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date: 27 January 2023



  • S. C. Humphreys


In antiquity constituted a network of social relationships constructed through marriage and legitimate filiation (including *adoption). It stretched beyond the *household (which usually included non-kin, especially *slaves), and also extended through patrifiliation to form corporate descent groups (tribes, etc. ) recognized as subdivisions of the state.Indo-European kinship seems generally to have been bilateral (with more agnatic bias in Roman law), without any prescriptive marriage rule (the range of kin with whom marriage was prohibited varied, being wider in Rome than in Greece).Association between tribes and their named sub-groups may have stabilized only as the city-state developed. Momigliano (below) argued that early Roman pairs of social categories (patricians/plebeians, gentiles/clients, classis/infra classem) overlapped, being used in different contexts. In early Greece the same sets of ‘Ionian’ and ‘Dorian’ tribe names (see phylai) recur from the mainland to the Anatolian coast; the *phratry also seems to be an early and widespread institution, but phratry names are local.


  • Greek Law
  • Philosophy

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