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Posts Tagged ‘Ancient Rome’

Dazzling jewels from an Ethiopian grave reveal 2,000-year-old link to Rome

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on June 7, 2015


British archaeology team uncovers stunning Aksumite and Roman artefacts

Spectacular 2,000-year-old treasures from the Roman empire and the Aksumite kingdom, which ruled parts of north-east Africa for several centuries before 940AD, have been discovered by British archaeologists in northern Ethiopia.

Louise Schofield, a former British Museum curator, headed a major six-week excavation of the ancient city of Aksum where her team of 11 uncovered graves with “extraordinary” artefacts dating from the first and second centuries. They offer evidence that the Romans were trading there hundreds of years earlier than previously thought.

Schofield told the Observer: “Every day we had shed-loads of treasure coming out of all the graves. I was blown away: I’d been confident we’d find something, but not on this scale.”

She was particularly excited about the grave of a woman she has named “Sleeping Beauty”. The way the body and its grave goods had been positioned suggest that she had been beautiful and much-loved.

Schofield said: “She was curled up on her side, with her chin resting on her hand, wearing a beautiful bronze ring. She was buried gazing into an extraordinary Roman bronze mirror. She had next to her a beautiful and incredibly ornate bronze cosmetics spoon with a lump of kohl eyeliner.”

The woman was also wearing a necklace of thousands of tiny beads, and a beaded belt. The quality of the jewellery suggests that she was a person of very high status, able to command the very best luxurious goods. Other artefacts with her include Roman glass vessels – two perfectly preserved drinking beakers and a flask to catch the tears of the dead.

There was also a clay jug. Schofield hopes that its contents can be analysed. She believes it would have contained food and drink for the afterlife.

Although “Sleeping Beauty” was covered only with soil, her grave was cut into a rock overhang, which is why the finds survived intact.

The team also found buried warriors, with each skeleton wearing large iron bangles. They may have been killed in nearby battlefields.

Other finds include another female skeleton with a valuable necklace of 1,065 coloured glass beads, and, elsewhere, a striking glass perfume flask.

In 2012, the Observer reported that Schofield’s earlier excavations in the region had discovered an ancient goldmine that may solve the mystery of from where the Queen of Sheba of biblical legend derived her fabled treasures.

Aksum, the capital of the Aksumite kingdom, was a major trading power from the first to the seventh centuries, linking the Roman Empire and India. Aksumites were a literate people. Yet little is known about this so-called “lost”’ civilisation.

Ethiopia is a mysterious place steeped in legend, but nobody knows very much about it,” said Schofield. “We know from the later Aksumite period – the fourth and fifth centuries, when they adopted Christianity – that they were trading very intensely with Rome. But our finds are from much earlier. So it shows that extraordinarily precious things were travelling from the Roman Empire through this region centuries before.”

In return, the Romans sought ivory tusks, frankincense and metals. Schofield’s excavations also found evidence of iron working.

The finds will go to a new German-funded museum, opening in October. Schofield hopes to organise a loan to the British Museum, but first the finds must be conserved: the mirror, for example, is corroded and slightly buckled. Germany is sending nine conservators.

Excavations were paid for by the Sainsbury family’s Headley Trust and the Tigray Trust, a charity that promotes sustainability in the region; and by individual donations.



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Christian Persecution: From Ancient Rome to Modern-Day Riyadh

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on January 10, 2014


If one part [of the body] suffers, every part suffers with it“[1 Corinthians 12:26]

My Note: I think, it’s wrong and attention-deflecting (appeasing) to place North Korea above Somalia, Syria and Saudi Arabia (SS). Christianity is relatively new to North Korea, besides, the degree of Christian persecution in Countries like Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Syria – where Christians always lived prior to the Islamic conquest – is incomparably high. We don’t hear Denis Rodman’s Koreans beheading Christians like we do hear and see in the Middle East every other day. Persecutors are demonic by nature and often insecure of whatever they believe in. History teaches us that the two anti-Christ religions; Atheism (Extreme Secularism) and Islam prevalently persecute Christians. The two work together to fight against everything Christian. No wonder atheist temples (skyscrapers & shopping malls) are allowed across the Muslim world but not Christian churches & Crosses.

  • North Korea again named the most dangerous state for Christians

  • Christianity faces restrictions and hostility in 111 countries

  • Nine of the 10 countries listed as dangerous for Christians are Muslim-majority states

  • Violence against Christians rising in Africa

  • The world was silent when horrific violence was directed at Christians in the Central African Republic

  • There’s a strong drive to purge Christianity from Somalia

Reported cases of Christians killed for their faith around the world doubled in 2013 from the year before, with Syria accounting for more than the whole global total in 2012, according to an annual survey.

