EtAksm1

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Phase I Variables (polity-based)

General variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner ♥

♠ Original name ♣ Proto-Aksumite Period ♥ Proto-Aksumite period.[1]

♠ Alternative names ♣ The First Ethiopian Empire; Aksumites; Habashat; Ethiopia ♥ "The First Ethiopian Empire".[2] "The people called themselves, and were called by others, Aksumites."[3] "Ancient south Arabian inscriptions, and others in the old Ethiopic language called Ge'ez, refer to a section of the population as 'Habashat'. From this word originated the general Arab name for Ethiopians, Habash, and the old name used in Europe until the twentieth century, Abyssinia. By the fourth century AD, the term Ethiopia appears. The name derives from a Greek expression meaning 'burned faces'."[4] "The two terms Habashat and Ethiopia are paralleled in a trilingual inscription of Ezana, the king who converted to Christianity about EC 333, or AD 340. This is the first known use of the name Ethiopia for a part of the present-day country of Ethiopia by one of its own rulers; in general the land was called Aksum after its capital."[5]

♠ Peak Date ♣ 250 CE ♥

Aksum's power and influence was rising throughout this period, being at its maximum probably when the kings had direct? control over south Arabia (until 269 CE?).

The city of Aksum and the kingdom "enjoyed a great reputation in the third century of our era".[6]

183-213 CE Aksumite king Gadara and his son "seem to have been the most powerful rulers in southern Arabia and the real leaders of the anti-Sabaean coalition."[7]
King Azbah fought a war in southern Arabia end 3rd, early 4th CE. Then Aksumite kings claimed to be sovereign over the Himarites.[8]
"The 'Kephalaia' of the prophet Mani (216-76) calls Aksum one of the four greatest empires of the world."[9]
"All ancient sources indicate that maritime trade increased in the Red Sea in the course of the first two centuries."[10]


Temporal bounds

♠ Duration ♣ 149 BCE - 349 CE ♥

Start

"the Ethiopians, following the rise of the Aksumite state between c. 150 BCE and the turn of the Common Era, came to write in Ge'ez, and Ethiosemitic language using a cursive script (fidal) based on the musnad script of South Arabia."[11]
Aksum was a powerful kingdom by the first century CE.[12]
"Aksum dominated the northern highlands of Ethiopia from at least the turn of the Common Era down to the seventh century".[13]
History of the kingdom of Aksum begins in the first century CE.[14]
According to Phillipson (1985: 160) "By the first century AD Aksum, some fifty km south west of Yeha, developed as the capital of an extensive state, in which there was a fusion of indigenous Ethiopian and South Arabian cultural elements."[15]
Earliest known king, Zoscales, was recorded in a Greek text of the end of the first century CE.[16]
c100 CE "Rise of Aksumite control over network of urban trade centers connecting Tigray with Akele Guzai and Adulis."[17]
Aksum mentioned in Periplus Maris Erythraei which "dates from the end of the first century" and in the next century by the geographer Claudius Ptolemy.[18]
Based on archaeology, the geographer Claudius Ptolemy and the later Periplus Maris Erythraei "the founding of the city of Aksum and the appearance of a royal Aksumite dynasty can be dated from the second century before our era".[19]

End (last pagan monarch)

King Ousanas c310-330 CE.[20] Ousanas was the last pagan king before king Ezana made Christianity the official religion of the Aksum state.
According to Phillipson (1985: 160): "It was also in Ezana's reign that Christianity became the state religion of Aksum: on his later coins the crescent and disc of the moon god are replaced by the cross ..."[21] This suggests that the end of this period - pagan Aksum - does not occur until sometime within the reign of King Ezana.

Chronologies

"Archaeologists and historians distinguish between a) a Pre-Aksumite period (7th/8th centuries BCE to the 1st century CE), with the 7th to 4th centuries BCE characterized by a South Arabian phase attested by the presence of c.200 Sabaean inscriptions, and b) a Proto-Aksumite phase from the 4th century BCE to the 1st/2nd centuries CE defined only by archaeological evidence; c) an Aksumite period (1st to 7th centuries CE); and a d) Post-Aksumite period (8th to 11th centuries CE), that precedes the e) Zagwe period (12th to 13th centuries CE)."[22]
"The absolute chronology of Aksumite culture is uncertain. Excavations on the top of Beta Giyorgis hill (Aksum) suggested a sequence of five phases of urban development of the capital city: a) Proto-Aksumite phase: 360 BCE (?) - 120/40 BCE; b) Early Aksumite phase: 120/40 BCE-130/190 CE; c) Classic Aksumite phase: 130/190-360-400 CE; d) Middle Aksumite phase, 360/400-550/610 CE; e) Late Aksumite phase, 550/610-800/850 CE."[23]

♠ Degree of centralization ♣ [nominal; loose; confederated state] ♥

The city of Aksum was perhaps initially a principality then became the capital province of a fuedal kingdom.[24]

King Ezana built an army that could control the regions.[25] This suggests that before King Ezana the army found it difficult to control the regions - less professional, or smaller number of professional troops, and most likely did not have capability to garrison troops far from capital.

