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Cognatio

The Latin word for relationship. Cognatio included relationship on both the father's and mother's side, while agnatio implied relationship on the father's side only. (See Familia.) Agnatio involved legal duties and rights, while cognatio, originally at least, brought with it only moral obligations. Cognati to the sixth degree had the right of kissing each other (ius osculi), and also the right of refusing to appear as witnesses against each other in a court of law. On the other hand, cognati were forbidden by custom, at least in the earlier times, to intermarry, or to appear in court against each other as accusers. When a man died, his cognati were expected to put on mourning for him. In course of time the cognati gradually acquired the rights proper to agnati. But natural relationship did not win full recognition until the time of Justinian, by whose legislation the rights of agnati were abolished.

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