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Ways of doing business in Rome. Companies

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Slave market, Gustave Boulanger
Slave market, Gustaw Boulanger

Companies understood today as legal entities of commercial law did not exist in ancient Rome, but there were a similar legal institutions, echoes of which can be found in today’s law.

The company (societas) was a contract under which two or more people, called partners (socii), undertook mutual obligations in order to achieve a common economic goal – most often defined profits.

This institution has its origins in the former joint property resulting from the transfer of the inheritance to children after the father’s death. This form was so convenient for settlements that it was often continued long after the inheritance was split and even foreigners noticed the advantages of this solution. Its model was created by the widest form of a company where the current and even future assets were contributed towards it, the so-called societas omnium bonorum or a limited form with a specific contribution of partners in the form of property or work contributed – societas unius negotiationis. The so-called lions companies (societas leonina) in which one partner participated only in profits and the other only in losses were forbidden – the division had to be equal or proportional to the partners contribution.

After the dissolution of the partnership, the partners liquidated mutual legal and economic obligations through the division of joint ownership or, if there was a disagreement-in court.

Author: Sebastian Gruszka
  • Władysław Rozwadowski, Prawo Rzymskie. Zarys Wykładu wraz z wyborem źródeł, Poznań 1992

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