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Tano Struggles with Death


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(Akan, Asante/Ghana; Agni/Côte d'Ivoire)

The river god of Ghana and the lower Ivory Coast is Tano or Ta Kora. Kora means “the immense”; Ta may be derived from a word meaning “father.” Tano is a nature god, but he has heroic attributes. He was possibly once a thunder god as well. He was also invoked as a war god in time of military need.

Tano is the second son of Nyame, the supreme being. He cheated the elder son, Bia, of his inheritance, although Bia was Nyame's favorite. Bia, also a river god, therefore received only the more barren Ivory Coast lands, while Tano had the fertile land west of Ghana, for once Nyame had given these lands to the deceitful Tano he was unable to reverse the promise. In the Ivory Coast, the Agni people say that Bia cheated Tano of the blessing, then fled to the west.

Other myths say that Tano fought with Death, but they had to come to a compromise, so that while Tano was allowed to come to the town of man, Death came also. See also: Nyame.

Subjects: Religion.


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