1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Family
FAMILY, a word of which the etymology but partially illustrates the meaning. The Roman familia, derived from the Oscan famel (servus), originally signified the servile property, the thralls, of a master. Next, the term denoted other domestic property, in things as well as in persons. Thus, in the fifth of the laws of the Twelve Tables, the rules are laid down: SI · INTESTATO · MORITUR · CUI · SUUS · HERES · NEC · SIT · ADGNATUS · PROXIMUS · FAMILIAM · HABETO, and SI · AGNATUS · NEC · ESCIT · GENTILIS · FAMILIAM · NANCITOR; that is, if a man die intestate, leaving no natural heir who had been under his potestas, the nearest agnate, or relative tracing his connexion with the deceased exclusively through males, is to inherit the familia, or family fortune of every sort. Failing an agnate, a member of the gens of the dead man is to inherit. In a third sense, familia was applied to all the persons who could prove themselves to be descended from the same ancestor, and thus the word almost corresponded to our own use of it in the widest meaning, as when we say that a person is “of a good family” (Ulpian, Dig. 50, 16, 195 fin.).
1. Leaving for awhile the Roman terms, to which it will be necessary to return, we may provisionally define Family, in the modern sense, as the small community formed by the union of one man with one woman, and by the increase of children born to them. These in modern Old theory. times, and in most European countries, constitute the household, and it has been almost universally supposed that little natural associations of this sort are the germ-cell of early society. The Bible presents the growth of the Jewish nation from the one household of Abraham. His patriarchal family differed from the modern family in being polygamous, but, as female chastity was one of the conditions of the patriarchal family, and as descent through males was therefore recognized as certain, the plurality of wives makes no real difference to the argument. In the same way the earliest formal records of Indian, Greek and Roman society present the family as firmly established, and generally regarded as the most primitive of human associations. Thus, Aristotle derives the first household (οἰκία πρώτη) from the combination of man’s possession of property—in the slave or in domesticated animals—with man’s relation to woman, and he quotes Hesiod: οἶκον μὲν πρώτιστα γυναῖκά τε βοῦν τ’ ἀροτῆρα (Politics, i. 2. 5). The village, again, with him is a colony or offshoot of the household, and monarchical government in states is derived from the monarchy of the eldest male member of the family. Now, though certain ancient terms, introduced by Aristotle in the chapters to which we refer, might have led him to imagine a very different origin of society, his theory is, on the face of it, natural and plausible, and it has been almost universally accepted. The beginning of society, it has been said a thousand times, is the family, a natural association of kindred by blood, composed of father, mother and their descendants. In this family, the father is absolute master of his wife, his children and the goods of the little community; at his death his eldest son succeeds him; and in course of time this association of kindred, by natural increase and by adoption, develops into the clan, gens, or γένος. As generations multiply, the more distant relations split off into other clans, and these clans, which have not lost the sense of primitive kinship, unite once more into tribes. The tribes again, as civilization advances, acknowledge themselves to be subjects of a king, in whose veins the blood of the original family runs purest. This, or something like this, is the common theory of the growth of society.
2. It was between 1866 and 1880 that the common opinion began to be seriously opposed. John Ferguson McLennan, in his Primitive Marriage and his essays on The Worship of Plants and Animals (see his Studies in Ancient History, second series), drew attention to the wide prevalence of Modern criticism. the custom of inheriting the kinship name through mothers, not fathers; and to the law of “Exogamy” (q.v.). The former usage he attributed to archaic uncertainty as to fatherhood; the natural result of absolute sexual promiscuity, or of Polyandry (q.v.). Either practice is inconsistent, prima facie, with the primitive existence of the Family, whether polygamous or monogamous, whether patriarchal or modern. The custom of Exogamy, again,—here taken to mean the unwritten law which makes it incest, and a capital offence, to marry within the real or supposed kin denoted by the common name of the kinship,—pointed to an archaic condition of family affairs all unlike our Table of prohibited degrees. This law of Exogamy was found, among many savage races, associated with Totems, that is plants, animals and other natural objects which give names to the various kinships, and are themselves, in various degrees, reverenced by members of the kinships. (See Totem and Totemism.) Traces of such kinships, and of Totemism, also of alleged promiscuity in ancient times, were detected by McLennan in the legends, folk-lore and institutions of Greece, Rome and India. Later, Prof. Robertson Smith found similar survivals, or possible survivals, among the Semitic races (Kinship in Early Arabia). Others have followed the same trail among the Celts (S. Reinach, Cultes, mythes et religions, 1904).
If arguments founded on these alleged survivals be valid, it may be that the most civilized races have passed through the stages of Exogamy, Totemism and reckoning descent in the female line. McLennan explained Exogamy as a result of scarcity of women, due to female infanticide. Women being scarce, the men of a group would steal them from other groups, and it would become shameful, and finally a deadly sin, for a man to marry within his own group-name, or name of kinship, say Wolf or Raven. Meanwhile, owing to scarcity of women, one woman would be the mate of many husbands (polyandry); hence, paternity being undetermined, descent would be reckoned through mothers.
Such are the outlines of McLennan’s theory, which, as a whole, has been attacked by many writers, and is now, perhaps, accepted by none. McLennan’s was the most brilliant pioneer work; but his supply of facts was relatively scanty, and his friend Charles Darwin stated objections McLennan’s value. which to many seem final, as regards the past existence of a stage of sexual promiscuity. C. N. Starcke (The Primitive Family, 1889), Edward Alexander Westermarck (History of Human Marriage, 1891), Ernest Crawley (The Mystic Rose), Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Lord Avebury and many others, have criticized McLennan, who, however, in coining the term Exogamy, and drawing scientific attention to Totemism, and reckoning of kin through mothers, founded the study of early society. Here it must be observed that “Matriarchate” (q.v.) is a misleading term, as is “Gynaecocracy,” for the custom of deducing descent on the spindle side. Women among totemistic and exogamous savages are in a degraded position, nor does the deriving and inheriting of the kinship name, or anything else, on the spindle side, imply any ignorance of paternal relations; even where, as among Central Australian tribes, the facts of reproduction are said to be unknown.