Early monarchs had to contend with hereditary, and rebellious, vassals, but in "the sixth century an Aksum king was already appointing the south Arabian kings".[26]

The status of ruler Zoscales and the port of Adulis

Adulis "was no isolated outpost. What is less clear, however, is the nature of the relationship between Adulis and Aksum throughout this period. We know from both the Periplus and from material evidence that Aksum had begun to assert a growing influence on the region by the middle of the 1 st century CE (see Munro-Hay 1991; Phillipson 2000) - the Periplus describes "the city of the Axomite," through which the majority of the ivory traded at Adulis was transported."[27]
"a careful reading of the Periplus' Greek text, and a more general consideration of what is known from other sources about the growth of the Aksumite state, suggest that Zoscales' rule was probably restricted to the coastal region centred on Adulis. This interpretation is in accord with the attribution of RIE 277 to a ruler of a coast-centred kingdom during the first two centuries AD. While the Periplus mentions Zoscales in the context of Adulis-based trade, there is no indication that the port was his capital."[28] RIE 277 is "Monumentum Adulitanum II ... a third-century Aksumite inscription erected at Adulis which, though now lost, was copied in the sixth century by Cosmas Indicopleustes."[29]

♠ Supra-polity relations ♣ none; alliance ♥ At least initially, the ruler of Aksum likely made alliances with other principalities both within the Horn of Africa and South Arabia (e.g. at some point, probably in this period?, the Aksumite kings claimed to be sovereign over the Himarites[30]). At this time Aksum was not powerful enough to directly control the regions by appointing provincial officials.

The city of Aksum was perhaps initially a principality then became the capital province of a fuedal kingdom.[31] Early monarchs had to contend with hereditary, and rebellious, vassals.[32]

Supra-cultural relations

♠ preceding (quasi)polity ♣ Pre-Aksumite Period ♥
♠ relationship to preceding (quasi)polity ♣ continuity ♥
♠ succeeding (quasi)polity ♣ EtAksm2 ♥
♠ Supracultural entity ♣ ♥
♠ scale of supra-cultural interaction ♣ ♥ km squared.

♠ Capital ♣ Aksum ♥ Aksum was likely the political centre of Ethiopia at this time, "the coastal plain of Eritrea is only about 40-60 km wide and is largely unsuitable for agriculture".[33] City of Aksum was perhaps initially a principality then became the capital province of a fuedal kingdom.[34] According to Phillipson (1985: 160) "By the first century AD Aksum, some fifty km south west of Yeha, developed as the capital of an extensive state, in which there was a fusion of indigenous Ethiopian and South Arabian cultural elements."[35]


Language ♠ Language ♣ Geez; Greek ♥ "The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, around 50 CE, "describes the ruler of the region, King Zoscales, as 'well versed in Hellenic sciences'. This would naturally require fluency in Greek, the lingua-franca of the ancient economy."[36] Aksumite kings erected inscriptions in Greek.[37] "the Ethiopians, following the rise of the Aksumite state between c. 150 BCE and the turn of the Common Era, came to write in Ge'ez, and Ethiosemitic language using a cursive script (fidal) based on the musnad script of South Arabia."[38] "Many people were literate, and they were able to develop a written language, known as Ge'ez, which later evolved into the modern Amhara language in Ethiopia."[39] According to Phillipson (1985: 160) "Ge'ez - basically Semitic but with a strong Cushitic element - seems to have been the general language of Aksum, but Greek was also in use for commercial purposes."[40] Cushitic like Semitic (Ge'ez, Amharic) is an Afro-Asian language.[41]

General Description

An empire with Aksum as its capital dominated the northern highlands of Ethiopia from the first to the seventh century CE. ".[42] This empire was characterised by a combination of indigenous Ethiopian and South Arabian culture. ."[43] Between about 150 and 270 CE, Aksum extended its control to South Arabia, including the Yemen Coastal Plain or Plateau, the northwestern region of modern Yemen that lies between the Red Sea and the Yemeni Mountains.

Without Arabian and Nubian territories, the population of the Aksumite empire has been estimated as "at the outside half a million".[44] As for Aksum itself, during the first four centuries CE its core area covered between 80 and 100 hectares;[45] assuming 50-200 people per hectare, this would mean a population of between 4,500 and 200,000, at least in the core area. The empire was governed by a single ruler (negus) and his retinue; according to some sources, the administrative system was relatively poorly developed. [46] Provinces were ruled indirectly through regional rulers[47] who sent tribute. [48]

Social Complexity variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner ♥

Social Scale

♠ Polity territory ♣ [300,000-400,000] ♥ in squared kilometers.

Kingdom of Aksum map on page 59 for 1st - 3rd CE and 4th - 6th CE periods.[49]

1st - 3rd CE
Mainland Africa: 351,881 km2
4th - 6th CE
Mainland Africa: 496,929 km2
South Arabia: 159,214 km2
Maximum: 656,143 km2

"It will be argued that, in the course of the military campaigns described in Monumentum Adulitanum II, the Aksumite army pushed as far north as the southeastern frontier of Roman Egypt and as far west as the modern Sudanese-Ethiopian borderlands, Kush was left in peace."[50]

♠ Polity Population ♣ [500,000-600,000] ♥ People.

