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Sordid Pre-History of Monogamy (part 2)

"The Totemic festival of fructification (bearing fruit) naturally had a phallic character, as it was sexual from the first.  It was not only performed at seed-sowing and harvest, on behalf of food.  Long before corn was cultivated in the name of Isis or Demeter, there was a general rejoicing at the time when the youth was made into a man and the girl into a woman.  The general rejoicing at the girl's coming of age was in celebration of her entering into connubium, which was communal, as she was then open and acces-

sible to all the males, at least on the occasion when she entered the ranks of woman-

hood and common property, which was afterwards made several by development of the marriage-law.  Marriage began as a recognized, if regulated right of all the brothers to ravish every maiden as she came of age, and thus to make a woman of her for tribal

connubium.  And the primitive rite, though commuted, was continued in the later cer-

emonies.  Various customs tend to show that capture in marriage originated as a mode of rescuing or ransoming the woman from clutch of the general community in which the female was common to all the males of the group.  In the special marriage of individual

pairs the woman had to be captured and carried off from the group - only instead of being captured we might say "rescued" by the individual (and his friends) from being the promiscuous property of the community.  Hence the custom of compensation to the group (or, later, parents) for permitting the female to become private property in per-

sonal marriage.  The primitive rite of connubium was first consummated by all the males of the Totemic group, not by an individual husband.  The customs show that com-

munal connubium involved connection with the whole brotherhood as a rite of marriage

after the general promiscuity had been modified.  For instance, with the Australian

Kunandaburi tribe when a girl became marriageable, her affianced husband, accompan-

ied by his male contemporaries, fetched her from her parents, and the marriage was consummated there and then, not by the husband, but by the whole of his confreres; the jus primae noctis (law of the first night), including all of his Totemic brethren...

(Howitt, Mother-right to Father-right, J.A.S., Feb. 7,21, 1882).  This was communal con-

nubium once, but only once, in place of the older custom of continual promiscuity.  In the Sonthal marriage, which also takes place by the group once a year, all the candid-

ates for matrimony live together for six days in promiscuous intercourse.  After which, only separate couples are held to have established their right to marry.  (The People of

India, by J.F. Watson and J.W. Kaye, vol. 1)...This was to be seen at the temple of Belit in Babylon, where the women offered themselves to all men promiscuously before they were free to marry.  It was a mode of releasing the woman from a bondage imposed

upon her in the past...When the Attic maidens danced as bears at the Brauronia in the

crkteia of Artemis, it was a mode of making them individually marriageable...

In various ways the Totemic or tribal organization fought hard and long against the wo-

man becoming private property.  The males considered, with Prudhomme, that property was robbery, and individual ownership in marriage had many modifications in the course of being eventually established." 

                      "Ancient Egypt: Light of the World"   Gerald Massey

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