Family Law in Medieval Serbia
Palabras clave:Marriage, Procheiron, Syntagma, Dušan’s Law Code, divorce, dowry, zadruga
Until the beginning of 13th century family relations in mediaeval Serbia were based on customary law. Entering into marriage was very simple and the majority of population lived in so-called „wild marriages“. After the promulgation of autocephalous Serbian Archbishopric (1219), Serbian authorities tried very hard to introduce ecclesiastical rules in the matter of family law. With a translation of Byzantine legal miscellanies (Procheiron of Basil I and Syntagma of Matheas Blastares) and articles 2 and 3 of Dušan’s Law Code the old Roman concept of marriage disappeared and the Christian concept of marriage as a holy sacrament or mistery prevailed and was fully accepted. Dissolution of marriage was possible in the cases of death, prolonged absence, enslavement and divorce. Among the institues refering to matrimonial property Serbian legal sources mention gift before marriage (Roman donatio ante nuptias) and dowry. Beside immediate family, consistig of a father, mother and their children, in mediaeval Serbia existed extended family, so-called zadruga, as well.
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