AKSUM: A LATE ANTIQUE EMPIRE OF FAITH IN AFRICA
Until 14 January 2018
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.
Image: Gold coin of Ezanas of Aksum, pre-Christian period, mid 340s–360