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The office of guardian among the ROMANS. It affected not only minors, but also widows and grown up daughters up to the time of their marriage, with the exception of the Vestals. In the case of impuberes or pupilli, ordinary minors, the guardian (tutor) managed their property until the time of their majority, which with girls began at twelve, with boys at fourteen. At this age the guardianship determined, and girls became, like widows, possessed of independent power over their property, but still remained so far under guardianship, that they were unable to take legal proceedings without the consent of their guardians. Three kinds of tutores have been distinguished: (1) tutor testamentarius, who was named in the will. By a provision in the will women were sometimes allowed the choice of their guardian, who was then called tutor optivus (" chosen guardian "), to distinguish him from the tutor dativus (or " specified guardian "). If no guardian was named in the will, or the guardian named declined the office, or subsequently resigned it, the next of kin stopped in as (2) tutor legitimus. In the case of a widow, this was the son, if of age, or the husband's brother, and so on. In the case of a daughter, the brother, if of age, the uncle on the father's side, and so on. Among the patricians, if there were no kinsmen, the gentiles undertook the duties. (3) If there were neither a tutor testamentarius nor a tutor legitimus, then the praetor appointed a tutor Atilianus, so called because the lex Atilia (about 188 B.C.) had introduced this kind of guardian. Under the Empire these guardians were named by the consuls, from the time of Marcus Aurelius by a regular proetor tutelaris. Women having three children were exempted from all guardianship by Augustus. Then Claudius abolished guardianship on the part of the agnati in the case of all women. Diocletian extended this abolition to the case of minors. After the time of Diocletian, guardianship over women fell into disuse, and afterwards women were themselves allowed to act as guardians. A guardian found guilty of betraying his trust was punished by infamia (q.v.). (Cp. CURA.) Among the ATHENIANS the guardian (epitropos), if not named by the father in the will, was generally appointed by the archon from the nearest relations. The archon was also the proper authority in suits relating to guardianship, which, during the minority of the ward, could be brought forward in the form of a public prosecution; and, after the ward had attained his majority, in that of a private lawsuit.
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