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Main_Points_of_Lectures_7_9 - Main Points of Lectures 7-9...

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Main Points of Lectures 7-9 Lecture 7 (4.1) 1. The Aksumite Kingdom in Ethiopia a) History - Greek and Roman sources mention the Aksumite kingdom from the 1 st century CE onward as the major ivory and elephant market of North East Africa. - 100+ Stelaea symbolize the wealth and influence of Aksum - By the 3 rd century CE, Mani calls Aksum one of the 4 greatest kingdoms on earth along with Rome, Persia, and China - Remains an independent African state for thousands of years until Mussolini conquers it in the 20 th century. b) Location and Trade - Aksum = main city, 100 miles from the coast; incredibly fertile and wealthy region. - Adulis = main sea port, connects Aksum to South Arabia. S. Arabian influence on Aksum’s: - crops - agricultural techniques - language: native language of Ethiopia, Ge’ez , written in an Arabic script. -Trade: Aksum controlled trade between the African interior and the outside world, from Rome to South East Asia. It traded: - agricultural goods (cereals and coffee) - animal products (ivory) - precious stones (gold dust and obsidian) - slaves c) Politics and Religion - Christian State: King Ezana (4 th century) converts to Christianity under the influence of a Syrian bishop in Aksum, Frumentius. Ezana adopts the orthodox Christianity of Alexandria (monophysite) as the state religion, initiating a close connection between Egyptian and Ethiopian Christianity. - motive for conversion? coins show him trampling his enemies and inscriptions read “by this cross he will conquer” {compare to Constantine}. The divinity, not the deed, changes. - Ethiopian Orthodox Church - Abuna = Patriarch (religious leader) of Ethiopia - Roman influence: 9 Saints flee the Roman empire due to religious persecution and arrive in Ethiopia in the 5 th century. They translate texts into Ge’ez and establish monasteries. - ex: Debra Domo Monastery (only accessible by scaling a rock wall) - Religion and Foreign Policy - 6 th century expansion: Christian king of Ethiopia responds to the persecution of Christians in S. Arabia by twice attempting to establish Ethiopian hegemony there – sending troops in 520 and 525CE. - motive(s)? religious? political? economic? - Roman and Persian concern regarding Ethiopian attempt to conquer S. Arabia. - Romans fear interruption of trade - Persians fear that Ethiopian control of S. Arabia could cut them out of the lucrative silk trade by shifting the route of transmission southward. {see Prokopios on sericulture and trade} d) Aksum’s decline - The rise of Islam leads to the isolation of the Aksumite Kingdom. Trade with former network broken by: - Islamic conquest of Egypt and Southern Arabia, and - Defensive shift of Aksumite kingdom from coast to highlands.
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2. The Sasanian Dynasty of Persia a) History of rule in the region - Achaemenid Dynasty (558-330BCE) - Seleucid rule in part of the former Achaemenid realm (312-125BCE) –> Hellenization - Parthians found the Arsacid Dynasty (247BCE-224CE) : Iranian steppe people, nomads who become Persianized. They become a major Eurasian power after defeating the Romans at Carrhae in 53BCE.
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