An historian of the Yoruba, still largely a non-literate society, cannot ignore oral traditions in all their forms; Ifa oracular dicta; oriki or praise poems; proverbs and topical songs; and ceremonies re-enacting historical events. He has available only scanty written sources, dating mostly from the 19th century, and which are in fact accounts of explorers or missionaries based mainly upon prevailing oral traditions. He requires the disciplines of archaeology, ethnography, linguistics, sociology, and even military historiography to elucidate his largely ‘hearsay’ material. In Sources of Yoruba History, all these archetypes of historical material are exemplified, analysed and viewed critically, as a prelude to the writing of a history of the Yoruba.

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