Book 2, Chapter 8

[89]        Of the Zeal & fidelity with which Queen Ginga kept the Ginga laws which she had adopted, like a true Giaga, & imitator of such an iniquitous mother Chap. VIII

It cannot be denied (dear reader) but must be confessed that every Kingdom in the world, even every Province & Region, creates men with singular qualities & inclinations; for this reason many people have had occasion to give the populations with these inclinations & qualities particular names, so that for example Epimenida called the Cretans, a people of lying & evil beasts, who in addition were all poltroons.

The mauritanians were called by Salvitio a vain people.  The Dalmatians were known as a fierce people & others had differ­ent names.  So if it is true that every Kingdom, Province & Region influences certain natural inclinations in its inhabit­ants, just think, o readers, what may be those of the part of southern Africa called western or inner Ethiopia, outside the world which embraces everything?  These characteristics are at the centre of their being, & so they are able to be masters of all the other Provinces,Kingdoms & Regions because they are by nature bigger liars than Cretans, for truth is never or at least seldom found in their mouths, & when it does happen it is by accident, & against their natural inclination; but they may well be called beasts because they walk with the irrational rather than the Rational and also resemble the Cretans in their poltroonary, though to say that would be greatly honouring them because they are worse, & if it is true that the after-effects of sin are that sadness establishes itself & increases, what will happen to them?  In their way they also surpass the vanity of the Mauritanians.  They are fiercer than the Dalmatians, the Garamantes of Asia, the Massagenti if India or the mamelukes of America, the Zebici, the Chilli, the Virginians of eastern Ethiopia.  It is enough to say that the Giaga people have the advantage of all the other nations in the world, & if they are as loyal as animals, they resemble animals altogether, & are not much like human beings, with deformed bodies, a terrible aspect, a barbarous & cruel Soul, given to robbery & rapine, [90] discuss their deeds but little, in short they are the quintessence of all the evil in the world.  So what will Queen Ginga be like, born in this black Ethiopia under a Climate below Stars which influence so many evil inclinations in those native to it?

Who can guess or prophecy whether there is a lamb hidden under the wolf’s clothing when all we see is wolves?  This is the nature of our Ginga, from these she derives her life, her rites, her laws, her customs & observances, & is a skilled mistress of them all; she feels their quintessence to be natural, influenced by the climate & acquired from the Giaga life which she has led for many years, 28 of them, during which even acquired customs have been converted into natural ones as she has shown in the observance of the iniquitous Giaga laws; which have been registered in the first book & so will not be noted here, but I shall simply describe the method[1] &  way in which Queen Ginga has diligently observed them without transgressing in any way, as if they had been Holy & good, which a rich reward is prepared for them consisting of eternal glory, & to the followers & observers of iniquitous laws eternal fire stands ready; now, dear reader, I wish you to be attentive to the progress of this narrative.

Quixilla Variangue.  First Law.

As to the first quixilla i.e. law she was most diligent, and had by one of her Concubines a son who a few days  after birth was killed by the King, her uterine brother, to ensure the government for himself, a barbarous custom of these ethiopian nations, & she avenged his death after the death of the King by throwing her nephew, true heir to the Kingdom, into the Coanzo river, & when already stained with her nephew’s blood, to show herself a true Giaga, she not only imitated her mother but surpassed her in Zeal because she forbade human propagation in her vassals & followers and made herself like a furious harpy & cruel tigress towards the human body, image of the Creator, towards newly born children as if they had been the opprobrium & execration of their parents, & if by accident she allowed any of those captured in war in order to obey the law [91] to remain alive, this was only until they transgressed her first commandment which made life and death equal, as sacrifice of life was her ordinary means of punishment;  Queen Ginga was more barbarous & cruel to children than herod, for if he killed the innocent he did not forbid human propagation, & only vented his anger once, while she vented it at every available opportunity, now against one & now against the multitude according to opportunity & time, & was always barbarically & cruelly surpassing even King pharaoh, who only ordered that boys be thrown into the river, & spared the girls, but inhuman Ginga  ordered both to be deprived of life, an unheard-of cruelty, & one had to wonder & marvel at the extent of the tyranny of this barbarous and immoral woman.

