ORIGIN OF MARRIAGE

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A wedding in Yemen

Contrary to widely held belief marriage appears to have been men’s institution not women’s

Girls! Send the flowers back – if prehistoric men paid real money to wed girl’s men who consider themselves more civilised should pay even more real money. It is not uncommon: Arab men do. In Kuwait, it is the number one cause for menfolk bankruptcy or life-time indebtedness an enslavement.

The ancient linguistic cluster *HM/*MH is essentially the category for motherhood. From it is ‘mhd’ “cot” but also ‘mhm’ “important” and ‘mhr’ “dowry”.

Hurrah for our ancestral mums who gave us a jewel of a word ‘maher’ “adept; adroit; clever; dexterous; proficient; skilled; skillful; smart”. They were all that; it is their linguistic cluster.

A Google search produced 400,000 girls named “Mahira” but 20 million boys. You can make a fortune telling each one the origin of their name. Take it from us, they don’t know but you do.

Because it is a category it is all-inclusive of many things motherly or womanly including the baby box, i.e. the womb and the passage leading to it which you already know, I hope.

You could say because ‘mhr’ is “dowry” it could be the money or things paid by the man to the girl for the eventual pregnancy and motherhood. But then, 50% of all children born in ancient times died for various reasons. Also, motherhood is not guaranteed because a woman may not become pregnant.

Regardless of the outcome, sex is involved in all cases and deflowering for virgins cannot be avoided accompanied by the spilling of innocent blood.

Of interest is an extended meaning of the same word for dowry, i.e. “mhr’. It is to “stamp” or “seal something”. In old times, every family had a seal. The possible conclusion is that the dowry was paid so the man can claim the girl for himself. It is as if he has “stamped” her with his own seal. By accepting the dowry, she accepts the man and the stamping declaring herself exclusively his.

If you think this ancient concept died along with the people who invented it, you may want to think a bit more. The red dot on the forehead of Indian women can be for marriage. The rings both men and women wear today appear to be modern replacements for some sort of shawl around both bride and groom, and is still used in the Czech Republic.

The Arabic name for a wedding ring is ‘mahbas’ literary “a prison” but the meaning extends to mean “enclosure”. It is not exactly a cows’ “yard” but you know what’s meant. The word “ring” in English can have the same meaning. As such couples are “enclosed” and bound together inside a fence by the symbolic shackles in the shape of rings. Lovers of married couples are disliked because they can move in and out of the “yard’ freely.

The roots of “Semitic” languages, of which Arabic is the most important extant granddaughter, are very limited. People had to resort to metaphors, similes and other types of linguistic extensions and replication to squeeze more meanings of simple words.

So, you’ll find that spilling a few drops of blood from a virgin will be exaggerated in future usage of language to a ridiculous extent.

Here are two examples from Akkadian, the earliest attested Semitic language in the world or the oldest that survives in a granddaughter like Arabic:

– maḫāru: G. to confront, oppose, withstand; to appeal to (s.o.: +acc.); to receive, accept.

– maḫāṣu: G. to beat, strike; to weave (textile) Gt. to beat each other, fight D. to beat; to wound; to slaughter Š. to cause to beat Št. to let o.s. be beaten N. to be beaten; to be wounded; to be slaughtered.

Please notice that meanings like “receive” and “accept” apply to taking a dowry. The virgin girl may “appeal to” the man for kind mercy but one wouldn’t use words such as “to confront, oppose, withstand” for the occasion. Such words are more descriptive of war scenes than bed scenes.

And look at the meanings of the second example! They include “to beat each other” and “slaughter”!

Now these two words and others are not compatible with other meanings of the word such as “to weave (textile)” unless you know the category. Weaving would have been an essential chore for a wife or a mother.

Conclusion: Men who claim marriage is an institution invented by girls are wrong, the other way seems more like it.

Psst: ‘ḫ’ is not ‘h’ but Akkadian uses the same symbol to express three different letters including ‘h’.

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Image credit: blundertoo.deviantart.com

 

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