3. Simultaneous with McLennan’s researches and speculations were the works of Lewis H. Morgan. He was the discoverer of a custom very important in its bearing on the history of society. In about two-thirds of the globe, persons in addressing a kinsman do not discriminate between Lewis Morgan. grades of relationship. All these grades are merged in large categories. Thus, in what Morgan calls the “Malayan system,” “all consanguinei, near or far, fall within one of these relationships—grandparent, parent, brother, sister, child and grandchild.” No other blood-relationships are recognized (Ancient Society). This at once reminds us of the Platonic Republic. “We devised means that no one should ever be able to know his own child, but that all should imagine themselves to be of one family, and should regard as brothers and sisters those who were within a certain limit of age; and those who were of an elder generation they were to regard as parents and grandparents, and those who were of a younger generation as children and grandchildren” (Timaeus, 18, Jowett’s translation, first edition, vol. ii., 1871). This system prevails in the Polynesian groups and in New Zealand. Next comes what Morgan chooses to call the Turanian system. “It was universal among the North American aborigines,” whom he styles Ganowanians. “Traces of it have been found in parts of Africa” (Ancient Society), and “it still prevails in South India among the Hindus, who speak the Dravidian language,” and also in North India, among other Hindus. The system, Morgan says, “is simply stupendous.” It is not exactly the same among all his miscellaneous “Turanians,” but, on the whole, assumes the following shapes. Suppose the speaker to be a male, he will style his nephew and niece in the male line, his brother’s children, “son” and “daughter,” and his grand-nephews and grand-nieces in the male line, “grandson” and “granddaughter.” Here the Turanian and the Malayan systems agree. But change the sex; let the male speaker address his nephews and nieces in the female line,—the children of his sister,—he salutes them as “nephew” and “niece,” and they hail him as “uncle.” Now, in the Malay system, nephews and nieces on both sides, brother’s children or sisters, are alike named “children” of the uncle. If the speaker be a female, using the Turanian style, these terms are reversed. Her sister’s sons and daughters are saluted by her as “son” and “daughter,” her brother’s children she calls “nephew” and “niece.” Yet the children of the persons thus styled “nephew” and “niece” are not recognized in conversation as “grand-nephew” and “grand-niece,” but as “grandson” and “granddaughter.” It is impossible here to do more than indicate these features of the classificatory nomenclature, from which the others may be inferred. The reader is referred for particulars to Morgan’s Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Race.
The existence of the classificatory system is not an entirely novel discovery. Nicolaus Damascenus, one of the inquirers into early society, who lived in the first century of our era, noticed this mode of address among the Galactophagi. Lafitau found it among the Iroquois. To Morgan’s perception of the importance of the facts, and to his energetic collection of reports, we owe our knowledge of the wide prevalence of the system. From an examination of the degrees of kindred which seem to be indicated by the “Malayan” and “Turanian” modes of address, he has worked out a theory of the evolution of the modern family. A brief comparison of this with other modern theories will close our account of the family. The main points of the theory are shortly stated in Systems of Consanguinity, &c., and in Ancient Society. From the latter work we quote the following description of the five different and successive forms of the family:—
“I. The Consanguine Family.—It was founded upon the intermarriage of brothers and sisters, own and collateral, in a group.
“II. The Punaluan Family.—It was founded upon the intermarriage of several sisters, own and collateral, with each others’ husbands, in a group—the joint husbands not being necessarily kinsmen of each other; also, on the intermarriage of several brothers, own and collateral, with each others’ wives in a group—these wives not being necessarily of kin to each other, although often the case in both instances (sic). In each case the group of men were conjointly married to the group of women.
“III. The Syndyasmian or Pairing Family.—It was founded upon marriage between single pairs, but without an exclusive cohabitation. The marriage continued during the pleasure of the parties.
“IV. The Patriarchal Family.—It was founded upon the marriage of one man with several wives, followed in general by the seclusion of the wives.
“V. The Monogamian Family.—It was founded upon marriage between single pairs with an exclusive cohabitation.
“Three of these forms, namely, the first, second, and fifth, were radical, because they were sufficiently general and influential to create three distinct systems of consanguinity, all of which still exist in living forms. Conversely, these systems are sufficient of themselves to prove the antecedent existence of the forms of the family and of marriage with which they severally stand connected.”
Morgan makes the systems of nomenclature proofs of the existence of the Consanguine and Punaluan families. Unhappily, there is no other proof, and the same systems have been explained on a very different principle (McLennan, Studies in Ancient History). Looking at facts, we find the Consanguine family nowhere, and cannot easily imagine how early groups abstained from infringing on each other, and created a systematic marriage of brothers and sisters. St Augustine, however (De civ. Dei, xv. 16), and Archinus in his Thessalica (Odyssey, xi. 7, scholia B, Q) agree more or less with Morgan. Next, how did the Consanguine family change into the Punaluan? Morgan says (Ancient Society) brothers ceased to marry their sisters, because “the evils of it could not for ever escape human observation.” Thus the Punaluan family was hit upon, and “created a distinct system of consanguinity” (Ancient Society), the Turanian. Again, “marriages in Punaluan groups explain the relationships in the system.” But Morgan provides himself with another explanation, “the Turanian system owes its origin to marriage in the group and to the gentile organization.” He calls exogamy “the gentile organization,” though, in point of fact, the only gentes we know, the Roman gentes, show scarcely a trace of exogamy. Again, “the change of relationships which resulted from substituting Punaluan in the place of Consanguine marriage turns the Malayan into the Turanian system.” On the same page Morgan attributes the change to the “gentile organization,” and, still on the same page, uses both factors in his working out of the problem. Now, if the Punaluan marriage is a sufficient explanation, we do not need the “gentile organization.” Both, in Morgan’s opinion, were efforts of conscious moral reform. In Systems of Consanguinity the gentile organization (there called tribal), that is, exogamy, is said to have been “designed to work out a reformation in the intermarriage of brothers and sisters.” But the Punaluan marriage had done that, otherwise it would not have produced (as Morgan says it did) the change from the Malayan to the Turanian system, the difference in the two systems, as exemplified in Seneca and Tamil, being “in the relationships which depended on the intermarriage or non-intermarriage of brothers and sisters” (Ancient Society). Yet the Punaluan family, though itself a reform in morals and in “breeding,” “did not furnish adequate motives to reform the Malay system,” which, as we have seen, it did reform. The Punaluan family, it is suspected, “frequently involved own brothers and sisters”; had it not been so, there would have been no need of a fresh moral reformation,—“the gentile organization.” Yet even in the Punaluan family (Ancient Society) “brothers ceased to marry their own sisters.” What, then, did the “gentile organization” do for men? As they had already ceased to marry their own sisters, and as, under the gentile organization, they were still able to marry their half-sisters, the reformatory “ingenuity” of the inventors of the organizations was at once superfluous and useless. It is impossible to understand the Punaluan system. Its existence is inferred from a system of nomenclature which it does (and does not) produce; it admits (and excludes) own brothers and sisters. Morgan has intended, apparently, to represent the Punaluan marriage as a long transition to the definite custom of exogamy, but it will be seen that his language is not very clear nor his positions assured. He does not adduce sufficient proof that the Punaluan family ever existed as an institution, even in Hawaii. There is, if possible, a greater absence of historical testimony to the existence of the Consanguine family. It is difficult to believe that exogamy was a conscious moral and social reformation, because, ex hypothesi, the savages had no moral data, nothing to cause disgust at relations which seem revolting to us. It is as improbable that they discovered the supposed physical evils of breeding in and in. That discovery could only have been made after a long experience, and in the Consanguine family that experience was impossible. Thus, setting moral reform aside as inconceivable, we cannot understand how the Consanguine families ever broke up. Morgan’s ingenious speculations as to a transitional step towards the gens (as he calls what we style the totem-kindred), supposed to be found in the “classes” and marriage laws of the Kamilaroi, are vitiated by the weakness and contradictory nature of the evidence (see Pritchard; J. D. Lang’s Queensland, Appendix; Proceedings of American Academy of Arts, &c., vol. viii. 412; Nature, October 29, 1874). Further, though Morgan calls the Australian “gentile organization” “incipient,” he admits (Ancient Society) that the Narrinyeri have totem groups, in which “the children are of the clan of the father.” Far from being “incipient,” the gens of the Narrinyeri is on the footing of the ghotra of Hindu custom. Lastly, though Morgan frequently declares that the Polynesians have not the gens (for he thinks them not sufficiently advanced), W. W. Gill (Myths and Songs from the South Pacific, London, 1876) has shown that unmistakable traces of the totem survive in Polynesian mythology.