Quixilla aijari.  Second Law.

She showed her great zeal in the second law, and seeing that she could not prevent a woman being pregnant and bringing her baby to birth, she ordered that no woman should give birth within the armed camp, & if she did give birth she ordered her head to be cut off in the house where she had given birth, & the baby to be buried alive, & if the husband was implicated he suffered the same punishment: whereas if it was without his consent he could kill his wife without incurring any punishment, but rather was praised for a heroic act.  She felt such horror of children that when some appeared in time of war she was seen to be greatly perturbed, & showed in her face what was concealed in her heart, nor did she delay in showing it if they were not immediately removed from her presence;* [marginal note*: she did not want any woman to bring up a child and did not heed the advice of the Apostle S. Paul who said “Fathers and mothers, you must create and bring up your children”, nor did she appreciate that of Ignatius Bishop of Antioch who, speaking to Fathers and Mothers says to them that they should nourish their children;  and besides Eccleriasticus says [marg. c. 7] “O woman keep your children bring them up and nourish them”, but she sent them all to be killed / so that people were too afraid to give birth within the camp, & outside it mothers killed the children, or left them as food for Animals, or threw them into rivers according to what opportunities they had, & this they did not so much out of barbarity, as to please their Lady & Queen, when the dogs were not present at the time of giving birth (as you will hear) ;  some women have told me after being baptised & joined in matrimony according to the custom of the Holy Mother Church, that in the time of their Giaga life one of them left five children to be eaten by dogs, another three, & another threw seven to the river & to dogs, another nine.  The inventor of evil deeds [92] kept a large number of dogs outside the City in a place assigned for women to give birth in, & these were used to such game animals and knew the women’s pains & groans which normally precede giving birth, and stayed there waiting for the baby to appear, ate it, and some of the court have told me that if by any Chance there had been a woman there who from human compassion had wanted to defend her baby it cost the unfortunate her life without hope of appeal, as if she had been the offspring of dogs, a portion awarded to them by the Queen which they did not want to lose;  she said “what is the use of children except for deafen people with their crying?  It is better that they should die, I have none and I do not wish others to have them.”

As to twins who in other Kingdoms & nations are brought up with great diligence & dedicated to the service of their false Gods, & by many adored as children of the thunder, there they are killed and as a prophecy of their destruction the first was called Cacullo and the second Cabazzo;[2] two women not far from where I was living both had twins, & both killed them.  Those who were marked by mother nature with some monstrosity such as having more limbs than is natural, if they were noble, had them cut off & stayed alive, ever grateful that they were spared, & if they were Plebeian they were sent to be killed according to custom, & this also is observed by those who are not Giaghi, & I have seen several of them.  Those were lame, blind & deaf were subjected to the law of Aristotle that they should be deprived of life as objects of execration to their parents, if any were saved out of human respect they could not come into the camp unless received with the chest called Missette where they keep the relics of their Ancestors they worship ( such as that of King ngolambande) & other diabolical things.[3]

Quixilla quitatu.  Third Law.

In the fulfillment of the third law she used in war the mortar they call quino where she had pounded to death with a pestle the son she had quickened, & anointed herself with the oil made from her son, as ordained by Tembo Andumba, & when it ran short she renewed it [93] according to the Giaga custom, painted herself with various colours & the juice of various herbs & powdered charcoal according to the ancient custom generally observed in this black Ethiopia; for hoping to add beauty to their blackness, they added deformity to ugliness, & managed to represent, when thus painted, a Scene of inhabitants of Hell which it is frightening to behold; such were the cosmetics of the Queen with which she adorned her black person, & in their fashion beautified herself & made herself worth looking at, also making use of various unguents which gave off a fragrance like the previous day’s food, but greatly esteemed by the blacks.

Quixilla Giuana.  Fourth Law.

