Chapter

Politics In An African Royal Harem: Women and Seclusion at the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria

Flora Edouwaye S. Kaplan

in Servants of the Dynasty

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780520254435
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941519 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520254435.003.0006
Politics In An African Royal Harem: Women and Seclusion at the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

This chapter investigates the harem and the political roles played by royal wives at the Benin royal court in Nigeria. Benin resembles many early accounts of palace women in the Middle East, China, India, and elsewhere up to the twentieth century. On rare occasion, such as the letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu from Turkey (1763), Western women have written personal accounts of their glimpses of harems. This chapter also looks at sources of power and influence available to royal women, and assesses what impact, if any, royal women had on the lives of ordinary women and men beyond the walls of the harem. Politics in this African harem is broadly defined to mean observable decision making and makers acting in public arenas to direct the control and distribution of resources perceived as scarce. This chapter also examines the reign of the Obas, the Oba's palace, seclusion of the Oba's wives, the role of eunuchs in the royal harem, and the queen mother.

Keywords: Benin; Nigeria; politics; harems; royal women; royal wives; palace women; royal court; Obas; eunuchs

Chapter.  8928 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.