"Kobishchanov (1979: 122-5), in his discussion about Aksumite population ... the population of the whole Aksumite kingdom without Arabia and Nubia, was 'at the outside half a million'. This was presumably based on available archaeological evidence."[51]

♠ Population of the largest settlement ♣ [4,500-200,000] ♥ Inhabitants.

"It is estimated that during the first 4 centuries CE, the city's core area covered 80ha to 100ha."[52]

Seshat standard estimate of 50-200 people per hectare would suggest a population of between 4,500 and 200,000. This is for the city's 'core area' so other definitions of the city could produce larger estimates.

According to Michels (2005), the population of Aksum (city) grew from 450-750 CE to about 39,603.[53] "Michel's figure for Aksum's maximum population was significantly underestimated" according to Phillipson (2012).[54]

Adulis, above-ground estimate suggests 500m*400m area.[55] Not sure which period.

"The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, around 50 CE, described Adulis as 'a fair sized village'".[56] The city of Aksum, which was not known at this time, was likely larger.

According to Phillipson (1985: 160) "By the first century AD Aksum, some fifty km south west of Yeha, developed as the capital of an extensive state, in which there was a fusion of indigenous Ethiopian and South Arabian cultural elements."[57]


Hierarchical Complexity

♠ Settlement hierarchy ♣ 4 ♥ levels.

1. Capital - city

2. Towns
Many specialist workers "must have been urban dwellers, living in towns and cities that apparently did not need protection by surrounding walls ..."[58]
"Intermediate-sized houses excavated at Matara would indicate that there were also people who belonged to neither the elite nor the peasantry, at least in Aksumite times."[59]
Adulis known before the city of Aksum.[60]
3. Villages
First century CE. "Where there used to be only villages, small towns and cities are now developing."[61]
4. Hamlets
Towns, villages and isolated hamlets.[62] "In central Tegray the ancient landscape was characterized by a clearly-cut hierarchy in size of the settlements, ranging from the city of Aksum, over 100ha in size, to small compounds less than 1ha in area, and included large and small villages, elite residences, residential compounds, farming hamlets and workshops. Large settlements, ranging from 7ha to over 11ha in area, were located mainly at the base or sometimes on the top of the hills. Isolated elite palaces were often scattered in the open plain. Villages, hamlets and compounds were located on the top or along the slopes of the hills."[63]


♠ Administrative levels ♣ [4-5] ♥ levels.

1. King

2. Palatial staff.
Royals had slaves.[64] "In the fourth century, Aksum became the first significant empire to accept Christianity when King Ezana (320-350) was converted by his slave-teacher, Frumentius (d. 383), a Greek Phoenician."[65]
No information on the administrative system "which appears to have been poorly developed. Near relatives of the king assumed an important part in the direction of affairs."[66]
"Archaeological evidence indicates that by Aksumite times there had developed a partly urbanized stratified society consisting of monarchy, surrounding elite, 'middle class', and peasant/slave class."[67] "high-quality grave goods, have been interpreted as those of 'middle-class' Aksumites ... It might be expected that such a class would include government officials, scribes ..."[68]


_Court government_

2. Treasurer and Secretary
"The hellenized Syrians, Aedesius and Frumentius, who had been made royal slaves, were later promoted, one to the office of wine-pourer, the other to the position of secretary and treasurer to the Aksum king."[69]
3.
Vassal tribute was either sent or taken by the king who visited "accompanied by a numerous retinue".[70]
3. Lesser official
Government officials, scribes.[71]
"Leading chiefs as well as civil servants managed the administration. Levies and tributes were collected from the provinces."[72]
4. Scribes
Government officials, scribes.[73]
5.
3. Manager of a Mint inferred
4. Mint worker
Coiners.[74]


_Regional government_

2. Vassal king (negus)
Aksumite term for ruler was 'negus', and "Each 'people', kingdom, principality, city and tribe had its own negus. Mention is made of army neguses ..."[75]
"Control was established over a number of vassal states that sent tributes to the king."[76] This control was presumably fully established in the subsequent Aksum period.
Challenge of the Aksum monarch e.g Ezana was to enforce the submission of the northern Ethiopian principalities.[77] i.e. control over principalities was lacking in this period.
"The king exercised direct power in the capital territory, and he delegated power to regional leaders in the provincial areas."[78] This reference probably refers to the next Aksum periods.
"The state was divided into Aksum proper and its vassal kingdoms the rulers of which were subjects of the Aksum king of kings, to whom they paid tribute."[79]
3. Vassal of a vassal
Some vassal kings had their own vassals e.g. those in southern Arabia and Upper Nubia.[80]
3. Negus of a city
Aksumite term for ruler was 'negus', and "Each 'people', kingdom, principality, city and tribe had its own negus. Mention is made of army neguses ..."[81]
4. Negus of a tribe
The neguses of the four tribes of Bega (Beja) ruled over about 1100 people, Agbo principality about 1000-1500.[82]


♠ Religious levels ♣ [2-3] ♥ levels.

