Origins of the Family-- Chapter 2 (III)

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Frederick Engels
Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State

II. The Family

3. The Pairing Family

A certain amount of pairing, for a longer or shorter period, already occurred in group marriage or even earlier; the man had a chief wife among his many wives (one can hardly yet speak of a favorite wife), and for her he was the most important among her husbands. This fact has contributed considerably to the confusion of the missionaries, who have regarded group marriage sometimes as promiscuous community of wives, sometimes as unbridled adultery. But these customary pairings were bound to grow more stable as the gens developed and the classes of "brothers" and "sisters" between whom marriage was impossible became more numerous. The impulse given by the gens to the prevention of marriage between blood relatives extended still further. Thus among the Iroquois and most of the other Indians at the lower stage of barbarism we find that marriage is prohibited between all relatives enumerated in their system -- which includes several hundred degrees of kinship. The increasing complication of these prohibitions made group marriages more and more impossible; they were displaced by the pairing family. In this stage, one man lives with one woman, but the relationship is such that polygamy and occasional infidelity remain the right of the men, even though for economic reasons polygamy is rare, while from the woman the strictest fidelity is generally demanded throughout the time she lives with the man, and adultery on her part is cruelly punished. The marriage tie can, however, be easily dissolved by either partner; after separation, the children still belong, as before, to the mother alone.

In this ever extending exclusion of blood relatives from the bond of marriage, natural selection continues its work. In Morgan's words:

The influence of the new practice, which brought unrelated persons into the marriage relation, tended to create a more vigorous stock physically and mentally.... When two advancing tribes, with strong mental and physical characters, are brought together and blended into one people by the accidents of barbarous life, the new skull and brain would widen and lengthen to the sum of the capabilities of both.

[Morgan, Op. cit., p. 468. -- Ed.]

Tribes with gentile constitution were thus bound to gain supremacy over more backward tribes, or else to carry them along by their example.

Thus the history of the family in primitive times consists in the progressive narrowing of the circle, originally embracing the whole tribe, within which the two sexes have a common conjugal relation. The continuous exclusion, first of nearer, then of more and more remote relatives, and at last even of relatives by marriage, ends by making any kind of group marriage practically impossible. Finally, there remains only the single, still loosely linked pair, the molecule with whose dissolution marriage itself ceases. This in itself shows what a small part individual sex-love, in the modern sense of the word, played in the rise of monogamy. Yet stronger proof is afforded by the practice of all peoples at this stage of development. Whereas in the earlier forms of the family men never lacked women, but, on the contrary, had too many rather than too few, women had now become scarce and highly sought after. Hence it is with the pairing marriage that there begins the capture and purchase of women -- widespread symptoms, but no more than symptoms, of the much deeper change that had occurred. These symptoms, mere methods of procuring wives, the pedantic Scot, McLennan, has transmogrified into special classes of families under the names of "marriage by capture" and "marriage by purchase." In general, whether among the American Indians or other peoples (at the same stage), the conclusion of a marriage is the affair, not of the two parties concerned, who are often not consulted at all, but of their mothers. Two persons entirely unknown to each other are often thus affianced; they only learn that the bargain has been struck when the time for marrying approaches. Before the wedding the bridegroom gives presents to the bride's gentile relatives (to those on the mother's side, therefore, not to the father and his relations), which are regarded as gift payments in return for the girl. The marriage is still terminable at the desire of either partner, but among many tribes, the Iroquois, for example, public opinion has gradually developed against such separations; when differences arise between husband and wife, the gens relatives of both partners act as mediators, and only if these efforts prove fruitless does a separation take place, the wife then keeping the children and each partner being free to marry again.

The pairing family, itself too weak and unstable to make an independent household necessary or even desirable, in no wise destroys the communistic household inherited from. earlier times. Communistic housekeeping, however, means the supremacy of women in the house; just as the exclusive recognition of the female parent, owing to the impossibility of recognizing the male parent with certainty, means that the women -- the mothers -- are held in high respect. One of the most absurd notions taken over from eighteenth-century enlightenment is that in the beginning of society woman was the slave of man. Among all savages and all barbarians of the lower and middle stages, and to a certain extent of the upper stage also, the position of women is not only free, but honorable. As to what it still is in the pairing marriage, let us hear the evidence of Ashur Wright, for many years missionary among the Iroquois Senecas:

