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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 6

In reply to the question, the saint said : "This was in recompense for
subjection which God has imposed on the woman by making the man the head
of household affairs, and by making her so subordinate in this respect
that a discreet and prudent woman at whose espousals there was no lack of
wine, that is, of flowing grace, will not so much as raise her eyelashes
without her husband's consent. And this is why she keeps her hair long,
it being the reins by which the man takes her in hand and steers her
through the mysterious journey of life."(j) For St Paul said Vir est
caput mulieris [ "Man is the head of woman", a gloss on 1 Corinthians
11,3-10 ? 3 , and the apostle recommended women to be punctilious in their
subjection and seclusion, while he wished them to devote themselves to this
because of the disorders which normally result from theirkseen (publicly).
Such (public exhibitions of themselves) are what St Bernard called "the
plague of the soul". This was the case with Dinah, as we learn from
Scriptures [ 'Dinah...went out to see the daughters of the land...',
Genesis 34 :1 JI k)Hence it is that God allows women slippers, which
they consider a luxury but which are really restraints on thcir feet. The
most fashionable slippers are fetters, so that they cannot move in theml
(j) And master of the woman. Genesis 2L   : 16]    God gave man the
command : "Ex omni ligno" [ "Of every tree (of the garden
mayest freely eat.. .)"J, and then he formed woman. He wished that
she should learn from her husband.
(k) "Filii enim sanctorum sumus, et non possumus ita conjungi, sicut
gentes quae ignorant Deum", Tobias 8 [ 5, For we are sons of the
sanctuary and cannot therefore be thus united, as are the heathen
who do not know God"] .
(1) Exodus 4 (?). The Egyptians made a law that women should walk
barefoot. Plutarch says that this was so that they could slip
out without embarrassment, to see or be seen.


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