A married woman may hold her separate property, carry on business, sue and be sued the same as if she were single, except that in conveying or mortgaging her real estate she must be joined by her husband.
This " principle of aviticity " (osiseg, aviticum), which survived till 1848, was intended to preserve the large feudal estates as part of the new military system, but its ultimate effect was to hamper the development of the country by preventing the alienation, and therefore the mortgaging of lands, so long as any, however distant, scion of the original owning family survived.'
Peculiar forms of the evil, such as mortgaging to excessive amounts in countries largely occupied by peasant proprietors, may be met by particular measures, as, for example, by forbidding the accumulation of arrears.
A husband owning a homestead is debarred from selling or mortgaging it without the joinder of his wife, and if the husband dies leaving a widow or minor children the homestead passes to either or to both jointly, and may be so held until the youngest child is twenty-one years of age or until the marriage or death of the widow.
It must suffice to say that, partly by mortgaging their property to rich burghers, partly by entering the service of the cities ~s condottieri (mercenary leaders), partly by espousing the cause of one town against another, and partly by forced submission after the siege of their strong places, the counts were gradually brought into connection of dependence on the communes.