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Greek (Athens). If a person died intestate, leaving sons, all of equal birthright, and none of them disinherited, the sons inherited the property in equal parts, the eldest probably receiving the same share as the rest. If there were daughters, they were provided for by dowries, which, in case they were divorced or childless after marriage, went back to the remaining heirs. If a man had no sons of his own, be usually adopted a son to continue the family and the religious worship connected with it. If he had daughters he would marry one of them to, the adopted son; in this case the chief share of the inheritance would fall to this married daughter and her husband, the rest receiving dowries. If there were only daughters surviving, the succession passed to them. In such a case the next of kin had a legal right to one of the heiresses, (epicleros) and could claim to marry her, even if she had married some one else before receiving the inheritance. And poor heiresses, on the other hand, had a legal claim on their nearest of kin either for marriage, or for a provision suitable to their circumstances. If a man had married an heiress, be was bound by custom and tradition, if he had sons, to name one as heir to the property which had come with is wife, and thus to restore the house of the maternal grandfather. Children born out of wedlock were illegitimate, and had no claim on the father's estate. If a man died intestate, leaving no heirs either, of his body or adopted, his nearest relations in the male line inherited, and in default of these, those in the female line as far as the children of first cousins. Any one thinking he had a legal claim to the inheritance made an application to the archon to hand it over to him. The application was posted up in public, and read out in the following, ecclesia. The question was then asked whether any one disputed the claim, or raised a counter-claim. If not, the archon assigned the inheritance to the claimant; otherwise the matter was decided by a law-suit. Even after the assignment of an inheritance, it might be disputed in the lifetime of the holder, and for five years, after his death. The claim of the nearest relation to an heiress was in the same way lodged with the archon and ratified before the assembly.
Type: Standard
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