Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XII.: Of the Guardianship of Women among the Romans. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XII.: Of the Guardianship of Women among the Romans. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 1.
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Of the Guardianship of Women among the Romans.
THE Roman laws subjected women to a perpetual guardianship, except they were under cover and subject to the authority of a husband* . This guardianship was given to the nearest of the male relations; and, by a vulgar expression† , it appears they were very much confined. This was proper for a republic, but not at all necessary in a monarchy‡ .
That the women among the ancient Germans were likewise under a perpetual tutelage, appears from the different codes of the laws of the barbarians§ . This custom was communicated to the monarchies founded by those people, but was not of a long duration.
[* ]Nisi convenissent in manum viri.
[† ]Ne sis mibi patruus oro.
[‡ ]The Papian law ordained, under Augustus, that women who had borne three children should be exempt from this tutelage.
[§ ]This tutelage was, by the Germans, called Mundeburdium.