mancipation (man-si-pay-sh<<schwa>>n), n.[fr. Latin mancipatio “hand-grasp”] 1.Roman law. A legal formality for transferring property by either an actual or a simulated purchase; a formal conveyance in the guise of a sale. • The formality required the presence of the thing being conveyed (res mancipi), and of five adult male citizens acting as witnesses. Another person (the libripens) held the bronze scales with which the purchase price had been weighed out. The buyer made an assertion of ownership, struck the scales with a piece of bronze or copper, then gave the metal piece to the seller as a symbolic price. In Roman classical law, either this procedure or cessio in jure was necessary to pass legal title. This form of sale was abolished by Justinian. 2. A similar form used for making a will, adoption, emancipation of children, etc. — Also termed mancipatio. See RES MANCIPI. Cf. EMANCIPATION. — mancipate,vb. — mancipatory (man-si-p<<schwa>>-tohr-ee), adj.
“Mancipatio is the solemn sale per aes et libram. In the presence of five witnesses (cives Romani puberes) a skilled weighmaster (libripens) weighs out to the vendor a certain amount of uncoined copper (aes, raudus, raudusculum) which is the purchase-money, and the purchaser, with solemn words, takes possession with his hand — hence the description of the act as ‘hand-grasp’ — of the thing purchased as being his property.” Rudolph Sohm, The Institutes: A Textbook of the History and System of Roman Private Law 48 (James Crawford Ledlie trans., 3d ed. 1907).
[Blacks Law 8th]