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It was first imposed by the censors in 403 BC under the Lex Papia Poppaea. It was one of the many measures against caelibes (celibates), unless they married within 100 days. Not only did they have to pay the tax, but also they could not have a hereditas or a legacy (legatum) A man, when he attained the age of sixty, and a woman, when she attained the age of fifty, were not included within certain penalties of the law. If they had not obeyed the law before attaining those respective ages, they were perpetually bound by its penalties by a Senatus-consultum Pernicianum. A Senatus-consultum Claudianum so far modified the strictness of the new rule as to give a man who married above sixty the same advantage that he would have had if had married under sixty, provided he married a woman who was under fifty; the ground of which rule was the legal notion that a woman under fifty was still capable of having children. If the woman was above fifty and the man under sixty, this was called Impar Matrimonium, and by a Senatus-consultum Calvitianum it was entirely without effect as to releasing from incapacity to take legata and dotes. On the death of the woman, therefore, the dos became caduca.
This article incorporates text from a free content work. Licensed under Public Domain License statement/permission on Wikimedia Commons. Text taken from Aes Equestre, William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:, Bill Thayer. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875..