Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How Many Concubators Is One Too Many?

(From "Uppity Women of Medieval Times" by Vicki Leon)

Back in the 1600's, Nzinga Mbande apparently was not troubled with such petty thoughts - she had at least 50. Oh - a concubator was the male equivalent of the more familiar concubine or palace mistress.

You see, Nzinga was the kings's sister and in charge of top level negotiations between her country of Ndongo (known today as Angola) and Portugal. They wanted slaves and she had plenty of them. Once, the Portuguese brought Nzinga to where their governor was seated but neglected to put out a chair for her (hoping to humiliate her). Not to be outdone - she ordered one of her slaves to get on her hands and knees ; sitting on the back of her "chair" she conducted business all day.

When her brother the king died, Nzinga became queen. Not wanting to deal with women, Portugal broke the peace treaty between their two countries. So Nzinga called up an army of women and men to fight against their enemy. She and her two sisters were to lead their army while dressed in matching animal skins. They fought the Portuguese until the late 1650's.

A great African Queen until the end, Nzinga lived well into her 80's and her expoits are still told in the history books of Angolan school children.

My question to you gentle readers - How many concubators is one too many?

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