4. Morgan’s theory was opposed by McLennan (Studies in Ancient History, 1876), who maintained that the names for relationships, in the “classificatory system,” were merely terms of address, as among ourselves when a preacher calls any adult Rival theories. male “brother,” when an old woman is addressed as “mother,” when an elder man calls a junior “my son.” He also showed that his own system accounted for the terms. The controversy is still alive; one set of writers regarding the savage terms of relationship as indicating a state of things in which human beings dwelt in a “horde,” with promiscuous intercourse; another set holding that the terms do not indicate consanguineous kinship, but degrees of age, status, and reciprocal obligations in a local tribe, and therefore that they do not yield any presumption that there was a past of promiscuity or of what is called “group marriage.” On Morgan’s side (not of course accepting all his details) are L. Fison and A. W. Howitt, and Baldwin Spencer and F. J. Gillen. Against him are Starcke, Westermarck, A. Lang, Dr Durkheim, apparently, Crawley and many others.
5. A second presumption in favour of original promiscuity has
been drawn by the eminent Australian students, Baldwin
Spencer and F. J. Gillen, and by A. W. Howitt, from
the customs of some Australian aborigines. In each
tribe, owing to customary laws which are to be
of original promiscuity. examined later, only men and women of a given status are intermarriageable (nupa, noa, unawa) with each other. Though child-betrothals are usual, and though the woman is specialized to one man, who protects and nourishes her and all her children, and though their union is immediately preceded by an extended jus primae noctis (such as Herodotus describes among the Nasamones), yet, among certain tribes, the following custom prevails. At great meetings the tribal leaders assign a woman as paramour (with what amount of permanence remains obscure) to a man (pirrauru); one woman may have several pirrauru men, one man several pirrauru women, in addition to their regularly betrothed (tippa malku) wives and husbands. The husband occasionally shows fight, and bitter jealousies prevail, but, at the great ceremonial meetings, complaisance is enforced under penalty of strangling. Thenceforth, if the husband permits, the male pirrauru has matrimonial rights over the other man’s tippa malku wife when they meet. A symbolic ceremony of union precedes the junction of the pirrauru people. This institution, as far as reported, is peculiar to a group of tribes near Lake Eyre, the Dieri, Urabunna, and their congeners,—or perhaps to all who have the same “phratry” names as the Dieri and Urabunna (Kiraru and Mattera, in various dialectic forms).
Elsewhere the pirrauru custom is not known: but almost everywhere there are licentious festivals, in which all marriage rules except those which forbid incest (in our sense of the word, namely between the closest relations) are thrown to the winds. Also a native travelling among alien tribes is lent women of the status into which he may legally marry.
Baldwin Spencer and F. J. Gillen, and A. W. Howitt, regard pirrauru as “group marriage” and as a proof that, at one time, all intermarriageable people were actually husbands and wives, while the other examples of licence are also survivals, in a later stage of decay, of promiscuity, and Group marriage. “group marriage.” To this it is replied that “group marriage” is a misnomer; that if pirrauru be in a sense marriage it is status, not group marriage. Again, it is urged, pirrauru is a modification of tippa malku, which comes first; a woman is “specialized” to a man before she can be made pirrauru to another, and her tippa malku husband continues to support her, and to recognize her children as his own, after she has become pirrauru to another man or other men. Without the foregoing tippa malku union, the pirrauru unions are not conceivable; they are mere legalized paramourships, modifying the tippa malku marriage (like the Italian cicisbeism); procuring a protector for a woman in her husband’s absence, and supplying legal loves for bachelors. The custom is peculiar to a given set of kindred tribes. The festivals are the legalized, restricted and more or less permanent modification of the casual orgies of feasts of licence, or Saturnalia, which have their analogies among many people, ancient and modern. Pirrauru is no more a survival of and a proof of primitive promiscuity, than is the legalized incest of ancient Egypt or ancient Peru. If these views be correct the argument for primitive promiscuity derived from pirrauru falls to the ground.
6. The questions at issue obviously are, was mankind originally promiscuous, with no objections to marriage between persons of the nearest kin; and was the first step in advance the prohibition of marriage (or of amatory intercourse) between brothers and sisters; or did mankind originally The historical problem. live in very small groups, under a jealous sire, who imposed restrictions on intercourse between the young males, his sons, and all the females of the “hearth-circle,” who constituted his harem? The problem has been studied, first, in the institutions of savages, notably of the most backward savages, the black natives of Australia; and next, in the light of the habits of the higher mammalia.
As regards Australian matrimonial institutions, it has been known since the date of the Journals of two Expeditions of Discovery, by Sir George Grey (1837–1839), that they are very complex and peculiar, in points strongly resembling the customary laws of the more backward Red Indian tribes of North America. Information came in, while McLennan was working, from G. Taplin (The Narrinyeri, 1874), from A. W. Howitt and L. Fison, and many other inquirers (in Brough Smyth’s Aborigines of Victoria, 1878), from Howitt and Fison again (in Kamilaroi and Kurnai, 1880), and many essays by these authors, and finally, in Native Tribes of Central Australia (1899) and Northern Tribes of Central Australia (1904), by Baldwin Spencer and F. J. Gillen; and in Howitt’s Native Tribes of South-East Australia (1904), with R. Roth’s North-West Central Queensland Aborigines (1897). All of these are works of very high merit. Knowledge is now much more wide, minute and securely based than it was when McLennan’s Studies in Ancient History, second series, was posthumously published (1896). We know with certainty that in Australia, among archaic savages who have neither metals, agriculture, pottery nor domesticated animals, a graduated scale of matrimonial institutions exists. First there are local tribes, each tribe having its own dialect; holding a recognized area of territory; and living on friendly terms with neighbouring tribes. Territorial conquest is never attempted. In many cases a knot of tribes of allied dialects and kindred rites may be, or at least is, spoken of as a “nation” by our authorities.
7. Customary law is administered by the Seniors, the wise, the magically skilled, who in many cases are “headmen” of local groups or of sets of kindred. As to marriage, persons may wed within the local tribe, or into a neighbouring local tribe, at will, provided that they Primitive restrictions on marriage. obey the restrictions of customary law. The local tribe is neither exogamous nor endogamous, any more than is an English county. The restrictions, except where they have become obsolete, fall into six main categories:—
(1) In the most primitive, each tribe consists of two intermarrying and exogamous divisions, which are often styled phratries. Each such division has a name, which, when it can be translated, is the name of an animal: in the majority of cases, however, the meaning of the phratry name is lost. In one instance, that of the Euahlayi tribe of north-west New South Wales, the phratry names are said (by Mrs Langloh Parker) to mean “Light Blood” and “Dark Blood.” This, as in the theory of the Rev. J. Mathews, Eagle and Crow, might be taken to indicate a blending of two distinct races.