She observed the fourth law most faithfully because just as she made sacrifices both before and after war and surpassed the other Giaghi in barbarity and ambition, so she felt that, being by birth nobler than the others, it would be a great discredit & dishonour to her if she did not also surpass them in the observance and execution of the Giaga cruelty & barbarity, & for this reason and that of her great ambition & pride she was much more feared than the others, & so were those who fought [did battle] under her barbarous command, & even today her soldiers are much feared and held to be valorous & as well as the Epithet of inhuman & cruel which many have applied to them they are held to be faster in walking, more skillful in jumping, and also quick to plunder.  She was also very diligent in burying in her own belly those whom they killed in war, but more to set an example to her followers than through her natural inclination, & they are more avid for it than she and more so than the (illegible) are for Game, & for it would leave pheasants & partridges, & truly do not wait to eat it until it is well cooked,  Those that she did not contain in her belly she had taken to the people’s houses, if time allowed, and if there was a shortage even the pulverised bones were used; I have several times seen these barbarous acts committed, and let everyone think what must arise in a human breast to see human individuals of the same species torn to pieces [torn] and quartered, & eaten.  That is what happens & what is observed in this [94] black Ethiopia, these were the observances of Queen Ginga & her Giaga people, & I have seen as well as heard this not once but many times.

Quixilla quitanu.  Fifth Law.

For many Years I have seen people killed to serve those who died, following in this the custom not only of the black people of Ethiopia, but also those of the Indian Regions; at first she was accustomed to killing her familiars & servants, but after a time it did not seem fitting to her to kill them, and she ordered those captured in war to be killed, and did not fail, according to the black people’s custom, to kill Goats, hens, Eunuchs, and as part of the sacrifice they add various beverages and cloths, as if the dead were alive, stupid in one case and mad enough to be put in Chains in the other, they are so faithful in this observance that in order to keep it they deprived themselves of clothing, at most covering their private parts, & go about as they came [rose] from their mothers’ bellies without the slightest shame, but are considered heroes among themselves; it would be good, dear reader, if this were in recompense of benefits received, or for any obligation whatsoever they had incurred, but it is accompanied by a thousand superstitious observances.

Quixilla Samano.  Sixth Law.

She was more observant of this quixilla than any, because she not only had the two middle top teeth taken out, but in many cases the bottom teeth also in order to show greater barbarity, & not content with this, she branded them horribly with the shape of grating, not so much so that they should show themselves as her slaves in one or two places, but rather so that her inhumanity should be visible; I say, she had them marked on the arms, chest & in many cases also on the shoulders, which, when one sees someone with four or six brands moves the Blood in one’s veins.  I have seen very many of these Ethiopians branded with less care & circumspection than would be done with Horses in Europe, because many wish to have with the brand what they were unable to get in battle, through lack of time of some other human considerations; a barbarity one cannot believe without having seen it, because to tell it is to risk being held not to tell the truth, & of being censured by everyone.  One also sees many wounded in the arms & back, and if the reader is curious to know what is the meaning among them of these signs, & if these also are imprinted [95] to satisfy their madness & curiosity, I say that Queen Ginga had nine or ten cuts on her arms, & so had Donna Barbara & many others; these are not marks of anger & indignation nor signs of slavery of the body or the heart, because these cuts & wounds were made by their Lovers as a sign of the Excessive feelings they had.  This was not a new custom of the Queen, but an ancient one of the Kingdom of Dongo[4] as I have seen in many old mondonghi, both men and women; let everyone marvel at the action & consider the fact, how it troubles Christians, & even more so the Religious; I leave each one to consider and form judgement, & give sentence at will, & this is enough on this quixilla.

Quixilla Sambuari.  Seventh Law.

If Queen Ginga was not naturally inclined to eat human flesh, she did not fail, as a true observer of their iniquitous laws, to try it out both during bloody wars and on occasions of sacrifice; this essay on the Queen’s part was such an effective example to her Vassals & followers that, wishing to please their Lady, they filled their bellies with it, & if she was coming took from their Houses and wives children & relations; & many also took particular parts to their Concubines such as brains, Heart or liver to prove their fidelity to them in their absence, for she who ate freely & without repugnance gave a sign of her fidelity, & if she demurred she was guilty & was punished according to the degree of her crime, & sometimes paid with her life, without prayers & appeals being any use, and the penalty was put into practice.  If Queen Ginga was reluctant to eat human flesh, she did not abstain from drinking human blood among her usual beverages, which she drank when swearing friendship & alliance, which they are accustomed to drink; they call the swearing Cuia, and to say “someone has taken Cuia” is to say he has sworn loyalty[5] or to do something, & the blood of the people who swear is part of the drink.  Queen Ginga took such an oath when she allied herself with Cassange Calunga to do harm to the Portuguese,[6] & avenge previous deaths, as on various occasions she was ready and willing to do, but lacked strength.  Such an oath [96] was also observed among the people of Scythia who drew blood and drank it mixed with wine, & this was their oath of friendship & loyalty; many times I have found myself on various occasions when people were pledging their loyalty in such an oath & rather than break it were ready to lose their lives in order to maintain it in its full Strength and give example to others, something which not many Christians do with the promise made to blessed God in trebly denying the devil, his pomps, & his works at the Sacred baptismal fount.

