Marriage sine manum


With the passage of time marriage cum manu began to falter because of the problems that arose especially from the financial point of view: it was considered the excessive effect of the manus in consequence of which all of the assets of the woman sui juris passed entirety to her husband. As a result of these new beliefs the conferratio disappeared for disuse, as well as the coemptio and the usurpatio trinoctii that is the usus spread: the husband did not buy any potestas over his wife, and aliens iuris remained under the potestas of her father and retained all rights derived from her family of origin, as sui juris retained her personal and patrimonial autonomy. In both cases, the economic burden of coexistence was by the use of the dowry.
From the last years of the Republic the marriage sine manu became the predominant form, therefore it is considered as the typical marriage of the Roman law: it was born as a purely factual situation since the most ancient times and it was considered to be a source of rights and obligations , perfecting a legal relationship different from conferratio, from coemptio and modern marriage (legal transactions which are formalized once subsequently to produce their effects), as it gives rise to continuous relationships, which on the one hand has permanent effects (eg . the legitimacy of children) and on the other hand produces its effect only for the time of its duration, that each side may cease it at any time. *

Conditions of marriage

For the existence of marriage some mandatory requirements are necessary:
1. status libertatis;
2. ius connubii or connubium, that is the legal capacity to contract marriage, with the exception of reports relating to certain categories of people while existing in this legal absolute capacity; **
3. physical fitness that is the attainment of pubertas;
4. absence of another marriage, as the Roman marriage is monogamous;
5. absence of certain natural or adoptive kinship: this refers primarily to the direct relationship to infinity (ascending and descending), the collateral kinship until the sixth generation. ***
6. completion of one year term for the woman who steps into the subsequent wedding, in order to avoid any uncertainty about the paternity;
7. consent primarily of the paterfamilias, while the filius familias must have the consent also of other intermediate ascendants (e.g. father), because the unborn children from this marriage could become the heirs. While the filia needs only the consent of the paterfamilias, as her descendants belong to the family of her husband.



*Cfr Arangio Ruiz V., “Istuzioni ecc…”, op. cit., p. 435 e ss.
**Sanfilippo C., “Istituzioni di diritto romano”, op. cit. p. 146: i patrizi non potevano sposare i plebei prima della lex Canuleia (a. 445 a.C.); gli appartenenti al rango senatorio non potevano sposare una liberta o una mulier famosa (di facili costumi)  a seguito della lex Julia de maritandis; il magistrato provinciale non poteva sposare una donna della provincia; un militare una donna della guarnigione; il tutore la sua pupilla; nel diritto dell’età cristiana il cattolico non poteva sposare un’ ebrea.
*** Cfr Sanfilippo C., “Ist ituzioni, ecc…”,op. cit p. 144 e ss.: successivamente fino al quarto grado e, da Claudio in avanti, avendo questi sposato la nipote Agrippina, fino al terzo.


Marriage and Conventio in Manum

Patria Potestas

The weddings

The dowry

Dissolution of Marriage



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