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ACCEPTILA´TIO is a formal mode of extinguishing a verbal obligation. The debtor says to the creditor, “Quod ego tibi promisi, habesne acceptum?” and the creditor answers, “Habeo” (Gai. 3.169); or the form might be, “Accepta facis decem” (sc. sestertia), answer “Facio” (Dig. 43, 4, 7). This method of release was not regarded as peculiar to Romans, but a part of general law (juris gentium est), and thus the words might be Greek without impairing the effect. The term Acceptilatio must have been originally borrowed from bookkeeping, and in this connexion we find acceptum (accepto) ferre used in Dig. 21, 2, 4.1; 32, 1, 29.2, &c.: and in a metaphorical sense, “to credit with,” in V. Max. 2.7, Ext. 2; 8.2.3; Sen. Ep. 78.2. But acceptum facere or fieri is used in the sense of putting an end to an obligation in Cic. Ver. 3.60, § 139; Plin. Ep. 2.4, 6.34; and in the lawyers frequently and indiscriminately with acceptum fieri.. For the declinable acceptum accepto (dative?) is sometimes used by the lawyers. Acceptum (accepto) rogare is used of the debtor who seeks to be freed. The spoken words constituted an acceptilatio, but a record of the act would, as in other cases, be written and preserved. An apocha was what we call a receipt. (See examples in Bruns, fontes, pt. 2.8.) It was evidence of a payment, but might be rebutted by proof that the repayment had never actually taken place. But acceptilatio was a formal release of the obligation, and operated effectually whether payment had or had not been received. “Velut solvisse videtur qui acceptilatione solutus est” (Dig. 46, 4, 16 and 19). In form an acceptilatio must be absolute, not conditional, and must release at once, and not at a deferred date (ib. ss.4,5). It was applicable only to debts contracted by stipulation; the form of release must strictly follow the form of obligation, and the parties to the stipulation must (themselves or their heirs or slaves) be present and parties to the release. But the difficulty arising from these restrictions was got over by a new stipulation being entered into referring to the existing obligation, and giving it a new form suitable to the intended release. [See NOVATIO] Hence a future debt was converted into a present one,--a debt due from Titius was converted into one due from his procurator ; and an obligation arising from a loan or sale, &c., was stated in a stipulation and verbally promised (ib. s. 13.10). The new verbal obligation extinguished the old obligation, and was in turn itself extinguished by the formal acceptilatio. Gallus Aquilius invented a formula for reducing the whole liabilities of one party to another to a single obligation, in order that it might be thus extinguished. The formula is given in s. 18, Inst. 3.29.2, and is called the Aquiliana stipulatio.

What is invalid as a release may sometimes take effect as an agreement (pactum, s. 19; 2, 14, 27.9). And in other cases, e. g. of a donatio mortis causa, or a gift between husband and wife, the operation of an acceptilatio was suspended till the death of the donor (Dig. 39, 6, 24; 24, 1, 32.23). The chief authorities are Gai. 3.169-172 ; Dig. 46, 4; Inst. 3.29, § § 1, 2.


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.3.139
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 2.4
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 6.34
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 2.7
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