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Almada, André Alvares d', fl. 1594, et al. / Brief treatise on the rivers of Guinea
Part I (1984)

Chapter 4. Which discusses the Kingdom of Borçalo, where Jalofos and Barbacins live; and all else in this district. [translated text],   pp. 30-40 and 41


Page 34

34.


8.       Throughout this land of the Jalofos, Barbacins and Handingas can
be found a nation of blacks who are considered and treated by them as
Jews (are among us). I do not know where they come from. They are a
handsome people, especially the women. The men have noses of generous
size. Most of them will not eat pork.
9.       They are importunate beggars, going from kingdom to kingdom with
their women, like gypsies with us. They take up the same manal trades
as the gypsies do, that is, (they work as) weavers, shoe-makers, and
blacksmiths. They are employed as drummers in the blacks' wars, and
they sing to spur on those who fight, reminding them of the deeds of
their ancestors; and in this way they persuade them to conquer or die.
In war they beat three kinds of drums. One kind is like ours; another
is smaller, and they carry it under the arm and beat it while on horse-
back; another kind is made of a single skin, seven hand-spans long.
With these instruments they announce anything they want known, for
instance, they make signals in battle or give warnings of fire. When
the blacks hear drums, they can tell instantly which king or captain
the particular drums belong to. The Jews also play (stringed instruments,)
violins and another sort which is like a harp.
10.      People of this land observe the following law. No Jew can enter
the house of any person who is not a Jew, or eat or drink from utensils
used by non-Jews; and if Jews have connection with any woman not of
their races both are sold or killed. I was one day at the royal court
- called maca - and was within the palace of the king. He had a Jew
who was such a close acquaintance, that when he spoke from without, he
said what he pleased and joked with the king. (This day,) the Jew placed
himself near the palace, and as the law did not allow him to enter, he
shouted from without many times. But growing weary with his shouting,
and seeing that he got no reply - except that some of those within
mockingly told him to come in - in - -er he said these words:


 


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