The Aksum Legacy

On this date on October 8th, 1935, it was reported by the C.P. Havas news agency that the Ethiopian scared city of Aksum had now fallen to invading Italians forces.  Italian forces began their invasion into Ethiopia on October 3rd.  The news agency further reported that the Italian army now claimed that a new 60-mile front, extending from Adigrat through Entisio, had been established.   Hopes to fi…

nd any precious artifacts would not come as a disappointment.  Reports as early as July 17th indicated that Emperor Haile Selassie, anticipating an Italian invasion, had ordered the city’s crown jewels and other “ecclesiastical treasures” removed to the mountains for safe-keeping.   Nonetheless, one artifact would not escape looting: The Aksum Obelisk.   In 1937, a three part obelisk, fallen from unknown cases, was removed and brought to Rome where it was reassembled and displayed on October 28, 1937 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the March on Rome.  The obelisk would remain in Rome until 2005 when it was finally returned. (Photo: Italian forces transport the looted Aksum obelisk to Rome in 1937)

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