To the Greeks and the Romans, the Kingdom of Aksum was well known, as it was to the Arabs and the Persians as well. Aksum ascended to great heights thanks almost exclusively to trade. Commerce was the key factor that helped Axum evolve to become the capital of an empire. This can safely be ascribed to its proximity to the Red Sea and its trade routes, since all it had to do was successfully facilitate the growing need of the Greeks and the Romans for African goods. A major export of Axum was elephant ivory, which was a highly sought after commodity in the Mediterranean, Levant, and Persia.
Aksumite traders established far-reaching caravans that would travel into the African interior in order to procure more ivory. As Axum was located at key crossroads for trade traffic, it only sped up its prosperity. In time, Axum became the hotbed for a rising civilization with a unique character fed by a proper amalgam of indigenous African cultures infused with South Arabian character, as well as plenty of influences from the classical world of the Mediterranean.
More precisely, the name Aethiopia was used in Greco-Roman inscriptions for a long time and denoted specifically the region of ancient Nubia. However, in the 15 th century Ethiopian church book, known as the Book of Aksum , it is stated that the name stems from a legendary biblical figure known as Ityopp’is, a son of Cush (Kush). It was Ityopp’is who allegedly founded the city of Axum. Ethiopia was also known as Abyssinia in English historiography and elsewhere. This term stems from the Ethiopian Ge’ez language and their pronunciation of Aethiopia: Habashat.