Obverse legend : HZA NAC.
Obverse description : Buste drapé à droite, la chevelure recouverte d'un bonnet décoré sur sa partie avant ; légende autour avec un croissant pointé à 12 heures ; grènetis.
Reverse legend : BCAIACYC.
Reverse description : Buste drapé à droite, la chevelure recouverte d'un bonnet décoré sur sa partie avant, inscrite dans un grènetis intérieur ; légende autour avec un croissant pointé à 12 heures ; grènetis extérieur.
AKSUM - AKSUMITE KINGDOM - EZANA
(c. 333-356 AD)
Aksum or Aksum was the capital of a kingdom located in northern Ethiopia in the current province of Tigray. Tradition has it that Ethiopia was part of the famous biblical kingdom of Sheba and that the wealthy dignitary who came to visit Solomon was none other than the Queen of the Ethiopians.. However, the kingdom of Sheba was in all likelihood located in southwestern Arabia. The Aksumites played a big role in the trade of the Red Sea and were very early in contact with the Egyptians, the Greeks then the Romans. By the 3rd century CE, the Kingdom of Aksum had been established over Ethiopia. It reached its peak in the 4th century, during the reign of Ezana (c. 320-356). Aksum was the first African state to mint coins! The kingdom was evangelized by Frumentius, a Syrian merchant who was consecrated as the first bishop of the Kingdom by Athanasius of Alexandria. A convert to Christianity himself, Ezana made it the religion of the entire empire.. For a time, Ethiopia had commercial relations (especially in ivory) with the Western world, but these were broken in the 7th century.. For nearly 1,000 years after that, Ethiopia was isolated from the rest of the Christian world, because it protected itself in the north and east against Muslim invasions, and in the south against pagan invaders.. It was more particularly the conquest of Egypt and Nubia by the Muslims which cut Ethiopia off from the rest of Christianity.. Unlike other African countries, Ethiopia never experienced a long period of European colonization, just a brief Italian presence around the turn of the century and from 1935 to 1941.. In 1974, a military coup violently ended the old empire. The coins offered in this sale belonged to a collector who recovered them, just after the Second World War, north of Addis. They came from a larger hoard, the other parts of which, alas, were melted down by the Ethiopian inventor to make jewelry. The collector who saved these coins, well known to numismatists of the time, was a friend of Jean Vinchon.