Category Archives: Africa

IGBO

#14 Sacrifices, Death, and Burial
     (G. T. Basden, 1938)

… [the] “Ichu-aja”… offering consists of a selection of the following: food, strips of cloth, a gin bottle, a lizard, a chicken or a kid, and other things up to a bull or, in the past, a human being, according … Continue reading

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YORUBA

#12 Yoruba Laws and Customs: Suicide
     (A. K. Ajisafe, 1924)

When a man finds life burdensome, disgraceful, and perilous to him, and consequently commits suicide he is given great credit and honour. But when out of shame for a mean act he commits suicide, his corpse is considered abominable and … Continue reading

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ASHANTI

#7 The Price of Intrigue with Women of Royal Blood
     (A. B. Ellis, 1887)

In Ashanti the women of royal blood are permitted to intrigue with any eminently fine and handsome man in order that their kings may be commanding presence. If, however, permission has not first been obtained, the lover, and all who … Continue reading

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ASHANTI

#6 Funeral Rites for Babies and Kings
    (Capt. R. S. Rattray, 1929)

 …I am afraid that some of the following pages may be repellent to some of my readers. I have considered it to be my duty to set out the details of many of the horrors of the old régime. I … Continue reading

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AFRICAN TRADITIONAL SUB-SAHARAN CULTURES
(documented 1853-present)

African Origin Myths: Man Desires Death (Hans Abrahamsson) Dogon: The Souls of the Dogons (documented by Solange de Ganay, 1937-39) LoDagaa: Restraining the Bereaved to Prevent Suicide (documented by Jack Goody, 1962) Akan: The Detection of Witches: Ordeal and Punishment … Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, African Traditional Sub-Saharan Cultures, African Traditional Sub-Saharan Cultures, Indigenous Cultures, The Early Modern Period, The Modern Era

OLAUDAH EQUIANO
(c. 1745-1797)

from The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself

  Olaudah Equiano, an Igbo, describes himself as born to a relatively prosperous, slave-owning family in the region east of the city of Onitsha, Nigeria, where ownership of slaves and slave-raiding were local practice at the time. At the age … Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Americas, Equiano, Olaudah, Selections, Slavery, The Early Modern Period

IBN BATTUTA
(1304-1368/69)

from Rihla: On Sati and Religious Suicide

  Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Batutah, known as Ibn Battuta or sometimes Battuta, was born to a Berber family of Islamic legal scholars in Tangier, Morocco. He is known for the extent of his travels over 30 years, setting … Continue reading

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AUGUSTINE
(354–430)

from The City of God
from On Free Choice of the Will

  Born to a small landholder, Patricius, and a pious Christian, Monica, in the small town of Thagaste in the Roman province of Numidia (modern Souk-Ahras, Algeria), Augustine of Hippo was of profound influence on the history of Western thought. … Continue reading

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LACTANTIUS
(c. 240–c. 320)

from The Divine Institutes

  Born sometime between 230 and 260 in proconsular North Africa to a non-Christian family who lived at Carthage, Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius became a rhetorician and professor of oratory in Nicomedia, in northwest Asia Minor. Known for his Latin … Continue reading

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PLOTINUS
(204–270)

from The Enneads
   On Happiness
   On the Primal Good and Secondary       Forms of Good
   ‘The Reasoned Dismissal’

  Plotinus, the founder and principal exponent of the philosophical school known as Neoplatonism, was born in Egypt; it is not clear whether he was Greek, Roman, or a Hellenized Egyptian. He had a Greek education. He studied for 11 … Continue reading

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