An extract on #instagramturkey
Three bee maidens with the power of divination and thus speaking truth are described in Homer's Hymn to Hermes, and the food of the gods is "identified as honey"; the bee maidens were originally associated with Apollo, and are probably not correctly identified with the Thriae. Honey, according to a Greek myth, was discovered by a nymph called Melissa ("Bee"); and honey was offered to the Greek gods from Mycenean times. Bees were associated, too, with the Delphic oracle and the prophetess was sometimes called a bee.
The image of a community of honey bees has been used from ancient to modern times, in Aristotle and Plato; in Virgil and Seneca; in Erasmus and Shakespeare; Tolstoy, and by political and social theorists such as Bernard Mandeville and Karl Marx as a model for human society. In English folklore, bees would be told of important events in the household, in a custom known as "Telling the bees".
Basques have a close attachment to their home (etxe(a) 'house, home'), especially when this consists of the traditional self-sufficient, family-run farm or baserri(a). Home in this context is synonymous with family roots. Some Basque surnames were adapted from old baserri or habitation names. They typically related to a geographical orientation or other locally meaningful identifying features. Such surnames provide even those Basque whose families may have left the land generations ago with an important link to their rural family origins: Bengoetxea "the house of further down", Goikoetxea "the house above", Landaburu "top of the field", Errekondo "next to the stream", Elizalde "by the church", Mendizabal "wide hill", Usetxe "house of birds" Ibarretxe "house in the valley", Etxeberria "the new house", and so on.
In contrast to surrounding regions, ancient Basque inheritance patterns, recognised in the fueros, favour survival of the unity of inherited land holdings. In a kind of primogeniture, these usually are inherited by either eldest male or female. As in other cultures, the fate of other family members depended on the assets of a family. The wealthy Basque families tended to provide for all children in some way while the less affluent had only one asset to provide to one child. However, this heir often provided for the rest of the family. Unlike England with the strict primogeniture where the eldest son inherited everything and did not provide for others. Even though they were provided for in some way siblings had to make their livings by other means. Before the advent of industrialisation, this system resulted in the emigration of many rural Basques to Spain, France or the Americas. Harsh by modern standards, this custom resulted in a great many enterprising figures of Basque origin who went into the world to earn their way, from Spanish conquistadors such as Lope de Aguirre and Francisco Vsquez de Coronado, to explorers, missionaries and saints of the Catholic Church, such as Francis Xavier.
A widespread belief that Basque society was originally matriarchal is at odds with the current, clearly patrilineal kinship system and inheritance structures. Some scholars and commentators have attempted to reconcile these points by assuming that patrilineal kinship represents an innovation. In any case, the social position of women in both traditional and modern Basque society is somewhat better than in neighbouring cultures, and women have a substantial influence in decisions about the domestic economy. In the past, some women participated in collective magical ceremonies. They were key participants in a rich folklore, today largely forgotten.