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Malagasy mythology: Wikis


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Malagasy mythology is rooted in oral history and has been transmitted by storytelling (angano "story"), notably the Andriambahoaka epic, including the Ibonia cycle. Madagascar was settled in the early 1st millennium AD, by Austronesian peoples, and its early cultural history is inseparable from that of the Indian Ocean (Ottino 1982).

Andriamanitra "Sky Lord", is the usual word for God. Division of heaven and earth between the Creator and a rebellious culture hero is a frequent theme of myths outside Imerina. The Zanahary are the creator gods.

Malagasy mythology portrays a tribe of pale dwarf-like people called the Vazimba as the original inhabitants. Some Malagasy believe that these original inhabitants still live in the deepest recesses of the forest. In an island whose inhabitants practice ancestor-worship, the inhabitants venerate the Vazimba as the most ancient of ancestors. The kings of some Malagasy tribes claim a blood kinship to the Vazimba.

Across Madagascar, the Indri is revered and protected by fady. There are countless variations on the legend of the Indri's origins, but they all treat it as a sacred animal, not to be hunted or harmed. In all of the Babakoto origin myths, there is some connection of the lemur with humanity, usually through common ancestry. It is easy to see why the Indri is so closely identified with humans. Its long legs, large upright body, lack of a prominent tail, vocalizations, and complex systems of communication are all reminiscent of human traits.


  • Paul Ottino, Myth and History: The Malagasy "Andriambahoaka" and the Indonesian Legacy, History in Africa (1982).
  • Colleen J. McElroy , Over the Lip of the World: Among the Storytellers of Madagascar (1999), ISBN 978-0295978246.
  • Yves Bonnefoy, Wendy Doniger, Asian Mythologies, University Of Chicago Press (1993), ISBN 978-0226064567, pp. 187-201.
  • Lee Haring, Ibonia: Epic of Madagascar, Bucknell University Press (1994), ISBN 978-0838752845.
  • Peter Tyson , The Eighth Continent: Life, Death and Discovery in the Lost World of Madagascar (2000), ISBN 978-0380975778.
  • C. Renel, Contes de Madagascar (1930)
  • A. Dandouau, Contes Populaires Des Sakalava Et Des Tsimihety (1922)
  • Didier Randriamanantena, Le Roi et Ifara (graphic novel retelling the Razafimbolamena (prodigal son) legend)

See also

External links



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