by Prof. Cheikh Anta Diop
The man was the one who, in nomadic atate, in the euroasian steppes, chose to organize the social cell on the basis of the patrilineal clan, supposedly the best possible form of adaptation to physical environment. Likewise, in the African agricultural sedentary milieu, it was again the male who decided to found the matrilineal clan.
In order better to project the irreducibility of the two forms of adaptation to different environments, we will now, in brief review, compare their specific traits point by point:
Created by man | Created by man
Sedentary | Nomadic
Exogamous sedentary | Exogamous nomadic
Clan exogamy | Clan exogamy (Rape of the Sabine Women)
Subsistence based on agriculture essentially | Subsistence based on raising cattle essentially
Religion: ancestor worship | Religion: ancestor worship
Funeral rites: burial of the dead | Funeral rites: cremation of the dead, whose ashes can thus be transported in urns: fire cult
The husband brings the dowry | The wife brings the dowry
Matrilineal filiation and succession | Patrilineal filiation and succession
Matrilocal marriage | Patrilocal marriage
Kinship through men: impossible | Kinship through women: impossible
The wife keeps her totem, meaning her domestic gods, therefore her natural family name her legal identity, after marriage. | The wife abjures her domestic gods before the altar of her husband´s Gods, therefore loses her family name, here legal identity.
The husband has no rights over his wife and children. | The husband has the right of life and Children. death Over his wife and children: he may sell them.
The children have no social kinship with their father and therefore do not inherit from him. They inherit from their maternalUncle, who has the right of life and death over them:The uncle is the social father. | The children inherit from their father: avancular inheritance is unknown. Until the reforms of Solon (590 B.C.), the children of two sisters had no social kinship.
The wife may divorce her husband. The natural familiy always remains the social securuty milieu in case of necessity: the bond can never be broken. | The wife is the proprety of the husband; she may be sold like an object or killed; she cannot divorce; her own family no longer exits for her, socially speaking.
The land is an indivisible collective property:The notion of private property is marginal,but it is far from being ignored. | Land is private property, made divine by the local religion of the ancestors: terminal gods.
The sense of community is highly developed. Solitude is prohibited: all women must be married; Polygamy becomes a social necessity due to the fact that there are fewer men. | Individualism is the supreme virtue: even after the clan becomes sedentary; joint ownership is sacrilege: families may not come in contact with each other, even in the afterlife.
All children born are raised. | Malthusian practices, daughters are buried alive. Excess babies, even though normal, are thrown away as garbage, even after the clan becomes sedentary. Eugenicism, the myth of Ganymede, homophyly
Matriarchal society: optimistic | Patriarchal society: pessimistic
Cosmogony; no notion of original sin. | Cosmogony; with notion of Original sin: Prometheus; Eve´s sin
Evil is intrducted by men: Seth murders Osiris, as opposed to Isis, female inventor ofagriculture. | Evil is introducted by women: Eve and the forbidden fruit are used to tempt Adam.
Pacifistic morality | Warrior morality: warriors fallen on the battlefield alone enter the Germanic paradise, Valhalla.
All the social revolutions that have intervened since the age of polished stone (Neolithic), no matter how radical, have not succeded in completely wiping out the original clanic structures, which still remain embedded in our respective societies and are recognizable by nemerous characteristics. A modern European language like French reflects, in ist deep structure, the nomadic Indo-European institutions unfavorable to women: there is no proper word in French to express the murder of mother or sister; the terms relative to the murder of father or brother respectively are used: parricide = Murder of one´s father, or one´s mother by extension; fratricide = murder of one´s brother, one´s sister by extension.
- Cheik Anta Diop (Hrg.), Civilization Or Barbarism – An Authentic Anthropology, Lawrence Hill Books, New York, 1991, S. 255-57
- Vlg. auch sein Buch: L´Unite Culturelle de L´Afrique Noire, Presence Africaine, Paris, 1959
*Für ausführliche Studien über die nordlichen und südlichen Wiegen empfehlen wir die Konsultation seiner entsprechenden Werken.
Transcription: Jean-Baptiste Pente