Map of the Horn of Africa and Arabia in late antiquity

Historians discussing the colossal Aksumite conquest of South Arabia typically refer to one historical event in the 6th-century carried out by King Kaleb ʾElla ʾAṣbeḥa against the Jewish kingdom of Ḥimyar. Although his occupation is the most documented out of all Aksumite conquests against the region, it is certainly not the first. One of the earliest accounts of a foreign dark-skinned ruler in South Arabia is found in the writings of ʿĂqībāʾ ben Yosef, a 2nd-century Jewish scholar travelling to meet the Jews in South Arabia (Babylonian Talmud Rosh Hashana 26a). …


The universal language of the human story can be summarized in this idiom:

“Life is full of ups and downs.”

From sunrise to sunset, morning to night, awake and asleep, work and rest, growing up and hunching back, life and death. This dual cycle of life can be illustrated with an inverted “U”… and inverted it is.

Naturally following and operating along the trajectory of the sun has its clear unavoidable necessities as it’s the light filling the dark void of the earth which was created on the first day [Genesis 1:3]. However, we’ve also let its rigid pattern of…


Born on 1871 east of Keren, in the village of Shīeb, Teklemariam grew up to become one of the leading scholars from the Catholic Seminary of Keren ordained at the age of 22 by French missionaries. He would publish many Catholic and translate many books from Italian to Ge’ez. In 1910, the Apostolic Prefect transferred Abba Teklemariam to Jerusalem where he established close ties with the Orthodox Täwahedo monks at Däbrä Sultan who helped him deepen his knowledge and interest in the Ge’ez rite divine liturgy in relation to the Oriental Orthodox rites.

The issue of Latinization was initially raised…


Painting from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1491)

The Ewosṭateans were a Christian cenobitic monastic movement founded by Abune Ewosṭatewos in the 14th-century who insisted on Sabbath observance basing his position in the 10 commandments and the Canons of the Apostles. Despite Ewosṭatewos dying in exile, his followers founded several monasteries such as Däbrä Bīzen, Yitain and Maryam, in the northern kingdom of Ma’īkele Bahr (modern-day Eritrea).


The paradoxical slogans of 1984 don’t necessarily allude to a distant dystopian future fiction more than it does the distorted and inverted human condition of the present.

“Freedom is Slavery” has been modernity’s rallying-cry following the era of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. In spite of their particular differences on the manifestation of “natural liberty”, both presupposed just that — autonomous freedom at birth from all “constraints” including the fundamental ancient notion of “telos” which was completely rejected. In contrast to the innovations of the “Enlightenment” thinkers, the ancient and later Christian medieval philosophers understood human nature to be continuous…


Adulis was a settlement located along the coast of the Red Sea on the Gulf of Zula south of Massawa in modern-day Eritrea. Historically, it has been active under several kingdoms and empires, from both abroad and local. It is even believed to have been a major port under the ancient “Puntite” kingdom and continued to function as such until its unfortunate demise during the decline of the Aksumite Empire. The now-lost throne of Adulis perfectly encapsulates and reflects the cultural and linguistic diversity this city was subject to — being written in Ge’ez (in both the local script and…


Christians today appeal to a plethora of verses, chapters, or stories in the Old Testament (Septuagint and Tanakh) that Jesus Christ is believed to have to fulfil. The gospels and the Pauline epistles had already laid the foundation for various hermeneutical techniques that the early church adopted to reveal these Messianic prophecies about Jesus. Typological exegesis is one of the major methods the New Testament writers inherited from the Jewish tradition and is predominantly echoed all over Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews (“order of Melchizedek”), to the Romans (“second Adam”) and to the Corinthians (“the rock was Christ”). This typological…


ʾEwōsṭātewōs was a prominent figure of the Church during the early period of the Solomonic dynasty and was born in the village of Tsiraʿ (Enderta, Tigray). After being ordained as a monk, he founded many monasteries in the northern Ethiopian plateau of Tigray and Seraye (modern-day Eritrea). The 14th century to which ʾEwōsṭātewōs was born in can be considered the start of a “golden age” in Ethiopian Orthodoxy where both the kingdom and church saw exponential growth, not only in converts but in classical Ge’ez literature.

What set him apart from the mainline church of his day was his insistence…

Yonathan ‘Ālem

Welcome to ‘Ālem’s ‘ālam. Limitless ‘Ālem in an ‘Ālem-less ‘ālam.

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