As I mentioned before, women at Gortyn owned and managed their own property. They brought it with them to a family when they married and took it back again if they divorced. Upon divorce, a woman took her property, half of what it produced, and half of what she had woven within the household away with her. If she took away more than her share, she paid a fine. If her husband was the cause of the divorce, he would be fined.**
Adultery did not necessarily lead to divorce. A man caught with someone else’s wife paid a fine, the amount of which depended on where they were caught (the fine being higher if it was in her father’s, husband’s, or brother’s house), on the status of her husband, and on whether the man was a slave or free. It has been argued that the prominence of her father’s house in this section of the Law Code suggests that while women at Gortyn married in their early teens, they did not move out of their parents’ house until they were of an age to run a household on their own.
A patroiokos, a woman with no living brothers when her father died, was required to marry someone on her father’s side of the family or pay off the prospective bridegroom, in which case she could marry someone else. As her father’s heir, she and her children remained legally a member of her father’s family, not her husband’s, no matter who she wed. Her husband then became an instrument for the perpetuation of her father’s line and its hold on the property rather than her helping to continue her husband’s.
There is some evidence for at least some recognition of slave marriages. Certainly the law stipulated that if two slaves with different masters wed, the female slave and her property then belonged to the male’s master. Upon divorce she returned to her former master. If a free woman married an unfree man*** and lived in his house, their children would be slaves. If they lived in her house, their children would be free.
*For men at Gortyn this age is unknown.
**Nowhere in what we have of the Law Code is there any mention of what would happen if the wife were the cause of the divorce. Maybe there wasn’t anything. Maybe that section is missing.
***The opposite, an unfree woman marrying a free man was not permitted.