「姓氏」在现代汉语中是一个词,但在秦汉以前,姓和氏有明显的区别。姓源于母系社会,同一个姓表示同一个母系的血缘关系。中国最早的姓,大都从「女」旁,如:姜,姚,姒,妫,嬴等,表示这是一些不同的老祖母传下的氏族人群。而氏的产生则在姓之后,是按父系来标识血缘关系的结果,这只能在父权家长制确立时才有可能。因此,当我们读到「黄帝轩辕氏,姬姓」以及「炎帝列山氏,姜姓」时,可以明白,中华民族共同始祖炎黄二帝原分属两个按母系血缘关系组织起来的部落或部落联盟,一姓姜,一姓姬,而他们又分别拥有表示自己父权家长制首领的氏称:列山,轩辕。姓和氏有严格区别又同时使用的的局面表明,母权制已让位于父权制,但母系社会的影响还存在,这种影响一直到春秋战国以后才逐渐消亡。   《百家姓》是我国流行最长,流传最广的一种蒙学教材。它的成书和普及要早于《三字经》。据南宋学者王明清考证,该书前几个姓氏的排列是有讲究的:赵是指赵宋,既然是国君的姓理应为首;其次是钱姓,钱是五代十国中吴越国王的姓氏;孙为当时国王钱俶的正妃之姓;李为南唐国王李氏。他判断《百家姓》“似是两浙钱氏有国时小民所著”。所谓“有国”据史书记载,吴越在宋太祖开国后,还存在一段时间,至宋太宗兴国二年才率土归降。可见这本书是北宋初年问世的。   《百家姓》采用四言体例,句句押韵,虽然它的内容没有文理,但读来顺口,易学好记,与《三字经》、《千字文》相配合,成为我国古代蒙学中的固定教材,《百家姓》本来收集四百一十一个经增补到五百零四个姓,其中单姓四百四十四个,复姓六十个。该书颇具实用性,熟悉它,于古于今都是有裨益的。

全部百家姓导航

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