The Marriage in Roman Law

By: Anavitarte, E. J.*

Marriage or lawful nuptials (iustae nuptiae), is a solemn legal business, through which a man and a woman were united in a relationship with civil and religious effects, with the main purpose of forming a family.

This union─coniugium─was the most important legal event of a Roman citizen, since it derived effects on a personal level, on a patrimonial level, and would determine their role in civil society. For example, the paterfamilias is nothing more than a sui iuris man who has contracted iustae nuptiae .

Hence, to marry, the Romans reserved a right, the ius connubium, within the nucleus of Roman rights─ius quiritium─so that it could have legal effects. Anyway, for the Romans it was so important that it could only be exercised by Roman citizens.

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