Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ogun is a major West African divinity whose history covers several centuries and whose worship stretches onto many continents. Some scholars have suggested that Ogun may be worshipped by as many as 70 million individuals around the world, and the number of Ogun worshippers may well be increasing constantly. Although it may not be possible to date with precision the emergence of the deity Ogun, it is likely that it goes back to the beginning of the Iron Age and attendant ironwork in Africa. Indeed, in its original persona, Ogun is first and foremost the divinity of iron and, by extension, the divinity of war and hunting. Although the earliest iron smelting sites emerged in Central Nigeria, thus making Ogun a preeminent Yoruba deity (Orisha), the worship of Ogun has been attested throughout the Guinea Coast, where it had spread since ancient times, with shrines to Ogun found in virtually ...