By Mueni wa Muiu, Guy Martin (auth.)
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Extra resources for A New Paradigm of the African State: Fundi wa Afrika
The constitution of Carthage was one of the most elaborate in antiquity. Political leadership was based on heredity. Kings assumed sacral, judicial, political, and military powers. Certain families were prominent in its political life. For example, the Magnid family ruled between the fifth and sixth century BCE. This was a period of state consolidation through increased control over conquered territories. In the fifth century BCE, the powers of the king declined and were progressively eclipsed by the rise of Siefets (judge and governor).
The power of Axum was based on military conquest. Its empire extended over northern Ethiopia, southern Sudan, and southern Arabia. Axum was well-placed to benefit from trade routes that connected the Mediterranean to northeast Africa and Saudi Arabia. Trade also involved northeast Africa and the Red Sea through Axum and Port Adulis. From the first to the seventh centuries AD, Adulis was the single major coastal port of Axum on the Red Sea through which all the kingdom’s trade flowed. Restricting the activities of foreign merchants to Adulis allowed efficient collection of the custom duties that supported the state and its military power.
Following Egypt’s conquest by Assyrian, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman armies, Kush totally liberated itself from Egyptian rule. The high period of Meroitic power and influence lay in the centuries between 300 and 100 BCE. Throughout the Meroitic kingdom, the prevailing belief system remained the Sudanic religion, with its one divinity or spirit associated with the sky. One named deity predominates in the record of Meroitic religion: Apedemak, symbolized in sculpture by a lion figure. The striking feature of Napatan religion was that it most commonly evoked a single Egyptian god, Amun.