Epic Of Sundiata Essay Format

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Amongst many other things, the epic is implicitly an exploration of what qualities define Sundiata as a hero, and by extension, what virtues are heroic. The most glaring is his strength. Even when he is crippled as a child and cannot walk, the boy has strong arms. But when he finally stands, he surprises everyone, bending an enormous rod to a bow and pulling a tree up by its roots. Another quality is his bravery, most clearly illuminated by his skill and grit in battle. But Sundiata has more than animal strength – he shows patience, interest in other peoples and ways, and humility before the magic of the world. Because of these qualities, he is more than a great hunter or warrior: he is a great king.
The epic of Sundiata is told by the…show more content…

The king dies soon afterwards and his eldest son, Dankaran Touman, is given control by the elders, who do not see much future in the crippled boy. One day, when Sogolon is embarrassed by the queen mother, Sundiata uses a rod to help himself stand on two legs and from this day onwards, his strength is unmistakable.

Frightened her own son will lose his control, the queen mother Sassouma Bérété orchestrates exile for Sundiata, Sogolon, and their immediate family. For seven years, they travel from asylum to asylum, sometimes being shown great hospitality and occasionally being mistreated by their hosts. All the while, Sundiata learns of new peoples and customs, while impressing most people he meets. He spends a particularly long time with Moussa Tounkara at Mema, who helps raise Sundiata and teaches him the ways of war so as to potentially groom the boy as his heir.

Sundiata also learns during his exile about the evil sorcerer king Soumaoro Kanté, who is slowly forcing the cities of Mali and beyond under his control through cruelty. When Niani falls to the sorcerer king, a search party is sent to Ghana to find Sundiata and ask him to claim his mantle as ruler. Though his choice to return to Mali and battle the sorcerer king upsets the Moussa Tounkara, he is ultimately given his blessing and the first of his subservient armies.

Sundiata goes to many cities and lands that he visited during

Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali Essay

1013 Words5 Pages

The great Machiavelli once said, "Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times." Indeed, the study of history is important as history does seem to repeat itself. Many people in today's society learn about the past from textbooks and other books, as these are of easy access. Is this really the best way to learn about the past? The people of ancient Africa did not think so, as they had special people called "griots"who passed the people's traditions and history down orally from generation to generation. One such griot, Mamadou Kouyate, recalls the story of the most famous ruler in African history, Sundiata, in D.T. Niane's book Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali. This…show more content…


proved to be very important, as many of the princes would grow up to be kings. The friendships he built as a child grew into alliances when he was an adult, and it was these alliances that helped him defeat Soumaoro and become "Mansa" or king (Niane 1-84).

The alliances he built with neighboring princes proved to be vital in the military aspect of conquering, which was another conventional method Sundiata used to gain power. Sundiata's own cavalry, the horsemen of Mema, were gained from an alliance with the king of Mema. Sundiata also gained many other military weapons from his alliances including the "archers of Bobo" who, as Mamadou Kouyate explains, were said to be "the best archers in the world (Niane 68). Once Sundiata was in power no one would dare try and overthrow him because of his military mite. Sundiata had at his disposal the armies of twelve different empires, all of which were extremely loyal to Sundiata because he had given them their kingdoms back at Ka-ba. For these reasons, Sundiata's military was vital to his gaining and remaining in power (Niane 1-84).

A man cannot come to rule much of the known world by luck, and neither did Sundiata, as he used intelligence in gaining power. Much of the intelligence that Sundiata showed was evident in his ability to make alliances. Another aspect of intelligence was shown on the

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