Quixilla naque.  Eighth law.

Like Tamba, & Tembo Andumba the reformer of the Giaghi, & also like the Amazons, the Queen commanded her soldiers, & was seen in the Vanguard during wars, armed with Bow & arrows, accompanied by her ladies, more than 400 in number, all armed like their Lady.[7] She encouraged her soldiers, rewarding some even for their future actions, to incite them further to barbarous & cruel acts, and other she reproved; others, though cowardly, she praised so that, hearing themselves praised, they might take Heart against the enemy, but it is certain, dear reader, that the greatest tyranny of a tyrant is to reward vice & cruelty.  At the time of the fight she always managed to be in a place where she could watch her forces, & also those of the enemy, and to frighten the enemy she formed squads of her ladies with her captains armed with Bows & arrows, their heads covered with various feathers.  She made them practice warlike actions, showing a wish to advance on the enemy, & with these stratagems she won many victories; when her army returned broken by the enemy she armed herself promptly, invoking the Belzebus of hell, crying to all “either victory or death”.  Queen Ginga had so much courage that she gave it to her soldiers, who advancing on the enemy achieved glorious victories.  She did not lack for stratagems, & many people thought she was far away when she knocked unexpectedly at their doors; she said her Bow could not be vanquished because it was a Royal weapon, but she was wrong because she often ran short of time & fled on Horseback, as happened in the year 1640 when she was defeated by the Portuguese & they captured [97] her two sisters Cambo & Fungi that is Donna Barbara & Donna Gracia.[8]

To get her way there was nothing she would not do, whether it was human or devilish, even if it meant damage to property & bodily harm, without thought of the offence she was causing the Creator, the sum of all good, & the loss of her Soul, but like a blind woman let herself be guided by her unrestrained wishes, & followed them headlong; this is the way of a Soul obstinate in wrongdoing, and this is all I need say about this quixilla, & I pass to the ninth in number.

Quixilla Vua.  Ninth Law.

Queen Ginga was not less observant of the ninth quixilla, which almost all the nations observe, not only of Ethiopia but the Indian, Cuzinquese, Aimari & other heathen nations; & as I have related when treating the quixillas, & their ways, & how they observe them, I pass over it and it is enough to know that Queen Ginga observed it & made others observe it like a true Giaga.  I only add that she & others have women killed to whom they give birth before their first periods, & also kill their sons; so that it should be known which women deserve to live, & after the first period has decided which they are they make feast for them even if they are poor, each according to his means.

Quixilla Cuim.  Tenth Law.

