The Old Testament of the Bible, the book of the Jews, speaks of one of religion's great romances, that between Solomon, King of the Jews and Sheeba, Queen of Adulis, the great and sacred land known of as Punt by the people of KMT/Egypt.
Sheeba, Queen of Adulis travelled to meet the legendary Solomon up the Red Sea by boat. The historical record and geography point to the Dahlak islands and the ancient and world famous port city and civilization of Adulis as the clear choice to be the point of orgin for Sheeba when she set off on her odyssey across the Red, or Erythrean, Sea to find Solomon over a thousand miles away.
Adulis or Punt was the ancient source of Frankinsence and Myyrh, world famous for their religious and medicinal uses. The Greeks and later the Romans wrote extensively of the city of Adulis that remained their most prominent transhipment point with the high civilizations of India and China.
Adulis today lies in the contemporary African country of Eritrea near the modern port of Massawa. In the days of Adulis the climate was much more wet. Elephants in herds of many tens of thousands roamed the Horn of African lowlands, and most probably made forrays into the highlands as well. Rivers flowed year round and lakes and wetlands were common. Ivory, Ebony, Frankensence and Myyrh, and of course Gold, made its way to both south, east, west and northwest asia(europe) from Adulis.
Today we know that Adulis spread to encompass Yemen as well, for the more remote villages of Yemen still speak a dialect of Tigrynia, the language of much todays Eritrea and all of Tigray, home to the much later and relatively brief reign of Axum and Gondar.
A common mistake for many novices in studying the history and culture of the Horn of Africa is to use in an ancient context the word ethiopia to describe Adulis or the Adulite civilization. Ethiopia, like Eritrea, are contempory creations of colonialism. Both words are of Greek origin and there is no historical record of any African civilization calling themselves either Eritrea or Ethiopia. The Old Testament of the Bible, originally written in Hebrew, uses the word Kush to describe all areas of Africa south of KMT/Egypt. Kush was the term used by KMT/Egypt for the geographic area occupied by the modern day state of Sudan. The people of KMT/Egypt knew of another high civilization, seperate from Kush, located in the Horn of Africa region that they called Punt.
Today, Adulis/Punt or the Adulite civilization, is known to include Saba. or the Sabeans, of Yemen, and is the lost civilization of Africa. Only two surveys of Adulis have been taken, both very limited, by the Italians in the early 1900's and later in the 1930's.
The Adulite civilization used the ancient language and written alphabet of Gheez, still used today by the Tigrynia, Tigrayan and Amhara tribes of the Horn of Africa. Just how old Gheez is another of the great mysteries of history, for it could be the first written language for all we know. Someday, after a lot more field work, the scholarly world will abandon use of the modern, european term ethiopia and restore the wondrous, ancient and lost high civilization of Adulis/Punt to her place in history.
Thomas C. Mountain
US Eritrean Peoples Friendship Association