Axum, Or Axoom (Anc. Auxume), a city of Abyssinia, in the province of Tigre, formerly capital of a kingdom, in lat. 14° 5' 1ST., Ion. 38° 27' E., 12 m. W. of Adowa; pop. about 4,000. It is 7,200 ft. above the level of the sea. Par-kyn visited this city in 1843. There stands in it a church considered the most sacred building in all Abyssinia, "around which lie scattered unfinished and broken columns, pedestals, and other remnants of the civilization of former ages." This church is about 200 years old. Near it is a square enclosure, with a pillar at each angle, and a seat and footstool in the centre, all of granite. Another footstool, standing apart, about 30 yards distant, has become celebrated for its Greek and Ethiopic inscriptions, the latter in such minute characters and so indistinct that the traveller Salt could transcribe but little of it. They give a list of tribes under the dominion of the king of Axum, and indicate the existence of an extensive and powerful kingdom in Abyssinia, Avhere arts and arms were well known and cultivated.

There were originally 55 obelisks at Axum.

One of the most remarkable of these, a single shaft of granite, 60 ft. high, is still standing in good preservation. It is destitute of hieroglyphics, and, instead of ending in a pyramid like the Egyptian obelisks, terminates in a kind of patera, indicating that it is of Greek rather than of Egyptian origin. Tradition says it was erected in the time of the emperor Aizanas (the middle of the 4th century). In ecclesiastical history there is preserved a letter of Constan-tius, addressed to Aizanas and Sazanas jointly, calling them the "Axumite princes." The stone also gives the name of the Abyssinian monarch as Aizanas, and mentions Sazanas. Axum was probably the first place in Abyssinia into which Christianity was introduced. It was formerly the centre of the ivory trade.

Royal Seat, Axum.

Royal Seat, Axum.

Obelisk of Axum.

Obelisk of Axum.