21 | 2

                                                  OF SLAVES
                                                  IN ANCIENT
                                                  VISUAL ART
                                                  PAGE 8

                              GROWING             CONTEMPORARY       WHAT MATTERS
                              EXHIBITION          ASYMMETRICAL       TO US
                              PAGE 4              PAGE 36            PAGE 56
2 | TABLE OF CONTE N T S                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                EDITORIAL | 3

                                                                                                                                                                           A “ G R O W I N G E X H I B I T I O N ” AB O UT
                                                                                                                                                                           R E S O UR C E S AN D D E P E N D E N C I E S
                                                                                                                                                                           P. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                  ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN AREA
                                                                                                                                                                                  T H E B E AUT I F UL , T H E UGLY AN D
                                                                                                                                                                                  T H E S T R AN GE R : R E P R E S E N TAT I O N S
                                                                                                                                                                                  O F S L AV E S I N AN C I E N T
                                                                                                                                                                                  M E D I T E R R AN E AN V I S UAL ART
                                                                                                                                                                                  P. 8



13 | NEWS
16 | I NTE RVIE W I                                                                                                                                                     O N S AV I O UR S , M OT H E R S AN D
                                                                                                                                                                        W I V E S : I M AG E S O F W O M E N ,
                                                                                                                     L AT I N A M E R I C A
2 0 | FIE LD R E SE AR CH                                                                                                                                               M E M O R I E S AN D D E P E N D E N C I E S
                                                                                                                     I NTE R NATI O N AL W O R K S H O P
                                                                                                                                                                        AM O N G T H E YO R UB A O F N I G E R I A
                                                                                                                     O N D E P E N D E N C Y AN D
                                                                                                                                                                        P. 2 2
2 8 | I NTE RVIE W II                                                                                                L A B O R I N L AT I N AM E R I C A
                                                                                                                     P. 5 2
36 | CAD
                                                                                               PE R U
                                                                                               A H A A R D P R OJEC T:
                                                                                               A R C H A EO LO G I C A L
50 | CONF E R E NCE R E P ORT S                                                                R E S E A R C H , S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y
                                                                                               A ND D E P E N D E N C Y
54 | EV E NTS & PR E VIE W                                                                     P. 5 7


          Dear Readers,

          We welcome you to the fourth issue of our Cluster         Traveling is not an everyday occurrence for most of                                    Anas Ansar, another group member, reports about the                        archeologists Kevin Lane and Christian Mader give an
          Magazine DEPENDENT. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic         us anymore, but we hope that we can give you at least                                  international e-Symposium “Beyond the Pandemic:                            exciting example of how archeology can be sustainable.
          has been unable to stop research here at the BCDSS. We    some inspiration for future travel destinations with                                   Covid-19, Migration and Global Labour” organized by
          have some exciting news and events to report about.       our special focus and our field researchers’ reports.                                  CAD in March. Two of our Master students, Marina                           And of course, as in every issue, we give you an overview
                                                                    In the special focus section, classical archaeologists                                 Zielke and Julia Winkel, provide insights into their stu-                  about past and upcoming events. Excitingly, the first of
          We are excited to tell you about our new library on       Martin Bentz and Patrick Zeidler take you on a journey                                 dent lives in times of the global pandemic and the “new                    these is very close at hand: the “Growing exhibition”
          ancient slavery, which the BCDSS has been lent by         to ancient Mediterranean societies and describe differ-                                normal” of e-teaching.                                                     about resources and dependencies, which will open its
          the former Mainz Academy project Forschungen zur          ent representations of slaves in visual art. Malik Ade                                                                                                            (actual, physical) doors just as this issue of DEPENDENT
          antiken Sklaverei (Research on Ancient Slavery). Spe-     shares with us experiences from his last field trip to                                 Covid-19 not only restricts our daily lives, but also gives                comes out. You can read all about it in the article penned
          cialist librarian Johannes Deißler, who was in charge     Nigeria and his research about Moremi, a popular figure                                us room for discussion about how we want to rebuild or                     by Karoline Noack and Nikolai Grube.
          of the library for many years, kindly gave us a short     in Yoruba folklore.                                                                    change our post-crisis society. In our new section “What
          interview about the history and the special treasures                                                                                            matters to us”, members of the BCDSS describe how                          We hope you enjoy our offerings.
          of this collection. You can find the interview together   Alexander Rothenberg takes you behind the scenes in                                    sustainability can be realized in many different forms
          with other recent events in the news section of this      his introduction of our working group “Contemporary                                    and spaces. From the BCDSS Events Office, Jan Hörber                       Stay safe and stay healthy
          magazine.                                                 Asymmetrical Dependencies” (CAD). 		                                                   reports about sustainable event managing, while                            Klara Wigger
4 | O P INION                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           OPINION | 5

                                                                                                                                                                                              process, which will continue for many years and
                                                                                                                         Embroidered border, twentieth century, Gujarat, Western India,
                                                                                                                         cotton fabric. Department of Asian and Islamic Art History,
                                                                                                                                                                                              reflect the work of the Cluster of Excellence as a
                                                                                                                         University of Bonn.                                                  whole. As this is a research exhibition, we decided
                                                                                                                                                                                              to develop a new and more open concept which
                                                                                                                                                                                              would bring together the processes of knowledge
                                                                                                                                                                                              production and exhibition design on a continuous and
                                                                                                                                                                                              transparent basis. As such, there is continual interac-
                                                                                                                                                                                              tion between content (the generated knowledge) and
                                                                                                                                                                                              formats, a process that will only come to an end when
                                                                                                                                                                                              the exhibition finally opens. Our exhibition will not
                                                                                                                                                                                              only literally showcase the research results, but also
                                                                                                                                                                                              open windows on to the processuality of knowledge
                                                                                                                                                                                              generation with all its attendant negotiations.

         Nikolai Grube and Karoline Noack

         Museum exhibitions are the result of a long preparatory process. Months and years of conceptualising and
         planning finally culminate in the moment where the doors are opened and exhibition and public meet at last.                   Asymmetrical dependencies between
         Only very rarely does this process take centre stage as the subject of an exhibition itself.                                  institutions and between social actors
                                                                                                                                       impact the very design of an exhibition
                                                               Curating an exhibition is, like writing ethnography, a                  and the decisions about what kind of
                                                               productive process that involves complex negotiations                   knowledge is to be showcased. How then
                                                               on a variety of levels and between numerous actors                      do social actors behave in planning an
                                                               with different interests. This includes power relations                 exhibition that negotiates asymmetrical

                                                               and the contexts in which an exhibition is conceptu-                    dependencies on resources themselves?
                                                               alised, as well as, of course, discussions about the
                                                               content of the exhibition itself. In fact, asymmetrical
                                                               dependencies between institutions and between
                                                               social actors impact the very design of an exhibition            This exhibition is being developed as part of the
                                                               and the decisions about what kind of knowledge is to             current thematic year of Research Area B “Embodied
                                                               be showcased. How then do social actors behave in                Dependencies”. When we began work on the concept
                                                                                                                                                                                              Statue of the Aztec maize goddess Chicomecoatl (reproduction of
                                                               planning an exhibition that negotiates asymmetrical              two years ago, it swiftly became clear that the exhi-         a fourteenth- or fifteenth-century figure). BASA Museum (Bonn
                                                               dependencies on resources themselves?                            bition could only show a snapshot of the discussion           Collection of the Americas), University of Bonn
6 | O P INION                                                                                                                                                                                                                        OPINION | 7

                                                          BASA Museum (Bonn
                                                          Collection of the Americas)                         ke
                                                                                                     d   ybrüc

                                 dstr                                                     Egyptian
                           Ox                               Markt                         Museum

                                         platz                Uni

                                                                          Hofgarten               Department of Asian
                                                                                                  and Islamic Art History

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c.
                                                    HBF                                              ULB                                                                                                                    Nikolai Grube
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            is Professor for the
                                                                                            Ade                                                                                                                             Anthropology of the
                                                                                               era                                                                                                                          Americas at the University
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            of Bonn. He is director of


                                                                                                           Bonn Center for Dependency                                                                                       the Maya Hieroglyphic

                                                                                                           and Slavery Studies                                                                              Dictionary Project and co editor of several

