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Incest or Adoption? Brother-Sister Marriage in Roman Egypt Revisited*

  • Sofie Remijsen (a1) and Willy Clarysse (a2)
Abstract

In JRS 97 Sabine Huebner argued that the brother-sister marriages in Roman Egypt could be explained as marriages between an adopted son and a natural daughter, a widespread family strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean. Remijsen and Clarysse now return to the traditional view that Egyptians did marry their full sisters. Ancient authors considered brother-sister marriages as a peculiarity of the whole Egyptian population and, moreover, papyrological sources do not prove any connection between adoption and brother-sister marriage. Neither the household size nor the onomastic pattern in families with brother-sister marriages are consistent with the usual adoption practices of the Eastern Mediterranean.

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The Journal of Roman Studies
  • ISSN: 0075-4358
  • EISSN: 1753-528X
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-roman-studies
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