Taking, for the sake of clearness, tribes whose phratry names mean “Crow” and “Eagle Hawk,” every member of the tribe belongs either to Eagle Hawk phratry or to Crow phratry: if to Crow, the man or woman can only marry an Eagle Hawk, if to Eagle Hawk, can only marry a Crow. The children invariably belong to the phratry of the mother, in this most primitive type. Within Eagle Hawk phratry is one set of totem kins, named usually after various species of animals and plants; within Crow phratry is another set of totem kins, named always (except in one region of Central Australia) after a different set of plants and animals. With the exception mentioned (that of the Arunta “nation”), in no tribe does the same totem ever occur in both phratries. Totems and totem names are inherited by the children from the mother, in this primitive type. Thus a man, Eagle Hawk by phratry, Snipe by totem, marries a woman Crow by phratry, Black Duck by totem. His children by her are of phratry Crow, of totem Black Duck. Obviously no person can marry another of his or her own totem, because, in the phratry into which he or she must marry, no man or woman of his or her totem exists. The prohibition extends to members of alien and remote tribes, if of the same totem name.
The same rules exist in the more primitive North American tribes, but as the phratry there has generally, though not always, decayed, the rule, where this has occurred, merely forbids marriage within the totem kin.
(2) We find this type of organization, where the child inherits phratry and totem from the father, not from the mother.
(3) We find tribes in which phratry and totem are inherited from the mother, but an additional rule prevails: the rule of “Matrimonial Classes.” By this device, in phratry “Dilbi,” there are two classes, “Muri” and “Kubi.” In phratry “Kupathin” are two classes, “Ipai” and “Kumbo” (all these names are of unknown meaning). Each child inherits its mother’s phratry name and totem name, and also the name of that class of the two in the mother’s phratry to which the mother does not belong. No person may marry into his or her own class—practically into his or her own generation: the rule makes parental and filial marriages impossible,—but these never occur even among more primitive tribes which have not the institution of classes. Suppose that the class names are really names of animals and other objects in nature—as in a few cases they actually are. Then the rules, where classes exist, would amount to this: no person may marry another who, by phratry, totem or generation, owns the same hereditary animal name as himself or herself. In practice, where phratries exist, a man who knows a woman’s phratry name knows whether or not he may marry her. Where class names exist (even though the phratry name be lost), a man who knows a woman’s class name knows whether or not he may marry her. Nothing can be simpler in practice.
(4) The same rules as under (3) exist, but the phratry, totem and class are inherited through the father: the class of the child of course not being the father’s, but the linked class in his phratry.
(5) In the fifth category (Central North Australia), while phratry name (if not lost) and totem name are inherited from the father, by a refinement of law which is spreading southwards there are four classes in each phratry (or main exogamous division unnamed), and the choice of a partner in life is thus more restricted than in more primitive tribes.
(6) Finally we reach the institutions of the group of tribes called, from the name of the most powerful tribe in the set, “the Arunta nation.” They occupy the Macdonnell Ranges and other territory in the very centre of Australia. The Arunta reckon kinship in the male line: Arunta customs. their phratry names they have forgotten, in place of phratries eight matrimonial classes regulate marriage. In these respects they resemble most of the central and northern tribes, but present this unique peculiarity, that the same totems may and do exist in both of the opposed intermarrying exogamous divisions consisting of four classes each. It thus results that a man, in the Arunta tribe, may marry a woman of his own totem, if she be in the class with which he may intermarry. This licence is unknown in every other part of the totemic world, and even in the Kaitish tribe of the Arunta nation intertotemic marriages, in practice, almost never occur.
Among the Arunta the totems are only prominent in magical ceremonies, unknown in South-Eastern Australia. At these ceremonies (Intichiuma) the men of the totem do co-operative magic for the benefit of their plant or animal, as part of the tribal food-supply. The members of the totem taste it sparingly on these occasions, apparently under the belief that to do so increases their magical power: the rest of the tribe eat freely. But, as far as denoting kinship or regulating marriage is concerned, the totems, among the Arunta, have no legally important existence. Men and women of the same totem may intermarry, their children need not belong to the totem of either father or mother.
The process by which Arunta totems came thus to differ from those of all other savages is easily understood. Like the other tribes from the centre to the north (including the Urabunna nation, which reckons descent through women), the Arunta believe that the souls of the primal semi-bestial ancestors of the Alcheringa or “dream time” are perpetually reincarnated. This opinion does not affect by itself the usual exogamous character of totemism among the other tribes. The Arunta nation, however, cultivates an additional myth, namely that the primal ancestors, when they sank into the ground, left behind them certain oval stone slabs, with archaic markings, called churinga nanja, or “sacred things of the nanja.” The nanja, again, is a tree or rock, fabled to have risen up to mark the spot where a group of primal ancestors, all of one and the same totem in each case (Cats here, Grubs there, Ducks elsewhere), “went into the ground.” The souls of these ancestors haunt such spots, especially they haunt the nanja tree or rock, and the stone churinga nanja. Each district, therefore, has its own oknanikilla (or local totem centre of the ghosts), Cat ghosts, Grub ghosts, Hakea flower ghosts and so on. These spirits enter into women and are reborn as children. When a child comes to birth, the mother names the oknanikilla in which she conceived it, and, whatever the ghost totem of that place may be, it is the child’s totem. Its mother may be a Grub, its father may be a Crow, but if the child was conceived in a Duck, or Cat, or Opossum or Kangaroo locality, it is, by totem, a Cat, Opossum, Duck or Kangaroo. The churinga nanja of its primal ancestor is sought for at the place of the child’s conception, and is put into the sacred repository of such objects.
Thus the child does not inherit its totem from father, or from mother, as everywhere else, but does inherit the right to do ceremonies for the paternal totem: a proof that, of old, totems were inherited, as elsewhere, and that in the male line. If totems among the Arunta, as everywhere else, were once arranged on the plan that the same totem never occurs in both exogamous moieties, that arrangement has been destroyed, as was inevitable, by the existing method of allotting totems to children,—not by inheritance,—but at haphazard. By this means (a consequence of the unique Arunta belief about churinga nanja) the same totems have got into both exogamous moieties, so that persons of the same totem, but of appropriate matrimonial classes, may marry. This licence is absolutely confined to the limited region in which stone churinga nanja occur.
The whole system is impossible except where descent is reckoned in the male line, for there alone is local totemism possible, and the Arunta system is based on local totemism, plus the churinga nanja and reincarnation beliefs. With reckoning of descent in the female line, no locality can possibly have its local totem: all the totems indiscriminately distributed everywhere: and thus no woman can say in what totemic locality her child was conceived, for there is not and cannot be, with female descent, any totemic locality. Now it is admitted that reckoning by female descent is the earlier method, and it is granted that in rites and ceremonies the Arunta are of a relatively advanced and highly organized pattern. Their social organization is local, and they have a kind of local magistracies, hereditary in the male line.
