Saturday, 17 August 2019

Parantelas and Phratries

Andrew Stepanenko
May 30, 2019 <>

Translated by Berenkova Violetta Michailovna

Let's consider the common features of the society in the past.

Parantela is a group of blood relatives united by the general ancestors. Children of one mother, despite of the age difference, are equal among themselves, already because are all equally subordinated to their mother. It is the first parantela, and its members remain legally equal, when they grow up.
The children of the first parantela are the second parantela. The members of the second parantela are equal, and in relation to the first one, they occupy the subordinated position. Further, there are great-grandsons of the common original mother - the third parantela, further great-great-grandsons - the fourth one … and so it goes on approximately to the sixth-seventh.
As women give birth until their old age, every parantela finally collects all age categories - from old men to babies. They are not equal in the division of labour, but they are all subordinated to the senior parantela in their rights level. The same situation is in the modern legislation: in the inheritance question, senior parantelas have considerable advantage before the younger ones. Inside one parantela all inheritance shares are identical.
The right to a certain share in the inheritance for the parantela members directly means the right to the further management of this property share. That is, even now the position of the person in the generation hierarchy predetermines his/her property rights. It is direct inheritance of the tribal way of life norms, and there were no other sources of the property rights accepting in the tribe.

For the lack of contraceptives, the members of younger parantelas are more numerous than the members of the senior one; that is why all usual workload is mainly shouldered by the youngers. Senior parantelas owing to the existing predominating (parental) position are engaged in the account, control and general management work. The top position is occupied with alive progenitors, often idolised: so it was in Ancient Rome, as well as in China: in the beginning of 20 century, Empress Dowager Cixi had a title of the divine ancestor, and it seemed to please her a lot.

When a senior Parantela is mostly dead, its dominating role is occupied with the following one. At the moment of the power shift each Parantela moves a rank higher, receives the following, more prestigious rank of duties, and each of them understands that once they will reach to the very top. The risks of mutiny against seniors parantelas are regarded by bottoms as excessive; to wait for their hour seems more reliable.
For such order of management even full destruction of leaders is not dangerous to a tribe, - hierarchical relations penetrate through the society as mycelium through the soil, and the tribe does not split and quickly fills in all free vacancies.
Sometimes the leaving of the last alive representatives of the most senior parantela is hastened. The relic remainder of it is perhaps suffocation of lived to a great age old men by a pillow under their "voluntary" consent. Some evidences show that the governor leaving his post in archaic Rome used to be sacrificed to the gods.

The exact analogue of division into parantelas has organically developed in the Soviet Army. Any greenhorn knew that the type of work and number of privileges would change for the better every half a year, and, having passed all steps, he would become the old-timer and his sphere would be general management. This system is somehow extremely fair: everyone bears burdens and enjoys all pleasures of all social ranks, and, in identical time limits. It is primitive communism. Destroying levelling is absent, and equal shares of work and compensation are the result.

More remote analogue of parantela division is fixed in Japan: corporations guaranteed to the workers continuous career growth in a certain time slot. We do not know, how long this system was held on, but its roots definitely are in historically recent tribal structure of Japan.

In the Soviet Army, the ceremony was clear. On the Day of the Order each call-up rose a rank higher, but at first everyone should get as much blows with a metal plate (the variants: a canteen scoop or a stool) on the buttocks, as many months it is left to serve. During the procedure it was required to keep silence, otherwise the magic act of rank shift was not counted. Accent on buttocks was an obvious homage sign.

The same procedure must have happened in the past. A good analogue of "the scoop" status shift with the hit by a scoop on buttocks was the hit by a sword on a shoulder in the knighting procedure. However, the best analogue of “the Day of the Order» we consider the Olympic Games, ideal just at the stage of power shift. The argument is as follows: the competition of governors of the period of archaic Rome in running. The young applicant usually won and publicly sacrificed the previous ruler. And each parantela solemnly moved up to the following rank. Sacrificing of losers following the results of competition at the stadium was also typical for the Aztecs.

The NOTE: Wikipedia lists a number of bullying examples, since 16 century (the Eton College), it connects it with primacies’ biological hierarchy, and however it does not see any connection with the homage and initiation rituals during the period of feudalism, antiquity and in tribal communities.

The encyclopedic meaning of the term “phratry” is rather doubtful as it means male "brotherhood", and it also concerns groups including female “sisterhood”. We will not change the meaning here, but use the shortened version: phratry it is a related group which members are connected with marriage relations with the other phratry of the tribe.

Unlike parantelas, phratry is a vertical structure. A tribe is like a chessboard: from the top to the bottom, the tribe is penetrated with phratries, passing through all horizontal parantelas. Each cell of such society can be even given the individual address, for example, “phratry 2; parantela 3”.

The number of phratries in a tribe is usually even, as marriage is a policy, and it is concluded between friendly phratries in crisscross manner: women from one phratry marry men from the other and vice versa.

Phratries as tribe cells, are totally equal, however the larger ones play a more important role. Therefore successfully giving birth women are worshiped.

Pairs of phratries compete for the position in the society, and soon there are only two strongest ones on the top. At the time of Hernan Cortes, the Aztecs had orders of the Eagle and the Jaguar, and in Byzantium during Heraclius’s reign, there were “circus parties” of the Venetoi and Prasinoi.

Exact modern analogue of phratries are associations in the Soviet Army. Some associations were definitely friendly to one another, strong unions appeared, and those unions competed for influence, simultaneously keeping fidelity to their call-up which can be seen as exact analogues tribal parantelas. Obviously, any associations operate according to the same principles.

It is very probable that taboos on relations with sisters, aunts and nieces appeared thanks to the developed contractual relations between phratries. The teenager reasonably did not encroach on those who under the contract belonged to friendly phratries, - it is extremely dangerous to break such men's contracts. And when he was given to a man order, it was already impossible to break those taboos.

Engels wrote a lot about “a group marriage”, when all women and men of a tribe were wives and husbands to each other, but this simplification is too shortened. In practice, it is a joint liability of all men and women before each other: a bachelor will not remain without supper, and a widow with her children - without a share in prey. Adultery and group sex undermine stability of relations. That is why they are not encouraged - even in the most wild tribes of Amazon.

If there is surplus of foodstuff in the region for a long time, and a man can support more than one family, they get rid of boys, and polygamy appears. If there is persistent severe hunger in the region, they get rid of girls (India, China, Tibet), and polyandry comes (the scheme is “many supporters, one lying-in woman”) as it happens in Tibet today.

The marriages are inside the parantela. If to admit marriage of a guy from parantela № 4 with a princess from parantela № 1, it will shift all guy’s relatives 3 levels higher: the family of the groom will rise level from parantela 5 to parantela 2 of the bride’s family, parantela 6 will become parantela 3, and parantela 7 – will be parantela 4. Nobody was eager to get such a shock, and it was even not fair. Exceptions, probably, happened, but these were just rare exceptions. Dislike for unequal marriage in 19 century and in earlier times may be regarded as a relic custom of this tribal organization of society.

If the family has week reputation, its guys will receive marriage offers only from elderly widows that will decrease the number of their descendants and in the long term will considerably weaken their family. Ethnographers observe this practice in Amazonia nowadays.

Research has shown that closely related marriages raise disease rate by 2-3 %. Comparing it with the general children disease rate is insignificant even now, that is, the reason for taboo on cousin marriages is different. In practice, far family marriages make a tribe stronger. Cousin marriage, in the opinion of a tribe, is a greedy and socially dangerous attempt of a family self-isolation from the society. However, in seniors parantelas, due to a small number of people of age of consent, it is more difficult to avoid cousin marriages, and such marriages are normal at the power top.

I will remind that the term "matriarchal" means maternal by origin, and, in practice; first of all, it concerns the account of relationship and inheritance shift.
The right of the groom selection is the right of the female community, and the final word - belongs to the bride. The husband comes to the house of the wife, and nothing belongs to him there, even his children. However, he is not lonely: the phratry is fool of his male relatives on the mother’s side who have married earlier.
It is necessary to remind here that shift to the other family was a taboo; nobody could leave it otherwise as via exile or funeral. Therefore, reaching adulthood, each boy passed some kind of initiation connected with psychedelics intake and physical tortures. So, if to be exact, it was his symbolical death. Once again: the rites of adulthood passage is considered by ethnographers as liminal, that is, it is connected with the world of the mortal. For this reason, the groom in Russia was called a wolf or a bear - a totem animal from the world of ancestors.
Formally, already dead young man came to an order consisting of his matrilinear relatives, who passed all that procedure earlier. They gave him a new name and eventually select him a wife in coordination with the female half of a new huge family.
Men within their phratries possess their own fixed capital: cattle, weapon, boats, but, unlike women they cannot give this fixed capital to the children as heritage - only to their nephews on the mother’s side. And it is not inheritance in the full sense of the word: the uncle has not given birth to his nephew, and after both of them leave their family, his nephew is not a member of his family any more. Somehow such strange patterns of ownership as collective property of a monastic or knight order were developed.
As husbands and wives of one phratry are not relatives to each other, they have different ancestors, different gods and different (operating in Africa nowadays) “secret societies”, in particular, the female ones. The power verticals are accordingly divided and connected in one place - in a married couple of the phratry’s heads, in the uppermost parantela. It is a direct analogue of the future monarchical family.

Concentration of the power and resources of the elite is inevitable because of some reasons. For example, top parantela has the parental natural right to give gifts to thier children. Men accept gifts from men, the woman - from women. Thus, the uppermost parantela has nobody higher them, and is not obliged to report for the lower one (their children). There appears an uncontrolled tribal elite, and this elite has free legal resources. It is necessary to underline that here we have the first systematic alienation of products of work - centuries before it was noticed by Marx.
These gifts are seldom mentioned, however in 19-20 centuries Empress Cixi accepted gifts, for example, 4 bags of pearls. Moreover, when it was time to pay the contribution following the results of the war, all payments to the foreign states passed in accounting papers as gifts. This is a clear relict custom of the tribal society arrangement where concepts "contribution" and "taxes" did not exist yet.
In the uppermost parantela sometimes included all phratries of the tribe. In Ancient Rome, all four phratries were presented judging by annual change of consuls. The hypothesis is the following: the outcome of the Olympic Games predetermined the sequence of government: the representative of the champion phratry was the first to accepted consulate, and the one who came the last - the fourth by turn.
Nevertheless, such, fair, the system of the power shift did not always develop. Descendants of those rare women, who could give birth until their elderly age, would get in top parantela as rather young people, would live longer than others, and would rule the tribe for a long time without taking into consideration others phratries. For generations there would be one or two families on the top and these families would govern without any shift. It seems that the Aztecs had only two orders from four on the top - the Eagle and the Jaguar, and only two fractions from four remained in Byzantium – the Blues and the Greens.
Top parantela is more inclined to cousin marriages as the source of concentration of the power and resources. The main point: the top parantela regulates tribe external relations, that is, trade. As the elite cannot be controlled by their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, external exchange operations of the tribe give great opportunities for explosive concentration of the power.
It is necessary to underline that all described mechanisms have natural character. Yes, usurpation of the power and resources, alienation, absence of control is available, but within the tribal legal field each norm is extremely organic. Every norm was put considering the maximum coordination of all actions; so all these norms have worked, simply the coordination is reached in favour of strong and successful members at the expense of all the others. And it is not necessary to break any norm for this natural outcome.

Phratries are equal among themselves, that is why their relations are horizontal, equal in rights and comprise a network of contracts. Parantelas are unequal, as the eldest Parantela is always parental, here again there is a taboo variety: the daughter can sue neither her mother, nor her sister, nor the sister of her sister - people will not understand it and will not accept such actions. Men of the order are in the same position: everyone has passed homage and has sworn to fidelity to the elder parantelas. We will remember the Knights Templars case of Brother Pavel and Brother Stephen. Much later, the inquisitors would recognize Stephen’s right to resistance to the rigid form of homage, and the order punished him that time.
Every parantela has a court, and seniors usually do not interfere with its decisions. Here are roots of that idea that all are equal in the court. In practice, when there was a situation, unsoluble inside the parantela, the case was tried in the patrimonial court – the court of the eldest parantela which survived in Europe till the "Spring of the people" in 1848.

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