9     "The very idea of a ĪPrince of the Center of the Earth' involves a symbolism of space that is itself inseparable from a political intention: to found a dynasty outside of the common order, the necessary prerequisite for sovereignty on earth" (Ottino, "Mythology of the Highlands," 965). South and west are unfavorable, north and east favorable. The five brothers first present themselves to their grandfather in circular order (East, North, West, South), but in the second enumeration they are cited in crossed order (East, West, North, South, Center), as they do in another of Dahle's Merina tales (Specimens, 313-22; Molet, La conception, 1:53). Like the old Merina ritual of the royal bath, the disposition of the princes reveals the symbolic importance of the center (Bloch, Ritual, 208-9). Ibonia must establish his preeminence over the four cardinal points. Epic declares cosmology in Madagascar, ancient Rome, seventeenth-century England, and Zaire, where the spatial plan of the Mwindo epic reflects the division of the universe (Biebuyck and Mateene, The Mwindo Epic, 20-21).