Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali Essay

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The great Machiavelli once said, "Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times." Indeed, the study of history is important as history does seem to repeat itself. Many people in today's society learn about the past from textbooks and other books, as these are of easy access. Is this really the best way to learn about the past? The people of ancient Africa did not think so, as they had special people called "griots"who passed the people's traditions and history down orally from generation to generation. One such griot, Mamadou Kouyate, recalls the story of the most famous ruler in African history, Sundiata, in D.T. Niane's book Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali. This …show more content…
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proved to be very important, as many of the princes would grow up to be kings. The friendships he built as a child grew into alliances when he was an adult, and it was these alliances that helped him defeat Soumaoro and become "Mansa" or king (Niane 1-84).

The alliances he built with neighboring princes proved to be vital in the military aspect of conquering, which was another conventional method Sundiata used to gain power. Sundiata's own cavalry, the horsemen of Mema, were gained from an alliance with the king of Mema. Sundiata also gained many other military weapons from his alliances including the "archers of Bobo" who, as Mamadou Kouyate explains, were said to be "the best archers in the world (Niane 68). Once Sundiata was in power no one would dare try and overthrow him because of his military mite. Sundiata had at his disposal the armies of twelve different empires, all of which were extremely loyal to Sundiata because he had given them their kingdoms back at Ka-ba. For these reasons, Sundiata's military was vital to his gaining and remaining in power (Niane 1-84).

A man cannot come to rule much of the known world by luck, and neither did Sundiata, as he used intelligence in gaining power. Much of the intelligence that Sundiata showed was evident in his ability to make alliances. Another aspect of intelligence was shown on the