By Patricia Ann Lynch, Jeremy Roberts

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Extra info for African Mythology A to Z, 2nd Edition

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Antar (Antara, Antarah) (ca. 525–615) Bed- ouin (Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Western Sahara) A warrior and poet celebrated as a hero who rose from slave birth to the status of a tribal chief. Antar’s full name was Antarah ibn Shaddad al-Absi. His greatness gave rise to many legends about his deeds, which are retold in the Arabic epic Sirat Antar (Romance of Antar). Antar represented the ideal of a Bedouin chief: rich, generous, brave, and kind. Rather than being born to rule, he achieved leadership through his strength of character and his powerful spirit.

However, people became increasingly quarrelsome. When the argument among humans became especially intense, Akongo left them and went to live in the forest. No one ever saw him again. Ala (Ale, Ali) Igbo (Nigeria) The earth goddess and goddess of fertility; daughter of the Supreme God, Chuku. Although Chuku created human souls, he was a distant god. In contrast, Ala—considered the mother of the Igbo people—was close to humans. Everything came from her; she bore the Earth from her womb and took Earth’s people under her protection.

Nyame told Anansi that he was willing to sell the stories, but the price was high. He wanted three things: Mmoboro, the hornets; Onini, the great python; and Osebo, the leopard. Anansi was confident that he was clever enough to perform these tasks. He first cut a gourd and made a small hole in it. He then poured water on himself and on the tree where the hornets lived. Anansi then told the hornets that they were foolish to stay in the rain, and he offered the gourd as shelter. When the hornets flew into the gourd, Anansi plugged up the hole and took the hornets to Nyame.

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