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PRIMITIVE CULTURE

FIRST EDITION

SECOND EDITION
THIRD EDITION

-----

SIXTH EDITION

-----

FOURTH EDITION
FIFTH EDITION

April, 1871.

November, 1873.
December, 1891.
October, 1903.

January, 1913,
Jungt IQ2a

PRIMITIVE CULTURE
RESEARCHES INTO THE DEVELOPMENT
OF MYTHOLOGY, PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION
LANGUAGE, ART, AND CUSTOM
BY

EDWARD

TYLOR,

B.

D.C.L., LL.D., F.R.S.

PROFESSOR OF ANTHROPOLOGY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

AUTHOR OF "RFSEARCHES INTO THE EARLY HISTORY OF MANKIND," ETC.

" Ce
ou du

faire,

1'homme
mais

meme

1'homme
qu'il
s'agit pas d'imaginer ce qu/il auroit pu
de regarder ce qu'il fait."
BROSSES.

n'est pas dans les possibilites, c'est dans

faut etudier

il

ne

DE

IN

TWO VOLUMES
VOL.

LONDON
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.
1920

PRINTED IN U.S.A.
[Right* of Translation

and Reproduction reserved]

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

THE

present volumes, uniform with the previous volume of

'

Researches into the Early History of Mankind (ist Ed.


1865 2nd Ed. 1870), carry on the investigation of Culture
'

into other branches of thought

During the past

six years I

belief, art

and custom.

have taken occasion to bring

tentatively before the public


of

and

some

of the principal points

new evidence and argument here advanced. The doctrine

of survival in culture, the bearing of directly-expressive

language and the invention of numerals on the problem of


early civilization, the place of
of the

human mind,

myth in the

primitive history

the development of the animistic

philosophy of religion, and the origin of rites and cere1


monies, have been discussed in various papers and lectures,
before being treated at large

and with a

fuller

array of

facts in this work.

The

authorities for the facts stated in the text are fully

specified in the foot-notes,

which must also serve as

my

general acknowledgment of obligations to writers on ethno1

Fortnightly Review

'

'

Religion
Origin of Language,' April 15, 1866 ;
Traces of
of Savages,' August 15, 1866.
Lectures at Royal Institution
'
the Early Mental Condition of Man,' March 15, 1867 ;
Survival of Savage
:

'

Thought in Modern Civilization,' April 23, 1869. Lecture at University


College, London
Spiritualistic Philosophy of the Lower Races of Mankind,'
'

'

PhePaper read at British Association, Nottingham, 1866


nomena of Civilization Traceable to a Rudimental Origin among Savage
Tribes.'
Paper read at Ethnological Society of London, April 26, 1870
Philosophy of Religion among the Lower Races of Mankind,' &c., &c.

May

8, 1869.

'

Vi

PREFACE.

'

graphy and kindred sciences, as well as to historians,


I will only mention apart
travellers, and missionaries.

two

treatises of

which

have made especial use

the

'

Mensch in der Geschichte/ by Professor Bastian, of Berlin,


and the Anthropologie der Naturvolker,' by the late
'

Professor Waitz, of Marburg.

In discussing problems so complex as those of the development of civilization, it is not enough to put forward

accompanied by a few illustrative examples. The


statement of the facts must form the staple of the argument,
theories

and the

limit of needful detail is only

group so displays

its

reached when each

general law, that fresh cases

range themselves in their proper niches as


of

an already established

readers that

rule.

Should

my attempt to reach this limit

to the heaping

up

of too

cumbrous

new

come to

instances

seem to any
sometimes leads
it

detail, I

would point

out that the theoretical novelty as well as the practical


importance of many of the issues raised, make it most
unadvisable to stint them of their

full

evidence.

course of ten years chiefly spent in these researches,

been

my

In the
it

has

constant task to select the most instructive

ethnological facts from the vast

mass on record, and by


lopping away unnecessary matter to reduce the data on
each problem to what is indispensable for reasonable
proof.
E. B. T.
1871.

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.


SINCE the publication of this work in 1871, translations
have appeared in German and Russian. In the present
edition the

form of page has been

slightly altered, for

convenience of re-issue at once in England and America.


The matter, however, remains substantially the same. A

few passages have been amplified or altered for greater


clearness,

and on some points additional or improved

evidence has been put in.


Among the' anthropologists
whose published reviews or private communications have
enabled me to correct or strengthen various points, I will

by name Professor Felix Liebrecht, of Lie*ge,


Mr. Clements R. Markham, Professor Calderwood, Mr.
Ralston, and Mr. Sebastian Evans.
It may have struck some readers as an omission, that in
a work on civilization insisting so strenuously on a theory
only mention

development or evolution, mention should scarcely have


been made of Mr. Darwin and Mr. Herbert Spencer, whose
of

on the whole course of modern thought on such


subjects should not be left without formal recognition.
influence

This absence of particular reference


present work, arranged on
into contact of detail

own

is

accounted for by the

coming scarcely
with the previous works of these
its

lines,

eminent philosophers.