In spite of these facts, Spencer and Gillen conceive that the peculiar totemism of the Arunta is the most primitive type extant (cp. Spencer, J.A.I. (N.S.), vol. i. 275-281; and Frazer, ibid. 281-288). It is not easy to understand this position, as, without male kinship and consequent local totemism (which are not primitive), and without the churinga nanja (which exist only in a strictly limited area), the Arunta system of non-exogamous totems cannot possibly exist. Again, the other tribes cannot have passed through the Arunta stage, for, if they had, their totems would have existed, as among the Arunta, in both exogamous moieties, and would there remain when they came to be inherited; so that the totems of all these tribes would still be non-exogamous, like those of the Arunta. But this is not the case. Once more, it is clear that the Arunta system has but recently reached their neighbours, the Kaitish, for though they have the churinga nanja belief, and the haphazard method of acquiring totems by local accident, these things have not yet overcome the old traditional reluctance to marry within the totem name. It is not unlawful among the Kaitish; but it is hardly ever done.
Despite these objections, however, Spencer and Gillen hold, as we have said, that, originally, there were no restrictions (or no known restrictions) on marriage. Totems were merely the result of the formation of co-operative magical societies, in the interest of the tribal food supply. Then, in some unknown way, regulations as to marriage were introduced for some unknown purpose, or were involved in some manner not understood. “The traditions of the Arunta,” says Spencer, “point to a very definite introduction of an exogamous system long after the totemic groups were fully developed, and, further, they point very clearly to the fact that the introduction was due to the deliberate action of certain ancestors. Our knowledge of the natives leads us to the opinion that it is quite possible that this really took place, that the exogamic groups were deliberately introduced so as to regulate marital relations.”
Thus the wisdom of men living promiscuously as regards marriage, but organized in magical societies for the benefit of the common food supply of the local tribe (a complex institution postulated as already in being at this early stage), induced them to institute exogamy. Why they did this, what harm they saw in their promiscuity, we are not informed. Spencer goes on, “by this we do not mean that the regulations had anything whatever to do with the idea of incest, or of any harm accruing from the union of individuals who were regarded as too nearly related. . . . There was felt the need of some kind of organization, and this gradually resulted in the development of exogamous groups.” But as “it is quite possible that the exogamous groups were deliberately introduced to regulate marital relations,” and as they could only do so by introducing exogamy, we do not see how that system can be the result of the gradual development of an organization quelconque,—of unknown nature. A magical organization already existed (Journal of the Anthropological Institute, New Series, i. pp. 284-285).
The traditions of the Arunta seem here to be first accepted: “quite possibly” they are correct in stating that an exogamic system was purposefully introduced, long after totemic groups had arisen, by “the deliberate action of certain ancestors,” and then that myth is rejected, in favour of the gradual development of exogamy, “out of some form of organization,” unknown.
People who, like the Arunta, have lost memory of the very names of the phratries, cannot conceivably remember the nature of the origin of exogamy. Accustomed as they now are to tribal councils which introduce new rules, they fancy that, in the beginning, new rules were thus introduced.
Meanwhile the working of magic for the behoof of the totem animals and plants, or rather for the name-giving animals of magical societies, is not known to Howitt among the tribes of primitive social organization, while it is well known among agricultural natives of the Torres Conclusion as to Spencer’s hypothesis. Strait Islands and among the advanced Sioux and Omaha of North America. The practice seems to belong rather to the decadence than to the dawn of totemism. On the whole, then, there seem to be insuperable difficulties in the way of Spencer’s hypothesis that mankind were promiscuous, as regards marriage, but were organized into co-operative magical groups, athwart which came, in some unexplained way, the rule of exogamy; while, when it did come, all savages except the Arunta arranged matters so that totem kins were exogamous. The reverse was probably the case, totem kins were originally exogamous, and ceased to be so, and even to be kins among the Arunta, in consequence of the churinga nanja creed, becoming co-operative magical societies (Hartland, Marett, Durkheim and others).
8. Spencer and Gillen leave the origin of exogamy an open question. Howitt supposes that, in the shape of the phratriac division of the tribe into two exogamous moieties, the scheme may have been introduced to the tribal headmen by a medicine man “announcing to his Origin of exogamy. fellow headman a command received from some supernatural being . . .” (Natives of South-East Australia, pp. 89, 90). The Council, so to speak, of “headmen” accept the divine decree, and the assembled tribe pass the Act. But this explanation explains nothing. Why did the prophet wish to introduce exogamy? Why were names of animals given, in so many cases, to the two exogamous divisions? As Howitt asks (op. cit. p. 153), “How was it that men assumed the names of objects, which in fact must have been the commencement of totemism?”
It is apparent that any theory which begins by postulating the existence of early mankind in promiscuous groups or hordes, into which exogamous moieties are introduced by tribal decree, takes for granted that the tribe, with its headman, councils and great meetings (not to mention its inspired prophet, with the tribal “All Father” who inspires him), existed before any rules regulating “marital relations” were evolved. Even if all this were probable, we are not told why a promiscuous tribe thought good to establish exogamous divisions. Some native myths attribute the institution to certain wise ancestors; some to the supernatural “All Father,” say Baiame; some to a treaty between Eagle Hawk and Crow, beings of cosmogonic legend, who give names to the phratries. Such myths are mere hypotheses. It is impossible to imagine how early savages, ex hypothesi promiscuous, saw anything to reform in their state of promiscuity. They now think certain unions wrong, because they are forbidden: they were not forbidden, originally, because they were thought wrong.
Westermarck has endeavoured to escape the difficulty thus: “Among the ancestors of man, as among other animals, there was no doubt a time when blood relationship was no bar to sexual intercourse. But variations here, as elsewhere, would naturally present themselves, and Westermarck. those of our ancestors who avoided in and in breeding would survive,” while the others would die out. This appears to be orthodox evolutionary language, but it carries us no further. Human societies are not animals or plants, in whose structure various favourable “accidents” occur, producing better types, which survive. We ask why in human society did “variations present themselves”; why did certain sets of human beings “avoid in and in breeding”? We are merely told that some of our ancestors became exogamous and survived, while others remained promiscuous and perished. No light is thrown on the problem,—wherefore did some of our ancestors avoid in and in breeding, and become exogamous? Nothing is gained by saying “thus an instinct would be developed which would be powerful enough, as a rule, to prevent injurious unions.” There is no “instinct,” there is a tribal law of exogamy. If there had been an “instinct,” it might account for the avoidance of “in and in breeding”—that is, it might account for exogamy, ab initio. But that is left unaccounted for by the theory which, after maintaining that the avoidance produced the instinct, seems to argue that the instinct produced the avoidance. Westermarck goes on to say that “exogamy, as a natural extension of the instinct, would arise when single families united in small hordes.” But, if the single families already had the “instinct,” they would not marry within the family: they would be exogamous,—marrying only into other families,—before they “united in small hordes.” The difficulty of accounting for exogamy does not seem to have been overcome, and no attempt is made to explain the animal names of totem kins and phratries. Westermarck, however, says that “there is no reason why we should assume, as so many anthropologists have done, that primitive men lived in small endogamous groups, practising incest in every degree,” although, as he also says, “there was no doubt a time when blood relationship was no bar to sexual intercourse.” If there was no bar, people would “practise incest in every degree,”—what was there to prevent them? (History of Human Marriage, pp. 352, 353 (1891)).
