Mothers and Amazons: The First Feminine History of Culture

Mothers and Amazons: The First Feminine History of CultureHelen DinerAnchor Press1973

This first feminine history of culture frankly “endeavours to remain as one-sided as possible [since] the other side is fairly well known.” Basing her study on the work of the Swiss anthropologist Bachofen and on the works of Jung and Freud, Ms. Diner examines the idea that primitive social organizations are matriarchies and that the patriarchal family is a comparatively recent development. After a demonstration of the norm in biology, mythology, the psychology of magic, and the fountainheads of social institutions, Ms. Diner takes us on a matriarchal pilgrimage across the globe, ranging from the Sumerians and Babylonians to Greece and Rome, Asia, and the Americas.

Originally published in German in 1932 under Diner’s pseudonym “Sir Galahad”, this book is remarkable for its anticipation of issues that are being widely debated today, such as “sexual politics” and the connection between the type of social system and the knowledge of the functions of the body.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Parthenogenesis
Chapter 2: The black and white egg mothers
… The white mother
… The black mother
… The great weaver
Chapter 3: Matriarchy
Chapter 4: The changing face of the matriarchy
Chapter 5: The symbol
… The egg
… The kauri shell
… Right-left
… Morass and field
Chapter 6: The Two
Chapter 7: Circumcision
Chapter 8: Totemism, exogamy, and matriarchy
Chapter 9: The couvade
Chapter 10: Amazons
… The themodontines
… The libyans and other Amazons
Chapter 11: Greece
Chapter 12: India
Chapter 13: China, Japan and Formosa
Chapter 14: Tibetan matriarchy
Chapter 15: The merry wives of Kamchatka
Chapter 16: The Malays
Chapter 17: North America
Chapter 18: Central and South America
Chapter 19: Egypt
Chapter 20: African Queens
Chapter 21: Lycia, Lydia, Caria, Sumeria, Babylonia
Chapter 22: Rome
Chapter 23: Celts
Chapter 24: The Teutons
Chapter 25: Theories on matriarchy
… Bachofen’s three-step theory
… The remnants theory
… Frobenius’ cultural sphere theory
… The sociological hypothesis