Jour. Egypt. Archaeol.


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In the first place, her pedigree is most remarkable. Not only had she nothing but royal blood in her veins, if we start from her far-off ancester the self-made Ptolemy I (who was only a noble in Macedonia), but over and over again, in that royal pedigree, she was derived from full brother and sister marriages—a condition which modern eugenists (if I may coin the word) would have thought certain to produce physical and mental decadence. Yet this woman, descended from a series of closely inbred ancestors, is not only handsome, vigorous, intellectual, but also prolific. Apart from her moral standard, which in any case was far removed from ours, or even from that of the great Greeks and Romans, she was as perfect a specimen of the human race as could be found in any age or class of society. Nor does she seem to have been a lusus naturae in this. All we know of her elder brother, who must have felt to his inmost core his sister’s dreadful violation of all the traditions of the royal house, who stood up against the conqueror of the world in determined resistance, and lost his life in battle during a most courageous campaign—this boy of 15 was no unworthy scion of a line of kings.2

Malinowski’s penetrating study of the Trobrianders shows that there is a delicately graduated feeling of incest distance among the natives, that there are frequent violations of the code when the kinship is remote and occasional violations even between brother and sister, father and daughter. If, however, accusations are made suicide is usual. There is also a romanticism about incest in this group. The most noted of their legends is of such a relation between brother and sister, and one of Malinowski’s informants revealed that, having discovered a charm which prevented the sickness supposed to follow incestuous relations, he preferred incestuous intrigues as more exciting.3

2Mahaffy, J.P.n/an/an/an/a, "Cleoparta VI," , 2: 1.

3 Maliowski, B., The Sexual Life of Savages, 2: 510–528 (Harcourt, Brace & Company. By permission).


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Chicago: "Jour. Egypt. Archaeol.," Jour. Egypt. Archaeol. in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed December 3, 2022,

MLA: . "Jour. Egypt. Archaeol." Jour. Egypt. Archaeol., Vol. 2, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 3 Dec. 2022.

Harvard: , 'Jour. Egypt. Archaeol.' in Jour. Egypt. Archaeol.. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 3 December 2022, from