SEGOU and KAARTA

The kingdoms of Segou and Kaarta grew up on either side of the Niger river in the 17th and 18th centuries, largely as slave-trading states whose major occupation was warfare. Segou in particular is the subject of a wonderful epic cycle which traces the history of the kingdom from its foundation by Mamari Biton Koulibaly in the early 18th century to a time just before its decline in the early 19th century. The turning point in the decline was the battle of Noukouma in 1818, when the forces of Segou met, and were defeated by, a new Fulbe Muslim community founded by Cheikou Amadou Barry in Massina; the kingdom subsisted for another thirty years until al-Hajj Umar Tall conquered it around 1860, and it was ruled by his successors until the capture of Segou by Archinard in 1890. The kingdom of Kaarta, a successor state to the Soninke state of Jara, is far less colorful in the oral tradition, and was defeated by Segou around 1798; the warfare was witnessed by Mungo Park.

The story of Segou can be told as a unit (e.g. by Tayiru Banbera, in David Conrad's version), but is more frequently broken into discrete stories in which the entertainment value is clearly far more important than the historical record. Some elements of the cycle deal with the succession of kings (rarely smooth and legal), but the majority deal with the wars of Segou and the various heroes and warriors who confront and serve the kingdom. The story lines cross the language barriers in the area, and there is a certain generic similarity to the stories of warrior heroes told in Bamana, Fulfulde, and Soninke.



Performer Title

Bibliographic Reference

Language Date
Anonymous La famille Koulibaly

Arnaud 1912 pp. 176-185



French
ca. 1905
Dawning of Segou

Courlander and Sako 1994 pp. 11-23



English
1970s
Ngolo Diarra

Courlander and Sako 1994, pp. 25-43



English
1970s
Bassadjalan Zambele

Courlander and Sako 1994 pp. 45-58



English
1970s
Sokufo Seriba

Courlander and Sako 1994 pp. 59-67



English
1970s
Samaniana Bassi

Courlander and Sako 1994 pp. 69-83



English
1970s
Da Monzon and Chiaro Mamari

Courlander and Sako 1994 pp. 85-93



English
1970s
Anonymous Sekuruna Toto and Da Monzon

Courlander and Sako 1994 pp. 95-98



English
1970s
Bakaridjan Kone

Courlander and Sako 1994 pp. 99-149



English
1970s
Praise of Malamini Sinsani

Courlander and Sako 1994 pp. 151-154



English
1970s
Diuladjan Diabi, hero of Kiban

Courlander and Sako 1994 pp. 155-167



English
1970s
Tuba's Last Effort against Kiban

Courlander and Sako 1994, pp.169-171



English
1970s
Kumba Sira Maga

Frobenius Atlantis vi pp. 128-132



German
1910?
Bakari Jan

Monteil 1966, pp.370-375

Bamana

Bilingual

pre-1905
Bakari Jan II (Betrayal)

Monteil 1966, pp. 376-379.

Bamana

Bilingual

pre-1905
Mariheri of Dionkoloni

Dantioko 1978, pp. 156-169

Soninke

Bilingual

1980s?
Tayiru Bambera

(n.b. spellings vary)

Election of Biton Koulibali

Dumestre, Recueil manding pp. 34-47

Bamana 27 May 1971
L'accession de Da

Dumestre 1979, pp. 265357

Bamana

Bilingual

pre-1970
Biton et les génies

Dumestre 1979, pp. 359-399.

Bamana

Bilingual

ca.1975
Biton Koulibaly

Kesteloot 1978, pp. 612-681

Bamana

Bilingual

ca. 1970
The Epic of Bamana Segu

Conrad 1990

BamanaEnglish 1975
A. Bime Segou Koro et Mamari Biton

Bime, pp. 92-95.

French 1957
Sory Camara Da Monzon et Douga de Kore

Dumestre 1979, pp. 183-263

Bamana

Bilingual

ca. 1970
Da Monzon et Douga de Kore

Kesteloot 1972 IV, 24-42; 1993 II 104-122

Bamana

French

ca. 1969
Baba Cissoko Bakari Jan et Bilissi

Dumestre 1979, pp. 111-181

Bamana

Bilingual

ca. 1970
La trahison de Bakari Jan

Dumestre 1979 pp. 61-109

Bamana

Bilingual

ca. 1970
Kefa Diabate Biton Coulibaly et le génie Faro

Kesteloot 1993 vol 1, 65-73.

Bamana

French

1970
Kumba Silamakan et Da Monzon

Kesteloot 1993 II pp. 82-82

Bamana ca. 1968
Mamadi Aissa Diakite Les Massassi du Karta

Adam 1904 pp. 56-69

Arabic ca. 1900
Les Massa-si

Delafosse 1913 pp. 52-61

Arabic?