                                                                                                                                        Wine jug with inscription, Egyptian, 1480–1397 BCE. Provenance      academic journals. His research focuses on
                                                                                                                                        not known. Marl, clay. Egyptian Museum of the University of Bonn.   the structure of Mesoamerican societies,
                                                                                                                                                                                                            particularly pre-Columbian Maya societies.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            He is a Principal Investigator in the
                                                                                                                                        The University of Bonn’s research collections and                   Cluster of Excellence “Beyond Slavery and
                                                                be  rst                                                                 museums will contribute objects to the initial exhibi-              Freedom” and Speaker of the Research
                                                             We                                                                                                                                             Area B (“Embodied Dependencies”).
                                                                                                                                        tion. Its decentralized spatial distribution will reflect
                                                                                                                                        the fact that these museums and collections are
                                                                                                                                        scattered across the city. The selection of objects
                                                                                                                                        went hand in hand with ongoing discussions about
                                                                                                                                        the global interconnections of dependencies shaped
         This approach reflects current thinking on exhibi-               the interrelations between material resources and             by the access to and the processing and exchange                                    Prof. Dr. Karoline Noack
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            is Professor for the
         tions and knowledge production and complements                   dependencies in a small, decentralized initial exhi-          of resources. As such, the cooperation between the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Anthropology of the
         ongoing discussions in museum studies in the fields              bition. Over the following years this experimental            university museums and collections retraces the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Americas at the University
         of anthropology, archaeology, art history, and others.           exhibition will continue to grow and expand. The end          dependencies shaped by the control of raw materials,                                of Bonn, Director of the
         It does this by engaging with the central question: the          result will be a large event that concludes the first         goods, and commodities, as well as the people who                                   BASA Museum (Bonn
         interconnectedness and interdependency of mate-                  phase of the Cluster. It will provide windows on our          produce and process them, over a period of time that                                Collection of the Americas).
         rialities in social and political relations – especially         ongoing discussions about dependencies, and make              stretches from Ancient Egypt to the present day.                    Her research within the BCDSS focuses
         those shaped by strong asymmetrical dependencies                 visitors part of the process.                                                                                                     on the categories of social dependency

                                                                                                                                                                                                            of the Inca Empire with the aim of
         in a global context.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            developing methods for an interlinkage
                                                                                                                                              The cooperation between the university
                                                                                                                                                                                                            of archaeological, ethno-historical and
         The questions we ask in the growing exhibition                        Over the next few years this experimental                      museums and collections retraces the                          ethnological sources and approaches.
         are, How do materialities shape and form these                        exhibition will continue to grow and                           dependencies shaped by the control of                         She is one of the Deputy Speakers of the
         dependencies?, and, How are dependencies in turn                      expand. The end result will be a large                         raw materials, goods, and commodities,                        BCDSS and affiliated to Research Area B
         shaped and transformed by materialities? How do                       event that concludes the first phase of                        as well as the people who produce and                         (“Embodied Dependencies”) and E (“Gender
         materialities and their relations influence the gen-                  the Cluster. It will provide windows on our                    process them, over a period of time that                      (and Intersectionality)”), and one of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Speakers of the TRA “Present Pasts” at the
         dered representation and construction of knowledge                    ongoing discussions about dependencies,                        stretches from Ancient Egypt to the

                                                                                                                            ”                                 ”
                                                                                                                                                                                                            University of Bonn.
         in an exhibition? We want to implement the concept                    and make visitors part of the process.                         present day.
         of the growing exhibition in a first step by exploring
8 | S P EC IA L FOC US                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              S PECIAL FOCUS | 9

                                                                                                                                                                       Slavery and other forms of
                                                                                                                                                                 institutionally legitimized social
                                                                                                                                                                 dependencies played a crucial
                                                                                                                                                                 role in the daily life of societies in

                                                                                                                                                                 the ancient Mediterranean.

                                                                                                                                                                 Before we start our socio-historical
                                                                                                                                                                 analysis it is important to remember
                                                                                                                                                                 that these artworks are no “pho-
                                                                                                                                                                 to-realistic” images of real life. They
                                                                                                                                                                 should not be seen as neutral, unbiased
                                                                                                                                                                 sources of information. They are – con-
                                                                                                                                                                 scious or unconscious – constructions
                                                                                                                                                                 that reflect historical and social pro-
                                                                                                                                                                 cesses in symbolic ways, and they are
                                                                                                                                                                 always associated with particular ideo-
                                                                                                                                                                 logical ways of looking at the world.
                                                                                                                                                                 The meaning of these symbols has to
                                                                                                                                                                 be deciphered with the tools of visual
                                                                                                                                                                 science. The underlying “terminology”
                                                                                                                                                                 is based on particular features in the        (2) Etruscan terracotta drinking cup in the form of a black African
                                                                                                                                                                 image that can be combined in different       boy’s head. Bonn, Akademisches Kunstmuseum, inv. no. 945
          THE BEAUTIFUL, THE UGLY                                                                                                                                ways. We will next discuss in some
                                                                                                                                                                                                               (© Akademisches Kunstmuseum Bonn, photograph: Jutta Schubert)

          AND THE STRANGER.                                                                                                                                      more detail the various iconographic          Occasionally, there are also idealized depictions from
                                                                                                                                                                 conventions used in ancient art to char-      the world of labor, of workshops or quarries – which
                                                                                                                                                                 acterize slaves.                              in reality obviously would have been much harsher. An
                                                                                                                                                                                                               Athenian black-figure vase from the late sixth century
                                                                                                                                                                                                               BCE (fig. 3) depicts a scene in a pottery: one of the two
          (1) Relief on Etruscan cinerary urn with banqueting scene and cupbearer, plaster cast: Bonn, Akademisches Kunstmuseum, inv. no. 1178,                                                                unclothed slaves carries fuel, the other stokes the
          original: Berlin, Staatliche Museen, Antikensammlung, inv. no. E 24 (© Akademisches Kunstmuseum Bonn, photograph: Jutta Schubert)
                                                                                                                                                  BEAUTIFUL, IDEALIZING DEPICTIONS OF SLAVES                   kiln. Their muscular, toned bodies would look exactly
                                                                                                                                                  Numerous images in painting and sculpture depict             the same as those of any citizen athletes without the
          In ancient Greek, Etruscan and Roman societies, slavery was an integral part of daily life. Numerous images                             aesthetically pleasing slaves at work. This is partic-       context. These industrious, exemplary slaves under-
          of dependent persons can be found in the material culture. In this article we will identify the multiple                                ularly true for domestic slaves, who may be shown            line the status of the workshop owner, who is shown
          strategies which were used to represent slaves, and investigate the ideological framework associated                                    serving their master at meals or helping their mistress      clothed in a robe and carrying a staff as he oversees
          with the images. We will also discuss to what extent self-representations of slaves can give us a valuable                              get dressed. A typical example is this Etruscan relief       their work. The harmonious tone is further strength-
          perspective from the point of view of the enslaved.                                                                                     from the sixth century BCE (see fig. 1), which shows a       ened by the fact that the workers wear wreaths, just
                                                                                                                                                  luxurious banquet with revelers reclining on couches         as guests at a banquet would. This large, high-quality
          REPRESENTATIONS                                                     THE IMPORTANCE OF IMAGES
                                                                              FOR RESEARCH INTO ANCIENT SLAVERY
                                                                                                                                                  while on the ground in front of them stand bronze
                                                                                                                                                  vessels with wine and water. The figure on the left
                                                                                                                                                                                                               vessel was found in a richly furnished tomb. It was
                                                                                                                                                                                                               probably commissioned by a workshop owner.
          OF SLAVES IN ANCIENT                                                Slavery and other forms of institutionally legitimized              is marked as a servant by its smaller size. He is a cup
                                                                              social dependencies played a crucial role in the                    bearer who holds a ladle for the wine in his right hand.
          MEDITERRANEAN                                                       daily life of societies in the ancient Mediterranean                He is unclothed, with a muscular, well-proportioned
                                                                              area. So it is not surprising that dependent persons                body, and well-groomed, long hair gathered together
          VISUAL ART                                                          frequently occur in pictorial art. We have depictions               at the nape of his neck. Without the context and his
                                                                              of slaves not only in public representative art (such               reduced size he would be indistinguishable from a
          Martin Bentz                                                        as honorary monuments, statues or coins), but also                  free citizen. Such attractive and unclothed atten-
          Patrick Zeidler                                                     in many other fields, such as the private or domestic               dants – who were meant to be erotically attractive,
                                                                              sphere (in gems, mirrors or vases) and on sepulchral                too – should be read attributively: they are displayed
                                                                              art (on tomb paintings, urns and sarcophagi). The very              in order to highlight their master’s status, just like the
                                                                              large number of depictions means that we will only be               rich tableware in the foreground. Domestic slaves
                                                                              able to discuss a small selection of the overall very               of African ancestry were particularly extravagant
                                                                              broad spectrum in this article. The Greek, Etruscan                 status symbols, as few could afford them. Pictures or
                                                                              and Roman artworks we will look at originated in the                vessels may have served as substitutes, such as the
                                                                              period between the sixth century BCE to the second                  fourth-century BCE drinking cup shaped like the head         (3) Greek vase painting depicting a workshop owner and two
                                                                                                                                                                                                               slaves at work, Munich Antikensammlungen, inv. no. 1717
                                                                              century CE.                                                         of a Black African boy wearing a wreath (fig. 2).            (© Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek München)
10 | S PECIAL FOC US                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               S PECIAL FOCUS | 1 1

