This book explores the influence of warfare, commerce, and political fictions on the relations between two ancient African states, Nubia and the Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum. Focusing primarily on the fourth century CE, it considers how the contact between Nubia and Ethiopia developed within very different regional spheres of interaction. Based on this interaction, the book argues that ancient Northeast Africa cannot be treated as a unified area politically, economically, or culturally. It also suggests that the seemingly weak ties between Aksum and Nubia can be attributed to the geographical orientation of the Ethiopian Highlands and the middle Nile Valley. The book examines how Aksum and the Nubian kingdom of Kush coexisted in peace for most of their history before Aksum took up arms against the latter. This introductory chapter discusses evidence of Ethiopian–Nubian contact before the first century CE.
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