germ; for the male creates the offspring, while the female, like a host for a guest, preserves the young plant, when some god does not mar the increase.”
He adds also, “I will give you a proof of my assertion; there may be a father without a mother;” and he then mentions the mythological tradition of the birth of Athena
, or Minerva
, from the head of Zeus
, or Jupiter
This fantastic argument is, of course, irresistible in the view of Greek
But the half truth which lies at the basis of it has always been springing up all over the world, not. alone among barbarous nations, but among the most civilized in the ancient and medieval worlds.
For instance, in a valuable paper on the social and family relations among Australian tribes, in the Smithsonian Report
for 1883, by A. W. Howitt
, we find just this same theory modifying the law of descent among savages.
The mother, as these people state it, is merely the nurse of the child; it is something given her to take care of. The same thing appears in the Hindoo Vedas
, and glimpses of it are seen through Greek
and Roman law. In that familiar book, “The ancient city,” by Coulanges
, we see that the basis of the Roman
state was the Roman
family: the undying home, the domestic fire that never was to die out, but must be tended by father and son successively forever.
Into this household the wife entered as a subordinate only; she was, as it were,