Sites & cities that bear the name of Adulis


Today in : Eritrea
First trace of activity : ca. 7th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 8th century C.E
Recorded names : ‎𐩱 𐩵 𐩡 𐩪, ኣዱሊስ, Ἀδούλη, Ἄδουλις, Zula, زولا‎, ዙላ, Wddt?, Berenice Panchrysos?

Description : Adulis (Musnad: ‎𐩱 𐩵 𐩡 𐩪, Ge'ez: ኣዱሊስ, Ancient Greek: Άδουλις) was an ancient city located along the Red Sea in the Gulf of Zula, about 40 kilometers (25 mi) south of Massawa. Its ruins lie within the modern Eritrean city of Zula. Adulis was the emporium considered part of the D’mt and Aksumite empires. It was close to Greece and the Byzantine Empire, with its luxury-goods and trade routes. The location of Adulis can be included in the area known to the ancient Egyptians as the Land of the Gods, and perhaps coinciding with the locality of Wddt, recorded in the geographical list of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Pliny the Elder is the earliest writer to mention Adulis (N.H. 6.34). He misunderstood the name of the place, thinking the toponym meant that it had been founded by escaped Egyptian slaves. Pliny further stated that it was the 'principal mart for the Troglodytae and the people of Aethiopia'. Adulis is also mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a guide of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The latter guide describes the settlement as an emporium for the ivory, hides, slaves and other exports of the interior. It may have previously been known as Berenice Panchrysos of the Ptolemies. Roman merchants used the port in the second and third century AD. Cosmas Indicopleustes records two inscriptions he found here in the 6th century: the first records how Ptolemy Euergetes (247–222 BC) used war elephants captured in the region to gain victories in his wars abroad; the second, known as the Monumentum Adulitanum, was inscribed in the 27th year of a king of Axum, perhaps named Sembrouthes, boasting of his victories in Arabia and northern Ethiopia. A fourth century work traditionally (but probably incorrectly) ascribed to the writer Palladius of Galatia, relates the journey of an anonymous Egyptian lawyer (scholasticus) to India in order to investigate Brahmin philosophy. He was accompanied part of the way by one Moise or Moses, the Bishop of Adulis. Control of Adulis allowed Axum to be the major power on the Red Sea. This port was the principal staging area for Kaleb's invasion of the Himyarite kingdom of Dhu Nuwas around 520. While the scholar Yuri Kobishchanov detailed a number of raids Aksumites made on the Arabian coast (the latest being in 702, when the port of Jeddah was occupied), and argued that Adulis was later captured by the Muslims, which brought to an end Axum's naval ability and contributed to the Aksumite Kingdom's isolation from the Byzantine Empire and other traditional allies, the last years of Adulis are a mystery. Muslim writers occasionally mention both Adulis and the nearby Dahlak Archipelago as places of exile. The evidence suggests that Axum maintained its access to the Red Sea, yet experienced a clear decline in its fortunes from the seventh century onwards. In any case, the sea power of Axum waned and security for the Red Sea fell on other shoulders.

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