What is polygamy?

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Last reviewed: 20.11.2021

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The term "polygamy" comes from the Greek term πολύς - "numerous" and γάμος - "marriage", which in translation means "many marriages". Thus polygamy means that marriage can be concluded with two or more partners. Polygamy is the opposite concept of monogamy, when a marriage consists only of one partner.

What is polygamy?

Historical facts about polygamy

Polygamy as a very ancient custom practiced by many peoples in different parts of the world. Polygamy is practiced today in America, Melanesia, Africa. Islam and Buddhism are those religions that approve polygamous marriages. With the only amendment: the husband should be fully responsible for all the wives who are married to him. Polygamy is not a way of life for a whole people in any religion, since then it would be necessary to have 2 times more women than men.

Christianity, unlike Islam or Islam, does not welcome polygamous marriages, although many Christian saints owned wives and concubines. As for the ancient patriarchs, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Wives in the harem had the principle of seniority - the customs are such that the elder wife directed the rest of the wives. The same applied to marriages. At the first marriage, a lavish wedding was played, and subsequent marriages did not involve any special celebrations.

Causes of polygamy

Girls and boys on average are born in a ratio of 49:51 or 51:49. Historically, because of the wars of women over the centuries, more than men. Particularly decreased the number of men in the Ancient and Middle Ages - due to constant wars.

If society is not very civilized, polygamy is used as a reward for the strong. That is, most of the best women do not get to a very large number of men. But these men - alpha males - are the strongest, healthy and aggressive of the genus. If you recall the historical facts, during the Hundred Years War, even Christians were allowed to have more than one wife, because many men were killed, and it was necessary to continue the family.

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About polygamy

The term "polygamy" often confuses people and they understand the meaning of the term as bigamy, where a person can have two different, but separate marriages. But polygamy actually means several spouses who live in the same house.

Polygamy is present mainly in these three different forms: polygamy, group marriage, polyandry.

Polygamy is when a man can have several wives at the same time. Polyandry - this term is used for the same, with the difference that in polygamy a woman can have more than one husband at the same time

Group marriage - are a family where there are several husbands and wives.

Polygamy has two forms - polyandry and polygyny. Polyandry is exactly the same thing as polygamy, except that it refers to women. Thus, this means that a woman has several husbands at the same time.

Polygyny is one of the forms of polygamous marriage, when a man is married to several women at the same time, but these marriages are decorated separately.

The representatives of Islam are allowed to marry 4 women at once, that is practicing polygamy. But in Russia and Ukraine - no, only monogamous marriage is allowed here.


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