Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Infidelity Around the World

Interesting post from Gene Expression. An excerpt:
There is another issue in Africa which I think needs be brought up: Christianity. I've just finished reading some material on the period in Europe between 500 and 1000, and one point to note is that it was rather difficult for Christian clergy of a Greco-Roman orientation to stamp out polygyny amongst elite males in "barbarian" societies. That is, the nobility of Ireland and Francia were commonly polygynous, even on high up to the Merovingian dynasty. Sometimes this tension between Christian priests and the rulers upon whose patronage they depended played out centuries after the introduction of Christianity. In Africa Christianity is generally less than a century old, with much of the conversion occurring within the last two generations. While the churches preach monogamy, in keeping with Christian models ultimately derived from the Greco-Roman precedent, elite males still tend to enter into operationally polygynous relationships. Because these males are often Christian (Christianity often correlates with high socioeconomic status, and so ability to support extra wives and mistresses) they do not solemnize their relationships with their "secondary" wives. So by definition, if not operation, these are extramarital relationships.

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