From what follows, dear reader, you can guess whether Queen Ginga observed the tenth quixilla, because she kept a Silver Chest made by an Excellent master, & this was dedicated to King ngolambande, her brother, as was noted in Chap. (blank)[9] according to the said law; inside it was a sheepskin spotted with white & black colours, a piece of plaster called Pemba by the Ethiopians, a belt from London,[10] a tooth & bones of the brother the dead King, & a few bristles or ropes, the tail of an Elephant, & when this was exposed she adored & worshipped it on her knees, & made sacrifices to it, & everyone else had to do likewise on pain of rigorous punishment; & even supposing that a babylonian furnace was not prepared for them as it was for those who did not worship the statue of their King, there was such punishment that if their lives were spared from material fire, they were not spared the fire of [98] wrath & indignation, an  unquenchable fire, when she ordered their Heads to be immediately cut off to the sound not of pan-pipes & Bagpipes, but of trumpets made of Elephants’ tusks, & other instruments in use among the Ethiopians, which apart from the marimba which makes a pleasant sound & delights the listener, make an infernal music, especially when accompanied by their singing & shouts which resemble those of four-footed animals used to singing in the month of may.  Everyone had to kneel & soil oneself with earth, adore & revere it, beating one’s palms together & shouting according to the black people’s custom to honour it.  She kept so many players with instruments of all sorts to play at the assigned times, with various silk cloths, and ministers who guarded it,[11] a Sacristan who looked after it and a Priest who watched over it, & if need arose carried it like an ark on his shoulders.  When she went into battle it was brought along in a special way carried by the priest and another of his order, in the vanguard, to guide their enterprise, it was preceded & followed by a good guard of soldiers, & other people with all that was necessary for the Sacrifice & ceremonies which they called quitelli [or Quibelli][12], which are a cauldron, a basket of flour, a gourd of oil, and salt to give food to their Lord if he wished for it suddenly;  by Lord is meant the Singhilla who represents the devil & their deceased Lord, into which, they madly affirm, his spirit has entered.  When they came in sight of the enemy they stopped a long way off if time permitted, & the Singhilla opened the Chest, & as they thought the devil had entered his head, & taken the deceased’s power of speech, & was predicting the enemy’s defeat or victory to those around; if it was victory, they took the plaster from the Chest and rubbed themselves with its powder, & sprinkled it towards the enemy as if it would increase their strength & diminish the enemy’s, & were ready to pay the tribute of gratitude they owed after obtaining a Victory.  If it was defeat, they first needed to make a Sacrifice to placate it, & obtain victory, but first of all pardon for the fault that the wise minister had caused them to commit towards their late Lord; then everyone called their late King & [99] also on the infernal demons, and they advanced armed on the enemy with great shouts & howls which deafened the air around as well as the hearing of the spectators, & when the first people fell dead they did not wait to cook their flesh, but divided it up while raw, & chewed it with their teeth in sight of the enemy in order to intimidate him, & their adversaries did the same; in such occasions each one tried to show the enemy various acts of cruelty in order to be more highly esteemed, & bear the name of Giaga.  The Chest then stayed behind, in front of the baggage wagon which the call quicumba; it was very well guarded, & according to the necessities arising from the fortunes of war it was carried from the right to the left wing as if it had been a precious relic, or the true ark, or the Sacrament of love, and as if they would have been victorious over the enemy through its intercession, & sometimes when the minister saw weakness in his men he hung one of the deceased’s teeth round his neck, & walked towards the combatants [the warriors] inspiring them to fight.  After the battle [fighting] the retreat was sounded, & it was the appointed task of the Singhilla representing the dead King to determine the path of the retreat, & the place where they should stop to pay the tribute of gratitude to their dead King for the victory they had obtained; when the place was determined & they had reached it, & ordinary arrangements made for pitching camp, it was publicly announced that the spoils of war would appear in the square of the camp before the Queen & the singhilla, the noblest were chosen, & washed & dressed curiously, & placed on some mats with their hands tied behind them.  The Singhilla then cut off the head of the noblest with a bold stroke, & having done this barbarous deed, he did another inhuman one because he had the Head carried on a white cloth, & to the sound of instruments cut off its Flesh, & ate it pretending it was the dead King who ate & was pleased by that offering, & food; Then he drank while all stood up, even the Queen, & then there was great rejoicing on the part of all, & clapping of hands according to the black people’s custom, & throwing themselves on the ground soiling their faces, to give thanks for their dead King haven eaten & accepted their offering; all remained happy & joyful.

