The weddings


The weddings were not a legal prerequisite of marriage, but a precedent imposed by social custom, which gave great importance to the mutual promises between the father of the bride and the groom. It took place in the form of two stipulations, each consisting of a question and subsequent response (risposta) by the use of the verb respond (spondere), from here sponsalia: against those who made default, the other side could act against ex sponsu and the judge could sentence to pay damages for not having married the woman.*

Once perfected, they produced legal consequences: they created a sort of affinity between the spouses and their relatives, legitimated the groom all'actio iniuriarum in defense of the bride or accusatio adultery for the betrayal of the woman, at the same time preventing from contracting other weddings. It was necessary the consent of the paterfamilias and the absence of impediment related to kinship. Any stipulationes poenae, in addition to the weddings, with which it was agreed to pay a penalty on those who had not fulfilled the promise of marriage, were considered void.

Later, with the introduction of arrhae sponsaliciae, it was used an "advance", a deposit for the two sides, with the proviso that the side which has become in default would lose the deposit and would return up to four times the receipt. ** This type of penalty was avoided only if the termination was motivated by serious reasons: woman’s pain or the impotence of the husband. ***

Salvatore Terranova - Noto

* Cfr. Serrao F., “Diritto privato  ecc…”, op. cit., p.191.
**Cfr. Sanfilippo C. “Istituzioni ecc”, op. cit. p. 147 e ss.
***Cfr. Arangio-Ruiz V., “Istituzioni ecc…”, op. cit. p. 447


Marriage and Conventio in Manum

Patria Potestas

Marriage sine manum

The dowry

Dissolution of Marriage



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