(Historical review)

The dowry tradition for recently married women dates back to millennia, and is well documented in numerous sources. The oldest source bearing vast evidence on the complexity and the sensitivity of legal issues persistent in the Tigris-Euphrates valley in the II millennium BC is the Code of Hammurabi, the King of Babylonia. The studies show that dowry remained sacrosanct and was never viewed as part of family property.

The Armenian tradition included a category of property right known as Mayreniq: women entertained right to pass on the property, received as part of dowry, as well as the right of its ownership, to their children (dowry of women from well-off classes – the princes, the nakharars, the feudal lords – often included land lots, both large and of lesser size, properties, villages, gardens, etc.). The property demised matrilineally was called “mayreniq” («մայրենիք»).


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