        “                                                                                                                                             “
                                                                                 ugly or disfigured in ancient pictorial art may include
               Depictions of good-looking, hard-working                          baldness, a hunched back, dwarfism, or physical dis-                      Showing captive, chained “barbarians”
               slaves served to underline the master’s                           abilities.                                                                from a foreign land symbolizes

               status.                                                                                                                                     Rome’s military success and cultural

                                                                                 “                                                                                     ”
                                                                                       Dependent, socially inferior people were
                                                                                       sometimes shown as alien, different, ugly,
                                                                                       and deformed to distinguish them from                          Another example for the element of foreignness is the

                                                                                       the free.                                                      depiction of Black Africans. Most of these have been
                                                                                                                                                      interpreted as images of slaves, which can be seen
                                                                                                                                                      in the fact that most are shown in subordinate roles:
                                                                                 There are also numerous depictions in Roman art of                   carrying objects, serving, performing as dancers or
                                                                                 “barbarians” from the north, such as Celts, Germans                  musicians, or asleep or huddled as they wait for their
                                                                                 or Dacians (from the western Black Sea region), who                  masters; some are even tied up. These images show
                                                                                 have long manes and shaggy beards and wear long                      a great interest in depicting physiognomic features,
                                                                                 trousers – no Roman would look like that. Although                   such as rounded faces, fleshy lips, wide noses and
                                                                                 these depictions emphasize the savagery and physical                 short, curly hair. In general, Black African slaves were
                                                                                 strength of the “barbarians”, they are always shown                  seen as exotic in antiquity. This also explains why        (6) Greek vase painting showing the coronation of a craftsman by
                                                                                 as inferior enemies who submit to the Roman emperor                  vases such as the one in Bonn’s Akademisches Kun-          the goddess Athena, Vicenza, Banca Intesa (reproduction from AdI
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 1876, tab. DE)
                                                                                 or general, pleading for mercy or already in chains.                 stmuseum (fig. 2), which were used at the banquets of
                                                                                 This latter motif can be seen in a couple of statues                 the wealthy upper class, were decorated with images
                                                                                 now on the arch of Constantine, which were originally                of Africans.                                               was reserved for citizens. On a fifth-century BCE
                                                                                 made under the emperor Trajan (early second century                                                                             pottery vessel (fig. 6) a vase painter has portrayed
                                                                                 CE). They are of men clad in long trousers, tunics and                                                                          himself as a wealthy citizen. He is seated in an
                                                                                 cloaks, whose hands are crossed in front of their                    SELF-REPRESENTATIONS OF SLAVES                             expensive armchair with his hair in ring-shaped curls
                                                                                 bodies in a gesture that suggests bondage (fig. 5). The              In addition to images seen from the perspective of the     (a style typical for the sons of Athenian aristocrats).
                                                                                 context indicates that these men are captive Dacians,                elites we also have a number of depictions that were       In real life, his carefully pleated robe would only get
                                                                                 and that the statues are meant to commemorate                        created by or on behalf of the dependent. Are they dif-    in the way if he really were at work, and to cap it all
                                                                                 Trajan’s successful campaigns in this region. So the                 ferent from the images we have looked at so far? Do        the goddess Athena is putting a wreath on his head.
                                                                                 portrayal of captive, chained “barbarians” from a                    they show a more realistic perspective? An analysis        Clearly, these unrealistic scenes are unattainable
        (4) Votive tablet showing workers in a clay pit (reproduction from
                                                                                 distant, foreign land is part of public representative               enables us to distinguish between two types of pic-        wishful thinking, but they also demonstrate a certain
        S. Scholl – D. Grassinger – E. Ambros (eds.), Die Rückkehr der Götter,   art, intended to symbolize Rome’s military successes                 tures: first, depictions of work and everyday life that    professional confidence of the expert craftsmen (and
        Ausstellungskatalog Berlin, Pergamonmuseum (Regensburg 2008)
                                                                                 and cultural superiority.                                            at least in part adopt the iconography of the othering,    indeed craftswomen; we also have some, albeit rare,
        313 upper fig.)
                                                                                                                                                      less-than-ideal images. Second, images that express        depictions of women at work) who depict themselves
                                                                                                                                                      an idealizing or “wishful-thinking” perspective that       with pride.
        DELINEATING AND OTHERING                                                                                                                      show the dependent in ways typical for citizens. We

        In sharp contrast to those idealized images are depic-                                                                                        know of no images that cast a critical eye at everyday
        tions of dependent persons that show them as alien,                                                                                           work or life situations.                                         Some enslaved craftsmen depict them-
        different, ugly, and deformed in order to distinguish                                                                                                                                                          selves as well-dressed, well-groomed
        them from the beautiful, idealized representations of                                                                                         Earlier we discussed a votive tablet from the sanc-              citizens. This is wishful thinking, but it also

        freeborn citizens. One example are the painted votive                                                                                         tuary in the Greek village of Penteskouphia (fig. 4),            shows their self-confidence and pride.
        tablets from Penteskouphia near Corinth in Greece,                                                                                            where artisans dedicated their humble gifts to the
        which were given as offerings to the god Poseidon.                                                                                            god to ask for support in their tasks. Their use of the
        The images show dependent persons engaged in                                                                                                  stereotypical image ciphers – elongated sex, snub          A mixture of both of these modes of representation
        typical activities, such as carrying heavy objects,                                                                                           nose, baldness etc. – clearly show that they lacked an     occurs in the grave markers of Roman freedpeople
        with negatively connoted behaviors, such as indecent                                                                                          alternative iconographic vocabulary of their own with      (liberti). After manumission, former slaves proudly
        exposure, and negatively connoted physiognomic                                                                                                which to characterize and distinguish themselves           signal their new social position by wearing both a
        features such as physical defects. Our tablet (fig. 4)                                                                                        from their citizen masters.                                tunic and a toga – the latter garment was strictly
        from the sixth century BCE shows several workers                                                                                                                                                         reserved for male citizens. Our example (fig. 7) from
        who seem to be mining clay in a pit and carrying it                                                                                           We do, however, have a whole range of “wish-               the first century CE shows, according to the inscrip-
        away in baskets. They include a naked, bearded man                                                                                            ful-thinking” images that depict dependent persons         tion, P(ublius) Aiedius Amphio, who was the freedman
        who wields a hoe and who has an elongated, flaccidly                                                                                          in situations they were extremely unlikely ever to         of a Roman man named Publius (the inscription reads,
        dangling phallus. A respectable citizen would never                                                                                           achieve. Slaves, occasionally named, are shown as          P[ublii] L[ibertus]: freedman of Publius). Although he
        have been depicted in this way. This is therefore an                                                                                          finely dressed and well-groomed citizens participat-       took the name of his former master, the freedman’s
        image cipher that enables the viewer to identify the                                                                                          ing in festive banquets with musicians and hetaerae        face does not show the idealizing features of a
                                                                                 (5) Statues of captive barbarians on the arch of Constantine in
        man as a dependent, socially inferior worker. Other                      Rome (reproduction from P. Pensabene (ed.), Arco di Costantino tra
                                                                                                                                                      (high-class concubines), taking music lessons and or       member of the nobility, but an old man with a receding
        iconographic features used to characterize slaves as                     archeologia e archeometria (Rome 1999) 199 fig. 6)                   practicing athletics in the gymnasium – a space that       hairline, deep wrinkles, sunken cheeks, no teeth, and
12 | S PECIAL FOC US                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   NEWS | 1 3

