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#2564: Lasiren : Benson comments

From: LeGrace Benson <legracebenson@clarityconnect.com>

Versions of the water-dwelling woman appear in many times and places in the
world.  One of those with direct connections to Haiti is the legendary
Arhes of Brittany. Her image appears as an architectural ornament on at
least one church on the coastal districts, and here story involves taking a
whole city down under the sea.  There is actually archaeological evidence
of a submerged city in the locale attributed by the legends.  The Breton
sailors who would have known the myth were some of the earliest and most
frequent visitors and sojourners in St.-Domingue, especially during the era
of the trade in African captives. The Lasiren of today is clearly
multi-sourced, especially in the paintings where one can identify some
images in European books as highly likely models. If dates I have seen are
correct, the Breton image,created in early medaeival times, and probably
arriving in Haiti at least as early as the fisrt trade ships, predates the
first record of images of Mamywatta and of other mermaid-form creatures in
West Africa.  I place this out as an hypothesis, rather than an assertion.
There were water spirits before the appearance of memrmaid-forms, but the
mermaid form itself seems to appear in both St.-Domingue and West Africa at
the time of the "Voyages of Exploration" later the captive-trade voyages. 
Regards, LeGrace