and French scientists discovered a Paleolithic site with stone and obsidian tools dated to over 125,000 years old near the Bay of Zula south of Massawa, along the Red Sea littoral. The tools are believed to have been used by early humans to harvest marine resources such as clams and oysters. According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations arrived in the region during the ensuing Neolithic era from the family's proposed urheimat in the Nile Valley. Other scholars propose that the Afroasiatic family developed in situ in the Horn, with its speakers subsequently dispersing from there. Together with Djibouti, northern Somalia, the Red Sea coast of Sudan, Eritrea is considered the most location of the land which the ancient Egyptians called Punt, first mentioned in the 25th century BC; the ancient Puntites had close relations with Ancient Egypt during the rule of Pharaoh Sahure and Queen Hatshepsut. This is confirmed by genetic studies of mummified baboons.
In 2010, a study was conducted on baboon mummies that were brought from Punt to Egypt as gifts by the ancient Egyptians. The scientists from the Egyptian Museum and the University of California used oxygen isotope analysis to examine hairs from two baboon mummies, preserved in the British Museum. One of the baboons had distorted isotopic data, so t
Kingdom of Aksum
The Kingdom of Aksum was an ancient kingdom located in what is now Tigray Region and Eritrea. Axumite Emperors were powerful sovereigns, styling themselves King of kings, king of Aksum, Raydan, Salhen, Beja and of Kush. Ruled by the Aksumites, it existed from 100 AD to 940 AD; the polity was centered in the city of Axum and grew from the proto-Aksumite Iron Age period around the 4th century BC to achieve prominence by the 1st century AD. Aksum became a major player on the commercial route between the Roman Ancient India; the Aksumite rulers facilitated trade by minting their own Aksumite currency, with the state establishing its hegemony over the declining Kingdom of Kush. It regularly entered the politics of the kingdoms on the Arabian Peninsula and extended its rule over the region with the conquest of the Himyarite Kingdom; the Manichaei prophet Mani regarded Axum as one of the four great powers of his time, the others being Persia and China. The Aksumites erected a number of monumental stelae, which served a religious purpose in pre-Christian times.
One of these granite columns is the largest such structure in the world, at 90 feet. Under Ezana Aksum adopted Christianity. In the 7th century, early Muslims from Mecca sought refuge from Quraysh persecution by travelling to the kingdom, a journey known in Islamic history as the First Hijra; the kingdom's ancient capital called Axum, is now a town in Tigray Region. The Kingdom used the name "Ethiopia" as early as the 4th century. Tradition claims Axum as the alleged resting place of the Ark of the Covenant and the purported home of the Queen of Sheba. Aksum is mentioned in the first-century AD Periplus of the Erythraean Sea as an important market place for the trade in ivory, exported throughout the ancient world, it states that the ruler of Aksum in the first century was Zoskales, besides ruling the kingdom controlled land near the Red Sea: Adulis and lands through the highlands of present-day Eritrea. He is said to have been familiar with Greek literature. 4. Below Ptolemais of the Hunts, at a distance of about three thousand stadia, there is Adulis, a port established by law, lying at the inner end of a bay that runs in toward the south.
Before the harbor lies the so-called Mountain Island, about two hundred stadia seaward from the head of the bay, with the shores of the mainland close to it on both sides. Ships bound for this port now anchor here because of attacks from the land, they used to anchor at the head of the bay, by an island called Diodorus, close to the shore, which could be reached on foot from the land. Opposite Mountain Island, on the mainland twenty stadia from shore, lies Adulis, a fair-sized village, from which there is a three-days' journey to Coloe, an inland town and the first market for ivory. From that place to the city of the people called Auxumites there is a five days' journey more; the whole number of elephants and rhinoceros that are killed live in the places inland, although at rare intervals they are hunted on the seacoast near Adulis. Before the harbor of that market-town, out at sea on the right hand, there lie a great many little sandy islands called Alalaei, yielding tortoise-shell, brought to market there by the Fish-Eaters....
