The Aksum Kingdom: Ancient Africa had many powerful and glorious kingdoms to speak and write about. In the ancient days of Africa, there was nothing like countries, there were only kingdoms or empires.
The Aksum kingdom is one of the known ancient Africa kingdoms. It was not just about the name that made it popular but the power and glory it was fortified with.
The Aksum kingdom is now the modern-day Northern Ethiopia. [Tigray province] and [Eritrea]. History has recorded that, the Aksum kingdom was a powerful trading kingdom from the 1st to the 7th centuries C.E. Because of the strong trading system its has, merchants from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Asia and Europe trooped to the shores of the Aksum kingdom to do business.
The civilization of Aksum kingdom extended its influence throughout the regions lying south of the Roman empire, to the inner Arabian desert in the east, through to the fringes of the Sahara in the west, and across the Red Sea, between the 4th and 5th centuries C.E.
Aksumites; the people of Aksum developed the indigenous African written script called The Ge’ez They also traded with Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean and Arabia.
The Aksum kingdom has a hierarchical society with its king at the top, then down to the nobles and at the very down was the general population. History has described this societal hierarchy according to the findings of Archaeologists of the setup of the buildings in the kingdom in the olden days, and the wealth of the goods that were found in them. In some inscriptions, the ruler of the kingdom was given the title “King of Kings” which suggest that there were lesser rulers in the kingdom.
Although, there are few writings about the Aksum kingdom, but from the available archaeological findings, it is assumed that priest were very important and traders too in the daily activities of the kingdoms. Probably it coutd be because of the money and influence they could have. On the other hand, the farmers and the craftsmen were the poor citizens in the kingdom.
Introduction of Christianity to the people of Aksum:
It was during the 4th century in [c. 340 – 356] under the ruler King Ezana that the kingdom of Aksum embraced the orthodox religion; Christianity. King Ezana gave himself in to be converted by Frumentius who was a former Syrian captive, who later became a Bishop of Aksum. After King Ezana was baptised, he declared the kingdom of Aksum as a Christian kingdom. By the 6th century, another King also named King Kaleb, was recognized as a Christian by Justine I of Byzantium [ruled 518 – 527].
The Aksum kingdom in connection with King Solomon and Sheba:
King Solomon and Queen Sheba are very important figures in the history of Ethiopia. Historical account described that, Queen Sheba traveled to Jerusalem to meet King Solomon because, she has heard about the astonishing wits of the man Solomon. She went there and by whatever means, they had a son. Their son Menelik I is said to have formed the Solomonic dynasty from which the rulers of Ethiopia [up to the 1970s] are said to be descendants of.
Historically, it has also been rumored that Aksum has been the home for the ancient Biblical Ark of Covenant in which the “Tablet of Law” of God and Moses lies. Although, no one has been allowed to see the original Ark which is supposed to reside in the Church of Saint Mary in Aksum. Only replicas of the Ark called Tabots can be found in all of Ethiopia’s Churches and are carried in procession on special days.