#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 have assisted him in his suit, are put to death…

In December, 1871, a brother of Prince Ansa was detected in an intrigue with two women of royal blood, and was sentenced to death by the Ashanti Kotoko. The king strove to mitigate the sentence to one of banishment, but the council demurred, because the offence was of an unusual character, and the prince and his accomplices were slain.

With the king’s permission his sisters can contract marriage with any man who is pre-eminently handsome, no matter how low his rank and position may be. But a man of low rank who may have thus married one of the king’s sisters is expected to commit suicide when his wife dies, or upon the death of an only male child. Should he outrage native custom and neglect to do so, a hint is conveyed to him that he will be put to death, which usually produces the desired effect…

[#7] Ashanti: “The Price of Intrigue with Women of Royal Blood,” from A. B. Ellis, The Tshi-Speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast of West Africa; their religion, manners, customs, laws, language, etc. [c. 1890] Reprint: Chicago: Benin Press, Ltd., 1964, pp. 287.

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