Times & Places


As early as the 1st century CE, the East African country of Ethiopia was part of a prosperous trade network from the Horn of Africa (modern Ethiopia, Djibuti, and Somalia) to Egypt, South Arabia, Persia, India, and Ceylon. There arose the kingdom of Axum—consisting of Sabean and indigenous African Cushite cultures—in the regions of present-day Tigray and Eritrea. It thrived from the 4th to 7th century CE. Along with trade came new religions. Judaism was introduced first, and by the 4th century CE, Egyptians in Alexandria were practicing Christianity. During the 7th century, Islam rose, conquered, and prevailed along the Red Sea, depriving Axum of its control over trade and religion. Yet Christianity survived, especially in Highland Ethiopia, where it is practiced today.

Excerpt from

  • Roslyn A. Walker, The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), 306.

Web Resources

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
Read an essay about African Christianity in Ethiopia.