Gersem

700s
Orthodox Church
Ethiopia

Gersem, Emperor (perhaps fl. 8th century A.D.), was a ruler of the Aksumite Empire known only through his currency, which is found in gold and bronze. Apparently the last sovereign of Aksum to mint in gold, he is described in Greek on these coins as “King of the Aksumites,” while the bronze coins call him “negus” in Ge’ez, and carry the device “You will conquer in Christ.” All the currency bears his effigy and the Cross of Christ, but tends to be cruder than that of previous rulers, suggesting that the skill of minting was being lost. His reign may have been between those of Emperors Hataz I and Hataz II.

Richard K. P. Pankhurst


Bibliography

E. Littmann, Deutsche Aksum-Expedition (Berlin, 1913), Vol. I, 54-5.

C. Conti Rossini, “Monete aksumite,” Africa Italiana, Vol. I (1926): 210-11.

A. Kammerer, La Mer Rouge, l’Abyssinie et l’Arabie depuis l’antiquité (Le Caire, 1929), Vol. I, 222-3.

J. Doresse, L’Empire du Prêtre-Jean (Paris, 1957), Vol. I, 135.

A. Anzani, “Numismatica axumita,” Rivista Italiana di Numismatica e Scienze Affini, XXXIX (1926): 41, 91-2.

F. Anfray, “Les rois d’Axoum d’après la numismatique,” Journal of Ethiopian Studies, Vol, No. 2 (1968): 1-3, 5.


This article is reproduced, with permission, from The Dictionary of Ethiopian Biography, Vol. 1 ‘From Early Times to the End of the Zagwé Dynasty c. 1270 A.D.,’ copyright © 1975, edited by Belaynesh Michael, S. Chojnacki and Richard Pankhurst, Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. All rights reserved.