                                                                           One of the few negative depictions of working condi-
                                                                           tions is clearly exaggerated with, apparently, hyper-
                                                                           bolic humor. In a workshop scene on a crudely painted
                                                                           pottery vessel from the fifth century BCE (fig. 8) a
                                                                           naked potter and his wife are shown at work making

                                                                           drinking vessels. On the right, an also naked slave is
                                                                           suspended from the ceiling and being whipped; while
                                                                           a slave who hurries away to the left is being pushed
                                                                           or beaten with an object by the woman. Given that
                                                                           the scene just described is on a wine cup, it seems
                                                                           reasonable to assume that it served to provide enter-
                                                                           tainment at a banquet rather than transport serious

                                                                                                                         Martin Bentz
                                                                                                                         is Professor of Classical
                                                                                                                         Archaeology at the
                                                                                                                         University of Bonn and
                                                                                                                         Principal Investigator at the

        (7) Relief of a Roman freedman (reproduction from Staatliche Mu-
                                                                                                                         BCDSS. He studies different                               BCDSS PUBLISHING SERIES
                                                                                                                         forms of dependency in
        seen zu Berlin (eds.), Die Antikensammlung im Pergamonmuseum
        und in Charlottenburg (Mainz 1992) 202 upper fig.)                                              the Greek and pre-Roman world of the                                    AVAILABLE AS GOLD OPEN ACCESS
                                                                                                        first millennium BCE, beginning with the
                                                                                                        material evidence – archaeological finds
        several warts. But his unembellished, warts-and-all                                             and ancient images – and contextualizing         The BCDSS is committed to building bridges between researchers from all over the
        features clearly carry a positive connotation. The                                              it with literary sources. At present, he         world on the one hand, and researchers and the general public on the other. Being
        freed were proud of the hard work by which they had                                             is directing a research project on the
                                                                                                                                                         aware of the fact that sharing knowledge is one of the key values of responsible
        earned their new social status, and wanted to demon-                                            Etruscan necropolis of Monte Abatone
                                                                                                        at Cerveteri (Italy) that looks at social
                                                                                                                                                         research, the Cluster of Excellence makes available all of our publishing series
        strate this publicly through the medium of this almost                                                                                           as Gold Open Access content. This publishing strategy makes research findings
                                                                                                        inequalities and dependency structures.
        exaggerated realism, combined with the garments                                                                                                  immediately accessible to everyone, without any embargo period. Immediate
                                                                                                        The project is funded by the DFG.
        that signalled their achievement.                                                                                                                open access significantly increases the international visibility of the Cluster
                                                                                                                                                         and overcomes socio-economic obstacles that may challenge individuals and

                                                                                                                                                         research institutions interested in having direct access free of charge.
              Roman freedpeople were proud of the
              hard work by which they had earned their                                                                                                   In addition to workshops, movie series, podcasts and social media content,
              freedom and their new citizen status. They

                                                                                                                        Patrick Zeidler                  Gold Open Access represents an important element in the BCDSS’ outreach
              wanted to demonstrate this publicly.                                                                      is a PhD candidate in
                                                                                                                                                         strategy. A conscious and targeted use of this toolbox accompanied with
                                                                                                                        Classical Archaeology at
                                                                                                                        the University of Bonn and
                                                                                                                                                         unlimited access to the Cluster’s e-publications means that truly everybody –
                                                                                                                        works at the BCDSS as            young people, teachers, policy makers and the general public, as well as of course
                                                                                                                        a Research Associate in          scholars across the globe – can be informed about current scholarly debates on slavery and other forms of
                                                                                                                        Research Area B “Embodied        strong asymmetrical dependencies that are of crucial significance for understanding current socio-political
                                                                                                        Dependencies”. His research project deals        challenges. This interconnectedness between researchers and the general public lies at the center of our
                                                                                                        with the material, epigraphical and literary     research agenda.
                                                                                                        evidence for slavery and other forms of
                                                                                                        asymmetrical dependencies in Etruria. He
                                                                                                        analyzes depictions of dependent persons,
                                                                                                                                                         Using the option of Gold Open Access also means a wider audience for the scholarly works of our authors, as
                                                                                                        such as prisoners of war, or different types     well as a deep impact on ongoing scholarly discourses. To guarantee recognition for the authors and their
                                                                                                        of household servants including cupbe-           intellectual property, all Gold Open Access content is published under a Creative Commons (CC) license.
                                                                                                        arers, musicians, dancers, pedagogues            The authors retain copyright for their works, and users must adhere to the copyright law as prescribed in
                                                                                                        and nurses, from between the sixth to            the CC license “BY-NC-ND”.
                                                                                                        the first centuries BCE in different classes
                                                                                                        of Etruscan visual culture, among them
                                                                                                                                                         For more information about
                                                                                                        mural and vase paintings, urns, sarcophagi,                                   
                                                                                                        mirrors, statuettes and gems.
                                                                                                                                                         Creative Common Licenses, see:
        (8) Greek vase painting showing workshop in caricatured fashion,
        Athens, National Museum, inv. no. 1114 (reproduction after
        H. Blümer, Scenen des Handwerkes, AM 14, 1889, fig. 151)
14 | NE WS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   NEWS | 1 5

                                                                                                                                                PROFESSORS AT THE BONN CENTER
                                                                                                                                              FOR DEPENDENCY AND SLAVERY STUDIES

                                                                                                                           The BCDSS is delighted to announce that as of October 2021, Julia Hillner, Claudia Jarzebowski, Pia Wiegmink and
                                                                                                                           Christoph Witzenrath will hold our four BCDSS Professorships.

                                                                                                                                           Julia Hillner
                                                                                                                                           who will start her post in October 2021m, is already at the BCDSS as a Heinz Heinen Fellow.
                                                                                                                                           She works predominantly on the transformations of the family and the household in the
                                                                                                                                           period 300–750 and how these are reflected in legal norms and practices. In addition, she
                                                                                                                                           also focuses on a number of related topics ranging from the urban context of the family
                                                                                                                                           and property holding, particularly in the late antique city of Rome, to issues of authority,
                                                                                                                              hierarchy and discipline within the household and how these have influenced concepts and practices of
                                                                                                                              state punishment in late antiquity.

                              GLOBAL LEGAL HISTORY ON THE GROUND                                                                           Claudia Jarzebowski
                                                                                                                                           will start her BCDSS Professorship in September 2021. In her current research, she focuses
                                                                                                                                           on global and gender history of the early modern period, including the history of dependence
             We are happy to announce that our researcher Dr. Mariana Dias Paes will be conducting a Max Planck
                                                                                                                                           and enslavement, as well as the genesis of bourgeois society. She has previously focused
             Research Group from January 2022 at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory in
                                                                                                                                           on the social and cultural history of the early modern period, the history of children and
             Frankfurt am Main. She successfully participated in a rigorous and highly competitive selection proce-
                                                                                                                                           emotion during the period of 1450-1800, and on historical research into violence and crime.
             dure held by the Max Planck Society. Max Planck Research Group Leaders hold a five-year W2 position,
             have their own budget for personnel and resources and have scientific autonomy. The group will be titled
             “Global Legal History on the Ground” and will put forward new theoretical and methodological perspec-
             tives in writing about how norms and legal categories are created in a global perspective. African Legal
             History plays a central role in this new perspective.
                                                                                                                                           Pia Wiegmink

                                                                                                                                           will start her BCDSS Professorship in September 2021. Pia Wiegmink is interested in cultural
                     Dr. Mariana Dias Paes will be conducting the new Max Planck Research Group
                                                                                                                                           practices and narratives of nineteenth-century American slavery and dependency and their
                     “Global Legal History on the Ground”, which will put forward new theoretical and
                                                                                                                                           transatlantic entanglements and circulation. In previous research projects, she examined US
                     methodological perspectives in writing about how norms and legal categories are

                                                                                                                                           American abolitionist literature in specific transnational contexts and highlighted the role of
                     created in a global perspective.
                                                                                                                                           women as producers, subjects and audiences of abolitionist literature.

