Aksum

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Aksum

or

Axum

(both: äkso͞om`), town (1994 pop. 27,148), Tigray region, N Ethiopia. Aksum was the capital of an empire (c.1st–8th cent. A.D.) that controlled much of what is now N Ethiopia. In the 4th cent. the emperor Ezana was converted to Christianity, and today Aksum is a major center of Ethiopian Christianity. The Ark of the Covenant is said to have been brought there from Jerusalem in Solomon's time and placed in the church of St. Mary of Zion, where Ethiopia's emperors were later crowned. The town is also noted for its gigantic carved pre-Christian obelisks, and there is an extensive underground royal necropolis.
References in periodicals archive ?
From the beginning of the third century AD there are several records of Aksumite diplomatic and military excursions--some invited and welcomed, others expeditions of conquest.
Aksumite influence also extended to diplomatic ties being made with the Quraysh tribe, the mercantile rulers of Mecca.
Almost certainly, the Aksumite rulers were able to co-ordinate the work of an army of masons to make the obelisks, and most probably used elephants and wooden rollers to drag the giant blocks of stone.
Carving is sharp and crisp, as if contemporary, despite being constructed over 16 centuries ago and the stylized details (presumed, like classical triglyphs, to be petrified timber details) are typical of the Aksumite style.
External decoration tends to be concentrated on the windows and is usually Aksumite in style, although this is sometimes interspersed with Islamic style ogee curves.
Decoration is a mixture of Islamic geometric patterns fused with more typical Coptic portraits and Aksumite cushion capitals.