Open Access Article
Explanations for the emergence of monogamous marriage have focused on the cross-cultural distribution of marriage strategies, thus failing to account for their history. In this paper I reconstruct the pattern of change in marriage strategies in the history of societies speaking Indo-European languages, using cross-cultural data in the systematic and explicitly historical framework afforded by the phylogenetic comparative approach. The analysis provides evidence in support of Proto-Indo-European monogamy, and that this pattern may have extended back to Proto-Indo- Hittite. These reconstructions push the origin of monogamous marriage into prehistory, well beyond the earliest instances documented in the historical record; this, in turn, challenges notions that the cross-cultural distribution of monogamous marriage reflects features of social organization typically associated with Eurasian societies, and with “societal complexity” and “modernization” more generally. I discuss implications of these findings in the context of the archaeological and genetic evidence on prehistoric social organization.
To access this article as a PDF pay-per-view download via BioOne, please click here.
"Reconstructing the History of Marriage Strategies in Indo-European–Speaking Societies: Monogamy and Polygyny,"
1, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol83/iss1/6