(767 words)

1. Origin and development

The term adoption derives from Lat. adoptio; it denotes the establishment of a parent-child relationship as a legal fiction: kinship (Family) is based not on biological descent but on a formal legal act between the adopter and the adoptee. Adoption in the Roman legal sense was taken up and studied in the European countries north of the Alps in the period when Roman law was borrowed (Reception of ius commune), but the legal institution of adoption was not universally…

Cite this page
Koch, Elisabeth, “Adoption”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 20 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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