Afterwards they killed the victim, & with his flesh refreshed themselves after the travails of war; nor did the Singhilla fail to use all possible inventions & stratagems to remain [100] in credit with everyone, pretending to be the dead King, & promising them every kind of help & favour so long as they observed their laws, & if they were not observant he would deprive them not only of help, but he also promised them severe punishment, losses, ruin & even their destruction; the barbarous Queen did not fail to listed devouty, showing not only that she accepted this as a fact & a saying of their King whom she madly imagined to be speaking through the Singhilla, but that she approved of it as being good and necessary to their solidarity, & honoured him as a minister of Avernus; when he rested she took up the thread of his sermon, not to confound & destroy it, but to exhort her Vassals to the true observance of what their minister had preached, adding rigorous announcements of punishment & castigation to those who transgressed, & always set an example more in deeds than in words.  When they later returned to their pastoral habitations they did not fail to please their guide, after he had rested, with some Sacrifices, wine from Europe, much to eat and drink, & the sound of various instruments, with which they paid him his due tribute.  Kind readers, who would want to describe all the Ceremonies Queen Ginga conducted before the Chest of her brother the dead King:  it would need a great deal of paper & much time, & after great labour one would not even have begun; I must advise the reader that the Chest was adored & revered not only by the Queen’s Vassals, but also by foreigners, & when her Vassals, Lords & Friends sent the their customary acknowledgements they always sent also some curious piece of Silk to cover the Chest of the dead man, & in answer she sent them the dead man’s blessing, which was the cloth covering the Chest, & this the revered as a precious Relic, & this I have seen done many times by her Vassals & friends, & in her Court food was prepared daily for the dead King to eat as you will hear elsewhere.

Like a true Giaga she did not fail to wear on her feet & arms a quantity of iron rings dedicated to her brother[13] & to the devil, & she also adorned herself with various satanic relics, showing herself a true disciple of Avernus.  In short it is enough to know that she was punctilious in [101] observing all the laws, rites, & customs of the Giaghi, & embodied the quintessence of all the evil in the world, as she showed on various occasions which presented themselves;  sometimes she herself represented the dead King’s Singhilla, speaking with the devil in her head, & made various predictions to herself & to others, which by her ignorant Vassals were regarded as if they had come from the mouth of truth, & if one was verified by human experience or knowledge, a thousand were wrong, but they were regarded as if nothing that came from the Queen could be an error or a lie, & many called her by the name of God, and attributed victories to her, but they were mad enough to be put in chains, for what about the defeats?  With my own ears I have heard such madness several times; many have affirmed that they saw Queen Ginga represent the Singhilla of her dead brother with such imperiousness & barbarous demonstrations that not only did those destined to appease her fury lose not only all their colour but their speech, but so did those not so destined, & feared death except when she was exercising the office of Singhilla in person, for she was naturally courteous with everyone, & because she often knew things which were secret, she showed that this was so by means of the devil in her when she was acting as Singhilla & because of this it was said that she spoke with the devil, & changed herself into a Lion & other Animals, but it was all a pretence in order to make herself feared, as she has several times related out of her own mouth.  Another mad rumour also circulated that she could make herself young or old at will, but during the last four years of her life until her death I never saw any change except decaying through old age until she gave up her Soul to the creator, our supreme god.

Quexilla Cuim ne aijoxi.  Eleventh Law.

The custom of the Indian nations, both oriental and southern, & of other barbarous nations was punctiliously observed by Queen Ginga like a true Giaga & faithful observer of the laws of the Giaghi, for when the new moon appeared all the musicians with their instruments gathered together in the Court square, & there played them with such a confused noise that it sounded like infernal music, accompanied with shouts, howls, and beating of palms which deafened the air; many times I found myself [102] listening to such music against my will, and it gave me a great headache; all the principal people’s concubines & the Queen’s ladies joined in accompanying the music with songs & dances, & this went on for three days & nights, & on the fourth was the festival of the Chest called quizua ya Cussulla Mucullu. i.e., on the day for washing their dead King; all the principal people of the Court congregated there if they were not there already, because it was observed as a law that if one was at Court when the new moon appeared one could not go away until after the said festival, & if the rising of the moon found them in their own homes they could not leave unless they were called.  Having congregated at Court, then, two of the principal people retired to a secret place with the Chest, and there washed their black persons, and then came before the public & washed the dead King’s Chest with water, & then with European wine, in such a manner that no drop could be lost & lying face down on the ground they touched the moisture left by that liquor which they regarded as leavings from the table of their King, & this was not allowed except to Court pages as a particular privilege.  When this ceremony of theirs was over, they had another very ancient & traditional one; it consisted of much eating & drinking, Singing, dancing & leaping, to which many people are addicted & dedicated, & this went on day & night without any rest or weariness.  They performed this when there was a shortage of water, or when they found themselves in some urgent necessity, or threatened by danger, as if the power to help or punish them resided in their hand, & even if they had known themselves to be deceived, it was only necessary for good consequences to happen once, because of an accident or coincidence, for the Queen’s false minister to be given the credit with her, for she respected him so much that she believed everything he did to be good, even if it was bad, & the same was believed by all.