             The title of the project expresses the two main goals of the Research Group: first, writing a global legal
             history told from the perspective of daily and concrete normative production that took place in ordinary
             places and in which local and subaltern groups were active participants: on the ground of normative pro-
             duction. Second, to create a global legal history that privileges research on African archives. The project
                                                                                                                                           Christoph Witzenrath
             will therefore put forward joint initiatives with a number of African archives and academic institutions:
                                                                                                                                           has been Professor at the BCDSS since 2017. His research focuses on the Eurasian steppe
             on the ground of the archives. Dr. Dias Paes is at present engaged in leading the research group “Law
                                                                                                                                           and its neighbors, and on the influence of nomadic-settled relations and the slave trade
             and the Creation of Dependency in the Ibero-Atlantic”, at the Cluster of Excellence “Beyond Slavery and
                                                                                                                                           on social dependency and political representation. He aims to analyze Eurasian societies’
             Freedom”. She has also extensive experience in research that analyzes court cases filed before courts in
                                                                                                                                           structural and cultural specificities that are characterized by a significant gap between state
             Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau.
                                                                                                                                           and dependent social groups.

                      FURTHER NEWS                           Each of our four Professors has one Postdoctoral Research Associate on their team and will supervise PhD the-
                 AND ANNOUNCEMENTS OF                                                                                      ses within the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies and beyond. Their teaching will form the core of
                BCDSS EVENTS CAN BE FOUND                                                                                  our two MA programs, “Dependency and Slavery Studies” and “Slavery Studies.”
                     ON OUR WEBSITE:                      
                                                                                                                           We are looking forward to shaping the field of dependency and slavery studies together in the future.
16 | I NTE RVIE W I                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  INTERVIEW I | 1 7

                                                                                                                                Media units?                                  of BASO, but they are included in the               You mentioned books in Japanese,
                                                                                                                                What does that mean?                          card catalogue and listed in a sep-                 Korean and Chinese. So there are
                                                                                                                                                                              arate data list. Of course, it would                researchers in modern Asia who
                                                                                                                                Besides classic books or mono-                be great if the different databases                 focus on ancient Mediterranean

                                                                                                                                graphs there are also numerous                could now be merged in Bonn.1                       slavery?
                      A VERY EXCITING                                                                                           printouts or photocopies from ency-
                                                                                                                                clopaedias, journals and antholo-                                                                 There are indeed, especially col-
                                                                            with Johannes Deißler,
                      LONG-TERM                                             Mainz Academy of Sciences and
                                                                                                                                gies, as well as some microfilms and          What are the main focuses of the                    leagues in South Korea and Japan

                                                                                                                                a large stock of PDF files.                   collection?                                         have been quite outstanding. I
                      LOAN                                                  Literature.                                                                                                                                           am convinced that we only know
                                                                                                                                                                              The project primarily focused on                    about a small part of their research,
                                                                                                                                How are the holdings catalogued?              ancient slavery, i.e. in classical                  unfortunately. Finding out about
                                                                                                                                                                              Greece and the Roman Empire.                        them was quite a laborious process,
                                                                                                                                The entire collection is accessible           However, we were always con-                        and in some cases only possible
         The library of the former Mainz Academy project Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei (Research on Ancient                 by means of an alphabetical card              cerned to include literature from                   with the support of native speakers.
         Slavery) has moved to Bonn and is now available to the students, Fellows and faculty of the Bonn Center for            catalogue, which also moved to                other areas and epochs. The library                 To incorporate these titles into the
         Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS) and the Heinz Heinen Kolleg (HHK) within the Cluster of Excellence              Bonn. For the titles that are directly        includes works on slavery in prehis-                database was a challenge. For lit-
         Beyond Slavery and Freedom: Asymmetrical Dependencies in Pre-Modern Societies.                                         relevant to slavery there is also a           tory, in the Ancient Near East (Egypt,              erature with non-Latin characters
                                                                                                                                digital catalogue, the Bibliography           Mesopotamia, Iran/India) and East                   we used simplified transliteration
         The Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero once claimed that a person wanted for nothing as long as they               on Ancient Slavery Online (BASO)              Asia, as well as Byzantium, the Bar-                according to the rules for alpha-
         had a garden and a library (Letter to Varro: Ad Familiares IX 4). Covid-19 has doubly confirmed the validity of this   (https://www.sklaven.adwmainz.                barian successor kingdoms to the                    betical cataloguing in academic
         statement: under pandemic conditions, researchers especially know how important reliable and fast access to            de/index.php?id=1584). This is the            Roman Empire, the Early Middle                      libraries. Whenever an object was
         necessary literature can be. The Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS) and the Heinz Heinen           updated version of the last printed           Ages and early Islam. We also col-                  written in a less common language,
         Center for Advanced Studies are therefore very pleased that the library collected by the Mainz Academy Project         version of our Bibliographie zur              lected reception history (including                 we added a German translation
         Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei (Research on Ancient Slavery) ( is being housed              antiken Sklaverei (Bibliography on            children’s and young adult litera-                  and a language abbreviation of the
         in Bonn for the duration of the Cluster of Excellence. The transfer was initiated by Winfried Schmitz, Professor       Ancient Slavery) from 2003. We                ture) and didactic material. How-                   original language in parentheses.
         of Ancient History at the University of Bonn and a member of the Mainz Academy ( The                  converted this printed version to             ever, the majority of the works looks               In the days before services such
         Academy is loaning its library to Bonn for free. We spoke with Johannes Deißler, a former researcher at the            a database and added all subse-               at classical antiquity. Importantly,                as Google Translate were widely
         Academy project who was in charge of the library for many years.                                                       quently published titles to it directly.      we did not restrict ourselves in                    available to the public, this took a
                                                                                                                                BASO thus contains all monographs,            terms of language; in addition to                   lot of time and effort.
                                                                                                                                essays, and encyclopaedia articles            the European scholarly languages,

                                                                                                                                on the scholarly study of ancient             we also have many texts from the
               Researchers know how                                                                                             slavery known to our Slavery Cen-             Slavic, Nordic and Finno-Ugric lan-                 Do you regret the library’s
               important access to liter-                                                                                       ter up to 2012. The database has a            guage families, as well as titles in                relocation?
               ature can be, especially                                                                                         sophisticated expert search func-             Hebrew, Turkish, Japanese, Korean
               under pandemic condi-                                                                                            tion and is equipped with indexes             and Chinese. It is my opinion that                  Of course it is never easy to hand
               tions. The BCDSS and the                                                                                         and a descriptor search based on              with this loan, Bonn gains the most                 over a library from one’s own care
               Heinz Heinen Center are                                                                                          the systematics of the print ver-             comprehensive specialized library                   into the custody of others. How-
               therefore very pleased                                                                                           sion, allowing quite complex search           on the subject of ancient slavery                   ever, it is a necessary and a good
               that the Mainz Academy                                                                                           strategies. BASO lists all titles rel-        worldwide!                                          step: a library must be used and its
               specialist library on                                                                                            evant to ancient slavery, and the                                                                 contents must be looked after. If
               Ancient Slavery is now                                                                                           collection that is now in Bonn con-                                                               there is no budget to keep the library

               in Bonn for the duration                                                                                         tains 95% of those titles. Sadly, we                                                              updated, it makes sense to open
               of the Cluster of                                                                                                were unable to procure the remain-                    The library includes                        it up again and make its contents

               Excellence.                                                                                                      ing five percent during the project                   works on slavery in                         accessible to a larger group. Some
                                                The arrival of the books.                                                       period. They can be easily identified                 prehistory, in Egypt,                       former employees, researchers or
                                                                                                                                in the database by the absence of a                   Mesopotamia, Iran, India                    students from Germany and abroad
         Mr. Deißler, what kind of              founding of the Academy Program         subsequently published literature       shelf mark. In the card catalogue, of                 and East Asia, as well as                   from time to time asked for literature
         library is now enriching the Bonn      in 1977, this Academy project estab-    on slavery in the ancient Mediter-      course, these missing titles do not                   Byzantium, the Barbarian                    or even spent a few days and weeks
         collections?                           lished a research center whose          ranean and the surrounding region.      appear at all. About one third of the                 successor kingdoms to                       in Mainz working with the library,
                                                tasks included building a special       Over the course of these three          collection is more general, i.e. texts                the Roman Empire, the                       but this was only occasionally. Such
         The Academy project Forschungen        library available to all contribu-      decades, the library accumulated        on general or social history that are                 Early Middle Ages and                       a valuable collection deserves more

         zur antiken Sklaverei was a long-      tors of the project and to all other    some 16,600 media units.                not directly relevant to slavery. But                 early Islam.                                frequent use, even if we no longer
         term project jointly funded by the     interested researchers worldwide.                                               because it was a working library,                                                                 added to the collection after 2012.
         Academy, the Federal Republic of       With start-up capital, special funds                                            scholars needed to be able to con-                                                                So I was absolutely in favour of the
         Germany and the state of Rhine-        and an annual budget, the project                                               sult those titles for general back-                                                               transfer. Requests and users will
         land-Palatinate until 2012. With the   aimed to collect all existing and                                               ground. These titles that are not part                                                            now simply redirected to Bonn.

