The familial perspective
This chapter examines how law regulated social interaction within the nuclear and the extended family, defined acceptable and unacceptable behavior patterns between kin and delineated the economic and moral framework within which the family existed and operated. It begins with reviewing slaves’ family life and mixed marriages between free persons and slaves. The chapter further assesses the issues of parental authority, the status of male and female children, betrothal and the consequences of its infringement. Additional issues involve marriage life, its financial dynamics and its termination, whether because of divorce or widowing. Any of these topics had much to do with gender differentiation, privileges and discrimination. Rules of inheritance and adoption also differentiated between the genders and so did legal decisions that pertained to prostitution and polygamy. The latter two were social phenomena which very existence deviated from the standard form of marriage as the only acceptable framework of sexual intercourse.