KINGDOM OF AKst.tx. The mountain region of Abyssinia was probably inhabited in very early times by Semites as well as by Hamites. Whether the original home of the former was in Africa or in Arabia (see SEMITES ) , the overflow of popula tion would naturally set in the direction of this Alpine country. As the native name shows, the Semitie Ethiopians were still in the nomadic state when they entered this territory, priding themselves on being 'wanderers' mining freely wherever they liked. (See GI:ez.) There were evidently successive waves of immigration. If tile Egyptian Ilbst is of Semitic origin, as can scarcely be doubted, there were apparently kins men of the Yemenites iT) Eretria, and on the So mali coast e. 1500 'Lc. Salsean inscriptions found in Yelut, the ancient Awa, may he as old as the seventh century c.c. Names of place; such as Alwa, Daro, Sant, Ilarar, liasak, and Awa are manifestly of South Arabian origin and seem to indicate a trade route between Yemen and Meroil lined with Semitic settlements long before the Christian Era. As long as Ptolemies domi nated the Erythrean coast from Mulls, Berenice, and Arsiniie, a strong Abyssinian kingdom could not well develop. But in the reign of Augustus, %viten the Romans suffered serious reverses in Arabia and were occupied in Africa with Queen Candace, while the Arsacid conquests in east ern Arabia forced the Yemenite States to seek compensation for their losses elsewhere, the Semit ic element in Ethiopia seems to have been re inforced, and the Kingdom of .Aksum founded. The Periplus marts Erythrwi, probably written by Basiles between A.D. 56 and 67, refers to a King of Aksum by the name of Zoseales. who controlled the coast from Massowah to Bab el Mandeb, and was a friend of Greek culture. It is possible that some of the gold coins with Greek legends that have been preserved should be as signed to the second and third centuries A.D. Ten kings are known through these coins, viz. Aphilas, Bachasa, Gerson, Uzas, Nezana or Aizana, Ulz,eba, Azad, Uehsas, and Esbaal or Aieb. Those that have the mark of the cross are clearly from the fourth and following centuries; but those without such a mark are probably earlier. On a marble throne in Adulis. Cosines lndieopleustes found and copied in the sixth cen tury an inscription commemorating the power of a great king whose name is not given. He has been supposed by some scholars to be the founder of the Aksumite kingdom, but it is more probable that he reigned at the end of the third century A.D. He possessed a part of southwest Arabia and fought with the Hasa (Cush) and the Buga (Beja). The Pdta CBea that he mentions as his subjects are probably the Agazi or Geez tribes. King Aizana is known to have reigned in the year A.D. 356. Tn his time Frumentius (q.v.) preached Christianity in the country. The polit ical relations that had long existed between Aksum and Rome were such as to favor his mis sion. El Amida. his who reigned be fore 373, still held control of parts of Yemen. The two Rflppell inscriptions written in the peculiar vocalized writing of the Geez (see ETHIOPIC Winvixo) probably belong to his reign. In 378 Aksum was reduced to its African territory. The
names of some kings the next century may be represented on the coins. Only a few can be de ciphered with any degree of certainty on the cop per coins; viz. Mehigsen. King of Aksum. Hatasu, King of Aksum; King Elaats. and King Zwazan. In A.D. 525 Elesbaas. King of Aksum, with the aid of the Sa1sean and Hadramautian rulers, made an end to the Himyarite kingdom of Dhu Nuwas, and Ethiopia again controlled Arabian territory. Before the end of the century, how ever, the Aksumites were driven back to Africa, and never again extended their conquests to Arabia. According to a letter addressed by a king of Aksum to a king of Nubia in the time of the Patriarch Philotheus of Alexandria (950 1002), preserved in a fourteenth-century Lifc of the Patriarchs and in the Ethiopic Synaxar, a woman who reigned over the Beni el Hamuna had recently invaded the country, burned churches and monasteries, and driven him from place to place. Marianus Victor (1552) speaks of this woman as the founder of the Zague Dynasty, and as having married a ruler of the Province of Bugna. Later legends made of her a Jewess. She was probably a queen of the reigning family who married a prince of the Beni el Baguna, a name afterwards corrupted into Beni el Zague. Eleven kings of the so-called Zague Dy nasty reigned until 1270. The most famous of these is Lalihula (c.1200 A.D.) . In 1270 Yekuno Amlak restored the old line. Yekuno Amlak re moved his residence to Tegalet in Shoa, but Ak sum still remained the city where the kings were crowned. His successor was Wedem Rand (1291 1314). Amda Sion (1314-1344) was a powerful king who fought bravely with his Muslim neigh bors. Saifa Arad (1344-1372) carried on a suc cessful war in Upper Egypt against the Sultan on behalf of the Patriarch of Alexandria. His successors were Wedem Asfare (1372-S2) , and his brother, Dawit I. (13S2-1411), Teodoros 1. ( 1411 15), Yishak (1415-30), Andrias (1430), Takla Maryam (1430-34). Zara Yakob (1434-6S) was a brave warrior and an able administrator. He was followed by Baeda Maryam (146S-7S), and Eskander, or Alexander (147S-95), in whose time Cavilham visited the country. .Ainda Sion II. (1495) and Naod (1495-150R) were of less im portance. But Dawit Ti., called Lebna Dengel, in his battles with Adal showed himself to be a good soldier. Asnaf Sagad (1540-59) conquered Ahmed Granje, King of Adal, but in his reign the Gallas invaded the country. After the reign of Minas (1559-63), Sarsa Dengel came upon the throne (1563-97). This monarch destroyed Adal and fought successfully with the Gallas. In the time of his successors. Yakob (1597-1003, 1604-07 ) , Za Dengel ( 1603-04 ) , Su sneus ( 160; 32 ) , and Fasiladas (1632-67), religious difficul ties occupied much attention. The power of the following kings was greatly limited by the Calla chiefs that ruled in many districts. They were: .Johannes (1667-82), Jasus I. (1652-1706), Takla Ila imanot I. ( 1706-0S) , Theophilos ( 1704-111, Justus (1711-16). Dawit III. (1716-21), Bakafa (1721-30), Jasus II. (1730-55), Joas (1755.69), Johannes H. (1769), Takla Ilaimanot lf. (1769 77). On the more recent history, see ABYSSINIA.