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date: 25 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Roman law of contract has developed itself around the idea of obligation. At the beginning of its history, transactions were possibly differentiated only at an economical level, while from the juristic point of view only the obligatio mattered, so that the judicial remedies were general actions. This was probably a legacy of archaic law and society—which valued community more than the individual—some features of which were retained until the end of the Republic. However, changes in civil procedure caused the arising of a contractual system based on typicality, and this had the further consequence that the transactions not received into the system were considered atypical, their protection being provided by the reuse of the ancient general actions under new form. At the end of the Principate, changes in society and civil procedure reduced the importance of typicality, and some characteristic features of classical contract law were lost.

Keywords: contract, contractus, obligation, obligatio, consensus

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