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date: 27 November 2022

adoption, Greeklocked

adoption, Greeklocked

  • Mark Golden


Greeks counted on their heirs for support in old *age, and for continuation of their oikoi (families) and tendance of their tombs after death. But high mortality ensured that many had no surviving children. Adoption was a common recourse, probably encouraged by the great variation in fertility characteristic of populations with unreliable means of *contraception. The fullest accounts can be provided for *Gortyn and *Athens in the Classical period.The law code of Gortyn apparently modifies prior practice. It permits an adult male to adopt anyone he chooses, including someone without full membership in the community, even if he already has legitimate children; however, the inheritance of those adopted in such circumstances is less than it would be if they were themselves natural children. Adoptive fathers are to announce the adoption to a citizen assembly and make a stipulated payment to their *hetaireia (in this context, a kind of kinship group analogous to the *phratry); they may also publicly disavow the adoption, and compensate those adopted with a set sum.


  • Greek Law

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