As to their family system, when occupying the old long-houses [communistic households comprising several families], it is probable that some one clan [gens] predominated, the women taking in husbands, however, from the other clans [gentes] .... Usually, the female portion ruled the house.... The stores were in common; but woe to the luckless husband or lover who was too shiftless to do his share of the providing. No matter how many children, or whatever goods he might have in the house, he might at any time be ordered to pick up his blanket and budge; and after such orders it would not be healthful for him to attempt to disobey. The house would be too hot for him; and ... he must retreat to his own clan [gens]; or, as was often done, go and start a new matrimonial alliance in some other. The women were the great power among the clans [gentes], as everywhere else. They did not hesitate, when occasion required, "to knock off the horns," as it was technically called, from the head of a chief, and send him back to the ranks of the warriors.

[Quoted by Morgan, OP. cit., P. 464. -- Ed.]

The communistic household, in which most or all of the women belong to one and the same gens, while the men come from various gentes, is the material foundation of that supremacy of the women which was general in primitive times, and which it is Bachofen's third great merit to have discovered. The reports of travelers and missionaries, I may add, to the effect that women among savages and barbarians are overburdened with work in no way contradict what has been said. The division of labor between the two sexes is determined by quite other causes than by the position of woman in society. Among peoples where the women have to work far harder than we think suitable, there is often much more real respect for women than among our Europeans. The lady of civilization, surrounded by false homage and estranged from all real work, has an infinitely lower social position than the hard-working woman of barbarism, who was regarded among her people as a real lady (lady, frowa, Frau -- mistress) and who was also a lady in character.

Whether pairing marriage has completely supplanted group marriage in America today is a question to be decided by closer investigation among the peoples still at the upper stage of savagery in the northwest, and particularly in South America. Among the latter, so many instances of sexual license are related that one can hardly assume the old group marriage to have been completely overcome here. At any rate, all traces of it have not yet disappeared. In at least forty North American tribes the man who marries an eldest sister has the right to take all her other sisters as his wives as soon as they are old enough-a relic of the time when a whole line of sisters had husbands in common. And Bancroft reports of the Indians of the California peninsula (upper stage of savagery) that they have certain festivals when several "tribes" come together for the purpose of promiscuous sexual intercourse. These "tribes" are clearly gentes, who preserve in these feasts a dim memory of the time when the women of one gens had all the men of the other as their common husbands, and conversely. The same custom still prevails in Australia. We find among some peoples that the older men, the chieftains and the magician-priests, exploit the community of wives and monopolize most of the women for themselves; at certain festivals and great assemblies of the people, however, they have to restore the old community of women and allow their wives to enjoy themselves with the young men. Westermarck (History of Human Marriage, 1891, Pp. 28, 29) quotes a whole series of instances of such periodic Saturnalian feasts, when for a short time the old freedom of sexual intercourse is again restored: examples are given among the Hos, the Santals, the Punjas and Kotars in India, among some African peoples, and so forth. Curiously enough, Westermarck draws the conclusion that these are survivals, not of the group marriage, which he totally rejects, but of the mating season which primitive man had in common with the other animals.

Here we come to Bachofen's fourth great discovery -- the widespread transitional form between group marriage and pairing. What Bachofen represents as a penance for the transgression of the old divine laws -- the penance by which the woman purchases the right of chastity -- is in fact only a mystical expression of the penance by which the woman buys herself out of the old community of husbands and acquires the right to give herself to one man only. This penance consists in a limited surrender: the Babylonian women had to give themselves once a year in the temple of Mylitta; other peoples of Asia Minor sent their girls for years to the temple of Anaitis, where they had to practice free love with favorites of their own choosing before they were allowed to marry. Similar customs in religious disguise are common to almost all Asiatic peoples between the Mediterranean and the Ganges. The sacrifice of atonement by which the woman purchases her freedom becomes increasingly lighter in course of time, as Bachofen already noted:

Instead of being repeated annually, the offering is made once only; the hetaerism of the matrons is succeeded by the hetaerism of the maidens; hetaerism during marriage by hetaerism before marriage; surrender to all without choice by surrender to some.

(Mutterrecht, p. xix.)

