Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/313

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ON THE ALLEGED EVIDENCE FOR MOTHER- RIGHT IN EARLY GREECE.

BY H. J. ROSE, EXETER COLLEGE, OXFORD.

In this paper I propose to deal briefly with the question whether we can regard as certain or probable the existence in early Greece of that form of social organization com- monly known as Mother-Right. It will be worth while also to notice any cases of apparent exogamy, for the two frequently, though not invariably, occur together. The reason, no doubt, is simply this.^ Given a clan which normally seeks mates from outside, it will naturally desire to retain a hold over its daughters and their offspring, and also not to let its young men go too far away. Hence arises that very early form of the family in which the wife does not leave her old home but stays there with her children, being simply visited by the husband. In other words, the matrilinear family is originally matrilocal. This system is incompatible, or nearly so, with endogamy and with polygyny, and polyandry does not necessarily imply it.^ Finally, it does not involve any such condition as promiscuity or even group-marriage, and it is not what it is so often confused with, namely, gynaecocracy. Under mother-right no preference is shown to women in general over men in general, although the wife is often more important than her husband. What it does imply is

^See Prof. Tylor's article, Nineteenth Century, July, 1896, pp. 81-96. ■ Thus the polyandrous Todas are patrilinear.