1. King?

"The Axum Empire was ruled by a divine monarch".[83]
"Currency coined in the time of Ezana and his successors bore a Greek motto signifying 'May the country be satisfied!' It is evident that this demagogic device reflects an official doctrine, the first traces of which may be discerned in the inscriptions of Ezana."[84] King Ezana was the last ruler of this period and the first ruler of the succeeding period. He changed the official state religion to Christianity.
"Ancestor-cult, especially of dead kings, occupied an important place in the religion of the Aksumites. It was customary to dedicate stelae to them".[85]
2. Priest
"Although information on the religion of the Aksumites is still extremely fragmentary, it may be considered a relatively developed religion, linked to a complicated ritual and a professional priesthood. During the early Aksumite period religious ideas from countries near and far penetrated into Ethiopia."[86]
3.

"Symbols of the sun and moon are found on stelae from Axum, Matara and Anza, and on the coinage of the Axumite kings of pre-Christian times. They refer probably to Mahrem, the dynastic and ethnic deity of the Axumites. In the 'pagan' bilingua of Ezana, the Mahrem of the Ethiopian text is given the Greek name, Ares. All the 'pagan' Greek inscriptions of the Axumite kings, with the exception of the Sembrythes' inscriptions in which the name of the god is absent, use the name Ares. As is well known, the Athenian Ares was worshipped as the god of war. It follows, then, that his double, Mahrem, was also worshipped as the god of war. In the Axumite inscriptions Ares-Mahrem, in his capacity of War-god, is termed 'invincible', 'unconquerable by his enemies' and ensuring victory. In is capacity as the ethnic progenitor, Ares is called the 'god of the Axumites' in the inscriptions from Abba-Pantalewon. As the dynastic deity, the kings called Mahrem-Ares their 'greatest god', ancestor of kings."[87]

"Plainly discernible in the religion of Aksum are the characteristic features of early class ideology, that of a feudal society in the process of formation. The Aksumites offered sacrifices to their gods. Domestic animals constituted the bulk of these offerings. One of Ezana's inscriptions records that a dozen oxen were offered up to Mahrem at a single sacrifice. According to ancient Semitic custom, some kinds of donation for sacrifice were brought in ritually immaculate clothing; for others this was not obligatory. But already in the pre-Aksumite period the living sacrificial animal was supplanted by its consecrated image. Bronze and stone images of sacrificial bulls, rams and other animals, many bearing inscriptions, have been preserved."[88] "A recently excavated monumental building at Berit Awde, to the north of Aksum, apparently contains a royal grave, and evidence for possible human sacrifice".[89]

"Sacrifices were brought to the altars and to the pedestals of stelae carved in the form of altars, and the blood of the sacrifices flowed down into hollows hewn in the form of bowls. The graves of Aksumite kings were regarded as the city's holy places. Vessels and other objects found in burial grounds indicate belief in a life beyond the grave."[90]

♠ Military levels ♣ 5 ♥ levels.

King Ezana (after 320 CE) is known to have built an army that could control the regions[91] which suggests that before King Ezana the army found it difficult to control the regions - perhaps because it was less professional, or had a smaller number of professional troops, and did not have they capability to garrison troops far from the capital. However, a polity that could make conquests in south Arabia in the early 3rd century CE likely had a well developed military if not a highly centralized one. It would have been very hyperbolic for Mani (216-276 CE) in the Kephalaia to have called Aksum "one of the four greatest empires of the world"[92] if by his time there was not a well-organized military. The introduction of coinage in the mid-3rd century may have coincided with a shift to a more professional armed forces as the indigenous coinage could be used to pay the army, but the armed forces of the king and his vassals, who many have contributed much to the numbers, were growing in effectiveness before this time (earlier armies could have been paid in foreign coinage, which was imported, as well as loot).

1. King?

2. Relative of the king
Military expeditions lead by the king's brother or other kinsmen.[93]
3. Negus
Neguses lead armies in war and commanded building operations.[94]
Aksumite term for ruler was 'negus', and "Each 'people', kingdom, principality, city and tribe had its own negus. Mention is made of army neguses ..."[95]
4. Another officer level?
5. Individual soldier

Professions

♠ Professional military officers ♣ suspected unknown: 150 BCE - 320 CE; inferred present: 320-349 CE ♥ "high-quality grave goods, have been interpreted as those of 'middle-class' Aksumites ... It might be expected that such a class would include ... middle-ranking members of the army ..."[96]

Military expeditions lead by the king's brother or other kinsmen.[97] This does not mean there were no professional officers.

"The first Aksumite king to put his own coinage into circulation was Endybis (in the second half of the third century)."[98] The introduction of coinage may have coincided with a shift to a more professional armed forces as the coinage could be used to pay the army.

♠ Professional soldiers ♣ inferred absent: 150-1 BCE; suspected unknown: 1-199 CE; inferred present: 200-319 CE; present: 320-349 CE ♥ The introduction of coinage may have coincided with a shift to a more professional armed forces as the coinage could be used to pay the army. It would have been very hyperbolic for Mani (216-276 CE) in the Kephalaia to have called Aksum "one of the four greatest empires of the world"[99] if by his time it had not invented or could not sustain any professional soldiers. The successful invasion of south Arabia in the early 3rd century may have used some trained soldiers, albeit at this stage the majority may have been raised and trained by vassals of the Aksum king.

