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stipulatioin Roman law, the formal contract whereby a party was bound absolutely by using the special words. One party would say ‘spondesne transfer your copy of Aristotle for 20 sesterces’, and the other would say ‘spondeo’. It mattered not in the early law that the party asking the question was applying force or intimidation to the promissor. As the law developed, the prestations became ever more subtle and the defence became wider and consensual contracts based upon the will of the parties took over.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006