Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/325

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Mother-Right in Early Greece. 289

because their sisters, by right of birth, might be dedicated to Athena.

Traditions (f) of a time before father-right.

(i) We may dismiss at once all statements to the effect that marriage was unknown at such-and-such a place until, say, Kekrops introduced it. This is either, — {ci), pure folk- lore in one of its best-known forms, — the ascribing of any great social, religious, or economic institution to a single inventor. That the Athenians were promiscuous before Kekrops is as true, or as false, as that they were wholly ignorant of agriculture before Triptolemos and had no draught-cattle before Buzyges. Or, {b\ it is the theory of primitive promiscuity, no less a theory and no more a fact because stated by an anthropologist who lived some 2000 years ago. Anyone who has read Lucretius or Ovid knows how much in favour this theory was among Greek scientists.

2. Varro, ap. August, de civ. Dei, xviii., 9, tells a curious tale about the strife of Athena and Poseidon for the possession of Attica. Kekrops lays the question before an assembly of the men and women of Athens " mos enim tunc in eisdem locis erat ut etiam feminae publicis

consultationibus interessent Consulta igitur multitu-

dine mares pro Neptuno feminae pro Minerua tulere sententias, et quia una plus inuenta est feminarum, Minerua uicit." Poseidon then floods the country, and the men inflict a three-fold punishment on their women, "ut nulla ulterius ferrent suffragia, ut nullus nascentium maternum nomen acciperet, ut ne quis eas Athenaeas uocaret." This story probably comes ultimately from Philochoros or some such writer. That it is not earlier than the fourth century is, I think, exceedingly likely from the fact that Aristo- phanes says nothing about it in the Ekklesiazousai, and two-thirds of it, — the statements that Attic women used to have the vote and that they were not called Athenians, — are rubbish. The rest seems to be a late aetiological