6. There are imported into these places, undressed cloth made in Egypt for the Berbers. Besides these, small axes are imported, adzes and swords. From the district of Ariaca across this sea, there are imported Indian iron, steel, Indian cotton cloth. There are exported from these places ivory, tortoiseshell and rhinoceros-horn; the most from Egypt is brought to this market from the month of January to September, that is, from Tybi to Thoth. On the basis of Carlo Conti Rossini's theories and prolific work on Ethiopian history, Aksum was thought to have been founded by the Sabaeans, who spoke a language from the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Evidence suggests that Semitic-speaking Aksumites semiticized the Agaw people, who spoke other Afroasiatic languages from the family's Cushitic branch, had established an independent civilisation in the territory before the arrival of the Sabaeans. Scholars like Stuart Munro-Hay thus point to the existence of an older kingdom known as D'mt, which flourished in the area between the tenth and fifth centuries BC, prior to the proposed Sabaean migration in the fourth or fifth century BC.
They cite evidence indicating that Sabaea
Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt and a major economic centre, extending about 32 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country. Its low elevation on the Nile delta makes it vulnerable to rising sea levels. Alexandria is an important industrial center because of its natural oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria is a popular tourist destination. Alexandria was founded around a small, ancient Egyptian town c. 332 BC by Alexander the Great, king of Macedon and leader of the Greek League of Corinth, during his conquest of the Achaemenid Empire. Alexandria became an important center of Hellenistic civilization and remained the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt and Roman and Byzantine Egypt for 1,000 years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in AD 641, when a new capital was founded at Fustat. Hellenistic Alexandria was best known for the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Alexandria was at one time the second most powerful city of the ancient Mediterranean region, after Rome.
Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbor of Alexandria, which began in 1994, is revealing details of Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhacotis existed there, during the Ptolemaic dynasty. From the late 18th century, Alexandria became a major center of the international shipping industry and one of the most important trading centers in the world, both because it profited from the easy overland connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, the lucrative trade in Egyptian cotton. Alexandria is believed to have been founded by Alexander the Great in April 331 BC as Ἀλεξάνδρεια. Alexander's chief architect for the project was Dinocrates. Alexandria was intended to supersede Naucratis as a Hellenistic center in Egypt, to be the link between Greece and the rich Nile valley. Although it has long been believed only a small village there, recent radiocarbon dating of seashell fragments and lead contamination show significant human activity at the location for two millennia preceding Alexandria's founding.
Alexandria was the cultural center of the ancient world for some time. The city and its museum attracted many of the greatest scholars, including Greeks and Syrians; the city was plundered and lost its significance. In the early Christian Church, the city was the center of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, one of the major centers of early Christianity in the Eastern Roman Empire. In the modern world, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria both lay claim to this ancient heritage. Just east of Alexandria, there was in ancient times marshland and several islands; as early as the 7th century BC, there existed important port cities of Heracleion. The latter was rediscovered under water. An Egyptian city, Rhakotis existed on the shore and gave its name to Alexandria in the Egyptian language, it continued to exist as the Egyptian quarter of the city. A few months after the foundation, Alexander never returned to his city. After Alexander's departure, his viceroy, continued the expansion.
Following a struggle with the other successors of Alexander, his general Ptolemy Lagides succeeded in bringing Alexander's body to Alexandria, though it was lost after being separated from its burial site there. Although Cleomenes was in charge of overseeing Alexandria's continuous development, the Heptastadion and the mainland quarters seem to have been Ptolemaic work. Inheriting the trade of ruined Tyre and becoming the center of the new commerce between Europe and the Arabian and Indian East, the city grew in less than a generation to be larger than Carthage. In a century, Alexandria had become the largest city in the world and, for some centuries more, was second only to Rome, it became Egypt's main Greek city, with Greek people from diverse backgrounds. Alexandria was not only a center of Hellenism, but was home to the largest urban Jewish community in the world; the Septuagint, a Greek version of the Tanakh, was produced there. The early Ptolemies kept it in order and fostered the development of its museum into the leading Hellenistic center of learning, but were careful to maintain the distinction of its population's three largest ethnicities: Greek and Egyptian.
