Epigamia

Epigamia

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In ancient Greece Epigamia (Greek language: Επιγαμια), designated the legal right to contract a marriage. In particular it strongly regulated the right of intermarrying between different states. Traditionally, intermarriage between different states was not allowed, and only a special authorization (a decree of the popular assembly) could permit it.

In the case of Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, even resident aliens (metoecci) did not have this right to marry Athenians.

Epigamia was also a way of formalizing the relationship between different nations. Typically, an epigamia agreement would allow the adoption of the nationality of the country of residence, for the spouse as well as children. For example, Athens granted epigamia to Euboa
Evia
Evia is a Spanish family name.* Edgar de EviaEvia as used in company names:* Evia Oyj, Finnish marketing communication agencyEvia is also an alternate spelling of:* The Greek island Euboea* The town Iŭje in Belarus...

 in the 5th century, a very rare case.

Some cases are known (especially through Plutarch), in which epigamia was denied between two villages of Attica
Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

, Pallene
Pallini
Pallini , ancient form and Latin: Pallene, is a suburb and a municipality in the northeastern part of Athens, Greece. The seat of the municipality is the town Gerakas. It is located east of Athens, midway between it and the Petalies Gulf. It is the seat of administration of the East Attica Prefecture...

 and Hagnous, presumably because alliances would have been akin to endogamy.

In 303 BCE, Seleucus I led an army to the Indus in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, where he encountered Chandragupta. The confrontation ended with a peace treaty, and "an intermarriage agreement" (Epigamia, Greek: Επιγαμια), meaning either a dynastic marriage or a more general agreement for intermarriage between Indians and Greeks. Accordingly, Seleucus ceded to Chandragupta his northwestern territories as far as Arachosia
Arachosia
Arachosia is the Latinized form of the Greek name of an Achaemenid and Seleucid governorate in the eastern part of their respective empires, around modern-day southern Afghanistan. The Greek term "Arachosia" corresponds to the Iranian land of Harauti which was between Kandahar in Afghanistan and...

 and received 500 war elephants (which played a key role in the victory of Seleucus at the Battle of Ipsus
Battle of Ipsus
The Battle of Ipsus was fought between some of the Diadochi in 301 BC near the village of that name in Phrygia...

):
"The Indians occupy [in part] some of the countries situated along the Indus, which formerly belonged to the Persians: Alexander deprived the Ariani of them, and established there settlements of his own. But Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus in consequence of a marriage contract, and received in return five hundred elephants." Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

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