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p28 Affinitas

An article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College
on p28 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

AFFINES, AFFINITAS , or ADFINES, ADFINITAS. Affinitas is that relation into which one family comes with respect to another by marriage between the members of the respective families; but it is used more particularly to express the relation of husband and wife to the cognati of wife and husband respectively. The husband and wife were also affines with respect to their being members of different families; and the betrothed husband and wife (sponsus, sponsa) with reference to their intended marriage. Affinitas can only be the result of a lawful marriage. There are no degrees of affinitas corresponding to those of cognatio, though there are terms to express the various kinds of affinitas. The father of a husband is the socer of the husband's wife, and the father of a wife is the socer of the wife's husband; the term socrus expresses the same affinity with respect to the husband's and wife's mothers. A son's wife is nurus or daughter-in‑law to the son's parents; a wife's husband is gener or son-in‑law to the wife's parents.

Thus the avus, aviapater, mater — of the wife become by the marriage respectively the socer magnus, prosocrus, or socrus magnasocer, socrus — of the husband, who becomes with respect to them severally progener and gener. In like manner the corresponding ancestors of the husband respectively assume the same names with respect to the son's wife, who becomes with respect to them pronurus and nurus. The son and daughter of a husband or wife born of a prior marriage, are called privignus and privigna, with respect to their step-father or step-mother; and, with respect to such children, the step-father and step-mother are severally called vitricus and noverca. The husband's brother becomes levir with respect to the wife, and his sister becomes Glos (the Greek γάλως). Marriage was unlawful among persons who had become such affines as above-mentioned; and the incapacity continued even after the dissolution of the marriage in which the affinitas originated (Gaius, I.63). A person who had sustained such a capitis diminutio as to lose both his freedom and the civitas, lost also all his affines. (Dig. 38 tit. 10 s4; Böcking, Institutionen, vol. I p267.)


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