By the time of Augustus, the city walls encompassed an area of 5.34 km2, the total population in Roman times was around 500-600,000. According to Philo of Alexandria, in the year 38 of the Common era, disturbances erupted between Jews and Greek citizens of Alexandria during a visit paid by the Jewish king Agrippa I to Alexandria, principally over the respect paid by the Jewish nation to the Roman emperor, which escalated to open affronts and violence between the two ethnic groups and the desecration of Alexandrian synagogues; the violence was quelled after Caligula intervened and had the Roman governor, removed from the city. In AD 115, large parts of Alexandria were destroyed during the Kitos War, which gave Hadrian and his architect, Decriannus, an opportunity to rebuild it. In 215, the emperor Caracalla visited the city and, because of some insulting satires that the inhabitants had directed at him, abruptly commanded his troops to put to death all youths capable of bearing arms. On 21 July
Kerala, locally known as Keralam, is a state on the southwestern, Malabar Coast of India. It was formed on 1 November 1956, following passage of the States Reorganisation Act, by combining Malayalam-speaking regions. Spread over 38,863 km2, Kerala is the twenty-second largest Indian state by area, it is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, the Lakshadweep Sea and Arabian Sea to the west. With 33,387,677 inhabitants as per the 2011 Census, Kerala is the thirteenth-largest Indian state by population, it is divided into 14 districts with the capital being Thiruvananthapuram. Malayalam is the most spoken language and is the official language of the state; the Chera Dynasty was the first prominent kingdom based in Kerala. The Ay kingdom in the deep south and the Ezhimala kingdom in the north formed the other kingdoms in the early years of the Common Era; the region had been a prominent spice exporter since 3000 BCE. The region's prominence in trade was noted in the works of Pliny as well as the Periplus around 100 CE.
In the 15th century, the spice trade attracted Portuguese traders to Kerala, paved the way for European colonisation of India. At the time of Indian independence movement in the early 20th century, there were two major princely states in Kerala-Travancore State and the Kingdom of Cochin, they united to form the state of Thiru-Kochi in 1949. The Malabar region, in the northern part of Kerala had been a part of the Madras province of British India, which became a part of the Madras State post-independence. After the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, the modern-day state of Kerala was formed by merging the Malabar district of Madras State, the state of Thiru-Kochi, the taluk of Kasaragod in South Canara, a part of Madras State; the economy of Kerala is the 12th-largest state economy in India with ₹7.73 lakh crore in gross domestic product and a per capita GDP of ₹163,000. Kerala has the lowest positive population growth rate in India, 3.44%. The state has witnessed significant emigration to Arab states of the Persian Gulf during the Gulf Boom of the 1970s and early 1980s, its economy depends on remittances from a large Malayali expatriate community.
Hinduism is practised by more than half of the population, followed by Christianity. The culture is a synthesis of Aryan, Dravidian and European cultures, developed over millennia, under influences from other parts of India and abroad; the production of pepper and natural rubber contributes to the total national output. In the agricultural sector, tea, coffee and spices are important; the state's coastline extends for 595 kilometres, around 1.1 million people in the state are dependent on the fishery industry which contributes 3% to the state's income. The state has the highest media exposure in India with newspapers publishing in nine languages English and Malayalam. Kerala is one of the prominent tourist destinations of India, with backwaters, hill stations, Ayurvedic tourism and tropical greenery as its major attractions; the name Kerala has an uncertain etymology. One popular theory derives Kerala from alam; the word Kerala is first recorded as Keralaputra in a 3rd-century BCE rock inscription left by the Maurya emperor Ashoka, one of his edicts pertaining to welfare.
The inscription refers to the local ruler as Keralaputra. This contradicts the theory that Kera is from "coconut tree". At that time, one of three states in the region was called Cheralam in Classical Tamil: Chera and Kera are variants of the same word; the word Cheral refers to the oldest known dynasty of Kerala kings and is derived from the Proto-Tamil-Malayalam word for "lake". The earliest Sanskrit text to mention Kerala is the Aitareya Aranyaka of the Rigveda. Kerala is mentioned in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the two Hindu epics; the Skanda Purana mentions the ecclesiastical office of the Thachudaya Kaimal, referred to as Manikkam Keralar, synonymous with the deity of the Koodalmanikyam temple. Keralam may stem from the Classical Tamil chera alam; the Greco-Roman trade map. According to Tamil classic Purananuru, Chera king Senkuttuvan conquered the lands between Kanyakumari and the Himalayas. Lacking worthy enemies, he besieged the sea by throwing his spear into it. According to the 17th century Malayalam work Keralolpathi, the lands of Kerala were recovered from the sea by the axe-wielding warrior sage Parasurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu.