Among other peoples the religious disguise is absent. In some cases -- among the Thracians, Celts, and others, in classical times, many of the original inhabitants of India, and to this day among the Malayan peoples, the South Sea Islanders and many American Indians -- the girls enjoy the greatest sexual freedom up to the time of their marriage. This is especially the case almost everywhere in South America, as everyone who has gone any distance into the interior can testify. Thus Agassiz (A Journey in Brazil, Boston and New York, 1868, p. 266) tells this story of a rich family of Indian extraction: when he was introduced to the daughter, he asked after her father, presuming him to be her mother's husband, who was fighting as an officer in the war against Paraguay; but the mother answered with a smile: "Nao tem pai, e filha da fortuna" (She has no father. She is a child of chance):

It is the way the Indian or half-breed women here always speak of their illegitimate children . . . without an intonation of sadness or of blame.... So far is this from being an unusual case, that... the opposite seems the exception. Children are frequently quite ignorant of their parentage. They know about their mother, for all the care and responsibility falls upon her, but they have no knowledge of their father; nor does it seem to occur to the woman that she or her children have any claim upon him.

What seems strange here to civilized people is simply the rule according to mother-right and in group marriage.

Among other peoples, again, the friends and relatives of the bridegroom, or the wedding guests, claim their traditional right to the bride at the wedding itself, and the bridegroom's turn only comes last; this was the custom in the Balearic Islands and among the Augilers of Africa in ancient times; it is still observed among the Bareas of Abyssinia. In other cases, an official personage, the head of the tribe or the gens, cacique, shaman, priest, prince or whatever he may be called, represents the community and exercises the right of the first night with the bride. Despite all necromantic whitewashing, this jus prime noctis [Right of first night. -- Ed.] still persists today as a relic of group marriage among most of the natives of the Alaska region (Bancroft, Native Races, I, p. 8i), the Tahus of North Mexico (Ibid., P. 584) and other peoples; and at any rate in the countries originally Celtic, where it was handed down directly from group marriage, it existed throughout the whole of the middle ages, for example, in Aragon. While in Castile the peasants were never serfs, in Aragon there was serfdom of the most shameful kind right up till the decree of Ferdinand the Catholic in 1486. This document states:

We judge and declare that the aforementioned lords (senors, barons) ... when the peasant takes himself a wife, shall neither sleep with her on the first night; nor shall they during the wedding-night, when the wife has laid herself in her bed, step over it and the aforementioned wife as a sign of lordship; nor shall the aforementioned lords use the daughter or the son of the peasant, with payment or without payment, against their will.

(Quoted in the original Catalan by Sugenheim,
Serfdom, Petersburg, 1861, p. 35)

Bachofen is also perfectly right when he consistently maintains that the transition from what he calls "Hetaerism" or "Sumpfzeugung" to monogamy was brought about primarily through the women. The more the traditional sexual relations lost the native primitive character of forest life, owing to the development of economic conditions with consequent undermining of the old communism and growing density of population, the more oppressive and humiliating must the women have felt them to be, and the greater their longing for the right of chastity, of temporary or permanent marriage with one man only, as a way of release. This advance could not in any case have originated with the men, if only because it has never occurred to them, even to this day, to renounce the pleasures of actual group marriage. Only when the women had brought about the transition to pairing marriage were the men able to introduce strict monogamy -- though indeed only for women.

The first beginnings of the pairing family appear on the dividing line between savagery and barbarism; they are generally to be found already at the upper stage of savagery, but occasionally not until the lower stage of barbarism. The pairing family is the form characteristic of barbarism, as group marriage is characteristic of savagery and monogamy of civilization. To develop it further, to strict monogamy, other causes were required than those we have found active hitherto. In the single pair the group was already reduced to its final unit, its two-atom molecule: one man and one woman. Natural selection, with its progressive exclusions from the marriage community, had accomplished its task; there was nothing more for it to do in this direction. Unless new, social forces came into play, there was no reason why a new form of family should arise from the single pair. But these new forces did come into play.

We now leave America, the classic soil of the pairing family. No sign allows us to conclude that a higher form of family developed here, or that there was ever permanent monogamy anywhere in America prior to its discovery and conquest. But not so in the Old World.

