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date: 15 April 2024


The Oxford Encyclopedia Women in World History
Anne WalthallAnne Walthall

Compiled in China in 239 c.e., the Wei Chronicle describes how Queen Himiko lived secluded in her palace, incommunicado to all except her brother, who guarded the entrance. Charged with conveying directives from the spirit world to mortals, Himiko was herself considered sacred. In the pre‐Islamic West African region around Kano, Nigeria, women made sacred through their proximity to the divine similarly secluded themselves from the profane world. In both cases seclusion functioned to differentiate these women from the ordinary realm of human beings in such a way as to heighten their authority within it.... ...

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