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This article is about the civilization in Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms. For other uses, see Ethiopians.
Civilization Technology tree Strategy

Relive the glory of the once mighty Aksumite Empire and rule the Red Sea. Launch military expeditions into the Arabian peninsula and far beyond to hold a firm grip on your trading partners. Lead forces of skilled archers, devastating siege engines, and hard-hitting Shotel Warriors to bloody victories. Will your dynasty stand strong against internal conflicts or will your successor already be preparing your funeral?

The Ethiopians are an African civilization introduced Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms based on the Aksumite and Zagwe kingdoms in the Horn of Africa. They focus on archers, more accurately foot archers.

The Ethiopians as a civilization also appear as a playable civilization in the Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - The African Royals expansion.


Unique unit[]

Shotelwarrioricon-DE Shotel Warrior: Rapidly deployed infantry with high attack but low armor and hit points.

Unique technologies[]

Civilization bonuses[]

  • The Archer line fires 18% faster.
  • Receive +100 food, +100 gold whenever a new Age is reached.
  • The Pikeman upgrade is free.

Team bonus[]

Outposts +3 Line of Sight and stone cost removed.


The Ethiopians specialize in foot archers, which are one of their greatest assets, since their Archers get all upgrades and fire faster. Their siege weapons are another big selling point in the late game. They are the only civilization to get all the units available in the Siege Workshop (excluding the regional Armored Elephant unit), and have a unique technology that makes the siege engines far more dangerous by increasing their Area of Effect. Their team bonus allows them to create more Outposts with more Line of Sight, granting them more vision of the map. Their infantry are good, lacking the Champion, but getting the Shotel Warrior instead. In addition, the Ethiopians get the Pikeman upgrade for free. Their navy is average as well, lacking the Fast Fire Ship, Heavy Demolition Ship, and Elite Cannon Galleon, but possessing fully upgraded Galleons. Their Monks get almost all of the technologies, but they do not get the important Block Printing or Redemption technologies. Their defenses are somewhat average, and their economy is solid, with a free +100 food, +100 gold after every age advance, only lacking Crop Rotation.

Their cavalry are weak, lacking Bloodlines and Plate Barding Armor. Even with Royal Heirs, their Camel Riders end up performing barely any better against cavalry while performing worse against foot units. Additionally, the Ethiopians do not have a long term economic bonus, so they can fall behind after their initial power spike.

Overall, the Ethiopians can be best described as a "glass cannon" civilization. While the Ethiopians lack key important upgrades for their melee units, they make up for it with their strong firepower with their foot archers and siege weapons.


AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African Kingdoms[]

AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the Rajas[]

  • With patch 5.7, the Halberdier upgrade is no longer free.

AoEIIDE icon Definitive Edition[]

Dawn of the Dukes icon Dawn of the Dukes[]

  • With update 56005, non-Elite Shotel Warriors have more hit points (40 → 45), and the Elite Shotel Warrior upgrade costs less (1,200 food, 550 gold → 900 food, 450 gold).

AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of India[]

  • No longer receive bonus resources at the game start in games with Feudal or later starting age.
  • With update 81058, their team bonus removes the stone cost of Outposts (on top of their +3 Line of Sight), but no longer gives Towers +3 Line of Sight.

Campaign appearances[]

The Ethiopians have a campaign devoted to their civilization: Yodit. They also appear in:

CampaignIcon-SundjataDE Sundjata[]

CampaignIcon-FranciscoDE Francisco de Almeida[]

CampaignIcon-YoditDE Yodit[]

This campaign is played as the Ethiopians.

  • Path of Exile
    • Gidajan - Enemy
    • Fort in the Mountains - Enemy
    • Camp in the Forest - Enemy
    • Aksum - Ally
  • The Right Partner
    • Hostile Beja Tribes - Enemy
    • Raiders - Enemy
    • Nobatia - Ally → Potential Enemy
    • Beja Tribes - Ally
  • A Fallen Crown
    • Dagnajan - Enemy
    • Aksumite Empire - Enemy
    • Begemder - Enemy
    • Orthodox Monks - Enemy
    • Alodian Traders - Neutral → Potential Ally
    • Darginda - Ally
  • Broken Stelae
    • Gidajan - Enemy
    • Aksumite Empire - Enemy
    • Ethiopian Rebels - Ally
    • Local Tribes - Ally
  • Welcome Home
    • Gidajan - Enemy
    • Aksum (Gidajan) - Enemy
    • Aksum (Yodit) - Ally
    • Locals - Ally
    • Aksum - Ally

VictorsAndVanquished Campaign Icon Victors and Vanquished[]

In-game dialogue language[]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.