Here the domestication of animals and the breeding of herds had developed a hitherto unsuspected source of wealth and created entirely new social relations. Up to the lower stage of barbarism, permanent wealth had consisted almost solely of house, clothing, crude ornaments and the tools for obtaining and preparing food -- boat, weapons, and domestic utensils of the simplest kind. Food had to be won afresh day by day. Now, with their herds of horses, camels, asses, cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs, the advancing pastoral peoples -- the Semites on the Euphrates and the Tigris, and the Aryans in the Indian country of the Five Streams (Punjab), in the Ganges region, and in the steppes then much more abundantly watered of the Oxus and the Jaxartes -- had acquired property which only needed supervision and the rudest care to reproduce itself in steadily increasing quantities and to supply the most abundant food in the form of milk and meat. All former means of procuring food now receded into the background; hunting, formerly a necessity, now became a luxury.

But to whom did this new wealth belong? Originally to the gens, without a doubt. Private property in herds must have already started at an early period, however. It is difficult to say whether the author of the so-called first book of Moses regarded the patriarch Abraham as the owner of his herds in his own right as head of a family community or by right of his position as actual hereditary head of a gens. What is certain is that we must not think of him as a property owner in the modern sense of the word. And it is also certain that at the threshold of authentic history we already find the herds everywhere separately owned by heads of families, as are the artistic products of barbarism -- metal implements, luxury articles and, finally, the human cattle -- the slaves.

For now slavery had also been invented. To the barbarian of the lower stage, a slave was valueless. Hence the treatment of defeated enemies by the American Indians was quite different from that at a higher stage. The men were killed or adopted as brothers into the tribe of the victors; the women were taken as wives or otherwise adopted with their surviving children. At this stage human labor-power still does not produce any considerable surplus over and above its maintenance costs. That was no longer the case after the introduction of cattle-breeding, metalworking, weaving and, lastly, agriculture. just as the wives whom it had formerly been so easy to obtain had now acquired an exchange value and were bought, so also with the forces of labor, particularly since the herds had definitely become family possessions. The family did not multiply so rapidly as the cattle. More people were needed to look after them; for this purpose use could be made of the enemies captured in war, who could also be bred just as easily as the cattle themselves.

Once it had passed into the private possession of families and there rapidly begun to augment, this wealth dealt a severe blow to the society founded on pairing marriage and the matriarchal gens. Pairing marriage had brought a new element into the family. By the side of the natural mother of the child it placed its natural and attested father, with a better warrant of paternity, probably, than that of many a "father" today. According to the division of labor within the family at that time, it was the man's part to obtain food and the instruments of labor necessary for the purpose. He therefore also owned the instruments of labor, and in the event of husband and wife separating, he took them with him, just as she retained her household goods. Therefore, according to the social custom of the time, the man was also the owner of the new source of subsistence, the cattle, and later of the new instruments of labor, the slaves. But according to the custom of the same society, his children could not inherit from him. For as regards inheritance, the position was as follows:

At first, according to mother-right -- so long, therefore, as descent was reckoned only in the female line -- and according to the original custom of inheritance within the gens, the gentile relatives inherited from a deceased fellow member of their gens. His property had to remain within the gens. His effects being insignificant, they probably always passed in practice to his nearest gentile relations -- that is, to his blood relations on the mother's side. The children of the dead man, however, did not belong to his gens, but to that of their mother; it was from her that they inherited, at first conjointly with her other blood relations, later perhaps with rights of priority; they could not inherit from their father, because they did not belong to his gens, within which his property had to remain. When the owner of the herds died, therefore, his herds would go first to his brothers and sisters and to his sister's children, or to the issue of his mother's sisters. But his own children were disinherited.

Thus, on the one hand, in proportion as wealth increased, it made the man's position in the family more important than the woman's, and on the other hand created an impulse to exploit this strengthened position in order to overthrow, in favor of his children, the traditional order of inheritance. This, however, was impossible so long as descent was reckoned according to mother-right. Mother-right, therefore, had to be overthrown, and overthrown it was. This was by no means so difficult as it looks to us today. For this revolution -- one of the most decisive ever experienced by humanity -- could take place without disturbing a single one of the living members of a gens. All could remain as they were. A simple decree sufficed that in the future the offspring of the male members should remain within the gens, but that of the female should be excluded by being transferred to the gens of their father. The reckoning of descent in the female line and the matriarchal law of inheritance were thereby overthrown, and the male line of descent and the paternal law of inheritance were substituted for them. As to how and when this revolution took place among civilized peoples, we have no knowledge. It falls entirely within prehistoric times. But that it did take place is more than sufficiently proved by the abundant traces of mother-right which have been collected, particularly by Bachofen. How easily it is accomplished can be seen in a whole series of American Indian tribes, where it has only recently taken place and is still taking place under the influence, partly of increasing wealth and a changed mode of life (transference from forest to prairie), and partly of the moral pressure of civilization and missionaries. Of eight Missouri tribes, six observe the male line of descent and inheritance, two still observe the female. Among the Shawnees, Miamis and Delawares the custom has grown up of giving the children a gentile name of their father's gens in order to transfer them into it, thus enabling them to inherit from him.

