The present volume discusses primarily the development and acculturation of guardianship in the period between the early first millennium BCE and the first millennium CE. Guardianship was conceived, as a legal institution, in the Greek world. As soon as Greek culture became predominant in the Mediterranean world, during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, it was taken over and absorbed into neighboring legal and cultural environments. Since the social and demographic circumstances that elicited guardianship are universal, the question has also been posed how the problems confronted by guardianship were dealt with in societies in which the institution itself was not available. Two contributions, examining this problem in the context of second millennium BCE Mesopotamia and Pharaonic Egypt, prompt a possible answer. An introductory contribution examines guardianship from the perspectives of modern Israeli law.
The article reviews the Talmudic institution of guardianship for orphans, as it appears in sources from Palestine and Babylon, mostly from the second to the fifth centuries CE. It is likely that the foundations of this institution are found in foreign law, but after it was absorbed in Jewish law, it began to build an independent life, and was not necessarily affected by its legal system of origin. The design of the institution was mainly conducted by the Jewish sages of the second-century (Tannaim). The Mishnah and Tosefta are already showing a fairly well-developed system of guardianship laws. This system was not changed substantially afterward, and the later Talmudic sages (Amoraim) continued to develop the institution upon the foundation created by their predecessors. The Talmudic sources present a fairly well-developed institution, from its creation through the duties of the guardian during his tenure to the end of the guardianship term.
The author argues that the mother as guardian of her prepubescent children in Roman law existed since the second century CE and not since 390 CE, as maintained by most modern scholars. Moreover, both in Rome and in some Oriental provinces of the Roman Empire (there is evidence from Egypt and Arabia), in the classical period of Roman law the mother could act as administrator aiding the appointed guardian. In the Greek speaking provinces of the empire, the latter was called epakolouthetria. The author denies that the mother as administrator aiding the guardian in Rome and the provincial epakolouthetria are generically interrelated.
Tutela, Vormundschaft war eine wichtige Rechtsinstitution im römischen Recht. Moderne Autoren gliedern das Gebiet in tutela impuberum und tutela mulieris – Vormundschaft der Minderjährigen und der Frauen. Dem Vormund wurde „Macht und Gewalt“ zugesichert, um die Interessen des Unmündigen zu schützen: Ihre Hauptaufgabe bestand in der Verwaltung des Mündelvermögens. Der Beitrag konzentriert sich auf die dokumentarischen Quellen, die von der Praxis der tutela berichten. Tabulae bezeugen, wie die Vormünder bestellt oder abgelöst wurden. Andere Urkunden zeigen, dass die auf den ersten Blick streng anmutende Beschränkung der Rechtsfähigkeit der Frauen im alltäglichen Geschäftsleben wesentlich abgeschwächt werden konnte. Insbesondere vermögende Frauen, die die Mitwirkung von Sklaven und Freigelassenen zur Hilfe hatten, konnten ihre finanziellen Angelegenheiten sorglos ohne Vormund führen.