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[]

When playing a random map game against the computer, the player may encounter any of the following Ethiopian AI characters:

  • Abba Guba (አባ ጉባ): One of the Nine Saints of Ethiopia, who were important in the growth of Christianity in Ethiopia.
  • Abuna Frumentius (ፍሬምናጦስ): The first Bishop of Aksum who were credited for bringing Christianity to the kingdom; died 383.
  • Amda Seyon (ዐምደ ጽዮን): An Ethiopian emperor from the Solomonic dynasty; reigns 1314–1344.
  • Amir Habbuba (አሚር ሓብቡባ): Amir (king) ruled the ancient walled city of Harar (969–1000).
  • Dil Na'od (ዲል ናኦድ): The last king of Aksum before the Zagwe dynasty; lived 9th–10th century.
  • Gelawdewos (ገላውዴዎስ): Personal name of Asnaf Sagad I, an Ethiopian emperor from the Solomonic dynasty; lived 1521/1522–1559.
  • Kaleb of Axum (እለ አጽብሐ): The most well-documented, if not the best known, king of Aksum; reigned ca. 520.
  • Lalibela (ላሊበላ): Personal name of Gebre Mesqel, the most well-known of Zagwe kings known for completing the monolithic rock-cut churches on the namesake city; lived 1162–1221.
  • Yekuno Amlak (ይኵኖ አምላክ): Personal name of Tasfa Iyasus, a descendant of Dil Nao'd and the restorer of the Solomonic dynasty; reigned 1270–1285.
  • Yared (ያሬድ): A legendary Ethiopian musician credited for inventing the sacred music of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Ethiopian musical notation; lived 505–571.
  • Yodit (ጉዲት): Yodit was a semi-legendary non-Christian queen (flourished c. 960) who laid waste to Axum and its countryside, destroyed churches and monuments, and attempted to exterminate the members of the ruling Axumite dynasty. Her deeds are recorded in the oral tradition and mentioned incidentally in various historical accounts.
  • Zara Yaqob (ዘርአ:ያዕቆብ): Personal name of Kwestantinos I, emperor of Ethiopia from the Solomonic dynasty and one of the greatest rulers in Ethiopia's history; lived 1399–1468.


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[sic] 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.




Civilizations in Age of Empires II
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AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of KingsBritons AoE2 Britons · Byzantines AoE2 Byzantines · Celts AoE2 Celts · Chinese AoE2 Chinese · Franks AoE2 Franks · Goths AoE2 Goths · Japanese AoE2 Japanese · Mongols AoE2 Mongols · Persians AoE2 Persians · Saracens AoE2 Saracens · Teutons AoE2 Teutons · Turks AoE2 Turks · Vikings AoE2 Vikings
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AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African KingdomsBerbers AoE2 Berbers · Ethiopians AoE2 Ethiopians · Malians AoE2 Malians · Portuguese AoE2 Portuguese
AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the RajasBurmese AoE2 Burmese · Khmer AoE2 Khmer · Malay AoE2 Malay · Vietnamese AoE2 Vietnamese
AoE2-DLCicon-5 The Last KhansBulgarians AoE2 Bulgarians · Cumans AoE2 Cumans · Lithuanians AoE2 Lithuanians · Tatars AoE2 Tatars
AoE2Icon-LordsWest Lords of the WestBurgundians AoE2 Burgundians · Sicilians AoE2 Sicilians
Dawn of the Dukes icon Dawn of the DukesBohemians AoE2 Bohemians · Poles AoE2 Poles
AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of IndiaBengalis AoE2 Bengalis · Dravidians AoE2 Dravidians · Gurjaras AoE2 Gurjaras · Hindustanis AoE2 Hindustanis
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