Page 176. " custom about our land "

The native law and custom enforced by the Igbo in regards to marriage and land rights is thought to originate from ancestors and gods. By disobeying these gods and ancestors, a member of the Igbo risks a dangerous curse as well as physical punishment from traditional leaders.

Page 178. " This growing feeling was due to Mr. Brown, the white missionary, who was very firm in restraining his floc from provoking the wrath of the clan. One member in particular was very difficult to restrain. His name was Enoch and his father was the priest of the snake cult. "

Many ancient and Bronze Age cultures have worshipped snakes, believing that serpents offered strength or renewal. Even today, parts of Hinduism and Buddhism worship Nāgas, which are snakes. 

Page 179. " He made friends with some of the great men of the clan and on one of his frequent visits to the neighbouring villages he had been presented with a carved elephant tusk, which was a sign of dignity and rank. "
Africa. Ivory Coast. General view of the paper mill, showing in the background the lagoon which leads to the port of Abidjan
Public DomainAfrica. Ivory Coast. General view of the paper mill, showing in the background the lagoon which leads to the port of Abidjan - Credit: George Rodger

Ivory has been used for many centuries to make fine art and other goods, from piano keys to figurines. Elephant tusks are a major source of ivory, but the collection of it (since it involves killing the elephant, and led to poaching and heavy population depletion in the past) has been banned. 

Page 180. " The head of my church in that sense is in England." "That is exactly what I am saying. The head of your church is in your country. He has sent you here as his messenger. And you have also appointed your own messengers and servants. Or let me take another example, the District Commissioner. He is sent by your king. "

Mr. Brown and Akunna talk about the Church of England. This church existed during the Roman Empire but became independent from the authority of the Pope during the reign of Henry VIII; he wanted to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon for Anne Boleyn. With the Act of Supremacy in 1534, the King accidentally himself “the only Supreme Head in Earth of the Church of England.” He passed the Treasons Act in 1534 which declared death penalty on any subject who did not recognize the King as the head of the Church of England.






Page 184. " He believed in slaying the prophets of Baal. "

The mention of the prophets of Baal is a reference to the biblical story of Elijah found in the Bible in 1 Kings 18. The story of Elijah goes as follows: the prophet Elijah challenged 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah to a contest. He asked them to prove that their God, Baal, was truly powerful. They were both to make an altar and place a bull on the alter without lighting it. The prophets of Baal were to make their sacrifice to their god and Elijah to his. The lighting of the fire was to be left to the strongest God. Baal was silent and Elijah mocked the prophets. Then he poured water on his own alter and the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the sacrifice. Elijah commanded his people to seize the prophets of Baal and they were executed.

Page 184. " Our Lord used the whip only once in His life--to drive the crowd away from His church. "

This is a reference to the following passage from the Bible, a Western mythological text:

“In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” John 2: 14-15


Page 186. " The annual worship of the earth goddess fell on a Sunday, and the masked spirits were abroad. "

The Igbo's earth goddess, or goddess of nature was called Ani. In physical form, she was called Ala. She was the goddess of fertility and morality. Ani is the highest of all of Chukwu's incarnations and is therefore a very powerful and important god. Ani Song

Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeAni - Credit: sacredw
Page 187. " The dreaded Otakagu came from Imo, and Ekwensu, dangling a white cock, arrived from Uli. "

Imo and Uli are other villages of the Igbo people near Umuofia. Today, there is an Imo state as one of the 36 states of Nigeria. Uli is a town in the state of Anambra.

Page 187. " Some of the elders of the clan went with them, wearing heavy protections of charms and amulets. "

Hungan Amulette Museum Rietberg.jpg
Public DomainHungan Amulette Museum Rietberg.jpg - Credit: Andreas Praefcke



Page 189. " Ajofia was the leading egwugwu of Umuofia. He was the head and spokesman of he nine ancestors who administered justice in the clan. "

Ajofia video

Page 199. " The village crier was abroad again in the night. He beat his iron gong and announced that another meeting would be held in the morning. "

The role of a village crier in Igbo society is almost always held by a man- typicaly someone who is forty or more years of age. The village crier has the respect and trust of everyone in the village.  He is expected to be ready to quickly deliver a message from the village leaders to the rest of the people. A village crier uses a gong, drum, or other instrument to deliver certain messages.  However, he must also have a loud voice in order to spread more specific news to every corner of the village.

Page 199. " Before he had gone to bed he had brought down his war dress, which he had not touched since his return from exile. He had shaken out his smoked raffia skirt and examined his tall feather head-gear and his shield. "
War Skirt
Public DomainWar Skirt
War Dress
Public DomainWar Dress
Public DomainShield

Africans' war dresses are quite different from that of the Europeans' during this time period. Notice how their attire did not give them very much protection, unlike the Europeans'.