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Monumentum Adulitanum

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Title: Monumentum Adulitanum  
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Subject: Agaw people, Aksumite Empire, GDRT, Akele Guzai, Multilingual texts
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Monumentum Adulitanum

The Monumentum Adulitanum was an ancient Adulite inscription in Greek and Ge'ez depicting the military campaigns of an Adulite king. Though the inscription and the monument have never been located by archaeologists, it is known about through the copying of the inscription by Cosmas Indicopleustes, a 6th-century Greek traveller-cum-monk. The original text was inscribed on a throne in Adulis (Ge'ez: መንበር manbar) written in Ge'ez in both the Ge'ez script and Sabean alphabet, while the Greek was written in the Greek alphabet. Seeing that the text was in Greek and followed an inscription about King Ptolemy III Euergetes's conquests in Asia, Cosmas Indicopleustes mistook the Aksumite inscription for the continuation of Ptolemy's.

The anonymous text describes the King's conquests, including the Gaze (possibly the earliest reference to Akkele Guzay) and the Agame (a region in Tigray, Ethiopia). The inscription also mentions the subjugation of the Arabs, the Sabaeans, and the Kinaidokolpitas in modern day Yemen (and perhaps Saudi Arabia). The inscription also notes that in the unnamed King's expedition to the mountains past the Nile, his men were knee-deep in snow. The inscription ends with the King's affirmation that he is the first to have subjugated all of the aforementioned peoples, and dedicates his throne to Zeus (or the god Astar, cognate to the Semitic goddess Astarte). Beher meant sea in Geez, and the name Beher mentioned in the monument refers to the Adulite version of the Greek god Neptune and especially Ares or Mahrem. The monument was found in the port city state of Adulis during Cosmas' visit. The 3rd century AD Adulite inscription also contains what may be the first reference to the Agaw, referring to a people called "Athagaus" (perhaps from ʿAd Agäw).[1]


  1. ^ Uhlig, Siegbert, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: A-C (Wiesbaden:Harrassowitz Verlag, 2003), pp. 142

Further reading

  • Stuart Munro-Hay. Aksum: A Civilization of Late Antiquity. Edinburgh: University Press. 1991. ISBN 0-7486-0106-6

External links

  • Aksum - Chapters 11-16 by Dr. Stuart Munro-Hay including full text of inscription
  • Online English translation of the Christian Topography
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