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KAKO´SIS (κάκωσις), in the language of the Attic law, does not signify every kind of ill-treatment, but: 1. The ill-treatment of parents by their children (κάκωσις γονέων). 2. Of women by their husbands (κάκωσις γυναικῶν). 3. Of heiresses (κάκωσις τῶν ἐπικλήρων). 4. Of orphans and widows by their guardians or any other persons (κάκωσις τῶν ὀρφανῶν καὶ χηρευουσῶν γυναικῶν). [p. 1.322]

1. κάκωσις γονέων was committed by those who struck or reviled their parents, or even were disobedient; by those who refused them the means of support when they were able to afford it, or did not bury them after their death and pay them proper honours. (Xen. Mem. 2.2, § 13; Aristoph. Birds 757, 1356; Suidas, s. v. Ρελαργικὸς νόμος.) The term γονεῖς included grandparents and great-grandparents if surviving (Isae. Ciron. § 32). It was no justification for children that their parents had treated them badly. If, however, they were illegitimate, or had not received a proper education from their parents, they could not be prosecuted for κάκωσις. (Meier, Att. Process, p. 288.)

2. κάκωσις γυναικῶν was committed by husbands who were unfaithful to their wives or otherwise ill-treated them (D. L. 4.17; compare Plut. Alc. 8), or denied their wives the marriage duties; for by a law of Solon the husband was bound to visit his wife three times every month, at least if she was an heiress. (Plut. Sol. 30; Erotic. 23.) In the comedy of Cratinus, called the “Wine Flask” (Ρυτίνγ), Comedy was represented as the wife of Cratinus, who brought an action against him because he neglected her and devoted all his attention to the wine-flask. (Schol. ad Aristoph. Kn. 399.)

3. κάκωσις τῶν ἐπικληρῶν was committed by the nearest relatives of poor heiresses, who neither married them themselves, nor gave them a dowry in order to marry them to persons of their own rank in life (Lex ap. Dem. c. Macart. p. 1076.75; Harpocr. s. vv. ἐπίδικος, θῆτες: Suid., Phot. s. v. θητεύς); or, if they married them themselves, did not perform the marriage duties. (Plut. Sol. 20; Télfy, Corp. Jur. Att. No. 1420.)

4. κάκωσις τῶν ὀρφανῶν καὶ χηρευουσῶν γυναικῶν was committed by those who injured in any way either orphans or widows, both of whom were considered to be in an especial manner under the protection of the chief archon. (Dem. c. Macart. l.c.; ἄρχων, ὅστις ἐπεμελεῖτο τῶν χηρῶν καὶ τῶν ὀρφανῶν, Ulpian. ad Dem. c. Timocr.) The speech of Isaeus on the Inheritance of Hagnias is a defence against an εἰσαγγελία κακώσεως of this kind.

All these cases of κάκωσις belonged to the jurisdiction of the chief archon in the case of citizens, or to the polemarch in the case of metoeki. (Meier, Att. Process, p. 269; Perrot, Essai sur le Droit Public, p. 264.) If a person wronged in any way orphans, heiresses, or widows, the archon could inflict a fine upon them himself; or, if he considered the person deserving of greater punishment, could bring him before the heliaea. (Lex ap. Dem. c. Macart. l.c.) Any private individual could also accuse parties guilty of κάκωσις by means of laying an information (εἰσαγγελία) before the chief archon, though sometimes the accuser proceeded by means of a regular indictment (γραφή), with an ἀνάκρισις before the archon. (Dem. c. Pantaen. p. 980.46.) Those who accused persons guilty of κάκωσις incurred no danger, as was usually the case, if the defendant was acquitted, and they did not obtain the fifth part of the votes of the dicasts. (Harpocr. s. v. Εἰσαγγελία: Dem. c. Pantaen. l.c.; Isae. Pyrrh. § § 46, 47.)

The punishment does not appear to have been fixed for the different cases of κάκωσις, but it was generally severe (αἱ ἔσχαται τιμωρίαι, Isae. l.c., speaking of the case of ἐπίκληροι). Those found guilty of κάκωσις γονέων suffered atimia, but were allowed to retain their property (οὗτοι ἄτιμοι ἦσαν τὰ σώμαρα, τὰ δὲ χρήμαρα εἷχον, Andoc. de Myst. § 74; Aeschin. c. Timarch. § 28; Xen. Mem. l.c.). We reject without hesitation the statement of Meursius (Them. Att. 1.2), that if the κάκωσις consisted in beating their parents, the hands of the offenders might even be cut off. Mutilations of every kind were an abhorrence to the more civilized Greeks, especially the Athenians.

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