Parasurama threw his axe across the sea, the water receded as far as it reached. According to legend, this new area of land extended from Gokarna to Kanyakumari; the land which rose from sea was filled with unsuitable for habitation. Out of respect and all snakes were appo
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea known by its Latin name as the Periplus Maris Erythraei, is a Greco-Roman periplus written in Koine Greek that describes navigation and trading opportunities from Roman Egyptian ports like Berenice Troglodytica along the coast of the Red Sea, others along Horn of Africa, the Sindh region of Pakistan, along with southwestern regions of India. The text has been ascribed to different dates between the first and third centuries, but a mid-first century date is now the most accepted. While the author is unknown, it is a firsthand description by someone familiar with the area and is nearly unique in providing accurate insights into what the ancient European world knew about the lands around the Indian Ocean. A periplus is a kind of logbook recording sailing itineraries and commercial and ethnological details about the ports visited. In an era before maps were in general use, they functioned as a kind of combination atlas and traveller's handbook; the Erythraean Sea was an ancient geographical designation that always included the Gulf of Aden between Arabia Felix and the Horn of Africa and was extended—as in this periplus—to include the present-day Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean as a single maritime area.
The 10th-century Byzantine manuscript which forms the basis of present knowledge of the Periplus attributes the work to Arrian, but for no better reason than its position beside Arrian's much Periplus of the Black Sea. One historical analysis, published by Schoff in 1912, narrowed the date of the text to AD 59–62, in agreement with present-day estimates of the middle of the 1st century. Schoff additionally provides an historical analysis as to the text's original authorship, arrives at the conclusion that the author was a "Greek in Egypt, a Roman subject." By Schoff's calculations, this would have been during the time of Tiberius Claudius Balbilus. John Hill maintains that "the Periplus can now be confidently dated to between 40 and 70 AD and between AD 40 and 50."Schoff continues by noting that the author could not have been "a educated man" as "is evident from his frequent confusion of Greek and Latin words and his clumsy and sometimes ungrammatical constructions." Because of "the absence of any account of the journey up the Nile and across the desert from Coptos," Schoff prefers to pinpoint the author's residence to "Berenice rather than Alexandria."
The work consists of most of them about the length of a long paragraph in English. For instance, the short section 9 reads in its entirety: From Malao it is two courses to the mart of Moundou, where ships anchor more safely by an island lying close to the land; the imports to this are as aforesaid, from it are exported the same goods, fragrant gum called mokrotou. The inhabitants who trade here are more stubborn. In many cases, the description of places is sufficiently accurate to identify their present locations. For instance, a "Rhapta" is mentioned as the farthest market down the African coast of "Azania", but there are at least five locations matching the description, ranging from Tanga to south of the Rufiji River delta; the description of the Indian coast mentions the Ganges River yet after, somewhat garbled, describing China as a "great inland city Thina", a source of raw silk. The Periplus says that a direct sailing route from the Red Sea to the Indian peninsula across the open ocean was discovered by Hippalus.
Many trade goods are mentioned in the Periplus, but some of the words naming trade goods are seen nowhere else in ancient literature, so we can only guess as to what they might be. For example, one trade good mentioned is "lakkos chromatinos"; the name lakkos appears nowhere else in ancient Greek or Roman literature. The name re-surfaces in late medieval Latin as lacca, borrowed from medieval Arabic lakk in turn borrowed from Sanskritic lakh, meaning lac i.e. a red-colored resin native to India used as a lacquer and used as a red colorant. Some other named trade goods remain obscure. Ships from Himyar traveled the East African coast; the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea describes the trading empire of Himyar and Saba, regrouped under a single ruler, "Charibael", said to have been on friendly terms with Rome: 23. And after nine days more there is Saphar, the metropolis, in which lives Charibael, lawful king of two tribes, the Homerites and those living next to them, called the Sabaites; the Frankincense kingdom is described further east along the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, with the harbour of Cana.
The ruler of this kingdom is named Eleazus, or Eleazar, thought to correspond to King Iliazz Yalit I: 27. After Eudaemon Arabia there is a continuous length of coast, a bay extending two thousand stadia or more, along which there are Nomads and Fish-Eaters living in villages. Inland from this place lies the metropolis Sabbatha, in wh
Ptolemy III Euergetes
Ptolemy III Euergetes was the third king of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt from 246 to 222 BC. Euergetes was the eldest son of Ptolemy II Philadelphus and his first wife, Arsinoe I, came to power in 246 BC upon the death of his father, he married Berenice of Cyrene in the year corresponding to 244/243 BC. 246/245 BC. She married her brother Ptolemy IV. Ptolemy IV Philopator, born c. 244 BC. Lysimachus; the name of the son is not known, but he is said to have been born in c. 243 BC. Alexander, born in c. 242 BC. Magas, born in c. 241 BC. Scalded to death in his bath by Theogos or Theodotus, at the orders of Ptolemy IV. Berenice born in c. 239 BC and died a year later. Ptolemy III Euergetes was responsible for the first known example of a series of decrees published as bilingual inscriptions on massive stone blocks in three writing systems, his stone stela is the Canopus Stone of 238 BC. Other well-known examples are the Memphis Stele, bearing the Decree of Memphis, about 218 BC, passed by his son, Ptolemy IV, as well as the famous Rosetta Stone erected by Ptolemy Epiphanes, his grandson, in 196 BC.
