quote 0020

There was a hideous custom with origin at Scythia, that was stablished in India by the influence of the Brahmins and threatened to invade the whole East. When a married man died, and his beloved wife wanted to be saint, she must be burned in public over the body of her husband. It was a solemn party which was called “Bonfire of Widowhood”. The tribe in which there were more women burned was considered the best of all.
Zadig (…) immediately wanted to meet the chief of the tribe (…) and advised them to create a law which “is allowed to a widow go to the fire only after having a talk for an hour, face to face, with a young man”. Thereafter, widows no more immolated its life in a bonfire at Arabia.
– Voltaire – Zadig, or The Book of Fate (1747)
Scythia, arabia, widow, fire

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