Sky burial essays

where theories are so abundant and facts so rare as in regard to the question of the early social organisation. But without coming into conflict with any of the rival theories we may make at least the following statements. In the main the community was fairly uniform and homogeneous, there were no great social extremes and no conspicuous foreign element, so that each individual, had he stopped to analyse his social position, would have found himself in four distinct relationships: a relationship to himself as an individual; to his family; to the group of families which formed his clan ( gens ); and finally to the state. We may go a step further on safe ground and assert that the least important of these relations was that to himself, and the most important that to his family. The unit of early Roman social life was not the individual but the family, and in the most primitive ideas of life after death it is the family which has immortality, not the individual. The state is not a union of individuals but of families. The very psychological idea of the individual seems to have taken centuries to develop, and to have reached its real significance only under the empire. Of the four elements therefore we have established the pre-eminence of the family and the importance of the state as based on the family idea; the individual may be disregarded in this early period, and there is left only the clan, which however offers a difficult problem. The family and the

Sky burial essays

sky burial essays

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