Show Summary


Among the Nairs of India,

if the mother died at the birth of the child it is generally given the milk of some relations or even of outsiders who have children of almost the same age. The person whose milk the child thus drinks, though she be an outsider, is considered equal to its own mother, and her children are considered the same as own brothers. There is a story of a Nayar king who as a child lost his mother and was therefore fed on milk of an attendant woman, refusing to punish her son after repeated acts of treason on the ground that an ocean of milk flowed between them which a drop of blood would pollute forever.2

Among Arabs [says Robertson Smith] every stranger whom one meets in the desert is a natural enemy, and has no protection against violence except his own strong hand or the fear that his tribe will avenge him if his blood be spilt. But if I have eaten the smallest morsel of food with a man, I have nothing further to fear from him; "there is salt between us," and he is bound not only to do me no harm, but to help and defend me as if I were his brother. . . . The blood of union is conceived in a very realistic way, and strictly speaking lasts no longer than the food may be supposed to remain in my system. . . . The bond of salt is not dependent on the actual use of mineral salt with the food by which the bond is constituted. Milk, for example, will serve the purpose.3

1Hahn, C.n/an/an/an/an/a, "Die Milchverwandtschaft im Kaukssus," , 72: 116.

2 Panikkar, K. M., "Some Aspects of Nayar Life," Jour. Anth. Inst., 48: 273–274.

3 Smith, W. R., The Religion of the Semites, 269–270 (London: A. & C Black; New York: The Macmillan Company. By permission).


Related Resources

None available for this document.

Download Options

Title: Globus

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options

Title: Globus

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: "Globus," Globus in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed July 7, 2022,

MLA: . "Globus." Globus, Vol. 72, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 7 Jul. 2022.

Harvard: , 'Globus' in Globus. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 7 July 2022, from