So far we have seen no luminous and consistent account of how mankind became exogamous, if they began by being promiscuous. The theories rest on the idea that man, dwelling in an “undivided horde” (except so far as it was divided into co-operative magical societies), bisected it Durkheim. into two exogamous intermarrying moieties. Durkheim has put forward a theory which is not at all points easily understood. He supposes that, “at the beginning of societies of men, incest was not prohibited . . . before each horde (peuplade) divided itself into two primitive ‘clans’ at least” (L’Année sociologique, i. pp. 62, 63). Each of the two “clans” claimed descent from a different animal, which was its totem, and its “god.” The two clans were exogamous,—out of respect to the blood of their totem (with which every member of the clan is mystically one), and, being hostile, the two clans raided each other for women. Each clan threw off colonies, which took new totems, new “gods,” though still owning some regard to their original clan, from which they had seceded, while abandoning its “god.” When the two “primary clans” made alliance and connubium, they became the phratries in the local tribe, and their colonies became the totem kins within the phratries.
We are not told why the original horde was disrupted into two hostile and intermarrying “clans”: we especially wonder why the horde, if it wanted an animal god, did not choose one animal for the whole community; and we may suspect that a difference of taste in animal “gods” caused the hostility of the two clans. Nor do we see why, if things occurred thus, the totem kins should not represent twenty or thirty differences of religious taste, in the original horde, as to the choice of animal gods. If the horde was going to vary in opinion, it is unlikely that only two factions put forward animal candidates for divinity. Again, a “clan” (a totem kin, with exogamy and descent derived through mothers) cannot overflow its territorial area and be therefore obliged to send out colonies, for such a clan (as Durkheim himself remarks) has no territorial area to overflow. It is not a local institution at all.
While these objections cannot but occur, Durkheim does provide a valid reason for the existence of exogamy. When once the groups (however they got them) had totems, with the usual taboos on any sort of use of the totem by his human kinsfolk, the women of the kin would be tabooed to the men of the same kin. In marrying a maiden of his own totem, a man inevitably violates the sanctity of the blood of the totem (L’Année sociologique, i. pp. 47-57. Cf. Reinach, Cultes, mythes et religions, vol. i. pp. 162-166).
Here at last we have a theory which accounts for the “religious horror” that attaches to the violation of the rule of totemic exogamy: a mysterious entity, the totem, is hereby offended. But how did totems, animals, plants and so on, come to be mystically solidaires with their human namesakes and kinsmen? We do not observe that Dr Durkheim ever explains why two divisions of one horde chose each a different animal god, or why the supposed colonies thrown off by these primary clans deserted their animal gods for others, or why, and on what principle, they all chose new “gods,”—fresh animals, plants and other objects. His hereditary totem is, in practice, the last thing that a savage changes. The only case of change on record is a recent attempt to increase the range of legal marriages in a waning Australian tribe, on whose lands certain species of animals are perishing.
Theories based on a supposed primal state of promiscuity certainly encounter, when explaining the social Howitt’s solution. a way out of the perplexities caused by the conception of early mankind dwelling promiscuously in “undivided communes.” The way out is practically to say that, in everyday life, they lived in nothing of the sort. Howitt writes (Native Tribes of South-East Australia, p. 173): “A study of the evidence . . . has led me to the conclusion that the state of society among the early Australians was that of an ‘Undivided Commune.’. . . It is, however, well to guard this expression. I do not desire to imply necessarily the existence of complete and continuous communism between the sexes. The character of the country, the necessity of moving from one point to another in search of game and vegetable food, would cause any Undivided Commune, when it assumed dimensions greater than the immediate locality could provide with food, to break up into two or more Communes of the same character. In addition to this it is clear . . . that in the past as now, individual likes and dislikes must have existed, so that, admitting the existence of common rights between the members of the Commune, these rights would remain in abeyance, so far as the separated parts of the Commune were concerned. But at certain gatherings . . . or on great ceremonial occasions, all the segments of the original Commune would reunite,” and would behave in the fashion now common in great licentious festive meetings.of Australian savages, difficulties which they do not surmount. But Howitt has provided (apparently without fully realizing the merit of his own suggestions)
In the early ages contemplated, how can we postulate “great ceremonial occasions” or even peaceful assemblies at fruit-bearing spots? How can we postulate a surviving sense of solidarity among the scattered segments of the Commune, obviously very small, owing to lack of Primitive promiscuity improbable. supplies, and perpetually disintegrated? But, taking the original groups as very small, and as ruled by likes and dislikes, by affection and jealousy, we are no longer concerned with a promiscuous horde, but with a little knot of human beings, in whom love, parental affection and the jealousy of sires, would promptly make discriminations between this person and that person, as regards sexual privileges. Thus we have edged away from the hypothesis of the promiscuous indiscriminating horde to the opinion of Darwin. “We may conclude,” he says, “from what we know of the jealousy of all male quadrupeds, armed as many of them are with special weapons for battling with their rivals, that promiscuous intercourse in a state of Nature is extremely improbable. . . . The most probable view is that Man originally lived in small communities, each (man) with a single wife, or, if powerful, with several, whom he jealously guarded against all other men.” But, in a community of this early type, to guard women jealously would mean constant battle, at least when Man became an animal who makes love all the year round. So Darwin adds: “Or man may not have been a social animal, and yet have lived with several wives, like the Gorilla,—for all the natives agree that but one adult male is seen in a band; when the young male grows up a contest takes place for the mastery, and the strongest, by killing or driving out the others, establishes himself as head of the Community. Younger males, being thus expelled and wandering about, would, when at last successful in finding a partner, prevent too close interbreeding within the limits of the same family” (Descent of Man, ii. pp. 361, 363 (1871)).
Here, then, we have practical Exogamy, as regards unions of brothers and sisters, among man still brutish, while the Sire is husband of the whole harem of females, probably unchecked as regards his daughters.
On this Darwinian text J. J. Atkinson builds his theory of the evolution of exogamy and of savage society in his Primal Law (Social Origins and Primal Law, by Lang and Atkinson, 1903). Paternal jealousy “gave birth to Primal Law, prohibitory of marriage between certain members of a Atkinson’s theory. family or local group, and thus, in natural sequence, led to forced connubial selection beyond its circle, that is, led to Exogamy . . . as a habit, not as an expressed law. . . .” The “expressed law” was necessarily a later development; conditioned by the circumstances which produced totemism, and sanctioned, as on Durkheim’s scheme, by the totemic taboo. Atkinson worked out his theory by a minute study of customs of avoidance between near kin by blood or affinity; by observations on the customs of animals, and by hypotheses as to the very gradual evolution of human restrictions through many modifications. He also gave a theory of the “classificatory” system of names for relationships opposed to that of Morgan. The names are based merely “on reference to relativity of age of a class in relation to the group.” The exogamous moieties of a tribe (phratries) are not the result of a reformatory legislative bisection of the tribe, but of the existence of “two intermarrying totem clan groups.” The whole treatise, allowing for defects caused by the author’s death before the book was printed, is highly original and ingenious. The author, however, did not touch on the evolution of totemism.