"The first Aksumite king to put his own coinage into circulation was Endybis (in the second half of the third century)."[100]

King Ezana built an army that could control the regions.[101] This suggests that before King Ezana the army found it difficult to control the regions - less professional, or smaller number of professional troops, and most likely did not have capability to garrison troops far from capital.

"high-quality grave goods, have been interpreted as those of 'middle-class' Aksumites ... It might be expected that such a class would include ... middle-ranking members of the army ..."[102]

♠ Professional priesthood ♣ present ♥

"high-quality grave goods, have been interpreted as those of 'middle-class' Aksumites ... It might be expected that such a class would include ... priests of temple or church ..."[103]

Temple or church officials.[104]

"Although information on the religion of the Aksumites is still extremely fragmentary, it may be considered a relatively developed religion, linked to a complicated ritual and a professional priesthood. During the early Aksumite period religious ideas from countries near and far penetrated into Ethiopia."[105]

Bureaucracy characteristics

♠ Full-time bureaucrats ♣ present ♥

Government officials, scribes, coiners.[106]

"Leading chiefs as well as civil servants managed the administration."[107]

♠ Examination system ♣ ♥

♠ Merit promotion ♣ ♥

♠ Specialized government buildings ♣ present ♥ Mint required to produce gold, silver, copper coins.[108]

Law

♠ Formal legal code ♣ inferred present ♥ "The common norms of law that prevailed in the kingdom may be studied in the first juridicial records of Aksum: in the four laws from the Safra (Drewes, p. 73)."[109]

"Later Ethiopian law followed the Fetha Nagast, 'The Law of the Kings' written in Arabic by a Copt in the mid-thirteenth century, and translated into Ge'ez perhaps in the middle of the fifteenth century (Tzadua 1968), but inscriptions like that of Safra show that there were earlier legal codes in use (Drewes 1962)."[110]
"high-quality grave goods, have been interpreted as those of 'middle-class' Aksumites ... It might be expected that such a class would include government officials, scribes, priests of temple or church, middle-ranking members of the army, merchants, and perhaps some of the more skilled craftsmen. Amongst such a class there would probably be some foreigners, permitted to live in Ethiopia because of their special skills."[111]

♠ Judges ♣ suspected unknown ♥ "The common norms of law that prevailed in the kingdom may be studied in the first juridicial records of Aksum: in the four laws from the Safra (Drewes, p. 73)."[112]

"Later Ethiopian law followed the Fetha Nagast, 'The Law of the Kings' written in Arabic by a Copt in the mid-thirteenth century, and translated into Ge'ez perhaps in the middle of the fifteenth century (Tzadua 1968), but inscriptions like that of Safra show that there were earlier legal codes in use (Drewes 1962)."[113]
"high-quality grave goods, have been interpreted as those of 'middle-class' Aksumites ... It might be expected that such a class would include government officials, scribes, priests of temple or church, middle-ranking members of the army, merchants, and perhaps some of the more skilled craftsmen. Amongst such a class there would probably be some foreigners, permitted to live in Ethiopia because of their special skills."[114]

♠ Courts ♣ suspected unknown ♥ "The common norms of law that prevailed in the kingdom may be studied in the first juridicial records of Aksum: in the four laws from the Safra (Drewes, p. 73)."[115]

"Later Ethiopian law followed the Fetha Nagast, 'The Law of the Kings' written in Arabic by a Copt in the mid-thirteenth century, and translated into Ge'ez perhaps in the middle of the fifteenth century (Tzadua 1968), but inscriptions like that of Safra show that there were earlier legal codes in use (Drewes 1962)."[116]
"high-quality grave goods, have been interpreted as those of 'middle-class' Aksumites ... It might be expected that such a class would include government officials, scribes, priests of temple or church, middle-ranking members of the army, merchants, and perhaps some of the more skilled craftsmen. Amongst such a class there would probably be some foreigners, permitted to live in Ethiopia because of their special skills."[117]

♠ Professional Lawyers ♣ ♥

Specialized Buildings: polity owned

♠ irrigation systems ♣ present ♥ Aksum depended on highland agriculture.[118] "the heartland of the Aksumite state lay in an area with a strong agricultural resource base in cereals, other crops, and livestock."[119] "the peasants who used the irrigation and terraced agricultural land had to pay for it."[120] Aksum "had people with skills in tropical agriculture, as well as skills in terracing and irrigating desert land. Many farmers exploited the fertile foothills and valleys of Tigre and Amhara."[121] "The mountain slopes were terraced and irrigated by the water of mountain streams channelled into the fields."[122] "In the foot-hills and on the plains, cisterns and dams were constructed as reservoirs for rainwater and irrigation canals were dug."[123]
♠ drinking water supply systems ♣ inferred absent ♥ "In the foot-hills and on the plains, cisterns and dams were constructed as reservoirs for rainwater and irrigation canals were dug."[124] Presumably these cisterns refer to the storage of water for agricultural use only.
♠ markets ♣ inferred present ♥ The Roman author Pliny in 'Natural History' c70 CE described Adulis as a large trading centre.[125] "The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, around 50 CE, described Adulis as 'a fair sized village'" about 3.3km from the coast and calls Adulis 'a legally limited port' "though there has been considerable debate about what this means (e.g. Casson 1989, Appendix 1)."[126] The seaport Adulis was "the most famous ivory market in northeast Africa."[127] Market and trading places other than Adulis included Aratou, Tokonda, Etch-Mare, Degonm, Haghero-Deragoueh, Henzat.[128] However, archaeologists are not certain whether the trade happened inside or outside the towns.[129] "Adulis was the meeting-point for maritime trade, as it was ... for inland trade."[130]
♠ food storage sites ♣ inferred present ♥ Food storage certainly required for trading incoming and outgoing products. Whether there was food storage for strictly utilitarian purposes may not be known.

