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The right of possession obtained through mancipatio (q.v.), and the possession itself, which none but the head of the family has a right to dispose of. Homines liberi in mancipio are free men, whom their father has given into the power of another man by mancipatio, e.g. in compensation for some damage they have done to the latter. Their position differed from that of slaves in this, that they retained the right of personality, could complain if their masters treated them badly, and regained all the rights of a freeborn man on leaving their position of dependence. This was effected in the same way as the liberation of slaves vindicta, censu, and testamento. (See FREEDMEN.) After the repeal of the severe laws making imprisonment the penalty of convicted debtors, the same relation as that mentioned above existed between debtor and creditor, until the money was paid.
In the oldest Roman legal procedure a kind of execution levied on the person of one who had been condemned to pay a certain sum. If this was not done within thirty days of the condemnation, the plaintiff could seize the debtor and bring him before the praetor, who handed him over to the creditor with the word addico (I hand over), unless he paid there and then, or a vindex came forward to pay for him or to show there was no ground for complaint. The creditor kept the debtor in chains at his house for sixty days; if his claims had not been satisfied during this period, he might kill him or sell him as a slave in foreign parts. From the 4th century onwards a less severe arrangement was usual; the relation of the addictus to his creditor was that of a homo liber in mancipio. (See MANCIPIUM.)
A formal mode of purchase among the Romans, which seems to go back to a time when the price of purchase was weighed out in bars of copper. In the presence of six Roman citizens of the age of puberty, one of whom, called the libripens (weigher), held a copper balance, the purchaser took hold of the thing and uttered certain prescribed words. He then struck the balance (libra) with a small piece of copper (oes or raudusculum), which he gave to the seller as symbol of the price. This mode of purchase per oes et libram was employed in the case of res mancipi, i.e. estates in Italy or provinces with Italian law, in the country or in towns, slaves, and domestic animals and beasts of burden needed for agricultural purposes; also in a certain kind of testaments, in the form of marriage called coemptio, and in transferring one's power over a person (manus) to another. (See ADOPTION, EMANCIPATIO, and MANCIPIUM.)
Type: Standard
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