August 11, 2022

Polygamy, or polygyny (from ancient Greek πολύ- “many-” + γυνή “wife”), is one of the forms of a polygamous marriage union, in which a man is married to several wives at the same time.

Types of polygamy

Polygamy is subdivided by social anthropologists into soro-oral (all wives of one man are sisters) and non-so-roral (wives of one man may not be sisters).

History of polygamy

Sororal polygamy was, in particular, among some Indian tribes: it was found among the western and northern Shoshone, Luiseno, Paiute, Yagan, it was preserved among the Blackfoot, Dakota, it was common among the Khivaro, Apache, Botokudo (for elders and skilled hunters), Chinook (especially among the nobility), also practiced among the Indians of the Subarctic and the northwestern coast of North America: Chipewyan, Tlingit, Innu, Cree, Ojibwe, Slave, Haida, Tanaina (in the latter case, mainly among the rich), is preserved among the Cuicateks, Huichol, Tzotzili, Panare (albeit rarely), Xavante and Nootka leaders. Charles de Montesquieu, in his influential work On the Spirit of the Laws, argued that the family can be understood by approaching it both biologically and sociologically and noted the influence of the economy on the forms of family and marriage. In particular, he viewed polygamy as the result of the wealth of individual males. In addition, Montesquieu explains the various forms of the family by climatic conditions in the spirit of geographical determinism promoted by him: In his opinion, family relations should correspond to the biological nature of a person, the geographical conditions in which he lives, and social expediency. F. Engels in his well-known work "The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State", outlining the Marxist interpretation of the evolution of family and marriage relations, wrote: Polygamy was also part of the first written civilization - the Sumerians, however, according to the laws of Lipit-Ishtar, it was allowed only in case of infertility of the wife. Historically, polygamy has taken place in more than 80% of human cultural communities, and, in particular, was common in ancient Jewish society, in China, Korea, among certain indigenous peoples of America, Africa and Polynesia. In ancient Greece, polygamy was