Acta Ethnographica 36. (1990)

1990 / 1-4. szám - T. Bodrogi: Hungarian Matriarchy?

Acta Ethnographies Асаd.Sei.Hung., 36(1-4), pp. 3-40 (1990) HUNGARIAN MATRIARCHY? FACTS AND PROBLEMS Tibor Bodrogi Ethnographical Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest The question in the history of sciences The problem of the relationship of matriarchy and patriarchy in the social development as well as that of the primary organization was first raised in science in 1861. This year saw the publication of J. 0. Bach­­ofen's "Das Mutterrecht", in which the legal scientist of Basel stood up for the primary appearance of matrilineal institutions, while at the same time the British Henry S. Maine, continuing the traditions of several cen­turies, supported the primacy of the patrilineal family in his book en­titled "Ancient Law". The contradictory views taken in the question have divided researchers into two camps almost up to the present day. In op­position to Maine, who defended the patrilineal theory but after all not denied the early existence of the matrilineal institutions, other leading personalities of the evolutionist researchers, such as McLennan (1865, 1876), John Lubbock (1865), Lewis H. Morgan (1877) — though with different arguments — stood for the primacy of matriarchy, and played an essentially prevalent role in the formation of ideas related to ancient history up to the appearance of E. Westermarck's work hallmarking the end of an era (1891). In addition to these authors', whose works were known in Hungary partly in the original and partly in translation, it was especially two outstanding representatives of Hungarian social sciences, Leó Beöthy and Gyula Lánczy who played an important role in spreading the matrilineal theory as well as in its independent development. Both authors — at times criticizing, at times accepting the theories of their Western colleagues — stood for the universal primacy of matriarchy. In Beöthy's view, "We find similar phenomena, which may be included under the heading matrilineal descent, so frequently in the age of initial development that it may at Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest