Herskovits, Melville J. (Melville Jean), 1895-1963. Dahomey, an ancient West African kingdom: volume 1

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Part I: Introductory

Chapter I : The People And Their Setting





Part Ii: Economic Life

Chapter Ii : Production

Chapter Iii : Distribution

Chapter Iv : The Cooperative Element In Dahomean Life

Chapter V : Property

Chapter Vi : Socio-economic Classes In Dahomean Society

Chapter Vii : The Fiscal Policy Of The Kingdom

Part Iii: Social Organisation

Chapter Viii Kinship Groups In Dahomean Society

Chapter Ix : The Sib Organisation Of Dahomey

I. Gbekpóvi Aladáxonǔ (human-leopard-children Allada-ancient-people) — “children Of The Leopard, Who, Of Old, Came From Allada.”

Ii. ǒhwɛgbó Gɛyɔnǔ (quarrel-great-gɛ-digging-people).— “the People Of The Great Quarrel, Who Dig Graves Like Gɛ Makes His Holes.”

Iii. Xw Tɔlɔnǔ (horse-children Tɔbɔ-people),— “children Of The Horse That Emerged From The Tɔlɔ River.”

Iv. Atoluvi Gbadjanu (atolu-children On-high-people)— “children Of Atolu, Who Came, From On High.”

V. Lɛkɛví Dogonǔ (lɛkɛ-children Hole-near-people)— “children Of The Hen, Who Came From A Hole.”

Vi. Agblomenǔ (agblo-place-people)— “people Of The Place Of Agblô.”

Vii. Gbadjǎ Soménǔ.

Viii. Guduvǐ Àdjàlènǔ (gudu-children Àdjàlè-people)— “children Of Gudu, The People Of Adjǎ.”

Chapter X : The Sib Organisation Of Dahomey (continued)

Ix. Akɔ̌suvǐ Madjanǔ (akɔ̌sǔ-sons Not-rain-people)— “the Sons Of Akɔ̌sǔ, Who Come From A Place Where It Does Not Rain.”

X. Gbosíkpɔ̨́ví Dɔkɔnû (children-of-gbosíkpɔ̨, Hole-near-people)— “children Of Gbosíkpɔ̨, People Who Live Near A Hole.” Ananóͅví Dokɔnû (earth-deity-children Hole-near-people)— “children Of The Earth-gods, People Who Live Near A Hole.”

Xi. Djavǐ Gbᾳŋgbwénǔ 1 (dja-children Pride-people)— “the Proud People Who Are Children Of Dja.”

Xii. Golónuví Tofɔnǔ (goló-people-children Tɔfɔ-people)— “children Of Goló; People Who Came From The Tɔfɔ River.”

Xiii. Djisóvi Siͅmɛnǔ (sky-thunder-children Water-inside-people)— “the Children Of Thunder, Who Live In The Water.”

Xiv. Akílíví Sodōnǔ (akílí-children Gnu-hole-people)— “children Of Akílí, Who Came Front, The Descendants Of The Gnu.”

Xv. Ayinóvi Agbōwotɔ̌ (earth-possessor-children Ram-kill-he-who)— “children Who Possess The Earth; Those Who Killed The Ram.”

Xvi. Ayinóví Dokwénǔ (earth-possessor-children · Hole-near-people)— “children Who Possess The Earth; People Who Live Near A Hole.”

Xvii. Adjɛví Xɔ̨ntɔnù (adjǎ-children Blood-river-people)— “the Children Of Adjǎ; People Of The River Of Blood.”

Xviii. Agěnuví Hwelinǔ (hillock-people-children Sun-route-people)— “children Of A High Place, People Of The Route Of The Sun.”

Xix. Ayatóví Gaménǔ (ayato's-children Iron-within-people)— “the Children Of The Forger, Who Live Amidst The Iron.”

Xx. Dᾳŋgbevǐ Hwedánǔ (serpent-children Peda-people)— “children Of The Serpent Who Came From Peda.”

Xxi. Agɛ Gbetɔvǐ Yálínǔ (agɛ Hunter-children Poor-people)— “children Of Agɛ, The Hunter, Who Are Poor People.”

Xxii. Wasanǔ (make-sell-people)— “the People Who Are Sellers Of Goods.”

Xxiii. Axwanoͅvǐ Kadjanǔ (war-commander-children Kadjǎ-people)— “children Of The War-commander, The People Who Live In Kadja.”

Xxiv. Adᾳŋdóví Xɛzɔ̨nǔ (bravery-hole-children Bird-fly-people)— “brave Children Living In A Hole, Who, When Seen By The Bird, Caused It To Fly Away.”

Xxv. Aγanavǐ Mṁulanǔ (pig-children Stubborn-people)— “the Stubborn Descendants Of The Pig.”

Xxvi. Γanǎvǐ (also Named As Aizâͅ-agbo) .

Xxvii. Dɔvǐ Kogbwénǔ (word-children Laugh-people)— “children Of The Word Which Causes Laughter.”

Xxviii. ɔvǐ Djegqnǔ (ɔ-children Salt-under-people)— “children Of The ɔ (a Salt) River, The People Of Djέgą.”

Xxix. ǎdǐͅvǐ Dᾳmenǔ (toad-children Serpent-people)— “children Of The Toad, People Of The Serpent.”

Xxx. ǎγǎͅtúͅví Dakpanǔ (drink-fall-children Dákpa-people)— “children Of The Sprayed Drink, People Of Dákpa.”

Xxxi. Azimáͅví Xɔkɔnǔ , (peanut-leaf-children Xɔkɔ-people)— “children Of The Leaf Of The Peanut, Who Live In Xɔkɔ.”

Xxxii. Koló Zogbanǔ (koló Fire-break-people)— “the Descendants Of Koló, Who Came From Fire In The Mountain.”

Xxxiii. Adikúͅví Adjohwenǔ (tree-children Steal-quarter-people)— “children Of Adikúͅ, Living In The Quarter Where Thieving Is Done.”

Xxxiv. Tɔkpɔ́ví Aliͅŋgenǔ .

Xxxv. ɔͅntɛví Kpókɔ̨́nǔ . (ɔͅntɛ-children Wood-near-people)— “children Of ɔͅntɛ, Who Remain Near The Forest.”

Xxxvi. Gbenuvǐ Sōlínǔ.

Xxxvii. Agbɔ́lo Djimɛnǔ .

Xxxviii. Γɔ̨síví Dɔ́vɔ́nǔ .

Xxxix. Hwelenávi Tɔlinǔ .

Chapter Xi : The Ancestral Cult: Deification Of The Ancestors

Chapter Xii : The Ancestral Cult: Worship Of The Ancestors

Chapter Xiii Non-relationship Groupings

Part Iv: The Life-cycle Of The Individual

Chapter Xiv : Birth And Puberty

Chapter Xv : Cicatrization And Circumcision

Chapter Xvi : Marriage

Chapter Xvii : Marriage (continued)

Chapter Xviii : Adjustment And Maladjustment In Marriage

Chapter Xix : Death And The Partial Burial

Chapter Xx : The Definitive Burial

Chapter Xxi : The Mourning Period

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: Dahomey, an ancient West African kingdom: volume 1

Published By: Original publisher Evanston [Ill.]: Northwestern University Press. 1967. 402 p. ill.

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication [by] Melville J. Herskovits

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2016. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Fon (FA18)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Form and rules of government (642); Chief executive (643); Territorial hierarchy (631); Ethos (181); General character of religion (771); Animism (774); Priesthood (793); Cult of the dead (769); Tillage (241); Local officials (624); Community structure (621); Congregations (794); Internal trade (438); External relations (648); Slavery (567); Inter-ethnic relations (629);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This book focuses on the Fon-speaking people of West Africa historically associated with the emergence and expansion of the Dahomey Kingdom. Centered in the city of Abomey, now in Benin, this kingdom was ruled by hereditary monarchs that claimed absolute control over the life and property of subjects. A great deal of the book is devoted to discussing the religious, economic and sociological conditions that led to the continuity of this complex political system possible. The book is the first part of a two volume work compiled based on ethnographic data collected in 1931. The author also makes extensive use of earlier accounts by European travelers and traders. The most important of these accounts was compiled by E. Burton who lived in Abomey in 1863-1864. Grouped into major headings, coverage of this volume includes geography and history, economic life (including detailed discussion of production, distribution, property, and how each of these related to Dahomey culture and political organization), social organization (with particular emphasis on kinship, clanship, and secret societies), and major customs and rituals related to life cycles.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 1

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. fa18-001

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: Reprint of the 1938 ed. Includes bibliographical references (v. 2, p. 373-376)

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1931

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Anthropologist-5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. Teferi Abate Adem

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1845-1931

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Benin (Dahomey)

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Fon (African people)//Ethnology--Benin//Benin


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