marriage portion (προὶξ
) being intended as
a provision for the wife, although it was paid to the husband by her father,
brother, or other natural guardian (κύριος
), if anything happened to sever the marriage contract, or
if, after a contract of marriage and after the payment of the marriage
portion, the intended husband refused to perform his engagement (Dem.
i. p. 811.17; ii. p. 839.11; iii. p. 854.33),
the husband or his representative was bound to repay it; or, if he failed to
do so, he was liable to pay interest upon it at the rate of 18 per cent. per
annum (ἐπ᾽ ἐννέ᾽ ὀβολοῖς τοκοφορεῖν,
[Dem.] c. Neaer.
p. 1362.52; 12 per cent., Dem. c.
i. p. 818.17). When the property of the husband was
seized, the wife's dowry was exempted therefrom [(Dem.] c. Everg. et
p. 1156.57; yet see Lys. de Bon. Aristoph.
§ § 9, 32); but the marriage was not dissolved on that
account, as Van den Es (de Jure Famil.
p. 50) supposes.
Caillemer (La Restitution de la Dot à
) gives three causes for the dissolution of
marriage: (1) death, (2) civil death, and (3) divorce. 1. Upon the death of
the husband without children, the wife and her money went back to the
natural guardian; but if he died leaving children, she had the option of
staying with them or going back to her κύριος.
If she did the latter, the children (or their guardian,
if they were under age) were bound to pay back the portion to the κύριος,
or 18 per cent. interest in the meantime
§ 8 f., § 78); and if she
married again, her κύριος
was bound in
honour to give the same sum to her new husband (Dem. c.
ii. p. 1010.7). If she did the former, she renounced thereby
her right to her portion, which became the property of the children, who on
their part undertook to provide for all her wants (Dem. c.
p. 1047.27; c. Steph.
ii. p. 1135.20: cf. also
Aeschin. c. Tim.
§ 28). Upon the wife's death
without children, her portion went back to her guardian (Isae.
§ § 36, 38); but if she died leaving
children, and these were of age, their father had to hand over to them their
mother's portion, and, if they were not yet of age, he kept it for them
until then (Dem. c. Boeot.
ii. p. 1023.50 f.). 2. The law
ordains that a person ransomed from the enemy shall become the property of
the ransomer if he fails to pay the ransom (Dem. c. Nicostr.
p. 1250.11); such a person would become a slave, and there could be no
marriage between a slave and a free woman. There are, however, no instances
recorded of this law being set in force and of a marriage being dissolved
for that reason. 3. The portion of the wife had to be restored to her
or interest paid upon it as
stated above in case of divorce, both when her husband sent his wife away
p. 1362.52; Isae. Pyrrh.
Schömann, Gr. Alterth.
546, is wrong in supposing that the husband might keep her portion if she
had committed adultery), and when the wife left her husband (ἀπόλειφις,
§ § 8, 35, 78; Dem. c. Onet.
i. p. 866.8).
Upon the transfer of a woman from one husband to another, which was not
uncommon, the προὶξ
was transferred with
her (Isae. Menecl.
§ 9), or the former husband had
to pay interest upon it so long as he retained it (Dem. c.
i. p. 866.7: 10 per cent.).
A woman's fortune was usually secured by a mortgage of the husband's property
]; but whether this was
so or not, her guardian, in any of the cases above mentioned, might bring an
action against the party who unjustly withheld it--δίκη προικὸς
to recover the principal, δίκη σίτου
for the interest. The interest was
(alimony or maintenance),
because it was the income out of which the woman had to be maintained;
ἡ διδομένη πρόσοδος εἰς τροφὴν ταῖς
etc. (Harpocr. s.v. cf. Pollux, 8.33). In earlier
times it was probably customary to pay in kind, i. e. in corn or some other
sort of provisions (cf. the expression in [Dem.] c. Stephan.
ii. p. 1135.20, τὸν οῖτον μετρεῖν τῇ
of the son of an ἐπίκληρος
who had come of age and taken possession of her
inheritance); but it was soon found to be more convenient to commute this
for a money payment. The δίκη σίτου
tried before the archon in the Odeum ([Dem.] c. Neaer.
1362.52; Pollux, 8.33; Bekk. Anecd.
p. 317; Photius, s. v.);
in which, according to Boeckh (Sthh.
p. 110), corn stores were kept, though the passage he quotes (Dem. c.
. p. 918.37) scarcely bears out this opinion. It is a
matter of doubt whether the building of Pericles is meant (Hiller,
1872, p. 391 ff.), or the older one near the spring
Enneakrounos (Paus. 1.14
) built by Solon or Pisistratus (Bursian, Geogr. v.
i. p. 299), the existence of which Wilamowitz denies
1886, p. 602 n.). This cause, like the δίκη προικός,
seems to have belonged to the
as it was presumed
that the woman could not wait long for the means of her daily subsistence.
It was ἀτίμητος,
for the damages were
clearly liquidated, being a mere matter of calculation, when the payment of
the marriage portion was proved (Att. Process,
pp. 177 f., 510-527).
The regulations about marriage-portions, etc. were different in Gortyna.
Whilst at Athens giving a portion, though very usual, was not [p. 2.679]
necessary to establish marriage as such (as
distinguished from concubinage), and whilst there the amount of the portion
was not fixed, we find that at Gortyna, if the father was willing to give a
portion, its amount was regulated by the law of inheritance, viz. it was
half a son's share (φερνὴ δ᾽ἐστίν, ἂν ἀδελφοὶ
ὦσι, τὸ ἥμισυ τῆς τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ μερίδος,
20), and a daughter thus endowed had no further claim on the inheritance.
During marriage the wife's property was regarded throughout as a separate
and individual possession. In case of divorce the wife received her own
property brought to the marriage, half of the produce of her property, half
of what she had “woven,” and five staters, if the man was the
cause of the divorce (αἴτιος,
ff.). We do not know what the law was if the wife was the cause, e. g. if
she had been unfaithful; she can scarcely have forfeited her property. There
is no reason to suppose it was so at Athens, though it seems from
Dittenberger, Syll. I. Gr.
No. 344, 50.59 f., that at Ephesus
in some cases the portion remained with the husband (γήμαντες καὶ διαλυθέντες μὴ ἀποδεδώκασι τὰς φερνὰς οὖσας
ἀποσότους κατὰ τὸν νόμον
). Upon her death without
children, the husband had to give to her relatives the same as in a case of
divorce, except the five staters (3.50.31 ff.); if there were children they
inherited her property [HERES
II.]. Upon the husband's death without children, she received her own
property, half of what she had “woven,” a portion of the
produce, and whatever her husband had given her (3.50.24 ff.); but if there
were children and she married again, she received her own property only and
her husband's gifts (3.50.17 ff.). Careful provisions were made against her
carrying off anything belonging to her husband or children.