French

ca. 1900
Gaoussou Diarra Testament of Da Monzon

Sauvageot 1981, pp. 289-295

Bamana

bilingual

1955
Seydou Drame Da Monzon and Dietekoro Karta

Kesteloot 1993 I pp. 95-123

Bamana

French

ca. 1970
Laaji Sumayla Fane L'accession de Da

Bazin 1979 pp. 438-445

Bamana

bilingual

14 Aug. 1970
Gorke Da Monzon et Karta Thièma

Kesteloot 1993 II pp. 123-144

Bamana

French

ca. 1970
Sissoko Kabine Ngolo Diarra et Biton Koulibali

Kesteloot 1993, vol. I, pp. 75-84

Bamana

French

ca.1968
Monzon et Dibi de Niamina

Kesteloot 1993 I 85-94

Bamana

French

ca.1968
Da Monzon et Bassi de Samaniana

Kesteloot 1993 I 33-62

Bamana

French

ca.1968
Bakari Jan et Bilissi

Kesteloot 1993 II pp. 2-40

Bamana

French

ca.1968
La trahison de Bakari Jan

Kesteloot 1993 II pp. 41-60

Bamana

French

ca.1968
Bakari Jan et les Peuls du Kounari

Kesteloot 1993, vol. 2, pp.61-71

Bamana

French

ca.1968
La prise de Dionkoloni

Kesteloot and Dumestre 1975

Bamana

Bilingual

ca. 1970
Cheikh Moussa Kamara Histoire de Segou

Ndiaye, ed. 1978

Arabic

French

ca. 1920
Moulaye Kida Da Monzon and Samanyana Basi

Bird, 1972, pp. 457-467

Bamana

English

January 1967
Mamadou Kida Silamaka Fara Dikko

Ousmane Ba 1988, pp. 20-163

Bamana

Bil. German

Summer 1983
Bakoroba Kone Douga -- the Vulture

Bird 1972, pp. 468-477.

Bamana

English

April 1968
Fabu Kuate Biton Koulibaly

Frobenius, Atlantis v, pp. 344-351

Bamana

German

pre-1910
Kore Tammoura (informant on history of Segou)

Monteil 1966, passim.

Bamana? ca.1900
Dominique Traore Samaniana Bassi

Notes Africaines #34 (1947)

French 1947


REFERENCES

Robert Arnaud. La singulière légende des soninkés: traditions orales sur le royaume de Koumbi. In L'Islam et la politique musulmane en Afrique occidentale française. Paris, Comité de l'Afrique française, 1912.

Amadou Hampate Ba and Lilyan Kesteloot, "Da Monzon et Karta Thiema" Abbia 14-15, pp. 179-206.

Ousmane Bâ. Silamaka Fara Dikko: ein westafrikanisches Epos in den Bambara-Versionen von Mamadou Kida und Almami Bah (Mali). Berlin, Verlag von Dietrich Reimer, 1988.

Jean Bazin, "La production d'un recit historique." Cahiers d'Études africaines. 19 (1979). 435-483.

A. Bime. "Segou-Koro et le Biton Mamari." Notes Africaines 75 (July 1957), pp. 92-95.

Charles Bird, ed. and trans. "Bambara oral prose and verse narratives." in African Folklore, ed. Richard Dorson. New York: Anchor Books. 1972. pp. 441-477.

David Conrad. A State of Intrigue: the Epic of Bamana Segu according to Tayiru Bambera. Oxford University Press. Fontes Historiae Africanae series varia vi.

David C. Conrad. The Role of Oral Artists in the History of Mali. Dissertation, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1981. 2 volumes.

Harold Courlander and Ousmane Sako. The Heart of the Ngoni. New York, Crown Publishers, 1982.

Oudiary Makan Dantioko. Contes et légendes Soninké . Paris, CILF/ Edicef. 1978.

Maurice Delafosse. Traditions historiques et légendaires du Soudan Occidental. Publication du Comité de l'Afrique française. Paris. 1913.

Gerard Dumestre, ed. and trans. La geste de Segou. Paris, Armand Colin, 1979. Classiques Africains. (Previously published at the University of Abidjan, Institut de Linguistique Appliquée No. 48. 1974).

Gerard Dumestre and Lilyan Kesteloot, eds. and trans. La prise de Dionkoloni. Paris, Armand Colin, 1975. Classiques Africains.

Leo Frobenius, Spielmannsgeschichten der Sahel. Atlantis VI. Iena, Eugen Diederichs, 1921. Reprint Martin Sändig.

-----. Dichten und Denken im Sudan. Atlantis V. Iena, Eugen Diederichs. 1925.

Cheikh Moussa Kamara. "Histoire de Ségou." ed. and trans. Moustapha Ndiaye. Bulletin de l'IFAN. Ser. B. 40.3 (1978). pp. 458-488.

Lilyan Kesteloot, ed. "L'histoire de Biton Koulibaly." Transcribed by Mamadou Boidié Diarra, translated by Lilyan Kesteloot. Bulletin de l'IFAN. Ser B, 40.3 (1978). pp. 613-681.

Lilyan Kesteloot. "Le mythe et l'histoire dans la formation de l'empire de Ségou." Bulletin de l'IFAN. Ser. B. 40.3 (1978). pp. 578-678.

Lilyan Kesteloot, ed. and trans. Da Monzon de Segou. Paris, L'Harmattan, 1993. 2 vols. First published 1974, Paris. Fernand Nathan, 4 volumes.

Lilyan Kesteloot. "Une épisode de l'épopée bambara de Segou: Bakari Dian et Bilissi." Bulletin de l'IFAN. Series B No. 35 (1973) pp. 881-902.

Lilyan Kesteloot, ed. L'Épopée traditionelle. Paris, Fernand Nathan, 1971.

Mamadou Konate, "Une épopée Malienne - Da Monzon de Segou." Abbia 14-15 pp. 171-9.

Charles Monteil. Les Bambara de Segou et du Kaarta. Paris, Maisonneuve et Larose. 1977. First printed 1924. Notes by Jean Bazin.

Charles Monteil. Contes Soudanais. Paris, Ernest Leroux. 1905. Kraus Reprint 1977.

Serge Sauvageot. "Le testament politique de Monzon: Texte bambara." In Le sol, la parole, et l'écrit: Mélanges offerts à Raymond Mauny. Paris, Société française d'historie d'outre-mer, 1981. pp. 289-295.

Dominique Traore. "Samaniana Bassi." Notes Africaines 34 (1947), pp. 1-3.


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