Ptolemy III's stone contains decrees about priestly orders, is a memorial for his daughter Berenice. But two of its 26 lines of hieroglyphs decree the use of a leap day added to the Egyptian calendar of 365 days, the associated changes in festivals, he is credited with the foundation of the Serapeum, as well as the temple of Horus at Edfu, which he commissioned in about 237 BC, although the main temple would not be finished until the reign of his son, Ptolemy IV, in 231 BC, it would not be opened until 142 BC, during the reign of Ptolemy VIII. The reliefs on the great pylon were only completed in the reign of Ptolemy XII. He, like many Pharaohs before him added to the Temple of Karnak, he maintained his father's foreign policy of subduing Macedonia by supporting its enemies. Ptolemy backed the Achaean League, a collaboration of Greek city-states, enemies of Macedonia, but switched his support to Sparta when it came into conflict with the Achaean League and proved itself more apt to fighting the Macedonians.
He was more liberal towards Egyptian religion than his predecessors. He supported and contributed towards various cults those of the Apis and Mnevis Bulls, as is stated in the Canopus Decree of 238 BC, in which the Egyptian priesthood praise him and his wife as "Benefactor Gods" for this religious support, as well as for maintaining peace by strong national security, for good governance, including when he imported, at his own expense, a vast amount of grain to compensate for a weak inundation; the Ptolemaic kingdom reached the height of its power during this reign. He continued his predecessor's work on Alexandria in the Great Library, he had every book unloaded in the Alexandria docks seized, had copies made of each one, gave the copies to the previous owners while the original copies were kept in the Library. It is said that he borrowed works of Aeschylus and Euripides from Athens, but decided to forfeit the considerable deposit he paid for them, keeping them for the Library rather than returning them.
Due to a falling out at the Seleucid court, Ptolemy's eldest sister Berenice Phernophorus was murdered along with her infant son. In response Ptolemy III invaded the Seleucid Empire, today known as Iraq, among other nations at the time. During this war, the Third Syrian War, he occupied Antioch and reached Babylon. In exchange for a peace in 241 BC, Ptolemy was awarded new territories on the northern coast of Syria, including Seleucia Pieria, the port of Antioch. From this capture he received fifteen hundred talents of silver a tenth of his annual income. During his involvement in the Third Syrian War, he managed to regain many Egyptian works of art, stolen when the Persians conquered Egypt. While he was away fighting, he left his wife Berenice II in charge of the country, but swiftly returned when trouble erupted there. New insights of Ptolemy III's sudden return include papyri describing how the Nile river didn't flood for several years, resulting in famine, a 20-year revolt against Greek rule in Thebes, climate proxy studies which suggest changes of the monsoon pattern at the time, all linked to a volcanic eruption which took place in 247 BC.
Ptolemy III's reign was marked by trade with other contemporaneous polities. In the 1930s, excavations by Mattingly at a fortress close to Port Dunford in present-day southern Somalia yielded a number of Ptolemaic coins. Among these pieces were 17 copper mints from the reigns of Ptolemy III to Ptolemy V, as well as late Imperial Rome and Mamluk Sultanate coins. History of Ptolemaic Egypt Ptolemais - towns and cities named after members of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Decree of Canopus Clayton, Peter A.. Chronicles of the Pharaohs: the reign-by-reign record of the rulers and dynasties of ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-28628-0. Ptolemy Euergetes I at LacusCurtius — Ptolemy III — Ptolemy III Euergetes entry in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith Bust of Ptolemy III from Herculaneum - now in the Museo Nazionale, Naples
Axum or Aksum is the site of the historic capital of the Kingdom of Aksum. It is now a tourist town with a population of 66,800 residents; the Kingdom of Axum was a naval and trading power that ruled the region from about 400 BCE into the 10th century. In 1980, UNESCO added Axum's archaeological sites to its list of World Heritage Sites due to their historic value. Axum is located near the base of the Adwa mountains, it is surrounded by La'ilay Maychew district. Axum was the centre of the marine trading power known as the Aksumite Kingdom, which predated the earliest mentions in Roman-era writings. Around 356 CE, its ruler was converted to Christianity by Frumentius. Under the reign of Kaleb, Axum was a quasi-ally of Byzantium against the Sasanian Empire which had adopted Zoroastrianism; the historical record is unclear, with ancient church records the primary contemporary sources. It is believed it began a long and slow decline after the seventh century due to the Persians and the Arabs contesting old Red Sea trade routes.
