had before copied; and I was still more strongly confirmed in my original opinion, that it contains the identical characters seen by Mr. Bruce, which he "restored," or rather converted into Greek, as they are inscribed on the footstool of a kind of throne or altar, where "the feet would naturally rest," (which stone, however, is certainly of granite, and not "of freestone,") whereas on the one where "the King was usually crowned," standing about thirty yards distant from the other, there could not be found the slightest trace of a single letter. Mr. Bruce mentions, in corroboration of his inscription, that Mr. Poncet had seen it; and that he had mistaken the last word "ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ" for Basilius: but, after carefully looking over, the original edition of Mr. Poncet's work in French, as well as in the English translation, I found that there was not the slightest mention of any such characters or inscription throughout his Journal. The larger Greek inscription which I discovered had, indeed, been frequently noticed by those Jesuits who travelled in the country, one of whom actually remarks his having made out the word "Basilius;" so that it was probably upon this latter circumstance that Mr. Bruce founded his erroneous conjecture.
Mr. Smith and Mr. Stuart, who both assisted me in my examination of these ruins, perfectly agreed with me upon the subject, and the latter had previously traced the characters I have mentioned during a journey which he had made to Axum a few days before he met me at Adowa, and in the attempt, though he was not particularly successful, a sufficient number of the letters were made out, to prove them Ethiopic. In consequence, I have thought it right to give a fac-similé of his performance, notwithstanding that I consider my own copy in Lord Valentia's work to be the more correct of the two.
[copy of inscription here]
I must observe, that Mr. Stuart, in making out these letters, copied them the wrong side upwards, and that,
- Vide Vol, IV, p. 323