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253375. Sold For $135

KINGS of AXUM. Ezanas. Circa 300-350 AD. Æ 15mm (1.08 gm). Struck after his conversion to Christianity in 330 AD. BACI LEYC, draped bust right wearing headcloth / +TOV TO APECH TH XWPA (May This [the cross] Please the Country), small cross in circle. Munro-Hay 52; BMC Aksum 90. VF, dark green patina.

The establishment of Christianity in Axum saw the beginning of an active pilgrimage traffic between Ethiopia and the Holy Land. Pilgrims traveled down the Nile valley and then across to Palestine and Jerusalem. The pilgrims of course brought their coins with them, and the overt Christian symbolism appealed to the local communities through which they passed. As a result, Axumite bronze coins and local imitations of them saw considerable circulation in Egypt and Palestine. They have been found at numerous 4th to 6th century sites, circulating alongside the regular Roman and Byzantine nummi. A settlement of Coptic Ethiopian monks remains in Jerusalem to this day, their main shrine being on the roof of the Holy Sepulchre church, the only location permitted them by the more numerous Christian sects.