Man's innate casuistry! To change things by changing their names! And to find loopholes for violating tradition while maintaining tradition, when direct interest supplied sufficient impulse. (Marx.)

The result was hopeless confusion, which could only be remedied and to a certain extent was remedied by the transition to father-right. "In general, this seems to be the most natural transition." (Marx.) For the theories proffered by comparative jurisprudence regarding the manner in which this change was effected among the civilized peoples of the Old World -- though they are almost pure hypothesize M. Kovalevsky, Tableau des origines et de l'evolution de la famille et de la propriete. Stockholm, 1890.

The overthrow of mother-right was the world historical defeat of the female sex. The man took command in the home also; the woman was degraded and reduced to servitude, she became the slave of his lust and a mere instrument for the production of children. This degraded position of the woman, especially conspicuous among the Greeks of the heroic and still more of the classical age, has gradually been palliated and glozed over, and sometimes clothed in a milder form; in no sense has it been abolished.

The establishment of the exclusive supremacy of the man shows its effects first in the patriarchal family, which now emerges as an intermediate form. Its essential characteristic is not polygyny, of which more later, but "the organization of a number of persons, bond and free, into a family, under paternal power, for the purpose of holding lands, and for the care of flocks and herds.... (In the Semitic form) the chiefs, at least, lived in polygamy.... Those held to servitude, and those employed as servants, lived in the marriage relation."

[Morgan, Op. cit., p. 474]

Its essential features are the incorporation of unfree persons, and paternal power; hence the perfect type of this form of family is the Roman. The original meaning of the word "family" (familia) is not that compound of sentimentality and domestic strife which forms the ideal of the present-day philistine; among the Romans it dl'd not at first even refer to the married pair and their children, but only to the slaves. Famulus means domestic slave, and familia is the total number of slaves belonging to one man. As late as the time of Gaius, the familia, id est patrimonium (family, that is, the patrimony, the inheritance) was bequeathed by will. The term was invented by the Romans to denote a new social organism, whose head ruled over wife and children and a number of slaves, and was invested under Roman paternal power with rights of life and death over them all.

This term, therefore, is no older than the iron-clad family system of the Latin tribes, which came in after field agriculture and after legalized servitude, as well as after the separation of Greeks and Latins.

[Morgan, Op. cit., p. 478]

Marx adds:

The modern family contains in germ not only slavery (servitus), but also serfdom, since from the beginning it is related to agricultural services. It contains in miniature all the contradictions which later extend throughout society and its state.

Such a form of family shows the transition of the pairing family to monogamy. In order to make certain of the wife's fidelity and therefore of the paternity of the children, she is delivered over unconditionally into the power of the husband; if he kills her, he is only exercising his rights.

With the patriarchal family, we enter the field of written history a field where comparative jurisprudence can give valuable help. And it has in fact brought an important advance in our knowledge. We owe to Maxim Kovalevsky (Tableau etc. de la mine et de propriete, Stockholm, 1890, pp. 60-100), the proof that the patriarchal household community, as we still find it today among the Serbs and the Bulgars under the name of zadruga (which may be roughly translated "bond of friendship") or bratstvo (brotherhood), and in a modified form among the Oriental peoples, formed the transitional stage between the matriarchal family deriving from group marriage and the single family of the modern world. For the civilized peoples of the Old World, for the Aryans and Semites at any rate, this seems to be established.

The Southern Slav zadruga provides the best instance of such a family community still in actual existence. It comprises several generations of the descendants of one father, together with their wives, who all live together in one homestead, cultivate their fields in common, feed and clothe themselves from a common stock, and possess in common the surplus from their labor. The community is under the supreme direction of the head of the house (domacin), who acts as its representative outside, has the right to sell minor objects, and controls the funds, for which, as for the regular organization of business, he is responsible. He is elected, and it is not at all necessary that he should be the oldest in the community. The women and their work are under the control of the mistress of the house (domacica), who is generally the wife of the domacin. She also has an important and often a decisive voice in the choice of husbands for the girls. Supreme power rests, however, with the family council, the assembly of all the adult members of the household, women as well as men. To this assembly the master of the house renders account; it takes all important decisions, exercises jurisdiction over the members, decides on sales and purchases of any importance, especially of land and so on.