9. The following system, as a means of making intelligible the evolution of Australian totemic society, is proposed by the present writer. We may suggest that men originally lived in the state of “the Cyclopean family” of Atkinson; that is, in Darwin’s “family group,” containing Lang’s system. but one adult male, with the females, the adolescent males being driven out, to find each a female mate, or mates, elsewhere if they can. With increase of skill, improvements in implements and mitigation of ferocity, such groups may become larger, in a given area, but men may retain the habit of seeking mates outside the limits of the group of contiguity; the “avoidance” of brothers and sisters may already have arisen. Among the advanced Arunta, now, a man may speak freely to his elder sisters; to younger sisters, or “tribal sisters,” he may not speak, “or only at such a distance that the features are indistinguishable.” This archaic rule of avoidance would be a step facilitating the permission to adult males to dwell in their paternal group, avoiding their sisters. Such groups, whether habitually exogamous or not, will require names for each other, and various reasons would yield a preference to names derived from animals. These are easily signalled in gesture language; are easily presented in pictographs and tattooing; are even now, among savages and boys, the most usual sort of personal nicknames; and are widely employed as group names of villagers in European folk-lore. Among European rustics such group sobriquets are usual, but are resented. The savage, with his ideas of the equality or superiority of animals to himself, sees nothing to resent in an animal sobriquet, and the names, originally group sobriquets, would not find more difficulty in being accepted than “Whig,” “Tory,” “Huguenot,” “Cavalier,” “Christian,” “Cameronian,”—all of them originally nicknames given from without. Again, “Wry Nose” and “Crooked Mouth” are derisive nicknames, but they are the translations of the ancient Celtic clan names Cameron and Campbell. The nicknames “Naked Dogs,” “Liars,” “Buffalo Dung,” “Men who do not laugh,” “Big Topknots,” have been thoroughly accepted by the “gentes” of the Blackfoot Indians, now passing out of Totemism (Grinnell, Blackfoot Lodge Tales, pp. 208-225).
As Howitt writes, “the assumption of the names of objects by men must in fact have been the origin of totemism.” Howitt does not admit the theory that the totem names came to arise in this way, but this way is a vera causa. Names must be given either from within or from without. A group, in savagery, has no need of a name for itself; “we” are “we,” or are “The Men”; for all other adjacent groups names are needed. The name of one totem, Thaballa, “The Laughing Boy” totem, among the Warramunga and another tribe, is quite transparently a nickname, as is Karti, “The Grown-up Men” (Spencer and Gillen, Northern Tribes of Central Australia, p. 207).
There is nothing, prima facie, which renders this origin of animal, plant and other such names for early savage groups at all improbable. They would not even be resented, as now are the animal names for villagers in the Orkneys, the Channel Islands, France, Cornwall and in ancient Israel (for examples see Social Origins, pp. 295-301). The names once accepted, and their origin forgotten, would be inevitably regarded as implying a mystic rapport between the bestial and the human namesakes, Crow, Eagle Hawk, Grub, Bandicoot, Opossum, Emu, Kangaroo and so on (see Name). On this subject it is enough to cite J. G. Frazer, in The Golden Bough (2nd ed., vol. i. pp. 404-446). Here will be found a rich and satisfactory collection of proof that community of name implies mystic rapport. Professor Rhys is quoted for the statement that probably “the whole Aryan race believed at one time not only that the name was a part of the man, but that it was that part of him which is termed the soul.” In such a mental stage the men “Crows” identify themselves with the actual Crow species: the birds are now “of their flesh,” are fabled to be their ancestors, or the men have been evolved out of the birds. The Crow is sacro-sanct, a friend and protector, and a centre of taboos, one of which is the prohibition preventing a Crow man from intercourse with a Crow woman, “however far apart their hunting grounds may have been.” All men and women Crows are recognized as brothers and sisters in the Crow, and are not intermarriageable.
On these lines the prohibition to infringe the totem taboo by marriage within the totem name is intelligible, but the system of phratries has yet to be accounted for. It is obvious that the names could only have been given originally to local groups: the people who held this or that local habitation received the name. Suppose that the rule of each such group, or heart circle, had been “no marriage within the local group or camp,” as in Atkinson’s scheme. When the groups accept their new names, the rule becomes, “no marriage within local group Eagle Hawk, group Crow,” and so on. So far the animal giving the group name may not yet have become a revered totem. The result of the rule would inevitably be, in three or four generations, that in groups Crow or Eagle Hawk, there were no Crows or Eagle Hawks by descent, if the children took the names of descent from their mothers; for the sake of differentiation: the Ant woman’s children in local group Crow being Ants, the Grub woman’s children being Grubs, the Eagle Hawk woman’s children being Eagle Hawks,—all in local group Crow, and inheriting the names of the local groups whence their mothers were brought into local group Crow.
By this means (indicated first by McLennan) each member of a local group would have a local group name, say Eagle Hawk, and a name by female descent, say Kangaroo, in addition, as now, to his or her personal name. In this way, all members of each local group would find, in any other local group, people of his name of descent, and, as the totem belief grew to maturity, kinsmen of his in the totem. When this fact was realized, it would inevitably make for peace among all contiguous groups. In place of taking women by force, at the risk of shedding kindred blood, peaceful betrothals between men and women of different local group names and of different names by descent could be arranged. Say that local groups Eagle Hawk and Crow took the lead in this arrangement of alliance and connubium, and that (as they would naturally flourish in the strength conferred by union) the other local groups came into it, ranging themselves under Eagle Hawk and Crow, we should have the existing primitive type of organization: Local Groups Eagle Hawk (Mukwara) and Crow (Kilpara) would have become the widely diffused phratries, Mukwara and Kilpara, with all the totem kins within them.
But, on these lines, some members of any totem kin, say Cat, would be in phratry Eagle Hawk, some would be in phratry Kilpara as now (for the different reason already indicated) among the Arunta. Such persons were in a quandary. By phratry law, as being in opposite phratries, a Cat in Eagle Hawk phratry could marry a Cat in Crow phratry. But, by totem law, this was impossible. To avoid the clash of law, all Cats had to go into one phratry or the other, either into Eagle Hawk or into Crow.
