Page:American Anthropologist NS vol. 1.djvu/780

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


authorities may be more powerful than the civic authorities, and the hereditary line of special ecclesiastical governors may gradu- ally overpower the civic constitution and absorb it as a secondary element in the ecclesiastic constitution. For it must be remem- bered that the chief priests are men, and that the women play a very small part in ecclesiastical affairs. Now, as the men manage ecclesiastical affairs as chief priests, so civil affairs are managed mainly by men as elder-men. The conflict which sometimes arises between the two forms of government is mainly between men and men, or between able elder-men and able shamans ; but sometimes both officers are combined in one person, and the great elder-man may also be the great shaman.


In barbarism the tribe is composed of groups which we call gentes, and is said to have a gentile organization. Among the Romans such persons were known as agnates. A group of agnates is composed of persons who reckon kinship through males. Gen- tile organization is best known through the early history of the Romans and Greeks ; it was well developed among the peoples of early history who spoke the Sanskrit language ; it appears among the early Anglo-Saxons ; a few tribes in North America have gen- tile organization, and it has been at one time or another widely spread throughout the earth. As a clan is a group of people who reckon kinship through females to some ancestral female, real or conventional, so a gens is a group of people who reckon kinship through males to some ancestral male, real or conventional. It seems that the primordial constitution of the tribe is by clanship and that the clanship tribe is developed into the gentile tribe. Most of the tribes of North America have clanship organization, yet there is a goodly number with gentile organization, while per- haps it may be said that a majority of the clanship tribes have some elements of the gentile organization ; so that it may be justly affirmed that a great many of the tribes on this continent

�� �