A couple's engagement in Roman law. The term appears to have derived from the fact that marriage in earlier times had been promised mutually through an official stipulatio (or through sponsio ) of the couple's fathers. In the late Republic and in the Principate, the sponsalia could be revoked freely and it was no longer possible to file a suit for marriage. Indirect commitments (e.g. contract penalties, Dig. 45,1,134 pr.) were abolished as well.
Honsell/Mayer-Maly/Selb, 392 f.