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Real-Life Prescriptive Second-Marriage Systems
Posted: Posted December 11th, 2018 by chiarizio
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is about a(n apparently polygynandrous) society wherein most people (both men and women) marry (at least?) twice; and there are not only proscriptions against a person marrying certain blood relatives and preferences or prescriptions in favor of marrying certain blood relatives, but also proscriptions against marrying certain blood relatives of one’s current or previous spouse(s).

Here is a list of the features of this system that are surprises to me (or at least those I can easily call to mind @ the moment):
1. The proscriptions and prescriptions/preferences differ depending whether the marriage is EGO’s (the propositus’s) first marriage or a later marriage.
2. And also, on whether it is ALTER’s (the candidate spouse’s) first marriage or a later marriage.
3. Whether the prescriptions/preferences are prescriptions or preferences depends on EGO’s birth-order. (They are prescriptions for the two (or three?) oldest sisters or the two (or three?) oldest brothers, and preferences if EGO has two or more older siblings of EGO’s sex.)
4. The candidates eligible to be EGO’s second (or later?) spouse may not have certain blood relationships with (any of?) EGO’s first or current or former spouse(s?); and is prescribed or preferred to have one of a set of blood relationships with (one of?) EGO’s current spouse(s?).
5. The proscriptions and prescriptions/preferences also include blood relatives of EGO’s step-parents, or more correctly, spouses of a parent of EGO’s other than EGO’s other actual parent.
6. And the proscriptions apply to the -in-laws of one’s siblings as well. That is, a woman cannot marry her sister’s husband’s brother, for instance. Or, at least, she can’t marry her mother’s daughter’s husband’s “brother” (maybe more of a classificatory brother, or godbrother or blood-brother or “ritual brother” or metaphorical “brother”). Maybe she could marry her father’s daughter’s husband’s brother; I am not sure.
7. Your boyfriends or girlfriends before your first marriage have rights and duties regarding you that still apply up til your oldest son or daughter gets married. They also have rights and duties to your parents and spouses up to your second marriage, and rights and duties to at least your oldest son and oldest daughter. In the Rukuba (Rubik’s Cuba, maybe?) case, these ex-bfs and ex-gfs are never babydaddies nor babymommas, so that’s not the basis of these rights or duties.
8. A woman’s oldest daughter’s preferred husband is her mom’s last premarital boyfriend’s oldest son.
9. Women always marry their preferred husband, but often as their second husband rather than their first.

I’m wondering whether to apply such an elaborate system to Adpihi and/or Reptigan. (It’s clear to me it couldn’t apply to earliest Adpihi or latest Reptigan. But it might apply sometime in between.)
I’m also wondering how.


BTW the RL society investigated has rules about how long one must live with each of one’s current spouses.
If it has rules about divorce they don’t seem to be mentioned in this article. Perhaps I just missed them. OTOH perhaps the author covered them in an earlier work and saw no need to bring them up for this article.

Then again, maybe in a polygynandrous society, divorce is rare?
Does anyone here know?

EDIT: It does mention divorce. Right around the third paragraph if i recall correctly. It doesn’t discuss it at length, but it does say it doesn’t happen “in traditional society”. A woman can have many husbands at once. I gather that a man may also have many wives at once. /EDIT

I don’t see any mention of adultery. Maybe all extra-marital sex is premarital?

It does mention marriage not-according-to-the-rules. Apparently it’s OK if the bride’s and groom’s relatives agree to it and pay a fee beforehand. And it can sometimes become OK if a conciliatory larger settlement is made after the fact. It can go to court if no out-of-court settlement is reached before court.


The whole tribe is organized into “places”, but I’m going to call them “neighborhoods”.
All the boys (all the children?) from the same neighborhood are initiated on the same sacred ground; whether to call this a park or a churchyard I don’t know.

They’re also organized into patriclans.

Every neighborhood can contain members of several patriclans.
I do not know whether a patriclan can contain men from several different neighborhoods.

Children under six y/o live with their mother.
Children over eight y/o live with their father.
Unmarried women live with their father.
Men live in their father’s neighborhood.
Married women live with their husbands.

Men in the same nbhd — ie men initiated on the same ground — agree never to marry (or have sex with, I gather) each others’ wives.
And nobody marries (nor, legally, has sex with) anyone from their own patriclan.

Everyone’s first bf or gf, indeed all of everyone’s premarital bfs and gfs, are from their home nbhd but not their own patriclan.
When a boy is old enough, he approaches a man who is in his nbhd but not patrilineally related, and asks for permission to be that man’s oldest daughter’s bf.
If he gets permission, the young couple can have sex, but the relationship is not exclusive unless he pays the gf’s father a fee.
After six months the girl can terminate the relationship at will. However many of these relationships last years.

A woman’s oldest daughter and her last premarital bf’s oldest son are betrothed even before either of them is born.

About 10% of the time a woman’s oldest daughter’s first husband is the mother’s last bf’s oldest son. About 90% of the time, the daughter’s second husband is her mom’s bf’s oldest son.
If the oldest son isn’t available the oldest daughter is likely to marry, either as her first or second husband, some younger son of her mom’s last bf.
If no son of mom’s last bf is available daughter is likely to marry some groom from mom’s last bf’s patriclan in mom’s home nbhd.
A woman’s second daughter is also likely to marry a guy from mom’s home ‘hood.
To a lesser degree so is her 3rd daughter; lesser yet, her 4th daughter..
All in all over 92% of women marry — usually as first or second husband — some guy from mom’s old neighborhood (the ‘hood all her mom’s premarital bfs came from).
Since full sisters and uterine half-sisters try not to (are not supposed to) marry into the same patriclan in the same neighborhood, if mom came from a ‘hood w/o many patriclans, but mom has lots of daughters, a younger daughter has no choice but to break a rule.

Women never marry into their home nbhd.
But a woman can have as many husbands as there are nbhds other than her own. (She can’t marry two husbands from the same ‘hood, because they can’t marry each other’s wives.)
If a man dated lots of girls in his home ‘hood, and was the last bf before marriage of lots of women, his oldest son may be born already engaged to marry quite a few baby girls.


So women who marry out of a neighborhood in one generation send their daughters back to marry into their old neighborhood. These daughters then send their daughters back to marry into the neighborhood in which the middle generation is born.

A woman never marries a man from her mother’s patriclan (according to the author, and I believe him); but, he says, she’s likely to marry someone from her mother’s mother’s patriclan; even a descendant of her MM’s father. I haven’t checked it out.

Since there’s so much polygynandry, there’s little harm done by inbreeding.

There are 2 Replies
Posted December 12th, 2018 by chiarizio
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BTW if I’ve understood correctly, the entire tribe’s entire territory is divided into three big regions, each of which contains twenty or more “places” or neighborhoods or dorfs or villages. In turn, each nbhd or dorf or village contains several “compounds” belonging to and resided in and inhabited by one patriclan each. Ideally there are more patriclan-compounds in the ‘hood than the number of daughters any woman will have. But sometimes war or other misfortune might reduce a neighborhood to only three or so such compounds.

A man can marry a woman from a different region provided she has never been married, that is, provided he is her first husband. But he can’t marry someone from outside his own region if she’s already currently married.

A man can marry a woman from his own region, provided:
  • she’s not from his neighborhood
  • she’s already married
  • she’s never been married to a guy from his neighborhood.
    I think that’s all; I might have misremembered or misunderstood.

    An unmarried(?) “boy” can become the boyfriend of any unmarried “girl” from his own neighborhood provided she is not from his patriclan.
    (If I understood correctly. Something in the article strikes me as implying boys have to be taught which compounds contain girls they can date, and which contain girls they can’t date. I don’t see why that would be necessary if the rule were “you can date any girl in the village as long as she’s not from our tenement”. So maybe I messed up something?)

    He starts this by approaching some father of some eligible girl in his neighborhood who is not a patrilateral relative, and asking permission to date one of the man’s daughters. If he gets permission,* and wants to be the girl’s exclusive boyfriend, he has to pay the father a fee.**. After six months of dating the girl can dismiss him on a whim if she wants to.***
  • It’s not clear the boy, rather than the girl’s father, gets to choose which daughter will become the boy’s girlfriend.
  • It’s not clear, to me, that they date anyway even if he doesn’t pay the fee. Nor is it clear that she can legitimately “play the field” if he doesn’t pay the fee. Nor whether he must stay faithful to her for the duration of the “friendship”. And in case they don’t have to be exclusive, it’s not clear how often they take advantage of this.
  • * It’s not clear whether he’s allowed to break up with her. But he may be allowed more than one girlfriend at a time? At any rate there apparently have been men who managed to be the last boyfriend of several women before they married.

    If he’s her last premarital boyfriend, he’s involved in her wedding to her preferred fiancé; and also her wedding to her first husband if that’s not the same guy.

    When she dies, he visits all her widowers and commiserates with them.


    A preferred fiancé has some claim on his wife’s children even after she marries someone else; even if their father was one of her other husbands.
    Also, a woman has partial maternal-type duties to the children of her preferred fiancé, especially at initiation rites of passage, even if they’re some other wife’s child and she’s living with a later husband.

  • Posted December 16th, 2018 by chiarizio
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