Transport infrastructure

♠ Roads ♣ suspected unknown ♥ "By the 6th century, the urban core of Aksum was about 180ha in extent with additional related satellite settlements and rural hinterland communities extending at least 10km in radius and linked by a network of paved and unpaved roads."[131]
♠ Bridges ♣ ♥
♠ Canals ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Ports ♣ present ♥ c230 B.C. Port of Adulis founded by Ptolemy Euergetes.[132] The Roman author Pliny in 'Natural History' c70 CE described Adulis as a large trading centre.[133] "The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, around 50 CE, described Adulis as 'a fair sized village'" about 3.3km from the coast and calls Adulis 'a legally limited port' "though there has been considerable debate about what this means (e.g. Casson 1989, Appendix 1)."[134] The seaport Adulis was "the most famous ivory market in northeast Africa."[135]


Special purpose sites

♠ Mines or quarries ♣ present ♥ Miners and quarrymen were occupations.[136]

Information

Writing System

♠ Mnemonic devices ♣ ♥
♠ Nonwritten records ♣ ♥
♠ Written records ♣ inferred present ♥ "Aksumite rulers who often spoke and read in Greek, put great store in written documents and in libraries to keep them".[137] "The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, around 50 CE, "describes the ruler of the region, King Zoscales, as 'well versed in Hellenic sciences'. This would naturally require fluency in Greek, the lingua-franca of the ancient economy."[138] No data on written documents but it is likely that they existed, especially in Greek along the parts of the coast engaged in trade with the Greek-speaking world, if not also further inland at the capital Aksum in Ge'ez - or its precursor language - with documents relating to the local religion and the state.
♠ Script ♣ present ♥ "the Ethiopians, following the rise of the Aksumite state between c. 150 BCE and the turn of the Common Era, came to write in Ge'ez, and Ethiosemitic language using a cursive script (fidal) based on the musnad script of South Arabia."[139] Inscriptions of the 2nd and 3rd centuries "offer the earliest forms of the Ethiopic alphabet, the use of which has survived to the present day." Earlier inscriptions in the Aksum region, dating to last half of the first millennium BCE, were of south Arabian type.[140]
♠ Non-phonetic writing ♣ ♥
♠ Phonetic alphabetic writing ♣ ♥

