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Ancestors

15. Ancestors

See also 153. FATHER ; 204. HEREDITY ; 281. MOTHER ; 304. ORIGINS ; 307. PARENTS ; 341. RACE .

archaism
an inclination toward old-fashioned things, speech, or actions, especially those of ones ancestors. Also archaicism . archaist, n. archaistic, adj.
atavism
the reappearance in the present of a characteristic belonging to a remote ancestor. atavist, n. atavistic, adj.
lemures
Ancient Rome. the malevolent ghosts or spirits of a familys dead ancestors.
matriliny
descent through the female line, as in ancestry, inheritance, etc. matrilineal, matrilinear , adj.
patriliny
relationship or descent by the male line, as in ancestry, inheritance, etc. patrilineal, patrilinear, adj.
propositus
the person from whom a line of descent originates.

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Ancestors

Ancestors. The maintaining of ancestors in memory is a fundamental part of religious life and practice. Even during the millennia in which belief in personal life after death was extremely rare, this remembering—and often veneration—of ancestors was extensive. Yet the term ‘ancestor-worship’ is usually misleading (see AFRICAN RELIGION): it is not so much that ancestors were worshipped as that they continued in relation to the living family, both sustaining it (provided they were in fact appropriately remembered) and being sustained by it. If they were forgotten or neglected, they might well turn into restless or hungry or avenging figures. Rituals therefore developed to ensure proper respect to these continuing members of the family, as well as to provide means of consulting them.

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