Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XXVIII.: Of Adoption among the Germans. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XXVIII.: Of Adoption among the Germans. - 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 Adoption among the Germans.
AS the Germans became of age by the wielding of arms, so they were adopted by the same sign. Thus Gontram, willing to declare his nephew, Childebert, of age, and to adopt him for his son, made use of these words. “I have put‡ this javelin into thy hands as a token that I have given thee all my kingdom.” Then, turning toward the assembly, he added, “You see that my son Childebert is grown a man; obey him.” Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths, intending to adopt the king of the Heruli, wrote to him thus∥ : “It is a noble cusstom of ours to be adopted by arms; for men of courage alone deserve to be our children. Such is the efficacy of this act, that whoever is the object of it had rather die than submit to any thing ignominious. Therefore, in compliance with the national usage, and because you are a man of courage, we adopt you for our son by these bucklers, these swords, these horses, which we send you as a present.”
[‡ ]See Gregory of Tours, book 7. c. 23.
[∥ ]In Cassiod. lib. 4. ep. 2.