Two whole totem kins were in the same unhappy position. The persons who were Eagle Hawks by descent could not be in Eagle Hawk local group, now phratry, as we have already shown. They were in Crow phratry, they could not, by phratry law, marry in their own phratry, and to marry in Eagle Hawk was to break the old law, “no marriage within the local group name.” Their only chance was to return to Eagle Hawk phratry, while Crow totem kin went into Crow phratry, and thus we often find, in fact, that in Australian phratries Mukwara (Eagle Hawk) there is a totem kin Eagle Hawk, and in Kilpara phratry (Crow) there is a totem kin Crow. This arrangement—the totem kin within the phratry of its own name—has long been known to exist in America. The Thlinkets have Raven phratry, with totem kins Raven, Frog, Goose, &c., and Wolf phratry, with totem kins Wolf, Bear, Eagle, &c. (Frazer, Totemism, pp. 61, 62 (1887)). In Australia the fact has hitherto escaped observation, because so many phratry names are not translated, while, though Mukwara and Kilpara are translated, the Eagle Hawk and Crow totem kins within them bear other names for the same birds, more recent names, or tribal native names, such as Biliari and Waa, while Mukwara and Kilpara may have been names borrowed, within the institution of phratries, from some alien tribe now perhaps extinct.
We have now sketched a scheme explanatory of the most primitive type of social organization in Australia. The tendency is for phratries first to lose the meanings of their names, and, next, for their names to lapse into oblivion, as among the Arunta; the work of regulating marriage being done by the opposed Matrimonial Classes.
These classes are obviously an artificial arrangement, intended to restrict marriage to persons on the same level as generations. The meanings of the class names are only known with certainty in two cases, and then are names of animals, while there is reason to suspect that animal names occur in four or five of the eight class-names which, in different dialect forms, prevail in central and northern Australia. Conceivably the new class regulations made use of the old totemic machinery of nomenclature. But until Australian philologists can trace the original meanings of Class names, further speculation is premature.
10. Much might be said about the way out of totemism. When once descent and inheritance are traced through males, the social side of totemism begins to break up. One way out is the Arunta way, where totems no longer designate kinships. In parts of America totems are Breaking up of totemism. simply fading into heraldry, or into magical societies, while the “gentes,” once totemic, have acquired new names, often local, as among the Sioux, or mere sobriquets, as among the Blackfeet. In Melanesia the phratries, whether named or nameless, have survived, while the totems have left but a few traces which some consider disputable (Social Origins, pp. 176-184). Among the Bantu of South Africa the tribes have sacred animals (Siboko), which may be survivals of the totems of the chief local totem group, with male descent in the tribe, the whole of which now bears the name of the sacred animal. Even in Australia, among tribes where there is reckoning of descent in the male line, and where there are no matrimonial classes, the tendency is for totems to dwindle, while exogamy becomes local, the rule being to marry out of the district, not out of the kin (Howitt, Native Tribes of South-East Australia, pp. 270-272; cf. pp. 135-137).
The problem as to why, among savages all on the same low level of material culture, one tribe derives descent through women, while its nearest neighbouring tribe, with ceremonies, rites, beliefs and myths like its own, and occupying lands of similar character in a similar climate, traces descent through men, seems totally insoluble. Again, we find that the civilized Lycians, as described by Herodotus (book i. ch. 173), reckoned lineage in the female line, while the naked savages of north and central Australia reckon in the male line. Our knowledge does not enable us to explain the change from female to male tracing of lineage. Yet the change was essential for the formation of the family system of civilized life. The change may be observed taking place in the region of North-West America peopled by the Thlinket, Haida and Salish tribes; the first are pure totemists, the last have arrived, practically, in the south, at the modern family, while a curious intermediate stage pervades the interjacent region.
The best authority on the Family developed in different shapes in North-West America is Charles Hill-Tout (cf. “Origin of the Totemism of the Aborigines of British Columbia,” Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, vol. vii. sect. 11, 1901). He, like many American and some English and continental students, applies the term “totem” not only to the hereditary totem of the exogamous kin, but to the animal familiars of individual men or women, called manitus, naguals, nyarongs and yunbeai, among North American Indians, in South America, in Borneo and in the Euahlayi tribe of New South Wales. These animal familiars are chosen by individuals, obeying the monition of dreams, or are assigned to them at birth, or at puberty, by the tribal magicians. It has often been suggested that totemism arose when the familiar of an individual became hereditary among his descendants. This could not occur under a system of reckoning descent and inheriting the kin name through women, but as a Tsimshian myth says that a man’s sister adopted his animal familiar, the bear, and transmitted it to her offspring, Hill-Tout supposes that this may have been the origin of totemism in tribes with reckoning of descent in the female line. Instances, however, are not known to exist in practice, and myths are mere baseless savage hypotheses.
Exogamy, in his opinion, is the result of treaties of political alliance with exclusive interconnubium between two sets of kinsfolk by blood, totemism being a mere accidental concomitant. This theory evades the difficulties raised by the hypothesis of deliberate reformatory legislation introducing the bisection of the tribe into exogamous societies.
Authorities.—The study of the History of the Family has been subject to great fluctuation of opinion, as unexpected evidence has kept pouring in from many quarters. The theory of primal promiscuity, which in 1870 succeeded to Sir Henry Maine’s patriarchal theory, has endured many attacks, and there is a tendency to return, not precisely to the “patriarchal theory,” but to the view that the jealousy of the Sire of the “Cyclopean family,” or “Gorilla family” indicated by Darwin, has had much to do with laying the bases of “primal law.” The whole subject has been especially studied by English-speaking writers, as the English and Americans are brought most into contact with the most archaic savage societies. Among foreigners, in addition to Starcke, Westermarck and Durkheim, already cited, may be mentioned Professor J. Kohler, Zur Urgeschichte der Ehe (Stuttgart, 1897). Professor Kohler is in favour of a remote past of “collective marriage,” indicated, as in Morgan’s hypothesis, by the existing savage names of relationships, which are expressive of relations of consanguinity. E. S. Hartland (Primitive Paternity, 1910) discusses myths of supernatural birth in relation to the history of the Family.
A careful and well-reasoned work by Herr Cunow (Die Verwandtschafts Organisationen der Australneger, Stuttgart, 1894) deals with the Matrimonial Classes of Australian tribes. Cunow supposes that descent was originally reckoned in the male line, and that tribes with this organization (such as the Narrinyeri) are the more primitive. In this opinion he has few allies: and on the origin of Exogamy he seems to possess no definite ideas. Pikler’s Ursprung des Totemismus (Berlin, 1900) explains Totemism as arising from the need of names for early groups of men: names which could be expressed in pictographs and tattooing, to which we may add “gesture language.” This is much akin to the theory which we have already suggested, though Pikler seems to think that the pictograph (say of a Crow or an Eagle Hawk) was prior to the group name. But, he remarks, like Howitt, “the germ of Totemism is the naming”; and the community of name between the animal species and the human group led to the belief that there was an important connexion between the men and their name-giving animal.
Other useful sources of information are the annual Reports of the Bureau of Ethnology (Washington), the Journal of the Institute of the Anthropological Society, Folk Lore (the organ of the Folk Lore Society), and Durkheim’s L’Année sociologique. Tabou et totémisme à Madagascar, by M. A. van Gennep (Leroux, Paris, 1904) is a valuable contribution to knowledge.
For India, where vestiges of totemism linger in the hill tribes, see Risley and Crooke, Tribes and Castes, vols. i., ii., iii., iv.; and Crooke, Popular Religion; also Crooke in J.A.I. (N.S.), vol. i. pp. 232-244. (A. L.)