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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/308

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

there is combination for offense and defense among those whose names are recognized marks of different bloods—yet where there has been established descent through males, and especially where monogamy prevails, sameness of blood becomes largely, if not mainly, influential in determining political coöperation. And this truth, under one of its aspects, is the truth above enunciated, that combined action, requiring a certain likeness of nature among those who carry it on, is, in early stages, most successful among those who, being descendants of the same ancestors, have the greatest likeness.

An all-important though less direct effect of blood-relationship, and especially that more definite blood-relationship which arises from monogamic marriage, has to be added. I mean community of religion—a likeness of ideas and sentiments embodied in the worship of a comman deity. Beginning, as this does, with the propitiation of the deceased founder of the family, and shared in, as it is, by the multiplying groups of descendants, as the family spreads, it becomes a further means of holding together the compound cluster gradually formed, and checking the antagonisms that arise between the component clusters: so favoring integration. The influence of the bond supplied by a common cult everywhere meets us in ancient history. Each of the cities in primitive Egypt was a center for the worship of a special divinity; and no one who, unbiased by foregone conclusions, observes the extraordinary development of ancestor-worship, under all its forms, in Egypt, can doubt the origin of this divinity. Of the Greeks we read that "each family had its own sacred rites and funereal commemoration of ancestors, celebrated by the master of the house, to which none but members of the family were admissible: the extinction of a family, carrying with it the suspension of these religious rites, was held by the Greeks to be a misfortune, not merely from the loss of the citizens composing it, but also because the family gods and the manes of deceased citizens were thus deprived of their honors and might visit the country with displeasure. The larger associations, called Gens, Phratry, Tribe, were formed by an extension of the same principle—of the family considered as a religious brotherhood, worshiping some common god or hero with an appropriate surname, and recognizing him as their joint ancestor."

A like bond was generated in a like manner in the Roman community. Each curia, which was the homologue of the phratry, had a head, "whose chief function was to preside over the sacrifices." And, on a larger scale, the same thing held with the entire society. The primitive Roman king was a priest of the deities common to all; "he held intercourse with the gods of the community, whom he consulted and whom he appeased." The beginnings of this religious bond, here exhibited in a developed form, are still traceable in India. Sir Henry Maine, says, "The joint family of the Hindoos is that assemblage of persons who would have joined in the sacrifices at the funeral of