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The Bilen, Blin or Bilin

are an African ethnic group of south-central Eritrea, in and around the city of Keren, and south toward Asmara, the capital city. The Bilen are agriculturalists. About thirty percent of their population are Christian, primarily Catholic, while the other seventy percent are 20th century

converts to Islam.

Blin is also the name of their language, an Agaw language. Sixty percent of the Christians have some understanding of Tigrinya. Seventy percent of the Muslims also use Tigre. Other spoken languages include Arabic.

The Agaw are perhaps first mentioned in the 3rd c. AD Aksumite inscription recorded by Cosmas Indicopleustes in the 6th century. The inscription refers to a people called "Athagaus" (or Athagaous), perhaps from?

Ad Agaw, meaning "sons[1] of Agaw."[2] The Athagaous first turn up as one of the peoples conquered the unknown king who inscribed the Monumentum Adulitanum.[3] The Agaw are later mentioned in an inscription of the 4th c. Aksumite King Ezana[2] and 6th. c. King Kaleb. Based on this evidence, a number of experts embrace a theory first stated by Edward Ullendorff and Carlo Conti-Rossini that they are the original inhabitants of much of the northern Ethiopian highlands, and were either forced out of their original settlements or assimilated by Semitic-speaking Tigray-Tigrinya and Amhara peoples .[4] Cosmas Indicopleustes also noted in his Christian Topography that a major gold trade route passed through the region "Agau".

The area referred to seems to be referring to an area "east of the Tekezé River and just south of the Semien Mountains, perhaps around lake Tana.[2] They currently exist in a number of scattered enclaves, which include the Bilen in and around Keren in Eritrea; the Qemant and the Qwara, who live around Gondar in the Semien Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, west of the Tekezé River and north of Lake Tana; a number of Agaw live south of Lake Tana, around Dangila in the Agew Awi Zone of the Amhara Region; and another group live around Sokota in the former province of Wollo, now part of the Amhara province, along its border with the Tigray Region.

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