Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/828

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these cases termed brothers."[1] That is to say, among the Bechuanas a son succeeds to his fathers wives, and the children born of this new union he feigns to be the offspring of his father, and so calls them brothers. He raises up seed to the departed relative from whom he inherits. From this there can be no doubt that the custom of inheriting wives is derived from polyandry. The custom of a brother taking a deceased brother's wife is a disintegration of the older obligation of taking the wife and raising up seed; which older obligation still survives in some cases when the system of female descents has disappeared and the succession has opened to the son. The case of the Zulus is a variation. With them the son inherits the property, but the uncles take the widows and raise up seed. "We thus find three phases of the system: (1) Where the succession is from brother to brother, the brother takes the widows and the property, and raises up seed. (2) Where the succession has changed to that from father to son, the son takes the property, but the brothers take the widows and raise up seed. (3) The son takes the widows and the property, and raises up seed. Finally, in all three the custom of raising up seed disappears, and the widows pass to the heir, whether he be brother or son.

Another survival from polyandry is that system of succession under which property descends from brother to brother and then to the son of the eldest brother. The system of succession from brother to brother, and then to sister's son, is the natural outcome of descent through females, and that from father to son is the natural outcome of descent through males; but the one from brother to brother and then to son is neither one thing nor the other. It recognizes the blood-relationship between father and son, but excludes the latter from the succession till each brother has succeeded in turn. Now this is the order of succession observed in the Thibetan polyandry: Brothers succeed one another in order of age, and* failing brothers, comes in the eldest son of the brotherhood; and the arrangement is so peculiar that we have no hesitation in affirming that, wherever this order of succession is observed, polyandry has existed.

We find this system in vogue among the Kirghiz, the Aeneze Arabs, and the Mongols; the next brother being heir even when the elder leaves issue. We have already mentioned the Kirghiz and the Mongols as observing the levirate. The same order was observed in succession to the throne of Darfour (eastern Soudan). The law was there ascribed to the Sultan Ahmed Bekr, who died about 1750; but it is less probable that it was the result of a mere enactment than that it was an established local custom. In Siam,

  1. Livingstone, loc. cit.