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ἐπίτροπος). Literally, a person to whose charge anything is intrusted (Herod.iii. 63); but more specifically a term of Attic law denoting the guardian of orphan children. There were two kinds of ἐπίτροποι:


those appointed by the will of the deceased father, usually relatives of the children; and


in the absence of a will the next of kin, corresponding to the Roman tutores legitimi, the archon deciding who were best entitled to the charge, and giving them the authority to act as guardians (Poll.viii. 89; De Aristoph. Bon. 9). If there were no relatives to undertake the office, the archon selected guardians from the whole body of the citizens. The legal number of guardians is not known. The duties of an ἐπίτροπος included the maintenance (τροφή), education (παιδεία), and protection of the ward, the assertion of his rights, the management of his property, and provision for the widow of the deceased if she remained in the house of her late husband. The guardianship expired when the ward reached his eighteenth year.

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