Open Doors, a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, said on Wednesday it had documented 2,123 “martyr” killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. There were 1,213 such deaths in Syria alone last year, it said.

“This is a very minimal count based on what has been reported in the media and we can confirm,” said Frans Veerman, head of research for Open Doors. Estimates by other Christian groups put the annual figure as high as 8,000.

The Open Doors report placed North Korea at the top of its list of 50 most dangerous countries for Christians, a position it has held since the annual survey began 12 years ago. Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were the next four in line.

The United States-based group reported increasing violence against Christians in Africa and said radical Muslims were the main source of persecution in 36 countries on its list.

“Islamist extremism is the worst persecutor of the worldwide church,” it said.


Christianity is the largest and most widely spread faith in the world, with 2.2 billion followers, or 32 percent of the world population, according to a survey by the U.S.-based Pew Forum on religion and Public Life.

Michel Varton, head of Open Doors France, told journalists in Strasbourg that failing states with civil wars or persistent internal tensions were often the most dangerous for Christians.

“In Syria, another war is thriving in the shadow of the civil war — the war against the church,” he said while presenting the Open Doors report there.

About 10 percent of Syrians are Christians. Many have become targets for Islamist rebels who see them as supporters of President Bashar al-Assad.

Nine of the 10 countries listed as dangerous for Christians are Muslim-majority states, many of them torn by conflicts with radical Islamists. Saudi Arabia is an exception but ranked sixth because of its total ban on practicing faiths other than Islam.

In the list of killings, Syria was followed by Nigeria with 612 cases last year after 791 in 2012. Pakistan was third with 88, up from 15 in 2012. Egypt ranked fourth with 83 deaths after 19 the previous year.

The report spoke of “horrific violence often directed at Christians” in the Central African Republic but said only nine deaths were confirmed last year because “most analysts still fail to recognize the religious dimension of the conflict.”

There was now “a strong drive to purge Christianity from Somalia,” the report added, and Islamist attacks on Iraqi Christians have been increasing in the semi-autonomous Kurdish north, formerly a relatively safe area for them.

Veerman, based near Utrecht in the Netherlands, said that killings were only the most extreme examples of persecutions. Christians also face attacks on churches and schools, discrimination, threats, sexual assaults and expulsion from countries.

Open Doors, which began in the 1950s smuggling Bibles into communist states and now works in more than 60 countries, estimated last year that about 100 million Christians around the world suffered persecution for their faith.

Source: Reuters

Persecution Is The Price We Pay For Truth

The Christians are to blame for every public disaster and every misfortune that befalls the people. If the Tiber rises to the walls, if the Nile fails to rise and flood the fields, if the sky withholds its rain, if there is earthquake or famine or plague, straightway the cry arises: ‘The Christians to the lions!’.”  Tertullian (born about the year 155)

TheCrossPersecution is suffering. It can be inflicted by authorities, groups or individuals, usually for the silencing or subjugation of unacceptable opinions or beliefs. It has been endured by the Church since its inception within the Roman Empire, where Christianity was initially identified with Judaism, a religio licita, but in which a tiny and relatively insignificant ‘sect’ gradually established its own religious, social and political identity which was viewed as a threat to the political order. Early Christians therefore had to contend with persecution from three sources: the Jews, the Romans, and, as various groups grappled with ever-increasing theological differences, each other.

The worship of pagan gods and of the emperor was commonplace throughout the empire, and the Christians’ non-participation in pagan rituals and general separateness brought accusations of anti-social behaviour. Talk of eating the body and blood of Jesus, and the customary greeting with a kiss, brought charges of cannibalism and incest. Tacitus spoke of Christians as being a “notoriously depraved” people who held to a “deadly superstition”, and they consequently became associated with the collegia – clubs or secret societies. Such groups were considered a threat to political stability because of the threat of sedition. To refuse to participate in the pagan emperor-cult was a political as well as a religious act, and could easily be construed as dangerous disaffection. In the opinion of the general populace, such a crowd of wretches were plainly worthy of extermination, and any repressive measures that were taken against them by authority could be sure of popular approval. Successive emperors were therefore able to inflict persecutions with varying degrees of vehemence.

Nero arrested multitudes of Christians, and had them put to death in the most shocking manner. Their crime was not so much incendiarism as their anti-social tendencies. Dressed in wild animal skins, they were torn apart by dogs, or crucified, or made into torches to be ignited after dark as substitutes for daylight. Persecution became so great that it became the hope of many Christians to die a quick death by beheading (the usual punishment for Roman citizens). However, their citizenship did not always save them from the tortures. It was during this period that both Peter and Paul were martyred, probably within a year of each other.

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