Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/326

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290 On the Alleged Evidence for

myth presupposing, {a), the promiscuity hypothesis, and (5), its logical corollary, that names must have come originally from the mother, the father being unknown or uncertain. Incidentally the story would " explain " why the Athenians' chief deity is a female, and why the usual feminine of ' KQ^vaio^ is 'Ar^J? and not 'AOijvaia. Such mixtures of bad folklore and worse science were popular with ancient sciolists.

Such are, I think, all the facts from which a reason- able case for mother-right could be made out. An impartial criticism, — indeed, the writer started rather prejudiced in favor of the theory, — shows every one of them at least susceptible of another explanation, while some actually point the other way. Examples of how ungrounded are the hypotheses of some supporters of Greek mother-right may be found abundantly in the works of that entertaining and deservedly popular writer, Prof Ridgeway. In his ingenious article, for instance, called " Who were the Dorians . " -'^ he seeks to show a connection between the Dorians and Thraco-Illy- rians, one argument being that both were matrilinear. To prove this he quotes, for the latter, Herod., i., 196, which merely shows that the Veneti bought their wives ; Herod., v., 5 and 6, which mentions the immorality of Thracian girls, but adds that the people were polygynous and "keep their wives very close," — both customs of father-right ; and a third passage, which indicates that the Agathyrsoi had some sort of group-marriage. Not one of these quotations even hints at mother-right, and one disproves it. For the Dorians, he has no difficulty in showing that a Spartan wife was not always expected to remain faithful to one husband, — a natural enough condi- tion of affairs when the husbands were so often away on campaign and warriors were desperately needed, — and even that something like polyandry was practised. But

^^ In Anthropological Essays p7-esented to Prof. Tylor etc.