VII.12 On the tutelage of women among the Romans

, par Stewart

The Romans’ institutions placed women in perpetual tutelage unless they were under a husband’s authority. [1] This tutelage was assigned to the closest relative through the males, and it appears from a popular expression [2] that they were closely watched. That was good for the republic, and was not necessary in a monarchy. [3]

It appears from various codes of barbarian laws that women among the early Germans were also in perpetual tutelage. [4] This custom passed into the monarchies they founded, but did not survive.


[1Nisi convenissent in manum viri.

[2Ne sis mihi patruus oro [‘Please do not play paternal uncle to me’].

[3The Papian Law decreed under Augustus that the women who had had three children would be exempt from such tutelage.

[4Among the Germans this tutelage was called mundeburdium.