It is only within the last ten years or so that such great family communities have been proved to be still in existence in Russia; it is now generally recognized that they are as firmly rooted in the customs of the Russian people as the obshchina or village community. They appear in the oldest Russian code of laws, the Pravda of Yaroslav, under the same name as in the Dalmatian laws (vervj), and references to them can also be traced in Polish and Czech historical sources.

Among the Germans also, according to Heusler (Institutionen des deutschen Rechts), the economic unit was originally not the single family in the modern sense, but the "house community," which consisted of several generations or several single families, and often enough included unfree persons as well. The Roman family is now also considered to have originated from this type, and consequently the absolute power of the father of the house, and the complete absence of rights among the other members of the family in relation to him, have recently been strongly questioned. It is supposed that similar family communities also existed among the Celts in Ireland; in France, under the name of parconneries, they survived in Nivernais until the French Revolution, and in the Franche Comte they have not completely died out even today [1884]. In the district of Louhans (Saone et Loire) large peasant houses can be seen in which live several generations of the same family; the house has a lofty common hall reaching to the roof, and surrounding it the sleeping-rooms, to which stairs of six or eight steps give access.

In India, the household community with common cultivation of the land is already mentioned by Nearchus in the time of Alexander the Great, and it still exists today in the same region, in the Punjab and the whole of northwest India. Kovalevsky was himself able to prove its existence in the Caucasus. In Algeria it survives among the Kabyles. It is supposed to have occurred even in America, and the calpullis which Zurita describes in old Mexico have been identified with it; on the other hand, Cunow has proved fairly clearly (in the journal Ausland, 1890, Nos. 42-44) that in Peru at the time of the conquest there was a form of constitution based on marks (called, curiously enough, marca), with periodical allotment of arable land and consequently with individual tillage. In any case, the patriarchal household community with common ownership and common cultivation of the land now assumes an entirely different significance than hitherto. We can no longer doubt the important part it played, as a transitional form between the matriarchal family and the single family, among civilized and other peoples of the Old World. Later we will return to the further conclusion drawn by Kovalevsky that it was also the transitional form out of which developed the village, or mark, community with individual tillage and the allotment, first periodical and then permanent, of arable and pasture land.

With regard to the family life within these communities, it must be observed that at any rate in Russia the master of the house has a reputation for violently abusing his position towards the younger women ,of the community, especially his daughters-in-law, whom he of ten converts into his harem; the Russian folk-songs have more than a little to say about this.

Before we go on to monogamy, which developed rapidly with the overthrow of mother-right, a few words about polygyny and polyandry. Both forms can only be exceptions, historical luxury products, as it were, unless they occur side by side in the same country, which is, of course, not the case. As the men excluded from polygyny cannot console themselves with the women left over from polyandry, and as hitherto, regardless of social institutions, the number of men and women has been fairly equal, it is obviously impossible for either of these forms of marriage to be elevated to the general form. Polygyny on the part of one individual man was, in fact, obviously a product of slavery and confined to a few people in exceptional positions. In the Semitic patriarchal family it was only the patriarch himself, and a few of his sons at most, who lived in polygyny; the rest had to content themselves with one wife. This still holds throughout the whole of the Orient; polygyny is the privilege of the wealthy and of the nobility, the women being recruited chiefly through purchase as slaves; the mass of the people live in monogamy.

A similar exception is the polyandry of India and Tibet, the origin of which in group marriage requires closer examination and would certainly prove interesting. It seems to be much more easy-going in practice than the jealous harems of the Mohammedans. At any rate, among the Nairs in India, where three or four men have a wife in common, each of them can have a second wife in common with another three or more men, and similarly a third and a fourth and so on. It is a wonder that McLennan did not discover in these marriage clubs, to several of which one could belong and which he himself describes, a new class of club marriage! This marriage-club system, however, is not real polyandry at all; on the contrary, as Giraud-Teulon has already pointed out, it is a specialized form of group marriage; the men live in polygyny, the women in polyandry.

Chapter II (Part II) | Chapter II (Part IV)