ADOPTION, from the Latin adoptio. By the Roman law, if a person had no children of his own, he might make those of any other person his children by adoption. The relation of father and son at Rome originally differed little from that of master and slave. Hence, if a person wished to adopt the son of another, the natural father transferred (manci pated) the boy to him by a formal sale before a competent magistrate, such as the praetor at Rome, and in the provinces before the governor. [MANCIPATION.] The father thus conveyed all his paternal rights, and the child, from that moment, became in all legal respects the child of the adoptive father. If the person to be was his own master (sui juris), the mMe of proceeding was by a legislative act of the people in the comitia curiata.
This was called adrogatio, from mars, to propose a law. In the case of adro gatao, it was required that the adoptive father should have no children, and that he should have no reasonable hopes of any. In either case the adopted child became subject to the authority of his new father; passed into his family, name, and sacred rites; and was capable of suo ceeding to his property. Clodius, the enemy of Cicero, passed by this cere mony of adrogatio from the patrician to the plebeian class, in order to qualify him to be tribune.
The history of Rome abounds with in stances of adoption. Thus one of the sons of L. lEmilius Paulus, the conqueror of Macedonia, was adopted by the son of Scipio Africanus the Elder, and thus acquired the name of Publius Cornelius Scipio ; he was also called /Emilianus, to point out the family of his birth ; and when he had destroyed Carthage, in the third Punic war, he received, like his adoptive grandfather, the appellation of Africanus, and is usually spoken of in history as Scipio Africanus the Younger.
Women could not adopt a child, for by adoption the adopted person came into the power, as it was expressed, of the adopter; and as a woman had not the parental power over her own children, she could not obtain it over those of another by any form of proceeding. Under the emperors it became the practice to effect adrogatio by an Imperial Rescript, but this practice was not introduced till after the time of Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161).
There was also adoption by testament: thus Julius Caesar the Dictator adopted his great nephew Octavius, who was thenceforth called Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus, until he received the appel lation of Augustus, by which he is ge nerally known. But this adoption by testament was not a proper adoption, and Augustus had his testamentary adop tion confirmed by a Lex Curiata. Au gustus in his lifetime adopted his step sons Tiberius Nero and Claudius Drasus, the former of whom succeeded him in the empire. (Tacitus, Ann. i. 3; Suet. Tiberius, 15.) Tiberius, by the order and during the lifetime of Augustus, adopted his nephew Germanicus, though Tiberius had then a son of his own. Ger manicus died in the lifetime of Tiberius; and on the death of Tiberius, Caligula, the son of Germanicus, became emperor. These adoptions by Augustus and Ti berius were designed to secure the suc cession to the imperial power in their family. At a subsequent period, the em peror Claudius adopted his step-son Do mitius, afterwards the Emperor Nero, to the prejudice of his own son Britannicus.
Tunas remarks that Nero was the first stranger in blood ever adopted into the Claudian Gens. (Tacitus, Ann. xii. 25.) In the time of Augustus, the Julian law on marriage was enacted (3.c. 18), which contained heavy penalties upon celibacy, and rewards for having children. This law was so extremely unpopular, that, Suetonius says, it could not be carried until some of the obnoxious clauses were modified. (Suetonius, Aug. 34.) After wards, however, a law passed, called, from the Consuls who proposed it, Lex Papia Poppaea ; and sometimes Lex Julia et Pains Popmea, because it was founded on the Julian law on marriage, by which many privileges were given to those who had children ; and among other things, it was declared that, of candidates for pme torships and other offices, those should have the preference who had the greatest number of children. This occasioned an abuse in the adoption of children. Ta citus says that in the time of Nero a " pestilent abuse was practised by child less men, who, whenever the election of magistrates or the allotment of provinces was at hand, provided themselves with sons by fraudulent adoptions ; and then when, in common with real fathers, they had obtained praetorships and provincial governments, they instantly released themselves from their adopted sons. Hence the genuine fathers betook them selves with mighty indignation to the senate," and petitioned for relief This produced a Senatus consultum, that frau dulent adoptions should not qualify for public office or capacitate a person for taking property by testament. (Tacitus, Anual. ay. 19.) The eleventh title of the first book of Justinian's Institutes is concerning adop tion. The Imperial legislation altered the old law of adoption in several re spects. It declares that there are two kinds of adoption : one called adrogatw, when by a rescript of the emperor (principali rescripto) a person adopts another who is free from parental con trol ; the other, when by the authority of the magistrate (imperio magistratus) he who is under the control of his parent is made over by that parent to another per son, and adopted by him either as his son, his grandson, or a relation in any inferior degree. Females also might be adopted in the same manner. But when a man gave his child to be adopted by a none of the parental authority p from the natural to the adoptive father ; the only effect was, that the child succeeded to the inheritance of the latter if he died intestate. It was only when the adopter was the child's paternal or maternal grandfather, or otherwise so re lated to him as that the natural law (na turalia Jura) concurred with that of adop tion, that the new connection became m all respects the same with the original one. It was also declared that the adopter should in all cases be at least eighteen years older than the person whom he adopted. Women were not empowered by the legislation of Justinian to adopt ; but after having lost children of their own by death, they might by the indulgence of the emperor be permitted to receive those of others in their place. A slave, on being named a son by his master before a magistrate, became free, but acquired no filial rights.