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Abyssinia History


ABYSSINIA HISTORY Early Records.—Abyssinia, or at least the northern portion of it, was included in the tract of country known to the ancients as Ethiopia, the northern limits of which reached at one time to about Syene. The connection between Egypt and Ethiopia was in early times very intimate, and occasionally the two coun tries were under the same ruler, so that the arts and civilization of the one naturally found their way into the other. In early times, too, the Hebrews had commercial intercourse with the Ethiopians; and according to Abyssinian tradition the queen of Sheba who visited Solomon was a monarch of their country, and from their son Menelek the kings of Abyssinia claim descent. During the Captivity many of the Jews settled here and brought with them a knowledge of the Jewish religion. Under the Ptole mies, the arts as well as the enterprise of the Greeks entered Ethiopia, and led to the establishment of Greek colonies. Out of these Greek colonies appears to have arisen the kingdom of Auxume which flourished from the 1st to the 7th century A.D. and was at one time nearly coextensive with Abyssinia proper. The capital Auxume and the seaport Adulis were then the chief centres of the trade with the interior of Africa in gold dust, ivory, leather, aromatics, etc. At Axum, the site of the ancient capital, many vestiges of its former greatness still exist ; and the ruins of Adulis, which was once a seaport on the bay of Annesley, are now about 4 miles from the shore (see the article,

ethiopia and arts