                                                                                                                                                                          We are happy to say that the University and State Library Bonn is currently engaged in exactly this task.
18 | I NTE RVIE W I                                                                                                                                                                                                       INTERVIEW I | 1 9

                                                                                                  the millennium onwards this really
                                                                                                  meant all. We spent a great deal of
                                                                                                  money in bookstores and antiquar-
                                                                                                  ian bookshops. The project assis-
                                                                                                  tants made countless photocopies
                                                                                                  and scans in all accessible libraries
                                                                                                  (and presumably cursed quite a bit),
                                                                                                  the Mainz University Library trem-
                                                                                                  bled in the face of our interlibrary
                                                                                                  loan requests, and finally some
                                                                                                  wires were occupied with searching
                                                                                                  the Internet for electronic versions.
                                                                                                  All in all, a total of 16,600 media
                                                                                                  units were collected, that is about
                                                                                                  3,500 books, 12,250 photocopies         The very special
                                                                                                                                          copy of “Spartacus”,
                                                                                                  or printouts of articles, and about     with an autograph
                                                                                                  3,100 PDF files. Perceptive readers     by the great Czech
                                                                                                  will notice that the total adds up to   classicist Pavel Oliva,
                                                                                                                                          who passed away in
                                                                                                  almost 19,000 copies – the reason       March this year.
                                                                                                  is that we have some titles in mul-
         (Giovanni Pontano)                                                                       tiple formats, such as print and pdf,   In your eyes, is there a
         The earliest work in the library, a book on obedience by the Italian humanist Giovanni   for example.                            special book?
         Pontano, or, in its Latinized form, Ioannes Iovianus Pontatus.

                                                                                                                                          I have a favourite. Its shelf mark is
         Collecting ended in 2012?                      acquired with a five-digit extraordi-     Did you manage to acquire all the       S Ro 38. It is a book, but it is also
                                                        nary allocation. This sounds incom-       works you wanted for the library?       a lot more. It contains a handwrit-
         It had to. Without a project, there            prehensible in view of the fact that                                              ten dedication which makes it also
         were no funds. From 2012 onwards,              today, many of the RE volumes and         I regret to say that this is not the    a memory of an ancient historian
         we could only add in-house pro-                much more are inexpensively avail-        case. Sometimes we were sim-            who died only recently, and a tes-
         ductions of the former project or              able on the Internet, but you must        ply unable to acquire some known        timony to modern history. It has
         donations, and the library could no            remember that the twentieth cen-          and newly bibliographed titles, or      been years since this book was
         longer be expanded. The in-house               tury was a very different time.           we stopped searching for them. In       purchased second-hand – without
         productions were several mono-                                                           view of scarce resources in terms       knowledge of the autograph – but I

         graphs published in the Forschun-                                                        of time and finances – the library      still remember how much it caught
         gen zur antiken Sklaverei series –                    The earliest work in the           was an important working tool,          my attention when it arrived. How-
         and of course the Handwörterbuch                      library dates from 1472;           but it was just one of the areas in     ever, I would like researchers to
         der antiken Sklaverei, a valuable                     it is the work of an Italian       which the Center was active – this      make active use of all titles equally
         reference work.                                       humanist, Giovanni                 was painful, but made sense. After      and in the same way. I hope that as
                                                               Pontano, entitled 		               all, it was important to keep an eye    many colleagues as possible will

                                                               De obedientia.                     on the whole and not to concen-         benefit from the entire collection.
         What is the oldest work in the                                                           trate exclusively on, for example,      Every book, every photocopy, in-                                             Dr. Johannes Deißler
         collection?                                                                              an Uppsala dissertation published       deed every media unit is a treasure                                          has been a researcher at
                                                                                                  in 1818.                                itself.                                                                      the project Forschungen zur
         The earliest work in the library               Could you describe the acquisition                                                                                                                             antiken Sklaverei (Research

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       on Ancient Slavery) at the
         dates from 1472; it is the work of an          process?                                                                          We agree entirely!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Mainz Academy of Sciences
         Italian humanist, Giovanni Pontano,                                                           I hope that as many                Thank you very much for the                                                  and Literature, and was
         entitled De obedientia. This is not            It always began with the search                colleagues as possible             information and the interview.                               in charge of the Academy’s specialist
         an original, of course, but a reprint          for relevant literature. We did this           will benefit from the                                                                           library for many years. He has published
         of the 1490 edition. One of the great          systematically with the help of                entire collection. Every                                                                        widely about slavery in classical antiquity.
         challenges was precisely how to                specialized bibliographies, the sup-           book, every photocopy,                                                                          His current research focuses on Jews in
                                                                                                                                                 The collection is housed at the
         acquire pieces that had been pub-              plements of Classics journals and              indeed every media unit                                                                         medieval German history and mandates

                                                                                                                                                 Heinz Heinen Kolleg for Advanced                      of the German Emperor Frederick III in
         lished a long time before the library          those of related disciplines, cata-            is a treasure itself.                     Studies (HHK) site at Heussallee                      southwest Germany.
         was founded in 1977. A lot of money            logues from German and interna-                                                          18–24, 53113 Bonn. Scholars who
         has been spent on this; Pauly’s                tional publishers, as well as online                                                     want to use the library are wel-
         Realenzyklopädie (RE), for exam-               databases and library systems. We                                                        come to send an email to
         ple, the standard encyclopaedia on             attempted to obtain all titles found
         classical antiquity, could only be             in this way, and from the turn of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A shelf of encyclopedias.
FIELD       As they investigate strong asymmetrical dependency,
               our scholars go beyond the study of written records.
               They travel to the regions they research in order to

               scrutinize historical sources and artefacts. They also
               conduct interviews with experts and communicate with
               local people. In the following pages, the scholars share
               impressions from their historical, archaeological or

               anthropological field research.

               Due to the corona pandemic, many of our scholars have
               had to postpone their research trips to a later date. So
               this section is shorter than usual. The reports we publish
               in this issue look back on research trips that took place
               before the pandemic. The health and safety of all is of
               particular concern to us.
2 2 | FIE LD R E SE A R CH                                                                                                                                                                              FIEL D RES EARCH | 2 3

