Ezana Stone Inscription

Friday, January 09, 2015
Axum, Tigray, Ethiopia
Time for our afternoon sightseeing.

The Ezana Stone or also known as the Trilingual Tablet.

On the way up to the tombs of Kings Kaleb and Gebre Meskel, you'll pass a little shack containing a remarkable find which three farmers stumbled upon in 1988: an Ethiopian version of the Rosetta Stone. The pillar, inscribed in Sabaean, Ge’ez and Greek, dates from between AD 330 and AD 350 and records the honorary titles and military victories of the king over his 'enemies and rebels’. One section of script thanks the God of War, thus placing the stone’s age before Ezana’s conversion to Christianity.


The Ezana stone is an artifact from the ancient Kingdom of Aksum. It is a stone monument which documents the conversion of King Ezana to Christianity and his subjugation of various neighboring areas, including Meroë.

From AD 330 to 356, King Ezana ruled the ancient Aksumite kingdom in the Horn of Africa. He fought against the Nubians and recorded his victories on stone written in Ge'ez (the ancient Eritrean/Ethiopian language), Sabaean (South Arabian) and Greek praising God for his victories. His carvings in stone provided a trilingual monument in different languages, similar to the Rosetta stone.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church had its beginnings during this period. Rufinus's Ecclesiastical History narrates that Saint Frumentius, a slave and tutor for the very young King, converted him to Christianity. Towards the end of his reign, King Ezana launched a campaign against the Kushites around 350 which brought down the Kingdom of Kush. Various stone inscriptions written in Ge'ez (using the Ge'ez script) have been found at Meroë, the central city of the Kushites. Thanks Mr Wikipedia.

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