Kinds of Written Documents

♠ Lists, tables, and classifications ♣ inferred present ♥ "Aksumite rulers who often spoke and read in Greek, put great store in written documents and in libraries to keep them".[141] "The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, around 50 CE, "describes the ruler of the region, King Zoscales, as 'well versed in Hellenic sciences'. This would naturally require fluency in Greek, the lingua-franca of the ancient economy."[142] No data on written documents but it is likely that they existed, especially in Greek along the parts of the coast engaged in trade with the Greek-speaking world, if not also further inland at the capital Aksum in Ge'ez - or its precursor language - with documents relating to the local religion and the state.
♠ Calendar ♣ inferred present ♥ "Aksumite rulers who often spoke and read in Greek, put great store in written documents and in libraries to keep them".[143] "The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, around 50 CE, "describes the ruler of the region, King Zoscales, as 'well versed in Hellenic sciences'. This would naturally require fluency in Greek, the lingua-franca of the ancient economy."[144] No data on written documents but it is likely that they existed, especially in Greek along the parts of the coast engaged in trade with the Greek-speaking world, if not also further inland at the capital Aksum in Ge'ez - or its precursor language - with documents relating to the local religion and the state.
♠ Sacred Texts ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Religious literature ♣ inferred present ♥ "Aksumite rulers who often spoke and read in Greek, put great store in written documents and in libraries to keep them".[145] "The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, around 50 CE, "describes the ruler of the region, King Zoscales, as 'well versed in Hellenic sciences'. This would naturally require fluency in Greek, the lingua-franca of the ancient economy."[146] No data on written documents but it is likely that they existed, especially in Greek along the parts associated with trade on the coast, if not also in Ge'ez or its precursor language with documents relating to the local religion and the state further inland at the capital Aksum.
♠ Practical literature ♣ inferred present ♥ "Aksumite rulers who often spoke and read in Greek, put great store in written documents and in libraries to keep them".[147] "The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, around 50 CE, "describes the ruler of the region, King Zoscales, as 'well versed in Hellenic sciences'. This would naturally require fluency in Greek, the lingua-franca of the ancient economy."[148] No data on written documents but it is likely that they existed, especially in Greek along the parts associated with trade on the coast, if not also in Ge'ez or its precursor language with documents relating to the local religion and the state further inland at the capital Aksum.
♠ History ♣ inferred present ♥ "Aksumite rulers who often spoke and read in Greek, put great store in written documents and in libraries to keep them".[149] "The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, around 50 CE, "describes the ruler of the region, King Zoscales, as 'well versed in Hellenic sciences'. This would naturally require fluency in Greek, the lingua-franca of the ancient economy."[150] No data on written documents but it is likely that they existed, especially in Greek along the parts of the coast engaged in trade with the Greek-speaking world, if not also further inland at the capital Aksum in Ge'ez - or its precursor language - with documents relating to the local religion and the state.
♠ Philosophy ♣ inferred present ♥ "Aksumite rulers who often spoke and read in Greek, put great store in written documents and in libraries to keep them".[151] "The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, around 50 CE, "describes the ruler of the region, King Zoscales, as 'well versed in Hellenic sciences'. This would naturally require fluency in Greek, the lingua-franca of the ancient economy."[152] No data on written documents but it is likely that they existed, especially in Greek along the parts of the coast engaged in trade with the Greek-speaking world, if not also further inland at the capital Aksum in Ge'ez - or its precursor language - with documents relating to the local religion and the state.
♠ Scientific literature ♣ inferred present ♥ "Aksumite rulers who often spoke and read in Greek, put great store in written documents and in libraries to keep them".[153] "The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, around 50 CE, "describes the ruler of the region, King Zoscales, as 'well versed in Hellenic sciences'. This would naturally require fluency in Greek, the lingua-franca of the ancient economy."[154] No data on written documents but it is likely that they existed, especially in Greek along the parts of the coast engaged in trade with the Greek-speaking world, if not also further inland at the capital Aksum in Ge'ez - or its precursor language - with documents relating to the local religion and the state.
♠ Fiction ♣ inferred present ♥ "Aksumite rulers who often spoke and read in Greek, put great store in written documents and in libraries to keep them".[155] "The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, around 50 CE, "describes the ruler of the region, King Zoscales, as 'well versed in Hellenic sciences'. This would naturally require fluency in Greek, the lingua-franca of the ancient economy."[156] No data on written documents but it is likely that they existed, especially in Greek along the parts of the coast engaged in trade with the Greek-speaking world, if not also further inland at the capital Aksum in Ge'ez - or its precursor language - with documents relating to the local religion and the state.


Money

♠ Articles ♣ present ♥ "large quantities of cloth, fabric, brass, glass, copper and coinage and smller quantities of wine, olive oil and jewellery were imported ... It is generally accepted that Adulis exported tortoise shell, ivory, horn and obsidian ... whilst human trafficking in the form of slaves was substantial enough to be highlighted by Pliny ... Wild animals for the Roman area may also have attracted merchants to the region".[157] Acquired emeralds from Blemmyes in the Nubian desert and sold them in Northern India. Sent oxen, salt and iron to trade with Sasu (south-west Ethiopia) for gold.[158] Imported Syrian and Italian wine and olive-oil, cereals, grape-juice and wine from Egypt, wheat, rice, bosmor, seasame oil, sugar-cane from India. Foreign fabrics.[159]
♠ Tokens ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Precious metals ♣ inferred present ♥ "Sent oxen, salt and iron to trade with Sasu (south-west Ethiopia) for gold.[160]
♠ Foreign coins ♣ present ♥ Coinage was imported[161]: "foreign coins were imported into Aksum from South Arabian, Roman, and Indian sources."[162] From trade Aksum acquired Roman silver coins (found at Matara) and gold coins from the Kushan Empire.[163]
♠ Indigenous coins ♣ absent: 150 BCE - 249 CE; present: 250-350 CE ♥ "The first Aksumite king to put his own coinage into circulation was Endybis (in the second half of the third century). The Aksumites' monetary system was similar to the Byzantine system; in weight, standard and form, Aksumite coins bore a basic resemblance to Byzantine coins of the same period."[164] Early coins "showed the crescent and disc, representing the moon and sun of earlier beliefs".[165] "it would seem likely that coins were introduced because of Aksum's participation in an international trade that was accustomed to such a means of exchange. The earliest Askumite coins belong to the third century AD".[166] 90% coins are found in northern Ethiopia, mostly made of bronze. "most of the gold coins have come from South Arabia and, less certainly, from India ... It would appear that the coinage of Aksum had a rather limited circulation".[167] Most Aksumite coins are bronze.[168] Early kings e.g. Endybis, Aphilas etc. had coins.[169] Coin legends "are written in Greek or Ethiopic, never in south Arabian. Greek appears on the very earliest coins; Ethiopic begins only with Wazeba."[170] "The coins bear no dates, and this gives rise to many conjectures when it comes to classification. The oldest type - probably the one minted in the reign of Endybis - goes back no farther than the third century."[171] Wazeba, the first king to use Ethiopic on coins, ruled in the early fourth century CE. "the Aksumite kingdom issued its own gold, silver, and copper coins from the second half of the 3rd century to the middle of the 7th century."[172]
♠ Paper currency ♣ absent ♥

