Dʿmt (Unvocalized Ge'ez: ደዐመተ, DʿMT theoretically vocalized as ዳዓማት, *Daʿamat[2] or ዳዕማት, *Daʿəmat[3]) was a kingdom located in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia which existed between the 10th and 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 150 BC.[4]

Kingdom of Dʿmt
980 BC–c. 650 BC
Dʿmt is given as "Damot" on this map, not to be confused with the later and more southwestern Kingdom of Damot.
Dʿmt is given as "Damot" on this map, not to be confused with the later and more southwestern Kingdom of Damot.
Historical eraIron Age
• Established
980 BC
• Disestablished
c. 650 BC
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Aksum

History edit

Given the presence of a large temple complex, the capital of Dʿmt may have been present day Yeha, in Tigray Region, Ethiopia.[1] At Yeha, the temple to the god Ilmuqah is still standing.[5]

The kingdom developed irrigation schemes, used plows, grew millet, and made iron tools and weapons.

Some modern historians including Stuart Munro-Hay [de], 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.[6][7] 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.[8][9]

Archaeologist Rodolfo Fattovich believed that there was a division in the population of Dʿmt and northern Ethiopia due to the kings ruling over the 'sb (Sabaeans) and the 'br, the 'Reds' and the 'Blacks'.[10] Fattovich also noted that the known kings of Dʿmt worshipped both South Arabian and indigenous gods named 'str, Hbs, Dt Hmn, Rb, Šmn, Ṣdqn and Šyhn.[10]

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.[11]

Known rulers edit

The following is a list of four known rulers of Dʿmt, in chronological order:[7]

Term Name Queen Notes
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'"

Regions edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Shaw, Thurstan (1995), The Archaeology of Africa: Food, Metals and Towns, Routledge, p. 612, ISBN 978-0-415-11585-8
  2. ^ L'Arabie préislamique et son environnement historique et culturel: actes du Colloque de Strasbourg, 24–27 Juin 1987; page 264
  3. ^ Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: A–C; page 174
  4. ^ Uhlig, Siegbert (ed.), Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: D-Ha. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005. p. 185.
  5. ^ Stuart Munro-Hay (2002). Ethiopia: The Unknown Land. I.B. Taurus. p. 18.
  6. ^ Stuart Munro-Hay, Aksum: An African Civilization of Late Antiquity. Edinburgh: University Press, 1991, p. 57.
  7. ^ a b Nadia Durrani, The Tihamah Coastal Plain of South-West Arabia in its Regional context c. 6000 BC – AD 600 (Society for Arabian Studies Monographs No. 4) . Oxford: Archaeopress, 2005, p. 121.
  8. ^ Munro-Hay, Aksum, p. 57.
  9. ^ Phillipson (2009). "The First Millennium BC in the Highlands of Northern Ethiopia and South–Central Eritrea: A Reassessment of Cultural and Political Development". African Archaeological Review. 26 (4): 257–274. doi:10.1007/s10437-009-9064-2. S2CID 154117777.
  10. ^ a b Fattovich, Rodolfo (1990). "Remarks on the Pre-Aksumite Period in Northern Ethiopia". Journal of Ethiopian Studies. 23: 17. ISSN 0304-2243. JSTOR 44324719.
  11. ^ Pankhurst, Richard K.P. Addis Tribune, "Let's Look Across the Red Sea I", January 17, 2003 (archive.org mirror copy)