My Whit’s End Book Club: Out of Africa–Wamai

While you read the definitions today, enjoy listening to this 3 minute orchestral piece entitled “I Had A Farm in Africa”

“Msabu, we know nothing,” they said.  “But here we see that you do not know enough either, and we understand only a little of what you say to us.”–this made me laugh!

“They would now need time, and would meditate and cackle much, but all the same a basis for negotiations had been laid.”–meditate and cackle much.  I can just hear it.

“. . .the little olive branch that Noah’s dove brought home.  Whatever it looked like, it carried more wight than all the ark with the animals in it; it contained a new green world.”–beautifully put.

p. 117:  Sabine woman of old – excerpt from Wikipedia.

The Rape (the Latin word here is abduction–rebecca)  is supposed to have occurred in the early history of Rome, shortly after its founding by Romulus and his mostly male followers. Seeking wives in order to found families, the Romans negotiated unsuccessfully with the Sabines, who populated the area. Fearing the emergence of a rival society, the Sabines refused to allow their women to marry the Romans. Consequently, the Romans planned to abduct Sabine women. Romulus devised a festival of Neptune Equester and proclaimed the festival among Rome’s neighbours. According to Livy, many people from Rome’s neighbours attended, including folk from the Caeninenses, Crustumini, and Antemnates, and many of the Sabines. At the festival Romulus gave a signal, at which the Romans grabbed the Sabine women and fought off the Sabine men. The indignant abductees were soon implored by Romulus to accept Roman husbands.

Livy is clear that no sexual assault took place. On the contrary, Romulus offered them free choice and promised civic and property rights to women. According to Livy, Romulus spoke to them each in person, “and pointed out to them that it was all owing to the pride of their parents in denying the right of intermarriage to their neighbours. They would live in honourable wedlock, and share all their property and civil rights, and–dearest of all to human nature–would be the mothers of free men.”[1]       

(battles ensue, but here is the ending–rebecca)

The battle continued. Mettus Curtius was unhorsed and fled the battle, and the Romans gained the upper hand.

At that point the women intervened in the battle to reconcile the warring parties:

[They] went boldly into the midst of the flying missiles with disheveled hair and rent garments. Running across the space between the two armies they tried to stop any further fighting and calm the excited passions by appealing to their fathers in the one army and their husbands in the other not to bring upon themselves a curse by staining their hands with the blood of a father-in-law or a son-in-law, nor upon their posterity the taint of parricide. “If,” they cried, “you are weary of these ties of kindred, these marriage-bonds, then turn your anger upon us; it is we who are the cause of the war, it is we who have wounded and slain our husbands and fathers. Better for us to perish rather than live without one or the other of you, as widows or as orphans.”[1]

Following the reconciliation, the Sabines agreed to form one nation with the Romans and the Sabine king

p. 117:  ambuscades – an ambush [am-bus-cade]

p. 118:  palaver – usually it is unnecessary or idle chatter; talk intended to charm or beguile.

p. 122:  de profundis – from Wikipedia.  De Profundis refers to Psalm 130, traditionally known as the De profundis from its opening words in Latin

The Psalms

Hope in the LORD’s Redemption
A Song of degrees.
1 Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.
2 Lord, hear my voice:

let thine ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications.
3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities,

O Lord, who shall stand?
4 But there isforgiveness with thee,

that thou mayest be feared.
5 I wait for the LORD,

my soul doth wait,
and in his word do I hope.
6 My soul waitethfor the Lord

more than they that watch for the morning:
I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
7 Let Israel hope in the LORD:

for with the LORD there is mercy,
and with him is plenteous redemption.
8 And he shall redeem Israel

from all his iniquities. Mt. 1.21 · Tit. 2.14

p. 122:  supernumerary – exceeding a fixed or standard number

p. 127:  herborize – to seek an classify new or previously unknown plants with the end of classifying them.

p. 127:  ligulate gilt edges –  Strap-shaped, such as the ray florets of plants of the daisy family

p. 128:  orthography – from Wikipedia.  While “orthography” colloquially is often used synonymously with spelling, spelling is only part of orthography. Other elements of the field of orthography are hyphenation, capitalization, word breaks, emphasis, and punctuation. Orthography describes or defines the set of symbols (graphemes and diacritics) used, and the rules about how to write these symbols.

p. 129:  laconic – using a minimum of words; concise

p. 130:  solicitously – showing interest or concern.

enjoy your reading,


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2 Responses to My Whit’s End Book Club: Out of Africa–Wamai

  1. Allison says:

    Thanks so much for doing so much research! I love reading your book club Blogs before and after I read each chapter. It’s so helpful and puts the reading into context for me. Thank you!


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