> Would this law have affected adults as well, or only infants?
> Cyprian Rosen
Swedish law was of the opinion that "heathens" in general
did not inherit, especially earlier in the Middle Ages when
baptism was not yet self-evident. The 1350 Law of the Realm
mentioned specifically the baptism of infants as a pre-condition
to their capability to inherit.
Because of this, it was essential for inheritance reasons to
cut out and baptise a baby whose mother died during labour.
As the mother died, the baby inherited, if it had been born alive
and baptised. Even if the infant promptly died after baptism,
it transmitted to its father its mother's property.
The same was true the other way around. If a posthumous
child was born, it was in the interests of the deceased father's
kin to claim that the child had been stillborn. However, if the
child had been alive long enough to receive baptism, it inherited
after its father. After its demise, its mother inherited the lot.
Mia Korpiola, LL. Lic.
P. O. Box 4 (Fabianinkatu 24 A)
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki
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