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

Ethiopia Minor: a geographical description of the Province and Kingdom of the Jalofo Heathon, part I, chapter I: the location and fertility of the land, and the nature and occupations of its inhabitants,   pp. [unnumbered]-14 ff.

Page 9

heathen of the coast are inferior in polite habits to those of the
interior. As the nobility reside in the latter it is more
sophisticated. Yet the coastal people are true heathen which the
others are not, since the king and many of the leading men are very
enthusiastic bexeris of the accursed sect, for as well as trade and
other goods, the Moors have brought then the infernal sect of the
infamous prophet, and these grandees are so spell-bound by the
ministers of the false sect that the kings do nothing of importance
without their counsel. When they go to war or despatch armies, apart
frosa covering their shirts, shields and bows with large numbers of
amulets, and encasing their arms with others and hanging some from'
their necks, (the bexeris) prepare for them certain medicines which,
the bexeris saw and the kings believe, if carried provide a royal
assurance against loss of life.   (The bexeris) affirm this, not
because they believe it or think it true but, as they admit to some
of the Portuguese, because it affords a means to keep in the good
graces of these grandees, so that by attending in this way to what the
grandees want to hear the bexeris obtain the best part of their lands.
And these hellin1 priests are so clever and double-dealing that they
take care never to accompany these kings to war, and when the kings
ask them, they excuse themselves by saying that since the weapons will
be aided by thcr prayers it is the same whether they go (themselves)
or send others.    During battles they remain preoccupied in their
intercessions -a, the false prophet, beseeching him to obtain from
the Most High a victory for the soldiers.   And if these poor wretches
fail to gain a victory, the bexeris attribute it wholly to their
failure to kee-r the observances of the sect, from which lapse alone
any setback reslts and chiefly derives/so they persuade the
ignorant peoplz.


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