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On-line version ISSN 2411-7870
Print version ISSN 1021-545X


VAN BLERK, NJ. The basic tenets of intestate (customary) succession law in Ancient Egypt. Fundamina (Pretoria) [online]. 2019, vol.25, n.1, pp.170-194. ISSN 2411-7870.

This article discusses the basic tenets of customary intestate succession law in ancient Egypt as one "branch" of succession law. It considers the initial role of religion in the emergence of succession law as background. It furthermore discusses the basic structure or order of inheritance from a legal perspective. An attempt is made to indicate that there was a structure followed which changed very little over time although the emphasis and connection with religion diminished. The position of descendants, ascendants, husband and wife and their legal relationship to the deceased is discussed against the backdrop of the nuclear family and the estate being treated as a res incorporalis. Consideration is given to elements of parentela and per stirps possibly present. The position of the eldest son as sole heir and "caretaker" is discussed. Ultimately the focus is on what we can learn about customary-intestate succession law in ancient Egypt from early texts in the Old Kingdom through to the New Kingdom.

Keywords : Ancient Egypt; customary intestate succession law; belief in the afterlife; sustenance; custom; tradition; precedent; nuclear family; eldest son.

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