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SITOU DIKE (σίτου δίκη). The 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. c. Aphob. 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. Aphob. i. p. 818.17). When the property of the husband was seized, the wife's dowry was exempted therefrom [(Dem.] c. Everg. et Mnes. 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 Athènes) 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 (Isae. Pyrrh. § 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. Boeot. 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. Phaen. 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. Pyrrh. § § 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 κύριος or interest paid upon it as stated above in case of divorce, both when her husband sent his wife away (ἀπόπεμφις, [Dem.] c. Neaer. p. 1362.52; Isae. Pyrrh. § 28: Schömann, Gr. Alterth. i.3 p. 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, Isae. Pyrrh. § § 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. Onet. i. p. 866.7: 10 per cent.).

A woman's fortune was usually secured by a mortgage of the husband's property [HORI]; 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 called σῖτος (alimony or maintenance), because it was the income out of which the woman had to be maintained; διδομένη πρόσοδος εἰς τροφὴν ταῖς γυναιξίν, 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 μητορί, 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 was tried before the archon in the Odeum ([Dem.] c. Neaer. p. 1362.52; Pollux, 8.33; Bekk. Anecd. p. 317; Photius, s. v.); in which, according to Boeckh (Sthh. i.3 p. 110), corn stores were kept, though the passage he quotes (Dem. c. Phorm.. p. 918.37) scarcely bears out this opinion. It is a matter of doubt whether the building of Pericles is meant (Hiller, Herm. 1872, p. 391 ff.), or the older one near the spring Enneakrounos (Paus. 1.14, 1) built by Solon or Pisistratus (Bursian, Geogr. v. Griechenl. i. p. 299), the existence of which Wilamowitz denies (Herm. 1886, p. 602 n.). This cause, like the δίκη προικός, seems to have belonged to the ἔμμηνοι δίκαι, 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, ed. Lipsius, 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, Strab. 10.4, 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, 2.1. 47 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.

[C.R.K] [H.H]

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