Mancipatio Law and Legal Definition

Mancipatio is a legal formality prescribed by the Roman classic law by which a property is transferred either by an actual or a simulated purchase, or a formal conveyance in the guise of a sale. Mancipatio, required the presence of the thing being conveyed (res mancipi), and five adult male citizens acting as witnesses. The bronze scales with which the purchase price had been weighed out was held by another person (the libripens). In the process, the buyer would make an assertion of ownership, strike the scales with a piece of bronze or copper, and then gives the metal piece to the seller as a symbolic price.