Cretans - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. Although Cretans formally adhere to the officially and ecclesiastically sanctioned kinship mode of the cognatic kindred, mountain village men emphasize segmentary, agnatic loyalties at times of crisis or during municipal (and sometimes parliamentary) elections. Households are nuclear in both town and country, sometimes with the addition of a widowed (grand) parent.

Kinship Terminology. Cretans commonly use the Standard Greek system, which is essentially the same as the English, except that the term for daughter's husband is the same as sister's husband but different than wife's brother, and the term for sister's husband is the same as brother's wife but different than husband's sister. Contrary to the Greek system, however, Cretans use separate group terms for agnatic loyalties. The terms kouniadhos (male) and kouniadha (female) are sometimes used as reciprocals in remoter villages for sister's husband and wife's brother and brother's wife and husband's sister as well as for cousins of any kind. This usage appears to be derived from a tendency to large-lineage endogamy (and, in the case of men, the solidarity of those who collaborate to raid others' flocks).


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