Ethiopian Lilibala Book Section

This book is also called the "Chronicles of Lalibala after a famous king who lived during the previous century.
This photo shows 1 page out of 8 in a section of a book 9 by 7 inches in size and composed of 163 pages. This is the oldest book of the Magdala collection.
From Write (1875). Online at:

Replica of Ge'ez stela at the website of Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in British Columbia, Canada. This is a part of their virtual exhibit series.

Aksum is located in the subhumid periphery of the Ethiopian highlands (formerly known as the Abyssinian Plateau) in northern Ethiopia, at the foot of the Beta Giyorgis hill in the north and northwest, and the May Qoho hill in the east. It emerged from a local polity in the fourth century BC to prominence in the first century AD (Proto-Aksumite period). Aksum’s rise to power is related to its agricultural productivity, and its excellent location in means of trade near the Red Sea coast.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church dates the top-down Christianization of Aksum circa 330 CE with King Ezana’s conversion to the monotheistic religion, under the influence of bishop Frumentius. Although the new religion was not widely accepted at first arrival, the significant royal shift is shown by numismatic sources. Some of the coins issued during Ezana’s reign display the crescent and disk motif characteristic of pre-Christian Aksumite religious iconography, while other coins are marked with a cross.

Online at:

Ethiopian Lilibala Book in Gee'ez Language - Before 1400 CE

(January 15, 2024) This text style is runic right down the the colons acting as phrase dividers. This book is dated to 1400 CE and the language is Ge'ez which is liturgical only language of the Ethiopian church. It is not spoken by the public. As such it is similar to how Druid Akkadian was in northern Europe after the the rise of local languages which mixed Akkadian with Indo-European.

Geʿez is the ancestor of the modern Tigrinya and Tigré languages of Eritrea and Ethiopia. The oldest known inscriptions were found in the ancient Ethiopian capital of Aksum between 300 and 800 CE. The Bible was translated into Geʿez between 400 and 600 CE.  The language ceased to be spoken popularly sometime between 900 and 1200. The period of classical Geʿez literature was between 1200 and 1550 CE. This was the feudal era of Ethiopia and these writings were its equivalent of the bardic tales of Europe.


Wright, William (editor) (1875) The Paleographical Society Facsimiles of  Manuscripts and Inscriptions, page 58.  Printed by W. Clowes. Online at:
A much later example of Ge'ez. This scroll was acquired by the British Museum in 1893. (Museum number:) Af1893,0715.4. Most letters are similar to the Lalibala text. The first two words are written in red ink and indicate that it is the Epistle of John 
Online at: