Aksum: A Late Antique Empire of Faith in Africa

Event date
30 Nov 2017 to 14 Jan 2018
Event time
10:00 - 17:00
Ashmolean Museum
Beaumont Street
Venue details

Gallery 7

Event type
Event cost
Disabled access?
Booking required
Not required

The Kingdom of Aksum existed from around AD 100–850 and was centred in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia. At its height the empire covered parts of modern day Egypt, Sudan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Aksumite coins and their inscriptions can help us to understand the history of this African empire, and to date the reigns of Aksumite kings.

The early Aksumite rulers worshiped local gods, but around AD 360 the reigning king converted to Christianity. Pre-Christian symbols are replaced with crucifixes, and images of kings appear with sceptres and crowns adorned with a cross. Our current free Money Gallery display focuses on this history and the chronology of the kings, showing the progression from a pagan past to Christianity.