                                                                                                                  Approximately two years later, the           ONE WOMAN, MULTIPLE ROLES
                                                                                                                  monarch of another Yoruba kingdom,           The story of Moremi encompasses the historical
                                                                                                                  Oba Fredrick Obateru Akinruntan              experience of the tenth century. There are various
                                                                                                                  of Ugboland, also unveiled in front          versions of the same story; current writing compiles
                                                                                                                  of his palace, a statue of the same          what is common to the different narrated versions.
                                                                                                                  woman, Moremi. This time around she          Moremi, the beautiful daughter of the ruler of the
                                                                                                                  is portrayed as a woman in humble            Yoruba town of Offa, was a trader and traveller, who
                                                                                                                  dress, kneeling, palms closed and            settled in Ife after her marriage to an Ife monarch. Ife
                                                                                                                  outstretched as a sign of pleading for       was the economic centre of the Yoruba people, which
                                                                                                                  forgiveness. On the statue is written,       attracted successful traders. It was during this period
                                                                                                                  Moremi, Iyawo Olugbo of Ugboland,            that the Ugbo people were attacking Ife on market
                                                                                                                  that is, “Moremi the wife of Olugbo of       days. Their costumes and the sounds they made were
                                                                                                                  Ugboland”.                                   unfamiliar to Ife; besides, none of the kidnapped Ife
                                                                                                                                                               citizens ever returned to reveal the secrets of the
                                                                                                                                                               mysterious kidnappers. The kidnapped became the
                                                                                                                  MOREMI IN CONTEXT                            slaves of the Ugbo.
                                                                                                                  The story of Moremi has been dated to
                                                                                                                  around the tenth century, a period when      The attacks by the Ugbo threw the great kingdom of
                                                                                                                  the fame of Ife had already spread all       Ife into turmoil. The market, dominated by women,
                                                                                                                  over West Africa and beyond. Ife was         served as the most important space of every Yoruba
                                                                                                                  famous for the production of works           kingdom, for not only was it the centre of production
                                                                                                                  of art, especially bronze, brass, terra-     and exchange of goods and services, but the Ife
                                                                                                                  cotta, as well as different kinds of glass   market was also believed to serve as the melting pot
                                                                                                                  beads. They all served as the source of      for different ethnic groups from all over the world.
                                                                                                                  the kingdom’s riches. During this period,
                                                                                                                  Ife also influenced other Yoruba groups
                                                                                                                  politically, as they gradually emulated
                                                                                                                  her monarchical structure. However,
The Statue of Moremi, Ile-Ife, Nigeria                                                                            at some point political disputes arose
                                                                                                                  in Ife. The leading antagonists were
                                                                                                                  Oduduwa and Obatala. As the hand of
             ON SAVIOURS,                According to legend, queen and folk heroine Moremi
                                         helped to liberate the Yoruba kingdom of Ife from
                                                                                                   the Oduduwa group grew stronger, the Obatala group
                                                                                                   fled Ife and dwelt on the outskirts of the kingdom.
             MOTHERS AND WIVES:          attacks by its neighbours. Our researcher Malik
                                         Ade unravels the story of Moremi in its ancient and       The struggle for power between the two groups had
             IMAGES OF WOMEN,            modern context.                                           continued for several years before they finally recon-
                                                                                                   ciled and the Obatala-led group was reinstated in Ife
             MEMORIES AND                Unless otherwise stated, pictures were taken by Malik     kingdom. However, some followers of Obatala refused
             DEPENDENCIES AMONG          Ade during his 2019/2020 field research in Nigeria        to return to Ife; they travelled further and settled at
                                                                                                   a remote area called Igbo-Igbo (or Ugbo). Over time,
             THE YORUBA OF NIGERIA       On November 2016, the monarch, His Majesty, Ooni          the Ugbo contingent developed rebellious strategies
                                         Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II of Ile-Ife (or Ife),     of attacking Ife citizens. They usually undertook the
             Malik Ade                   Nigeria, unveiled a 42-foot-tall statue to honour         attacks on special market days using masquerades or
                                         Moremi. Ife traditions recognize Moremi as the leg-       masked, costumed figures which were covered with
                                         endary woman who rescued the Yoruba people of             raffia leaves. The guttural sounds made by the mas-
                                         Ile-Ife from invaders and kidnappers. Named Queen         querades and the rasping sounds of their raffia leaves
                                         Moremi Ajasoro Statue of Liberty, the statue became       both created panic among the people of Ife, who were
                                         the tallest in Nigeria and the third tallest in Africa,   hitherto unfamiliar with the mysterious figures and
                                         after the 171-foot African Renaissance Monument in        sounds. To defeat the invaders, Ife people had to first
                                         Dakar, Senegal, and the 66-foot Great Sphinx of Giza,     demystify the strategies of the invaders.
                                         Egypt. Moremi is portrayed as a gracefully dressed
                                         woman, standing and proudly holding a firelight in her
                                         right hand.

                                                                                                                                                               The Statue of Moremi, Ugboland, Nigeria
24 | FIE LD R E SE AR CH                                                                                                                                                                                                                                FIEL D RES EARCH | 2 5

         The incessant invasions and kidnapping on Ife market                                                                                people had to do was to set their raffia leaves ablaze            At last Moremi surrendered. She let the people of Ife
         days saddened Moremi’s heart. She was not only a                                                                                    and they would detect that the kidnappers were mere               know that she had made a vow and she must fulfil it.
         trader but also a mother of her only son and of the                                                                                 humans. Additionally, Moremi had acquired different               Besides, she did not want to be the reason why Ife
         public as a whole. The economy was in decline whilst                                                                                magical powers that would nullify the potency of the              would face another trouble with the Esimirin river. She
         her metaphorical children now faced insecurity. Brave                                                                               Ugbo mysteries.                                                   thus surrendered her only son to be sacrificed to the
         Moremi decided to help the kingdom of Ife. She first                                                                                                                                                  river, and peace reigned yet again in Ife.
         consulted the Esimirin river deity for spiritual support.                                                                           The people of Ife took the Ugbo invaders by surprise

         She made a vow that if the deity supported her in her                                                                               during their next (and last) expedition to Ife. They
         mission to help the people of Ife, she would provide                                                                                set the invaders’ raffia costumes on fire; war ensued                  In fulfilment of her vow, Moremi sur-
         anything the deity demanded. The deity agreed.                                                                                      and the Ugbo were heavily defeated by the Ife army.                    rendered her only son, Oluorogbo, to be
                                                                                                                                             Through the help of Moremi, Ife put a stop to the                      sacrificed to the river, and peace reigned

                                                                                                                                             incessant invasions of the Ugbo people.                                again in Ife. After her death, the people

                The incessant invasions on market days                                                                                                                                                              deified her.
                saddened Moremi’s heart. Brave Moremi

                decided to help the kingdom of Ife.
                                                                                                                                                                                                               The people of Ife mourned with Moremi for her loss
                                                                                 The Ugbo people notice Moremi’s beauty and select her for
                                                                                                                                                                                                               and promised to serve as her children whilst she lived
                                                                                 their king                                                                                                                    and after her demise. Moremi grew old, and after her
                                                                                                                                                                                                               demise, the people deified her. Ife people kept their
                                                                                 At Ugboland the kidnappers uncovered the faces                                                                                promise and continued to honour her as the mother
                                                                                 of the kidnaped. They were struck by the beauty of                                                                            and saviour of the great kingdom. To the present
                                                                                 Moremi and decided to preserve her for their mon-                                                                             day the people of Ife continue to remember Moremi
                                                                                 arch, the Olugbo of Ugboland, equally got struck by                                                                           and perform annual festivals in which the historical
                                                                                 Moremi’s beauty and immediately took her as his wife.                                                                         events are re-enacted.
                                                                                 Thus, Moremi’s status changed from slave to wife.
                                                                                                                                                                                                               One of the major festivals associated with Moremi is
                                                                                                                                                                                                               the annual Edi festival during which the whole story is
                                                                                                                                                                                                               re-enacted. Also, streets were named after her; insti-
                                                                                                                                                                                                               tutions, such as the university of Lagos, Nigeria, name
                                                                                                                                                                                                               student hostels after Moremi. In 1978, Moremi High
         The masquerades lead the kidnapped Ife citizens to Ugboland to
         become slave labourers                                                                                                                                                                                School was opened in Ife, situated on the campus of
                                                                                                                                                                                                               the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
                                                                                                                                             Moremi returns to Ife and leads people with firelight to defeat
         Next, Moremi disguised herself as a common woman                                                                                    the Ugbo masquerades                                              However, the erection and unveiling of the 42-foot-
         and allowed herself to be kidnapped – alongside other                                                                                                                                                 tall statue sparked great tensions and threatened to
         Ife people – by the Ugbo masquerades. As usual, the                                                                                                                                                   revive history – one thousand years on.
         eyes of the kidnapped were covered throughout the                                                                                   The Ife crown and the people held Moremi in the high-
         journey to prevent them from knowing the road and                                                                                   est esteem. Peace returned to the great kingdom and               While archaeological materials and preserved arte-
         detecting the secrets of the Ugbo kidnappers.                                                                                       the economy began to boom again. But Esimirin, the                facts have made it possible to successfully recon-
                                                                                                                                             river deity, refused to share in the peace and joy of Ife.        struct the activities of Moremi’s period, folklore
                                                                                 The King of Ugboland falls in love with Moremi              The deity expressed anger by sweeping through the                 continues to serve as the major means of preserving
                                                                                                                                             kingdom with a flood. Priests consulted the river to              history among the Yoruba. Folk tales informed the
                                                                                 Throughout the process, Moremi pretended and                find out what the problem was, only to realize that the           festivals and corroborated visual objects. Above all,
                                                                                 played along as the Ugbo monarch fell in love with her.     legendary Moremi was the problem. She had become                  Yoruba folklore continue to serve as significant ele-
                                                                                 Then she began to ask questions about the mysteries         so overwhelmed by the victory of Ife over the Ugbo                ments of information about the people’s personhood,
                                                                                 of the Ugbo kidnappers. The king who had fallen in          invaders that she had forgotten to redeem her vow.                identities, and gender concepts. According to the
                                                                                 love with Moremi thought that Moremi had the same                                                                             Yoruba, folklore known by the Yoruba as àróbá, serve
                                                                                 feelings for him, and so he revealed the secrets of the     The priests informed Moremi about this and she                    as the father of history. Each Yoruba group protects
                                                                                 mysterious spirits. As soon as Moremi discovered all        immediately rushed to the river to express her apol-              their own tales or their version of a conventional folk-
                                                                                 the necessary secrets, she escaped from Ugboland            ogy and ask for what the river wanted in return. The              lore jealously. Such fiercely guarded constructions
                                                                                 and returned to Ife.                                        river deity demanded Moremi’s only son, Oluorogbo.                produced the stories and statues of Moremi.
                                                                                                                                             The river’s demand sent the whole kingdom of Ife into
                                                                                 Immediately after arriving there, Moremi informed           yet another confusion. Why would Moremi sacrifice
                                                                                 her people that the Ugbo masquerades were actually          her only son to the river? Then they began to appeal to
                                                                                 humans who only wore raffia leaves (a plant that was        the river deity, pledging to give the river anything else
                                                                                 not common in Ife) as costumes. She taught the Ife          but Oluorogbo, the only son of Moremi. The river deity
         The Ugbo masquerade raiders at (...arrive at Ife...), see (disguised)
                                                                                 people that the raffia could easily catch fire. Whenever    refused all attractive offers and insisted on having
         peasant Moremi and kidnap her.                                          the kidnappers returned for their expeditions, all the      Moremi’s only son.
2 6 | FI E LD R E SE A R CH                                                                                                                                                                                               FIEL D RES EARCH | 2 7