Quixilla Cuim ne aijari.  Twelfth Law.

You can guess from what follows whether Queen Ginga kept this law.  She kept a chain of concubines who always accompanied her even during war, not in order to keep the quixilla & as if she had to account for any carnal abstinence, but to quench her raging appetite for lechery;  she faithfully followed the law and did not transgress it at any point in her [103] domestic arrangements, & then this slave of lechery wished her concubines to remain faithful to her in the midst of opportunities not to be, making them sleep with her waiting-women (as you have heard elsewhere),[14] and as it is impossible for fire & straw to come near each other without the straw burning, they complained of being removed from their opportunities by her watching them so closely; but she blocked up her ears to everything, & if they transgressed they paid for it with their lives, or she made them permanently impotent,& the same happened to the waiting-women, who ever heard of such barbarity?  Such practices did Queen Ginga observe, & so did she make her victims pay for it.

Quixilla Cuim ne quitatu.  Thirteenth Law.

You have already heard what the Singhilla of the Giaga people are like, & even those not Giaga, how they observe their commands & do not transgress any orders from the Singhilla, & the reverence which they pay them as to supreme Priests, & masters of the heathen Ceremonies.  Do not think, dear reader, that Queen Ginga did less, because she honoured & revered them like Gods, & faithfully kept to & observed whatever they ordered, & their sayings were like the last word for these blind heathens; they believed all; they gave them everything they asked, nor was there ever a shortage of any Thing needed to obey them, but all was abundance on the day chosen for their Ceremonies & sacrifices.  They sat on chairs like Lords & the Queen paid them their due obeisance on her knees before them, protesting obedience & promising always to be ready at their command, even as to deeds, & as I have dealt with this subject elsewhere I pass to another quixilla.

Quixilla Cuim ne Vana.  Fourteenth Law.

The disgraceful & dishonest law or Ceremony of the Sambare was one she faithfully observed; there was no one in this Ethiopia who equalled her in inhumanity & barbarity.  If she did not kill her own son, she killed her adopted one, & her nephew, & as many of the Royal blood as she could, & vented the anger she felt for a single person on the multitude. [104]  Finally, dear reader, there is no evil which did not exist in this perverted woman, in ferocity she surpassed lions, in anger & indignation the harpies, in cruelty she surpassed tigresses, & she showed more poison in her own lair than the poisonous serpents.  She was a sea of lust as we can conclude from the daughters of the Emperor Augustus when they appeared in the Roman Amphitheatre, and when Livia appeared in honest company she was esteemed honest by all; but her sister Julia who appeared in dishonest company was thought dishonest, & what wonder is it that Queen Ginga should be taken for dishonest too, & a sea of lust?  While she kept more concubines than the three hungriest prostitutes in the world keeps lovers, & they were her company, her love & those she conversed with.  Now, dear reader, you have heard this woman’s vices, & you can guess if she deserved the Epithets that St. John Chrysostom & St. Ephrim gave to dishonest & scandalous women; listen courteously to what they are, & judge at your own will what our Ginga deserves.  So, these Saints call the dishonest woman: the Cause of the devil, the consolation of Satan, the Weapon of Lucifer, the Triumph of darkness, the Captain of crimes.  The Cause [house] of the devil: this dishonest woman was this, because she took the side of the devil in everything, & favoured it, & faithfully invoked him with great spirit & to great effect.  She was the consolation of Satan through the bad [wicked] Giaga life she led, & through the continual tribute of Souls she paid him, & through the human blood she shed with such barbarity & cruelty.  As is known to the world, she was for many Years a weapon through which he triumphed & rejoiced, she was a Captain of crimes, of vices & enormities.  She was also as St. Anastasius says one who gave no rest to the infernal serpent of the devil, consolation of Satan, a Workshop of darkness, in which the machines & temptations were brought to a finish, & she was as wicked as a viper in human clothes, & from that there came about what S. Pietro Crisologo said that of lust was born cruelty [105] & impiety; for this reason there was a swift torrent of barbarous deeds, a cruel harpy opposed to the human face which is an image of the Creator, a hart thirsty not for water but human blood, an example of all the evils of the world, all the crimes & ceremonies, customs & observances of the Giaghi, a mirror where all were reflected, a sure guide to the way to Hell along which she made so many Souls walk right to the end of that deep abyss, perpetual abode of the damned, where she too was to go to suffer eternally & pay the proper punishment for her evil deeds, but the Most Clement Lord in his infinite mercy called her from the path of error, & led her back to the right path to Heaven, so may it please his divine goodness that she has reached it, and not been diverted to another way.  This is all I have to say about Queen Ginga’s observance of the laws, rites, ceremonies & customs of the Giaghi which she had taken up.

