That region of Ethiopia which was known to the Romans as the kingdom of Auxuma, was called by the Arabians Al Habesh, of which the modern name of Abyssinia is merely a corruption. Its eastern boundary is the Red Sea, and on the north it adjoins to Nubia; and in its physical geography it bears a great resemblance to the Arabian peninsula. It is described as a country of mountains. Like Arabia, it is characterized by its coast chains; a high ridge runs parallel to the shores of the Indian ocean as far as Cape Guardafui, from whence it continues in a westerly direction to the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, inclosing the frankincense and myrrh country, which extends considerably to the west of Azab. From the strait this chain follows the course of the Red Sea, until it terminates in the sandy plain at the Isthmus of Suez. The interior of Abyssinia is described by Salt as a table land, having a gentle inclination towards the north-west, and presenting two great steeps, one on the east, towards the Red Sea, the other on the south, towards the interior of
- Bruce, Travels, vol. ii. p. 302, 8vo. Edinb. 1805. Suez was the ancient Sebaste, whence the Arabic Siwas, corrupted into Suez.