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ANAHITA  July 1997

ANAHITA July 1997

Subject:

Epikleroi

From:

Kirk Ormand <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 29 Jul 1997 14:52:02 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (55 lines)

Hi all,

I've been doing some work on Athenian *epikleroi*, and have run into a bit
of a problem.

(For those unfamiliar with the term:  an epikleros is an Athenian woman
whose father dies without producing sons.  In such a case, inheritance
takes an interesting turn:  the daughter  "inherits" the property to the
extent that she transfers it to her husband, provided that she marry her
nearest paternal relative.  If, for whatever reason, none of her paternal
relatives are interested in marrying her (possibly because the property in
question is not worth much), they become responsible for providing her with
a suitable dowry and seeing that she marry someone else.)

It appears that an *epikleros*, if already married in the normal fashion
when her father dies, can be forced to divorce her husband in order to
marry one of these paternal relatives (see Isaios 3.64). The principle
seems to be that Athens wanted the property to stay within the paternal
*oikos*, as defined by a bloodline that goes through the males.

Now, the problem:  according to MacDowell, *The Law in Classical Athens*,
if such a woman was already married (outside of the paternal bloodline)
*and had already produced a male child when her father died,* she does
*not* become an *epikleros*.  Rather, MacDowell says, ". . .if she had a
son, he was the heir, being the deceased man's grandson, and she was not an
*epikleros*." (p.96). MacDowell doesn't cite a source for this conclusion,
and it doesn't seem quite right to me. Wouldn't the woman's *husband* view
her son as his heir, and wouldn't it be odd to have the paternal bloodline
continued only through the woman, in this way?  It seems counter to the
institution of the *epikleros* generally (otherwise, why legislate that she
must marry a paternal relative?)

So, the question:  does anyone on this list know of primary sources that
would indicate the status of a woman, married and with a male child, whose
father dies without sons?  I presume that there must be relevant legal
speeches, but nothing I've found addresses this issue specifically.

Many thanks,

Kirk

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