An objection made by several critics as to the accumulation of evidence in these volumes leads me to remark, with
sincere gratification, that this objection has in fact

been

balanced by solid advantage. The plan of collecting wide

and minute evidence, so that readers may have actually


before them the means of judging the theory put forward,

viii

PREFACE.

has been justified by the reception of the book, even in


circles to whose views many of its arguments are strongly
adverse,

and that

in

matters of the

first

importance.

Writers of most various philosophical and theological


schools now admit that the ethnological facts are real,

and

and have

vital,

to be accounted for.

much to say that a perceptible movement

It is

not too

of public opinion

has here justified the belief that the English mind, not
readily swayed by rhetoric, moves freely under the pressure
of facts.

E. B. T.
September , 1873.

PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.


IN this edition, while

have not found

it

needful to alter

new information which has


during the last twenty years has made

the general argument, the

become available

necessary to insert further details of evidence, and to

it

correct

some few statements. For convenience

the paging of the last edition

is

kept

of reference,

to.

E. B. T.
September, 1891.

PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION.


FOR ordinary purposes
as

the present edition

In
substantially unchanged.
noticeable alterations have been
;

vol.

ii.

be taken

only a few passages

made,

vocal tone

may

(see vol.

i.

p. 167,

pp. 234-7, totemism).

E. B. T.
October, 1903.

CONTENTS
OF THE FIRST VOLUME.

CHAPTER

I.

THE SCIENCE OF CULTURE.


Culture or Civilization

Laws

Method

Its

phenomena

of classification

PAGE

related according to definite


of the evidence

and discussion

Connexion of successive stages of culture by Permanence, Modification, and Survival


Principal topics examined in the present work.

CHAPTER

II.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF CULTURE.


State of culture, industrial, intellectual, political, moral Development
of culture in great measure corresponds with transition from savage

through barbaric to civilized life Progression-theory Degeneration-theory Development-theory includes both, the one as primary,
the other as secondary Historical and traditional evidence not
available as to low stages of culture
Historical evidence as to prinof
Degeneration Ethnological evidence as to rise and fall in
ciples
culture, from comparison of different levels of culture in branches
of the same race
Extent of historically recorded antiquity of civilization
Prehistoric Archseojogy extends the antiquity of man in low
Traces of Stone Age, corroborated by megalistages of civilization
thic structures, lake-dwellings, shell-heaps, burial-places, &c.,

low culture throughout the world


.
Development in industrial arts

CHAPTER

prove

Stages of Progressive

original

.26

III.

SURVIVAL IN CULTURE.
Survival and Superstition

Children's

games

Games

of chance

Tra-

sayings
Nursery poems Proverbs Riddles Significance and survival in Customs
sneezing-formula, rite of foun-

ditional

dation-sacrifice, prejudice against saving a

drowning

man

70

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER

IV.

SURVIVAL IN CULTURE

PAG*

(continued).

to lower racesMagical powers attributed by higher


Association of Ideas Omens Augury,
on
based
Magical processes
&c.
&c.
Oneiromancy Haruspication,Scapulimancy, Chiromancy,

Occult Sciences

Cartomancy, &c.

Rhabdomancy,Dactyliomancy, Coscinomancy,

for the persistAstrology Intellectual conditions accounting


Revival
into
Witchcraft, originaence of Magic Survival passes
continues in barbaric civilization ; its decline
in
culture,
savage
ting
and
in early mediaeval Europe followed by revival ; its practices

& c>

earlier culture
Spiritualism has its
counter-practices belong to
with witchcraft
connexion
close
in
of
source in early stage*
culture,
Performances
the
air
in
and
Rising
Spirit-writing
Spirit-rapping
Practical bearing of the study of Survival
of tied mediums
.

CHAPTER

112

V.

EMOTIONAL AND IMITATIVE LANGUAGE.


Test by indepenof directly expressive Sound in Language
dent correspondence in distinct languages Constituent processes of
Language Gesture Expression of feature, &c. Emotional Tone

Element

Articulate sounds, vowels determined

by musical quality and

Emphasis and Accent

Phrase-melody, Recita-

pitch, consonants
tive

Sound-words

Interjections

Calls to

Animals

Sense-words formed from Interjections


.
.
Negative particles, &c.
Cries

CHAPTER

from

cries,

&c.

.160

VI.

EMOTIONAL AND IMITATIVE LANGUAGE


Imitative Words

Emotional

Affirmative and

Human actions named from sound

(continued}.

