Dʿmt (South Arabian alphabet: ; Unvocalized Ge'ez: ደዐመተ, DʿMT theoretically vocalized as ዳዓማት, Daʿamat or ዳዕማት, Daʿəmat) was a kingdom located in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia (Tigray Region) that existed during the 10th to 5th centuries BC. Few inscriptions by or about this kingdom survive and very little archaeological work has taken place. As a result, it is not known whether Dʿmt ended as a civilization before the Kingdom of Aksum's early stages, evolved into the Aksumite state, or was one of the smaller states united in the Kingdom of Aksum possibly around the beginning of the 1st century.
|c. 980 BC–c. 400 BC|
Dʿmt is given as "Damot" on this map, not to be confused with the later and more southwestern Kingdom of Damot.
|Capital||Unknown, Yeha (likely)|
|Common languages||Ge'ez, other South Semitic languages|
|Religion||Traditional African religions|
|Historical era||Iron Age|
|c. 980 BC|
|c. 400 BC|
Some modern historians including Stuart Munro-Hay, Rodolfo Fattovich, Ayele Bekerie, Cain Felder, and Ephraim Isaac consider this civilization to be indigenous, although Sabaean-influenced due to the latter's dominance of the Red Sea, while others like Joseph Michels, Henri de Contenson, Tekle-Tsadik Mekouria, and Stanley Burstein have viewed Dʿmt as the result of a mixture of Sabaeans and indigenous peoples. Some sources consider the Sabaean influence to be minor, limited to a few localities, and disappeared after a few decades or a century, perhaps representing a trading or military colony in some sort of symbiosis or military alliance with the civilization of Dʿmt or some other proto-Aksumite state. However other sources hold that D'mt, though having indigenous roots, was under strong South Arabian economic and cultural influence.
A 2013 study proposed a migration model involving "First, a large-scale movement of people from west Eurasia into eastern Africa around 3,000 y ago (perhaps from southern Arabia and associated with the D’mt kingdom and the arrival of Ethiosemitic languages) resulted in the dispersal of west Eurasian ancestry throughout eastern Africa."
After the fall of Dʿmt in the 5th century BC, the plateau came to be dominated by smaller unknown successor kingdoms. This lasted until the rise of one of these polities during the first century BC, the Aksumite Kingdom. The ancestor of medieval and modern day Ethiopia, Aksum was able to reunite the area.
Due to the similarity of the name of Dʿmt and Damot when transcribed into Latin characters, these two kingdoms are often confused or conflated with one another, but there is no evidence of any relationship to Damot, a kingdom far to the south. Daʿamat دعمت in Arabic translates as 'supported' or 'columned', and may refer to the columns and obelisks (or Hawulti) of Matara or Qohaito.
The following is a list of four known rulers of Dʿmt, in chronological order:
|Dates from ca. 700 BC to ca. 650 BC|
|Mlkn Wʿrn Ḥywt||ʿArky(t)n||contemporary of the Sabaean mukarrib Karib'il Watar.|
|Mkrb, Mlkn Rdʿm||Smʿt|
|Mkrb, Mlkn Ṣrʿn Rbḥ||Yrʿt||Son of Wʿrn Ḥywt, "King Ṣrʿn of the tribe YGʿḎ [=Agʿazi, cognate to Ge'ez], mkrb of DʿMT and SB'"|
|Mkrb, Mlkn Ṣrʿn Lmn||ʿAdt||Son of Rbḥ, contemporary of the Sabaean mukarrib Sumuhu'alay, "King Ṣrʿn of the tribe YGʿḎ, mkrb of DʿMT and SB'"|
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