          WOMEN, DEPENDENCY AND YORUBA SOCIETIES                                                                                     Finally, the story of Moremi reveals the paradoxical
          The story of Meremi mirrors the multiple roles of                                                                          beliefs of the Yoruba about women. The beliefs apply
          Yoruba women: Ife and Ugboland depended on Moremi                                                                          differently to the two kingdoms in question, but are
          for her economic, mother and wife roles. While both                                                                        both tied to dependencies. Ife kingdom erected the
          men and women traded, women embodied and dom-                                                                              statue of Moremi as a legendary saviour because of
          inated the economy. Women controlled all internal                                                                          the belief in her as a public mother who prioritized the
          trades in Yorubaland. When the economy of a kingdom                                                                        wellbeing of her children – the people of Ife – over her
          boomed, women took the praise; during a recession,                                                                         personal safety and joy. In this sense, while the Yoruba
          women became desperate and vulnerable and did                                                                              honoured women, the women in question had to merit
          everything to find solutions. This is why Moremi, a                                                                        such honour by performing extra-ordinary services.
          wealthy trader, did everything possible – risking her                                                                      Moremi was not the only woman in Ife kingdom, but                                             N I GER I A
          own life and sacrificing her only son – to restore the                                                                     she merits her representation because her services to
          economic power of the great Ife kingdom.                                                                                   mankind were regarded as exceptional.

          “      The story of Meremi mirrors the multiple
                 roles of Yoruba women. Women embodied
                 and dominated the economy. This is why
                 Moremi, a wealthy trader, did everything
                                                                                                                                     “    The story of Moremi reveals the paradox-
                                                                                                                                          ical beliefs of the Yoruba about women.
                                                                                                                                          Ife kingdom honoured Moremi the saviour
                                                                                                                                          because she prioritized the wellbeing of              I BA DA N
                 possible – risking her own life and sacrific-                                                                            the people of Ife over her personal safety
                 ing her only son – to restore the economic                                                                               and joy. Ugboland portrays Moremi as a

                                                                                                                                                                                                 L AG OS
                 power of the great Ife kingdom.                                                                                          kneeling wife pleading for forgiveness
                                                                                                                                          to hint that the wife as an outsider is the

                                                                                                                                          only one subjected to betrayal.
          The story of Meremi mirrors the multiple roles of
          Yoruba women. Women embodied and dominated the
          economy. This is why Moremi, a wealthy trader, did                                                                         Ugboland portrays Moremi as a kneeling wife pleading
          everything possible – risking her own life and sacri-                                                                      for forgiveness to hint that the wife as an outsider is
          ficing her only son – to restore the economic power of                                                                     the only one subjected to betrayal. The statue demon-
          the great Ife kingdom.                                                                                                     strates the Yoruba way of constructing insiders and
                                                                                                                                     outsiders. Insiders were the direct descendants of
          Age served as one category of hierarchies among                                                                            founders of households or communities, while outsid-
          the Yoruba. The older you got, the more respect you                                                                        ers were those who joined household or communities.
          enjoyed from the younger members of your household                                                                         Incest was forbidden among the Yoruba. Marriage
                                                                   A photo taken in the 1940s by Rev. J Michael Walsh during the
          and from society as whole. Nevertheless, the respect     Moremi Edi re-enactment festivals in Ife.                         served as one of the means of constructing outsiders.
          accrued to old age did not come for free, because old    (Courtesy: The University of Ibadan Library). Note the costumes   Nevertheless, while the outsiders boost the popula-
                                                                   of the Ugbo-type masquerade made from Raffia leaves, and the
          age also entailed responsibilities. Responsibilities     elaborate face and head masks.                                    tion (through the motherhood of wives) in addition
          varied, just as people differed in capacity. As the                                                                        to rendering labour and other services, they were
          wealth of trading women increased with age, they                                                                           regarded as strangers and were often treated with
          were expected to contribute to their communities:        her chief responsibility was to bear children and boost           suspicion. The suspicion originated from the Yoruba
          in time of peace they sponsored festivals and other      the population of her spouse’s household. A barren                belief that outsiders always owed allegiance to their
          ceremonies; in time war they not only led, but also      woman became the object of scorn while her husband                own communities of origin and were thus liable to
          provided food and medical support for, the soldiers.     rarely got blamed. When misfortune occurred in a                  betrayal. However, such belief and restrictions did not
          These contributions enabled old women to earn fur-       household, (barren) wives became the prime suspect.               extend to the services rendered by the outsiders.
          ther the title of “Iya” or “public mother”. Old women    On the other hand, her ability to bear children was
          who failed to render services for their communities,     translated to her support for her marital household
          lost respect and got terrible nicknames; it was not      as she consequently gained acceptance and respect.
          unusual for Yoruba communities to ostracize a stingy,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Malik Ade
          wealthy woman and tag her as enemy of the state.         Notably, not all Yoruba women became wives. Social                                                                                                       Is doctoral researcher
                                                                   status intersected women’s identities so that women                                                                                                      at the Bonn Center for
          Also, the Yoruba people valued themselves according      of noble descent or of certain religious or occupa-                                                                                                      Dependency and Slavery
          to the size of their households. Heads of household      tional background rarely became wives. This category                                                                                                     Studies. He explores the
          became fulfilled when their household grew bigger.       of women remained in their own family household or                                                                                                       constructions of identities
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            in sub-Sahran Africa,
          Women played significant roles in growing the popu-      founded their own, and thus evaded the role of wife.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            especially as the people negotiate with
          lation of households. This was done through marriage.    The story of Moremi only portrays Moremi as a wife
                                                                                                                                                                                                            historical and sociopolitical experiences.
          A woman became a wife when she got married and           after her status has changed to slave and after she
          relocated to the household of her spouse. As a wife,     has been relocated to Ugboland.
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