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Status in Classical Athens$
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Deborah Kamen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691138138

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691138138.001.0001

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Bastards (Nothoi)

Bastards (Nothoi)

Chapter:
(p.62) Chapter 6 Bastards (Nothoi)
Source:
Status in Classical Athens
Author(s):

Deborah Kamen

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691138138.003.0007

This chapter focuses on nothoi. A nothos was defined as the child of two parents who were not legally married, hence the term's standard translation: “bastard.” Nothos status can be divided into two distinct sub-statuses of illegitimate children: (i) a child born to a citizen and a noncitizen (also called a mētroxenos if the mother was the foreigner, as was most often the case); and (ii) a child born out of wedlock to two Athenian citizen parents. In the case of recognized illegitimate children born to two unmarried citizen parents, their pure Athenian blood presumably gave them a higher status than most mixed-blood mētroxenoi. Mixed-blood illegitimate children were likely stigmatized for their impure ancestry, especially in the fourth century, when the ideology of the pureblooded Athenian became most prominent and most strongly policed.

Keywords:   classical Athens, Greece, nothoi, nothos, illegitimate children, legal status, social status

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