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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |North Africa| ▸ |Axum||View Options:  |  |  | 

Axum (Aksumite Kingdom)

At its height, Aksum ruled most of present-day Eritrea, and parts of Ethiopia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, and Sudan. After converting to Christianity about 330 B.C., the cross replaced the disc and crescent on coins. Due to climate change and trade isolation, Aksum began to decline in the 7th century when the last coins were issued. Aksum is now a country village in northern Ethiopia. One of the most curious aspects of Axumite coinage is the use of gilding on some of the silver and bronze coins. The amount of gold used would not be enough to significantly change the value of the coin, and the reason for this labor-intensive process remains somewhat a mystery. According to regional tradition, the Ark of the Covenant is housed in the Church of Mary of Zion at Aksum. The Ark, according to legends, was brought to Aksum by King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba's son and placed under guard. No one but the one guard priest is allowed in, thus no one can verify the Ark's existence.

Aksumite Kingdom (Axum), Armah, Early 7th Century A.D.

|Aksumite| |Kingdom|, |Aksumite| |Kingdom| |(Axum),| |Armah,| |Early| |7th| |Century| |A.D.||AE| |16|
According to tradition, the Ark of the Covenant is housed in the Church of Mary of Zion. The Ark, according to legend, was brought to Aksum by Menelik, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. No one, but one guard priest is allowed in, thus no one can verify the Ark's existence. According to the Kebra Nagast, when Menelik, came to visit his father in Jerusalem, his father gave him a copy of the Ark, and commanded the first-born sons of the elders of his kingdom to go to Ethiopia and settle there. The sons of the elders did not want to live away from the presence of the Ark, so they switched the copy with the original and smuggled the Ark out of the country. Menelik only learned that the original was with his group during the journey home.
GB28094. Billon AE 16, BMC Aksumite p. 46, 566; Anzani 272, gF, toned, weight 1.181 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 0o, Aksum mint, obverse Ge'ez legend, "King Armah", half-length crowned and draped bust right, cruciform scepter in left, behind a cruciger that appears to be a wheat-stalk topped with a cross; reverse Ge'ez legend, "Mercy and Peace", cross with gold inlay on arch supported by two columns, two smaller crosses emerging from the capitals, inside the arch a key -shaped design with a circle inlaid with gold at the bottom; ex Colosseum Coin Exchange; rare; SOLD


Aksumite Kingdom (Axum), Anonymous, Late 4th - Early 5th Century

|Aksumite| |Kingdom|, |Aksumite| |Kingdom| |(Axum),| |Anonymous,| |Late| |4th| |-| |Early| |5th| |Century||unit|
According to tradition, the Ark of the Covenant is housed in the Church of Mary of Zion. The Ark, according to legend, was brought to Aksum by Menelik, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. No one, but one guard priest is allowed in, thus no one can verify the Ark's existence. According to the Kebra Nagast, when Menelik, came to visit his father in Jerusalem, his father gave him a copy of the Ark, and commanded the first-born sons of the elders of his kingdom to go to Ethiopia and settle there. The sons of the elders did not want to live away from the presence of the Ark, so they switched the copy with the original and smuggled the Ark out of the country. Menelik only learned that the original was with his group during the journey home.
GB77936. Bronze unit, Munro-Hay 52, BMC Aksumite 92 ff., Hahn Aksumite 33, aF, green patina, weight 1.158 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, Aksum mint, late 4th - early 5th century; obverse Greek legend: BACI-ΛEYC (King), draped bust right in head-cloth; reverse Greek legend: + TOV TO APECH TH XWPA (May this [the cross] please the country), small cross in circle; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren, ex Alex G. Malloy; SOLD


Aksumite Kingdom (Axum), Anonymous, c. 400 - 500 A.D.

|Aksumite| |Kingdom|, |Aksumite| |Kingdom| |(Axum),| |Anonymous,| |c.| |400| |-| |500| |A.D.||AE| |15|
According to tradition, the Ark of the Covenant is housed in the Church of Mary of Zion. The Ark, according to legend, was brought to Aksum by Menelik, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. No one, but one guard priest is allowed in, thus no one can verify the Ark's existence. According to the Kebra Nagast, when Menelik, came to visit his father in Jerusalem, his father gave him a copy of the Ark, and commanded the first-born sons of the elders of his kingdom to go to Ethiopia and settle there. The sons of the elders did not want to live away from the presence of the Ark, so they switched the copy with the original and smuggled the Ark out of the country. Menelik only learned that the original was with his group during the journey home.
GB58342. Bronze AE 15, Munro-Hay Type 76, BMC Aksumite 328 (same reverse die), F, weight 0.709 g, maximum diameter 14.6 mm, obverse BAX - A-CA (appearing as CΛX − Λ−XΛ), half-length bust right, cross behind, holding scepter cruciger which breaks legend to the right; reverse + TOV TO APECH TH XWPA (May This [the cross] Please the Country), Greek cross with arms merging with a circle around it, center punch hole inlaid with gold; SOLD







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REFERENCES|

Anzani, A. Numismatica Axumita. RIN III, Series 3, XXXIX (IV). (Milan, 1926).
Hahn, W. "Aksumite Numismatics - A critical survey of recent Research" in Revue Numismatique 2000.
Munro-Hay, S. & B. Juel-Jensen. Aksumite Coinage. (London, 1995).
Munro-Hay, S. Catalogue of the Aksumite Coins in the British Museum. (London, 1999).
Munro-Hay, S. "The al-Madhariba hoard of gold Aksumite and late Roman coins" in NC 149. (1989). pp. 83.
Vaccaro, F. "Previously serialised as 'Tipologia Numismatica Aksumita'" in Italia Numismatica, 1966-1967.

Catalog current as of Monday, September 26, 2022.
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