Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/323

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


Mother- Right in Early Greece. 287

Nomenclature, marriage customs, etc.

(i) It is well known that a Greek was frequently named after his paternal grandfather. This, as Dr. Frazer points out/ is true also of the Haidas of North America, and is a direct result of their belief in reincarnation combined with their matrilinear exogamy. Each of their two clans possesses a certain number of personal names peculiar to its memibers. Father and son are necessarily of different clans, and there- fore grandson and paternal grandfather are of the same clan. So, when it comes to deciding which of the clan- spirits is reincarnate in the boy, that of the paternal grand- father is generally chosen, — few savages live to see their sons' sons, — and the baby is named accordingly. But the same custom might well arise simply from a belief in re- incarnation ; in that case the paternal grandfather would be chosen as the most important recently-dead member of the father's clan.

(2) Perhaps the most noteworthy marriage custom comes from Attica. Pollux ^^ tells us that on the third day of the marriage {airavKia) the bridegroom left his bride and went to his father-in-law's house, remaining there over-night. The bride on the same day sent him a cloak (xXai'i? (xiravKicTTripia). At first sight this seems like a ceremonial reminiscence of the times when the bridegroom would go to live permanently with his wife's people, — i.e. of matrilocal organization. But why in that case does the bride not accompany him ? A more probable suggestion is that of Mr. Marett, that the visit is the ceremonial taking off of a tabu. The parents-in-law may have been originally hlonipa to their son-in-law. But the gift is a puzzle ; why should it come from bride to groom ? Another clear case of a tabu connected with marriage is the Argive

^"^ Totemism and Exogamy, vol. iii. , p. 298.

18 iii. 39. I have to thank Dr. Farnell for calling my attention to this piece of evidence, which I believe is new.