Queen Moremi: Legendary Yoruba Beauty

UnknownShe was the wife of Oranmiyan.  A women of tremendous beauty, and a faithful and zealous supporter of her husband and the Kingdom of Ile Ife.  At this time there were neighboring tribes called Igbo, who were regularly and  successfully raiding the people at and around Ile Ife.  These Igbo were considered to be demi-gods and as such the Ife’s offered sacrifice to their gods in order to prevail, but to no avail.

49aMoremi decided upon a strategy.  She went to the nearby stream Esinmirin, and vowed to deity that she would make the greatest sacrifice possible if they allowed her to be successful in her plans.  She then went to a place that was raided frequently, and when the raiders did come she allowed herself to be captured.  Being very beautiful she was taken as booty to the Igbo King.  She was very confident and skillful, and soon won the trust and affection of the King and people in Igbo land.  She became familiar with their customs and tactics of warfare.  So, she was a human Trojan horse of sorts.  She found that the Igbo, in preparation for battle, would cover themselves from head to toe with Ekan grass and bamboo fibers.  She realized that if someone could pass amongst the Igbo warriors with a torch that they could be defeated.

49cFeeling that she had adequate knowledge, she escaped, to the great surprise of her Igbo captors.  Knowing the warfare secrets of the Igbo, the people of Ife were forever freed from the terrors of these previously invincible warriors.

In order to be true to her commitment to the deity she made sacrifice of rams and lambs, but these were not accepted.  The priests told her that the only sacrifice the Gods would accept was her only son.  Dejected she allowed her only son to be sacrificed in gratitude for saving her people (don’t you agree this is reminiscent of the story of Abraham and Isaac in the Bible).  The Ife nation mourned with her and she was held in the absolute highest esteem of any women in the Kingdom.  They committed to forever be her sons and daughters in memory of her sacrifice.




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