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tribe[Lat., tribus: the tripartite division of Romans into Latins, Sabines, and Etruscans], a social group bound by common ancestry and ties of consanguinityconsanguinity
, state of being related by blood or descended from a common ancestor. This article focuses on legal usage of the term as it relates to the laws of marriage, descent, and inheritance; for its broader anthropological implications, see incest.
..... Click the link for more information. and affinity; a common language and territory; and characterized by a political and economic organization intermediate between small, familyfamily,
a basic unit of social structure, the exact definition of which can vary greatly from time to time and from culture to culture. How a society defines family as a primary group, and the functions it asks families to perform, are by no means constant.
..... Click the link for more information. -based bands, and larger chiefdoms. Some anthropologists believe that tribes developed when more stable and increased economic productivity, brought on by the domestication of plants and animals, allowed more people to live together in a smaller area. A tribe may consist of several villagesvillage,
small rural population unit, held together by common economic and political ties. Based on agricultural production, a village is smaller than a town and has been the normal unit of community living in most areas of the world throughout history.
..... Click the link for more information. , which may be cross-cut by clansclan,
social group based on actual or alleged unilineal descent from a common ancestor. Such groups have been known in all parts of the world and include some that claim the parentage or special protection of an animal, plant, or other object (see totem).
..... Click the link for more information. , age gradeage grade and age set,
differentiation of social role based on age, commonly found in small-scale societies of North America and East Africa.
..... Click the link for more information. associations, and secret societies; each of these cross-cutting institutions may, at different times and in different ways, perform economic, political, legal, and religious functions. Tribes are popularly believed to be close-knit and parochial, but some anthropologists now argue that they are flexibly defined communities of convenience. They have observed that there has been as much marriage between tribes as within, that members of many tribes may speak the same language and that members of any one tribe may speak different languages, and finally that all members of a given tribe rarely—if ever—unite in any important political or economic activity. Anthropologists have noted that every known tribe has been in contact with states, and suggest that tribal institutions may be adaptations to the greater state power, or direct consequences of the activities of states.
a type of ethnic community or social organization in a preclass society. The fundamental characteristics of tribes are consanguinity and division into clans and phratries. Other characteristics include a common territory; economic communalism among tribesmen, which manifests itself in collective hunting and mutual aid; a single tribal language or dialect; tribal self-identification and self-naming; and tribal endogamy.
Tribes with a highly developed clan structure also practice tribal self-government through a tribal council and military and civil chieftains. Tribal cults and festivals are characteristic of this stage. The most widely accepted view is that tribes originated simultaneously with clans because clan exogamy presupposes permanent economic, cultural, and above all marital ties between at least two clans; some scholars believe that tribes developed somewhat later than clans. The Australian aborigines are an ethnographic example of the early stage of tribal development, while the North American Indians exemplify a later stage of development.
Tribes exist generally until the transition to a class society. The transition is preceded by the stratification of wealth, the rise of a tribal aristocracy, the expansion of the role of military chieftains, and the development of tribal alliances. Tribal vestiges may continue to exist in a class society and become integrated with the social relations characteristic of slaveholding, feudal, or capitalist societies. Examples of tribes that live in a class society are the Tuareg, Kurdish, Afghan, and nomadic Arab tribes.
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Morgan, L. H. Drevnee obshchestvo. Leningrad, 1934. (Translated from English.)
Butinov, N. A. “O pervobytnoi lingvisticheskoi nepreryvnosti v Av-stralii.” Sovetskaia etnografiia, 1951, no. 2.
Kosven, M. O. “Ob istoricheskom sootnoshenii roda i plemeni.” Sovetskaia etnografiia, 1951, no. 2.
Formozov, A. A. “O vremeni i istoricheskikh usloviiakh slozheniia ple-mennoi organizatsii.” Sovetskaia arkheologiia, 1957, no. 1.
Pershits, A. I. “Plemia, narodnost’ i natsiia v Saudovskoi Aravii.” Sovetskaia etnografiia, 1961, no. 5.
Tokarev, S. A. “Problema tipov etnicheskikh obshchnostei.” Voprosy filosofii, 1964, no. 11.
Bromlei, Iu. V. Etnos i etnografiia. Moscow, 1973.
L. A. FAINBERG
(Latin tribus). (1) In ancient Rome, a group of people corresponding to the ancient Greek phyle. According to tradition, Rome’s earliest populace consisted of three tribes: the Ramnes (Latins), the Tities (Sabines), and the Luceres (Etruscans). Each tribe originally comprised 100 clans; the number later grew to 300 clans. These tribes constituted the Roman people.
(2) In ancient Rome, a territorial and electoral district that had one vote in the Tribal Assembly (comitia tributa). According to tradition, these tribes were formed in the sixth century B.C. by Servius Tullius, who divided the Roman territory into four urban and 17 rural tribes. During the subsequent conquest of Italy, the number of tribes rose to 35.
REFERENCENemirovskii, A. I. Istoriia rannego Rima i Italii. Voronezh, 1962.
a taxonomic category in the systematics of plants and animals, ranking below the subfamily and above the genus. Tribes unite closely related genera: for example, the tribe Triticeae comprises Agropyron (wheatgrass), Triticum (wheat), Sécale (rye), Hordeum (barley), and other related cereal genera. In bot any the Latin names of tribes end in -eae, for example, Nardeae and Oryzeae. In zoology the ending -ini is used, for example, Braconini. Large tribes are sometimes divided into subtribes (subtribus).