Now it remains for me to advise the reader who from error or forgetfulness has not been advised, that in the second quixilla I have not included their way of taking newly born children according to the Giaga custom to enter the quilombo, it was not through forgetfulness but because she did not observe such a ceremony, as she did not permit women to bring up their children, & she did so to show more greatly her barbarity & cruelty.  She also performed a ceremony not included in others’ customs, & this was that women who gave birth to an abnormal baby, such as a lame or blind one, had to appear before the Queen after being purified by the Priest, & washed in the river, with the sacrifice of a pullet; the Queen rose to her feet Armed with a Bow & arrows, the Priest took the foot of the chicken & having bathed it in oil from human fat anointed the Queen on the forehead, shoulders, and inside of the Thighs, & anointed the women with plaster above the neck as a sign of reconciliation & peace for having given birth to a monster.  She was so faithful to heathen observances that she behaved like a true Giaga in the speed with which she carried them out; she did not fail to give the necessary liquor for her sacrifices although it was very costly, and on the days assigned to [106] Celebration of their feasts she made everything splendid with ornaments of pieces of Silk in various colours, & dressed not only her Priests but those assisting for the greater honour, pomp & reverence of the feast, to the confusion of many christians, who not only do not dress themselves nor those they have created, but honour & reverence the festive days dedicated to the glory of the Saints in the Supreme King in his glory; in signs of joy she accompanied her Priests both in shouts and beating her palms according to the Ethiopian custom & she was the first to set an example to others.  She bore great reverence & respect towards her brother’s Chest, & brought it about that the same should be done by others, & when the contrary occurred did not stint punishment.  She wore so little clothing that she hardly covered her private parts following the custom of her ancestors.  They were also accustomed and still are to purifying women after giving birth, normally on the Sixth day, I mean month, in which the child would have his teeth if he were alive; this is a trick of the Priests’ so as not to lose their offerings, & to this end they have Houses, Churches of their kind & washing places & they are more observant of their Priests’ precepts, paying them well, than they are of the Priests & commandments of the Divine was which does not require payment, but when could and Ethiopian change the blackness of his body, or a Leopard the variegated colours of his?  For the rest, I leave it to the readers to judge & give Sentence as it pleases them, while I press on with the thread of the narrative.

[1]. The original laws are recorded in Book 1, pp. 25-30.

[2]. See Book 1, note 134.

[3]. See Book 1, page 26.

[4]. As a missionary in Ndongo (Mpungu a Ndongo), Cavazzi would indeed be able to make this statement.

[5]. Cuia = kwia

[6]. This confederation probably took place in 1628-31, although it did not last long, largly because Kasanje wanted to dominate the partnership, see p. 42 and note 95 above.

[7]. Cadornega, Historia 1: 405 also mentions a bodyguard, which he calls mbululu (youngest), but did not mention it being women.

[8]. This defeat took place in 1646, not 1640, Birmingham, Trade and Conflict, pp.108-109, Cadornega, Historia 1: 404-28.

[9]. Chapter number left blank in MS, it refers to chapter XI, pp. 134-5 below.

[10]. Such English cloth was a normal part of Dutch trade goods, see Dapper, Beschrivjing, p.

[11]. One such band is illustrated in nos. 8, 9, 26.

[12]. Quitelli of quibelli = either kiteli or kitelo (singular, plural itelo) or kibeli or kibelo (plural ibelo).