Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/257

This page needs to be proofread.


Reviews. 243

find women, having by descent the same animal name as myself, and therefore forbidden to me. In fine, the classification of women into prohibited and lawful, i.e. into the two phratries, cannot be the result of the rise of two leading local groups. If it were, then there might be three or more phratries, as Mr. Lang admitsĀ : but women can only be divided into the two classes of lawful and not lawful, prohibited and not prohibited, as wives. We may, of course, go back to the period when the jealous sire expelled his adolescent sons; but then we get back to a time when all women were prohibited, for all belonged to some sire or other, and by him were prohibited to all men. The first step forwards, out of this stage of animal jealousy, consisted in recognising that not all women were prohibited, but that some were lawful to men other than the sireĀ : that is to say, the recognition that women (and therefore, by female descent, their children) belonged to one phratry or the other was the condition precedent of those changes which, on Mr. Lang's theory, called phratries into existence. The very first step forwards, out of the stage of animal jealousy, consisted in dividing the primitive local group itself into the two phratries, the two sets of persons. Indeed, the rule, "no marriage within this group," itself contains the principle, for it sanctions or implies marriage between the sire and his women, and forbids all other marriage. The sire is the sole member, at first, of the one phratry. But that phratry grows, for it comes to include his daughters; and if the primitive local group consisted of several sires with their families, then all the sires with their daughters constitute the one phratry, while the wives constitute the other. Consequently the sires' sisters belong to the sire's phratry, and the wives' brothers to the other phratry.

I submit, therefore, that from the time when one man estab- lished his exclusive right to certain women, and created a primitive local group, the phratry system was in principle established also. Those women were permitted to him and pro- hibited to other men. The converse of this rule, viz. that some women were prohibited to him, manifested itself when unions between a sire and his daughters were felt to be unlawful. The primitive local group itself thus contained the two phratries from