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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 5

But it often happens that they sell them (on this excuse) simply because
of some moment of displeasure, the heathen being capricious. They accuse
them of these offences publicly and falsely, and innocent persons thus
lose the mainstay of life, which is liberty, a jewel so precious that
here on the earth below it can only be taken away in exchange for the
richer profit of eternal life and the service of the Lord.
However, if the servant woman is of noble birth and she is living
with a commoner, any time that she wishes to leave him and take another
master, she can do so. Hence it is common for these ladies to unite
themselves with men of lower standing, in order to give themselves more
scope for sensuality and more free licence to lead a dissolute life, in
little or no subjection, since their goodwill, its presence or absence,
controls the supply of favours to their boors. Because of this, these men
present perfect illustrations of the henpecked husbands for instead of
being, in relation to their wives, the head, they are not even the feet
but only the slaves of the feet, their wives' feet; since these women order
them about with kicks and make them perform more turns than a child does
whipping his tops( ) Nor is this surprising, as these men - at whose
marriage the Lord is not present - are only straw husbands, not real ones,
and hence they are controlled by the relationship they have established
with the women.
But so that we can /f.26/ conclude this subject in a more pleasant
strain, I propose at this poiLit to ask a question which that glorious
saint, St Basil, posed in an ingenious form, and to which he made a reply
of some subtlety,   suitably worthy of the genius of so great a saint.  
fits in appropriately here.   In his book De Virginitate (About Virginity),
St Basil asked: "Why did God, when he wished to nurture in the hearts
the two sexes, that is, in man and woman, the seeds of affection, give
the woman the advantage, by making her much less passionate towards the
man than he to her ?   Why was he not pleased to treat both equally
(h) Marianus, on Penitence.
(i) Said Adam on seeing Eve : "Propter hanc. etc" ["Because
of this..." ?
misquotation of "She shall be called woman because she was taken out
man", Genesis 2:23]7 He does not take a woian (?): he remains silent,
because God willed that man should be attached to woman. The married
man is both master and slave.


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