The marriage of young people was usually arranged between the relatives, the bridegroom's father providing the bride-price, which with other presents the suitor ceremonially presented to the bride's father.
This bride-price was usually handed over by her father to the bride on her marriage, and so came back into the bridegroom's possession, along with her dowry, which was her portion as a daughter.
The bride-price varied much, according to the position of the parties, but was in excess of that paid for a slave.
It remained the wife's for life, descending to her children, if any; otherwise returning to her family, when the husband could deduct the bride-price if it had not been given to her, or return it, if it had.
If she had no children, he returned her the dowry and paid her a sum equivalent to the bride-price, or a mina of silver, if there had been none.
The custom of giving a bride without demanding bride-price, in reward for a great exploit, is several times alluded to in the Iliad.
All legitimate children shared equally in the father's estate at his death, reservation being made of a bride-price for an unmarried son, dower for a daughter or property deeded to favourite children by the father.
The word usage examples above have been gathered from various sources to reflect current and historial usage. They do not represent the opinions of YourDictionary.com.