Article

Adoption and Fosterage in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean

Sabine R. Huebner

in The Oxford Handbook of Childhood and Education in the Classical World

Published in print December 2013 | ISBN: 9780199781546
Published online December 2013 | | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199781546.013.025

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Adoption and Fosterage in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean

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This chapter focuses on the practice of adoption and fosterage in the Eastern Mediterranean, a family strategy that is, compared with its equivalent in the Roman West, understudied. She traces the source material for adoption from ancient Near Eastern through classical Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman times up to late antiquity comparing the respective legal backgrounds and analyzing recorded cases that reveal motives of the adopter and age and status of the adoptee. In general, children or young adults (males as well as females) were adopted or taken in in place of natural children for a number of reasons, among them to provide a childless man or couple with an heir or to provide a destitute or orphaned child with a home and family. Marriage between an adopted and a natural child was a desired outcome of adoption in societies all over the Eastern Mediterranean.

Keywords: Adoption; adoption contract; childlessness; Hellenistic world; inheritance; succession; marriage; old age; orphan; Roman Egypt

Article.  11669 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Marriage and the Family

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