Animals' names

Sounds reproduced Words


Reduplication Graduation of

Musical Instruments

modified to adapt sound to sense


vowels to express distance and difference

...

Sound-words as related to Sense-words


product of the lower Culture

CHAPTER

Children's

Language
Language an original
.

200

VII.

THE ART OF COUNTING.


Number

derived from experience State of Arithmetic among


uncivilized races
Small extent of Numeral-words among low tribes

Ideas of

Counting by fingers and toes Hand-numerals show derivation of


Verbal reckoning from Gesture-counting Etymology of Numerals
Quinary, Decimal, and Vigesimal notations of the world derived
from counting on fingers and toes Adoption of foreign Numeralwords Evidence of development of Arithmetic from a low
original
level of Culture

.......

240

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER

XI

VIII.

MYTHOLOGY.
Mythic fancy based,

like other thought,

PAGE

on Experience

Mythology

affords evidence for studying laws of Imagination


Change in public
of
to
rationalized
into Allegory
as
credibility
Myths
Myths
opinion

Ethnological import and treatment of

and History

to be studied in actual existence

Myth

Myth

and growth among modern savages

and barbarians Original sources of Myth Early doctrines of


general animation of Nature Personification of Sun, Moon, and
Stars ; Water-spout, Sand-pillar, Rainbow, Waterfall, Pestilence
Analogy worked into Myth and Metaphor Myths of Rain,Thunder,
Effect of

&c.

in

Language

formation of

Myth

Material Personifi-

Grammatical
male
and
animate
and
in
relation to
female,
Gender,
inanimate,
in
names
of
relation
to
Mental
State
Myth Proper
Myth
objects
to
of
Werewolves
Doctrine
proper
promote mythic imagination
.
Phantasy and Fancy
cation primary, Verbal Personification secondary

...

CHAPTER

273

IX.

MYTHOLOGY (continued).
Nature-myths, their origin, canon of interpretation, preservation of
original sense and significant names
Nature-myths of upper savage
races compared with related forms among barbaric and civilized
Heaven and Earth as Universal Parents Sun and Moon
nations
Eclipse and Sunset, as Hero or Maiden swallowed by Monster ;
Rising of Sun from Sea and Descent to Under-World Jaws of Night
and Death, Symplegades ; Eye of Heaven, Eye of Odin and the
Graiae
Sun and Moon as mythic civilizers Moon, her inconstancy,
ConstellaStars, their generation
periodical death and revival
in
and
and
their
Wind
Astronomy
tions,
Mythology
place
Tempest
"
:

Thunder

Earthquake

CHAPTER
MYTHOLOGY

.316

X.

(continued}.

become pseudo-history Geological


on Mythology Magnetic
Mountain Myths of relation of Apes to Men by development or
degeneration Ethnological import of myths of Ape-men, Men with
Myths of Error, Perversion, and Exaggeratails, Men of the woods
of
tion
stories
Giants, Dwarfs, and Monstrous Tribes of men

Philosophical

Myths

MythsEffect

inferences

of doctrine of Miracles

Myths attached to legendary or hisPersonages Etymological Myths on names of places and


persons Eponymic Myths on names of tribes, nations, countries,
&c. ; their ethnological import Pragmatic Myths by realization of
metaphors and ideas Allegory Beast-Fable Conclusion
Fanciful explanatory

Myths

torical

368

CONTENTS.

'

Xii

CHAPTER XL
ANIMISM.

PAGE

low races of
Religious ideas generally appear among
statements on

many

Mankind

Negative

misleading and mistaken


Doctrine
definition of Religion

this subject frequently

cases uncertain

Minimum

Animism treated as
of Spiritual Beings, here termed Animism
into two sections,
divided
Animism
to
Natural
Religion
belonging
the philosophy of Souls, and of other Spirits Doctrine of Souls,

prevalence and definition among the lower races Definition of


Apparitional Soul or Ghost-Soul It is a theoretical conception of
primitive Philosophy, designed to account for phenomena now classed
under Biology, especially Life and Death, Health and Disease, Sleep
and Dreams, Trance and Visions Relation of Soul in name and
nature to Shadow, Blood, Breath Division or Plurality of Souls
its

Soul cause of Life its restoration to body when supposed absent


Exit of Soul in Trances Dreams and Visions
theory of exit of
dreamer's or seer's own soul theory of visits received by them from
other souls Ghost-Soul seen in Apparitions Wraiths and Doubles
Soul has form of Body ; suffers mutilation with it Voice of
Ghost Soul treated and defined as of Material Substance
this
appears to' be the original doctrine Transmission of Souls to
service in future life by Funeral Sacrifice of wives, attendants, &c.
Souls of Animals
Their transmission by Funeral Sacrifice
Souls of Plants
Souls of Objects Their transmission by Funeral
Sacrifice
Relation of Doctrine of Object-Souls to Epicurean theory
of Ideas
Historical development of Doctrine of Souls, from the
Ethereal Soul of primitive Biology to the Immaterial Soul of
;

modern Theology

.417

PRIMITIVE CULTURE.
CHAPTER

I.

