|This article is about the civilization in Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms. For the civilization in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition, see Ethiopians (Age of Empires III).|
The Ethiopians were historically known for the Aksumite and Zagwe kingdoms, which were dedicated followers of Orthodox Christianity and Judaism. Their architecture was the best in the region, and many stelae and other tall monuments exist to this day. For most of the Middle Ages, Ethiopian kingdoms were defensive – not offensive – powers. They protected their lands from various outsiders (Himyarite, Arab, Portuguese, among others), and kept close watch of movements in their own region. To highlight this, the Ethiopian team bonus grants extra Line of Sight for towers and Outposts.
Ethiopian kingdoms were positioned in a vital area - on the Horn of Africa at the narrow entrance to the Red Sea. This made Aksum a vital center for trade on the Indian Ocean; goods and materials from Europe, India, Arabia, and even China went through Ethiopian ports. Through the ages, they benefited from a regular influx of resources from outside the empire. This is represented in-game with the Ethiopians gaining 100 food and 100 gold for free whenever they advance an Age.
The Ethiopians were known to be mercenaries for fast deployments to other kingdoms (particularly Egypt) and were known to be very fierce in battle, but underequipped. To highlight the Ethiopian army, the Shotel Warrior, a powerful but fragile infantry unit, can be created quickly in the Castle. Because historically, spears and polearms were a staple of most Ethiopian armies, the Ethiopians get the Pikemen upgrade at no cost.
Along with spears and shotel swords, the bow and arrow were important weapons in Ethiopia, and archers formed the backbone of the kingdom's army. Arabs referred to East African archers as Archers of the Eyes to reflect their expert marksmanship, letting loose showers of arrows aimed at the eyes of their enemies. To reflect these facts, Ethiopian archers fire faster.
Finally, the Ethiopians are one of the few civilizations to have preserved some of the lost technology from the Classical Age after the barbarians destroyed the Roman Empire. They were also exposed through trade to many forms of technology from all over the world. To highlight this, the Ethiopians are the only civilization to access all siege weapons, and have a technology that increases the blast radius for their siege weapons.
Overview[edit | edit source]
The Ethiopian Archery Range is decent at best but still one of their greatest assets since their Archers get all upgrades and fire faster. Their infantry is good, lacking the Champion but getting the Shotel Warrior instead. Their cavalry is weak, lacking key units and technologies. Their navy is below average as well, lacking the Fast Fire Ship, Heavy Demolition Ship, and Elite Cannon Galleon. Their Monks do not get Block Printing and Redemption, however they are generally worthy. Their siege weapons are a big selling point for the Ethiopians. They are the only civilization to get all the units available in the Siege Workshop, and have a unique technology that makes the siege engines far more dangerous by increasing their Area of Effect. Their defenses are a bit underwhelming, but their economy is strong, only missing Crop Rotation.
Campaign appearances[edit | edit source]
The Ethiopians have a campaign devoted to their civilization: Yodit. They also appear in:
Characteristics[edit | edit source]
Unique unit[edit | edit source]
Unique technologies[edit | edit source]
Civilization bonuses[edit | edit source]
Team bonus[edit | edit source]
Changelog[edit | edit source]
The African Kingdoms[edit | edit source]
Rise of the Rajas[edit | edit source]
Definitive Edition[edit | edit source]
In-game dialogue language[edit | edit source]
Ethiopian units speak Amharic, a South Semitic language (related to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic languages) written with the Geʽez script descended from Egyptian hieroglyphs and ancient South Arabian script.
AI player names[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
History[edit | edit source]
Ethiopia was mentioned for the first time around 1200BC in the Greek epic poem the Iliad, although the term referred to the entire region south of Egypt. Starting in the 4th century AD, “Ethiopia” was used more specifically to refer to the kingdom of Aksum and its successor states, situated in the present-day countries of Eritrea and northern Ethiopia. The 15th century Book of Aksum, a collection of historical documents, explained this connotation to Ityopp’is, son of the biblical Cush and legendary founder of the city of Aksum.
The kingdom of Aksum (AD 100 – 940) was a major naval and trading power. Located at the mouth of the Red Sea, the empire profited from its central position in the maritime network between the Roman Empire, India and Arabia. The port of Adulis was an international trade hub for silk, spices, glass, gold and ivory. Although elephants have become an endangered species in the region, herds were abundant during the Middle Ages and, consequently, ivory was a major export product. Aksum’s commercial dealings were at the same time a primary motivation and source for military campaigns: from the 3rd century onwards, the kingdom regularly sent expeditions to the Arabian Peninsula and in the 4th century, King Ezana conquered the neighboring kingdom of Kush. Surpassed only by Rome, Persia and China, Ethiopia was one of the greatest world powers of that time.
At first, the Aksumites practiced a polytheistic religion. Most remarkably, they erected grand burial monuments, such as large stelae (up to 33 metres high) and tombs. Under the rule of King Ezana, Aksum adopted Christianity, which would remain the state religion throughout the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, both Jews and Muslims enjoyed toleration throughout the region. In AD 615, Ethiopia even gave shelter to some of the early followers of the prophet Muhammad, and would maintain generally good relations with Islamic powers until the 16th century.
The decline of the Aksumite empire was a slow process that began in the 8th century and was caused by several factors. First, the rise of Islamic states in the Arabian Peninsula and Northern Africa marked the end of Aksum’s dominance over trade in the Red Sea. Second, climate change and deforestation reduced agricultural output. Finally, a civil war around AD 940 weakened the kingdom, allowing Queen Yodit to kill the last Aksumite king. Historians still debate over whether this queen is to be seen as the founder of the Zagwe dynasty (AD 940- 1270) or whether this kingdom was established only after Mara Takla Haymanot overthrew her descendants in AD 1137. Likewise, the following history of the Zagwe remains shrouded in mystery.
Sources on the subject of the successor state of the Zagwe Dynasty are more common. In AD 1270, a local nobleman, Yekuno Amlak, questioned the legitimacy of the ruling king and usurped the throne, thus founding the long-lasting Solomonic dynasty. Through military expeditions and administrative reformation, Emperor Amda Seyon (AD 1314-1344) managed to consolidate the dynasty’s power and greatly expand Ethiopian territory. As with the Aksumite kingdom, the Ethiopian army consisted mainly of archers and infantry with spears and swords. Perhaps the most characteristic weapon was the Shotel, a curved sword used to dismount cavalry or to reach around shields.
At the end of the Middle Ages, the Solomonic dynasty, surrounded by Islamic states, sought to make contact with European kingdoms. After the failure of the Crusades, Europe was looking for Christian allies. Pursuing the legend of Prester John, a wealthy Christian king rumored to reign in the east, a Portugese expedition reached Ethiopia in AD 1490. This proved to be an important meeting, as the Adal Sultanate invaded and conquered most of Ethiopia four decades later. In response, Emperor Dawit II requested the help of the Portuguese, who sent 400 musketeers. Together, they were able to repel the invaders, and until the late 20th century the Solomonic dynasty would remain in control.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Video overview[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]