A State of Intrigue: The Epic of Bamana Segu

A State of Intrigue: The Epic of Bamana Segu According to Tayiru Banbera
Oxford University Press for the British Academy 1990

An oral account of the people, events and customs of the 18th- and 19th-century Bamana city state of Segu (in what is now Mali) was recorded in 1976 by Tayiru Banbera, a hereditary professional bard, and is published here in translation. While no single oral narrative encompasses all that is known about Segu history, Tayiru covers almost all the major episodes, with his colorful language, clever dialogue and thoughtful explanatory asides. However, he adds an extra dimension by providing a view of, and something of a feel for, daily life in the period covered, and herein lies the unique value of his text. His digressions range from military strategy to culinary practices, taking in state security and law enforcement, early market practices vs. colonial modes of exchange, taxation, manhood, and even advice on seduction.

“This book is a milestone in the study of the Segu epic…because of the methodological insights and wealth of contextual information provided.”

--P.F. De Moraes Farias, University of Birmingham, UK

Bamana Language Edition of the Segu Epic

Dutch Language Edition of the Segu Epic

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