THE SCIENCE OF CULTURE.


Culture or Civilization

Method
of

Its

successive stages

Survival

phenomena

of

related according to definite Laws


of the evidence
Connexion

and discussion

of classification

by Permanence, Modification, and


examined in the present work.

culture

Principal topics

wide ethnographic
sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge,
belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other (capabilities
and habits! acquired by man as a member of society. The

CULTURE

or Civilization, taken in

condition of culture
in so far as

its

among the various societies of mankind,

capable of being investigated on general


a subject apt for the study of laws of human

it is

principles, is

thought and action. On the one hand, the uniformity


which so largely pervades civilization may be ascribed, in
great measure, to the uniform action of uniform causes
while on the other hand its various grades may be regarded
:

development or evolution, each the outcome of


previous history, and about to do its proper part in shaping
as stages of

the history of the future. To the investigation of these


two great principles in several departments of ethnography,

with especial consideration of the civilization of the lower


tribes as related to the civilization of the higher nations,
the present volumes are devoted.

THE SCIENCE OF CULTURE.

of inorganic
investigators in the sciences
nature are foremost to recognize, both within and without
their special fields of work, the unity of nature, the fixity of
its laws, the definite sequence of cause and effect through

Our modern

which every fact depends on what has gone before

and

it,

firmly the
order in the universal
Pythagorean doctrine of pervading
Kosmos. They affirm, with Aristotle, that nature is not

acts

upon what

is

to

come

after

it.

They grasp

incoherent episodes, like a bad tragedy. They agree


with Leibnitz in what he calls my axiom, that nature
never acts by leaps (la nature n'agit jamais par saut),' as
full of

'

well as in his 'great principle,

commonly

little

employed,
Nor
reason.'
without
sufficient
that nothing happens
again, in studying the structure and habits of plants and
animals, or in investigating the lower functions even of

man, are these leading ideas unacknowledged. But when


we come to talk of the higher processes of human feeling
and action, of thought and language, knowledge and art,
a change appears in the prevalent tone of opinion. The
world at large is scarcely prepared to accept the general
study of human life as a branch of natural science, and to
'

carry out, in a large sense, the poet's injunction, to Account for moral as for natural things/ To many educated

minds there seems something presumptuous and repulsive


in the view that the history of mankind is part and parcel
of the history of nature, that our thoughts, wills, and
actions accord with laws as definite as those which govern

the motion of waves, the combination of acids


and the growth of plants and animals.

The main reasons


are not far to seek.

and

bases,

of this state of the popular judgment


There are many who would willingly

accept a science of history

placed before them with suband evidence, but who not


unreasonably reject the systems offered to them, as falling
too far short of a scientific standard.
Through resistance
such as this, real knowledge
always sooner or later makes
if

stantial definiteness of
principle

its

way, while the habit of opposition to novelty does such

DEFINITE LAWS.

excellent service against the invasions of speculative dog-

matism, that we may sometimes even wish it were stronger


than it is. But other obstacles to the investigation of laws
of human nature arise from considerations of metaphysics

and theology. The popular notion

of free

human

will in-

volves not only freedom to act in accordance with motive,

but also a power of breaking loose from continuity and


a combination which may be roughly
acting without cause,
illustrated by the simile of a balance sometimes acting in
the usual way, but also possessed of the faculty of turning
by itself without or against its weights. This view of an

anomalous action of the will, which it need hardly be said is


incompatible with scientific argument, subsists as an opinion
patent or latent in men's minds, and strongly affecting their
theoretic views of history, though it is not, as a rule,
brought prominently forward in systematic reasoning.
Indeed the definition of human will, as strictly according
with motive, is the only possible scientific basis in such enquiries.

Happily,

it is

not needful to add here yet another

on supernatural intervention and


natural causation, on liberty, predestination, and accountability. We may hasten to escape from the regions of transcendental philosophy and theology, to start on a more hopeful journey over more practicable ground. None will
deny
that, as each man knows by the evidence of his own consciousness, definite and natural cause does, to a great
to the

list

of dissertations

extent, determine

human

action.

Then, keeping aside

from considerations of extra-natural interference and causeless spontaneity, let us take this admitted existence of
natural cause and effect as our standing-ground, and travel
on it so far as it will bear us. It is on this same basis
that physical science pursues, with ever-increasing success,
its quest of laws of nature.
Nor need this restriction

hamper the

scientific

study of

human

real difficulties are the practical

plexity of evidence,
vation.

life,

in

which the

ones of enormous com-

and imperfection

of

methods

of obser-

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