Postal System

♠ Couriers ♣ present ♥ "the king of kings evidently had at his disposal an armed retinue which in peacetime consisted of his court, but in wartime of his guards (as in fourteenth-century Ethiopia). Apparently, court officials carried out the functions of government, serving, for instance, as envoys."[173]
♠ Postal stations ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ General postal service ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Warfare variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner ♥

Military Technologies

Military use of Metals

♠ Copper ♣ ♥
♠ Bronze ♣ ♥
♠ Iron ♣ present ♥ In the 1st century CE Zoskales was importing iron and steel from northwest India.[174] Use of iron tools "became far more widespread than in the first millennium before our era".[175] Spears of imported iron.[176]
♠ Steel ♣ present ♥ In the 1st century CE Zoskales was importing iron and steel from northwest India.[177] Historical records show steel was reaching Ethiopia in 200 BCE [178]

Projectiles

♠ Javelins ♣ ♥
♠ Atlatl ♣ ♥
♠ Slings ♣ ♥
♠ Self bow ♣ ♥
♠ Composite bow ♣ ♥
♠ Crossbow ♣ ♥
♠ Tension siege engines ♣ ♥
♠ Sling siege engines ♣ ♥
♠ Gunpowder siege artillery ♣ ♥
♠ Handheld firearms ♣ ♥

Handheld weapons

♠ War clubs ♣ ♥
♠ Battle axes ♣ ♥
♠ Daggers ♣ ♥
♠ Swords ♣ ♥
♠ Spears ♣ ♥ Spears of imported iron.[179]
♠ Polearms ♣ ♥

Animals used in warfare

♠ Dogs ♣ ♥
♠ Donkeys ♣ ♥
♠ Horses ♣ ♥
♠ Camels ♣ ♥
♠ Elephants ♣ ♥ Domesticated elephants used exclusively by the royal court.[180]

Armor

♠ Wood, bark, etc ♣ ♥
♠ Leather, cloth ♣ ♥
♠ Shields ♣ ♥
♠ Helmets ♣ ♥
♠ Breastplates ♣ ♥
♠ Limb protection ♣ ♥
♠ Chainmail ♣ ♥
♠ Scaled armor ♣ ♥
♠ Laminar armor ♣ ♥
♠ Plate armor ♣ ♥

Naval technology

♠ Small vessels (canoes, etc) ♣ ♥
♠ Merchant ships pressed into service ♣ ♥
♠ Specialized military vessels ♣ ♥

Fortifications

♠ Settlements in a defensive position ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Wooden palisades ♣ suspected unknown ♥ "The Aksumites included timber among their building materials."[181] So there was timber available for constructing palisades if they had chosen to do so.
♠ Earth ramparts ♣ absent ♥ "It is not certain that the trading took place inside the towns themselves; in fact, it is much more likely that business was transacted in the outskirts, for we known that these ancient towns were not surrounded by ramparts."[182]
♠ Ditch ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Moat ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Stone walls (non-mortared) ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Stone walls (mortared) ♣ present ♥ Introduction of a 'cohesive cementing solution in building'.[183] "The chief characteristics of Aksumite architecture are the use of stone ... and a type of masonry which uses no other mortar but clay." (369) A 3000 square metre area castle at Dongour had walls which formed "an irregular quadrilateral with one side 57 metres long and the other half a meter shorter. The walls in the centre of the ruins still stand 5 metres high."[184]
♠ Fortified camps ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Complex fortifications ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Long walls ♣ ♥ km.
♠ Modern fortifications ♣ absent ♥


Phase II Variables (polity-based)

Institutional Variables

♠ RA ♣ ♥

Limits on Power of the Chief Executive

Power distributed

♠ Constraint on executive by government ♣ ♥
♠ Constraint on executive by non-government ♣ ♥
♠ Impeachment ♣ ♥

Social Mobility

Status

Elite status

♠ elite status is hereditary ♣ ♥

Religion and Normative Ideology

♠ RA ♣ Enrico Cioni ♥ The name of the research assistant or associate who coded the data. If more than one RA made a substantial contribution, list all.

Deification of Rulers

♠ Rulers are legitimated by gods ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Rulers are gods ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Normative Ideological Aspects of Equity and Prosociality

♠ Ideological reinforcement of equality ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Ideological thought equates rulers and commoners ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Ideological thought equates elites and commoners ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Ideology reinforces prosociality ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ production of public goods ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Moralizing Supernatural Powers

♠ Moral concern is primary ♣inferred absent♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is certain ♣inferred absent♥
♠ Moralizing norms are broad ♣inferred absent♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is targeted ♣inferred absent♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement of rulers ♣inferred present♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by elites ♣inferred present♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by commoners ♣inferred present♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in afterlife ♣inferred absent♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in this life ♣inferred present♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is agentic ♣inferred absent♥

These data were reviewed by expert advisors and consultants. For a detailed description of these data, refer to the relevant Analytic Narratives, reference tables, and acknowledgements page. [185] [186] [187]


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