from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A contract in early Ancient Rome in which the debtor pledged his own person as collateral should he default on his loan (thus risking becoming a slave to the creditor).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Roman law:
  • n. The contract, and the public ceremony manifesting it, by which, under the form of a sale with scales and copper, the ostensible pecuniary consideration, a debtor who was unable to pay became the bondman of his creditor.
  • n. The obligation or servitude, usually implying close confinement on the creditor's premises, and power of chaining and flogging. The contract or obligation was sometimes dependent on or only enforceable by judicial proceedings.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License



  • At that time the need for labor on the estates of wealthy Romans would have been met by citizens who had fallen into debt-bondage, nexum, which is also mentioned in the Twelve Tables.

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  • The San Francisco Art Institute Lecture Hall, up a steep, tree-lined and particularly Hitchcockian street in North Beach, has become a sound-art nexus in a city with more than its fair share of sound-art nexuses nexi? nexes? nexum?

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  • For a loyal person and for a person restored to allegiance there shall be the same right (_ius_) of bond (_nexum_) and of conveyance

    The Twelve Tables

  • When a person shall make bond (_nexum_) and conveyance

    The Twelve Tables

  • Siue igitur famulantibus quibusdam prouidentiae diuinis spiritibus fatum exercetur seu anima seu tota inseruiente natura seu caelestibus siderum motibus seu angelica uirtute seu daemonum uaria sollertia seu aliquibus horum seu omnibus fatalis series texitur, illud certe manifestum est immobilem simplicemque gerendarum formam rerum esse prouidentiam, fatum uero eorum quae diuina simplicitas gerenda disposuit mobilem nexum atque ordinem temporalem.

    The Theological Tractates and The Consolation of Philosophy

  • Poetelia_ of 326 B.C., which abolished the contract of _nexum_.

    A History of Rome During the Later Republic and Early Principate

  • It was _nexum_, and the parties to the contract were said to be _nexi_, expressions which must be carefully attended to on account of the singular durableness of the metaphor on which they are founded.

    Ancient Law Its Connection to the History of Early Society

  • He could not be a party to the _nexum_ which was at once the conveyance and the contract of the primitive Romans.

    Ancient Law Its Connection to the History of Early Society

  • In _that_ case, the _nexum_ is finished, so far as the seller is concerned, and when he has once handed over his property, he is no longer _nexus_; but, in regard to the purchaser, the _nexum_ continues.

    Ancient Law Its Connection to the History of Early Society

  • When once we understand that the _nexum_ was artificially prolonged to give time to the debtor, we can better comprehend his position in the eye of the public and of the law.

    Ancient Law Its Connection to the History of Early Society


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  • What's changed?

    January 21, 2009

  • A form of loan (in ancient Rome) in which the creditor could enslave and flog the debtor if he failed to make a payment.

    January 31, 2008