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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)

Chapter 7: Aptitudes of these heathen, and their superstitious rites and ceremonies,   pp. 1-14

Page 3

workers in this Ethiopia and very eager to acquire and own chattels.
live in districts ruled by the Cassangas, for at almost every step in t4j
lands there are many kings. With respect to social intercourse/ and ii _
particular to the management of private affairs, their way of bring    i
children(c) is the usual way among the other heathen, and the same a
to all their superstitious practices. Each man has many wives, the num
being in proportion to their means, more or less.  As well as carryin&jd
normal duties in the upkeep of the family, such as spinning and so on,l,
these women are keen traders and travel from fair to fair to gain a
livelihood.  (Hence) on the number of his wives depends the greater or
lesser importance of the household of each man, whatever rank he holds II:
Normally there are fairs every day, for each village has one every seven
day. These women manure the land with the mud or dung they throw on ill
and they weed and harvest the staple crops and pound them in mortars.
usually dress in cotton cloths, coloured or black, which they dye with
local dyestuffs.                                                      J
The king and gentry and all the well-off wear common Moorish smc
with very full breeches, richly pleated, resembling knee-length drawers
with many pleats - but this comparison is not exact, for this form of 1'
breeches is seen nowhere else, and when they are laid out they look liki
ceirao. Women wear cotton cloths which they earn themselves, as they do
cloths normally. Their matrimonial contracts, wrongly so-named since t
are not true marriages, carry no natural or civil obligation. Gentry glA
villagers some cows or anythiag else of value, in exchange for the daughte
they receive from them. These girls are treated as servants and lack t
standing of a wife. Their fathers are not regarded as fathers-in-law,
brothers as brothers-in-law, or their alleged husbands as sons-in-law, ani
the servant herself is not considered a daughter-in-law.   Their role it
only to serve sensuality(d) a role which the disgraceful and evil custo{
(c) They buy children so that those with money can adopt them.
(d) In his Oeconomica Aristotle recommended continence to husbands away
from home, giving as a moral example Ulysses, who, long absent thoUgn
married to Penelope, was tempted to sin by Circe, daughter of Atlas;s
but not even her promise of immortality, though he believed it, coulf
overcome or break his fidelity. Today absences are sought and only;
hell can reckon the extent to which men yield (to temptation).      J


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