Aksum was cut off from its principal markets in Alexandria and Southern Europe and its trade share was captured by Arab traders of the era. The Kingdom of Aksum was destroyed by Empress Gudit, some of the people of Aksum were forced south and their old way of life declined; as the kingdom's power declined so did the influence of the city, believed to have lost population in the decline, similar to Rome and other cities thrust away from the flow of world events. The last known king to reign was crowned in about the 10th century, but the kingdom's influence and power ended long before that, its decline in population and trade contributed to the shift of the power center of the Ethiopian Empire south to the Agaw region as it moved further inland. The city of Axum was the administrative seat of an empire spanning one million square miles; the alternative name was adopted by the central region, subsequently, the present modern state. The Kingdom of Aksum had its own written language, Ge'ez, developed a distinctive architecture exemplified by giant obelisks, the oldest of which date from 5000–2000 BCE.
The kingdom was at its height under King Ezana, baptized as Abreha, in the 4th century. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church claims that the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum houses the Biblical Ark of the Covenant, in which lie the Tablets of Stone upon which the Ten Commandments are inscribed. Ethiopian traditions suggest that it was from Axum that Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, journeyed to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem and that the two had a son, who grew up in Ethiopia but traveled to Jerusalem as a young man to visit his father's homeland, he lived several years in Jerusalem before returning to his country with the Ark of the Covenant. According to the Ethiopian Church and Ethiopian tradition, the Ark still exists in Axum; this same church was the site where Ethiopian emperors were crowned for centuries until the reign of Fasilides again beginning with Yohannes IV until the end of the empire. Axum is considered to be the holiest city in Ethiopia and is an important destination of pilgrimages.
Significant religious festivals are the Timkat festival on 19 January and the Festival of Maryam Zion on November 24. In 1937, a 24-metre tall, 1,700-year-old Obelisk of Axum, broken into five parts and lying on the ground, was found and shipped by Italian soldiers to Rome to be erected; the obelisk is regarded as one of the finest examples of engineering from the height of the Axumite empire. Despite a 1947 United Nations agreement that the obelisk would be shipped back, Italy balked, resulting in a long-standing diplomatic dispute with the Ethiopian government, which views the obelisk as a symbol of national identity. In April 2005, Italy returned the obelisk pieces to Axum amidst much official and public rejoicing. UNESCO assumed responsibility for the re-installation of this stele in Axum, by the end of July 2008 the obelisk had been reinstalled, it was unveiled on 4 September 2008. The Kingdom of Aksum has a longstanding relationship with Islam. According to ibn Hisham, when Muhammad faced oppression from the Quraysh clan, he sent a small group that included his daughter Ruqayya and her husband Uthman to Axum.
Sahama, the Aksumite king, gave them protection. He refused the requests of the Quraish clan to send these refugees back to Arabia; these refugees did not return until the sixth Hijri year, then many remained in Ethiopia settling at Negash in what is now the Mibraqawi Zone. There are different traditions concerning the effect; the Muslim tradition is that the ruler of Axum was so impressed by these refugees that he became a secret convert. On the other hand, Arabic historians and Ethiopian tradition state that some of the Muslim refugees who lived in Ethiopia during this time converted to Orthodox Christianity. There is a second Ethiopian tradition that, on the death of Ashama ibn Abjar, Muhammed is reported to have prayed for the king's soul, told his followers, "Leave the Abyssinians in peace, as long as they do not take the offensive." The major Aksumite monuments in the town are steles. These obelisks are around 1,700 years old and have become a symbol of the Ethiopian people's identity; the largest number ar