Laws in Athens and Rome

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Pericles' Citizenship Laws

  • Only men born of citizen parents could themselves be citizens
  • Traditionally a boy would be presented to members of the phratry and their father would take an oath that they were indeed citizens which the phratry would investigate
  • Failure to present a son to your phratry would cause people to raise questions on their legitimacy and later prejudice his registrationm to the deme (Political division in Attica of Greece)


  • Pericle's also introduced a law which stated that men married to an adultress must divorce them with the penalty of dienfranchisement (losing citizenship and property) if they disobeyed and banned the adultress from attending festivals/should be seperated  or wearing her "best clothes"
  • This law was so harsh because legitimacy was incredibly important for Athenians as only legitimate children could act as heirs

Foreigners ("aliens") who lived inAthens were called metics.

Women and property

  • Women from rich families would usually bring a large dowry into their new household and managed by her husband (even though he didn't own it) which would have to be returned in the case of a divorce.
  • If a womans father had no sons when he died she became an epikleros (female inheriter)
  • The closest male relative of the epikleros would have to marry her in order for the inheritance to go to them/


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