lowe the present book to the encouragement and guidance of my friends, for which I am moSll: indebted to them. This applies in the first place to Dr. P. Middelkoop, who worked in Timor for more than thirty years as a missionary and bible translator. My gratitude for all the help he has given can hardly be expressed in words, and I can do no more than simply say that this book is to a large extent also his book - the writing of it could not have been accomplished without his valued assistance. He has given up many an evening to the an- swering of my countless questions with his inexhaustible knowledge of the language and culture of the Atoni. am also deeply grateful to Professor L. Onvlee, who acted as my I supervisor during the preparation of the D1.lII:ch version of this book for submission as a doctoral thesis (H et Politieke Systeem van de A toni van Timor, Driebergen, 1966, 278 pp.). But for the many stimulating conversations I was able to enjoy with him I would never have acquired the approach to our subject which lies at the basis of this book, namely that the essential point is the study of man in his culture, and that even in the analysis of one particular aspect of a cul.ture we are dealing with the culture as a whole and with man as the bearer of that cuLture.