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Latin. An action; that is, the means which one person employs for obtaining, from a properly authorized judge, a sentence upon some other person, ordaining him to fulfill some obligation under which he lies. The various kinds of action under the civil law were numerous and complicated. They arose from four chief sources, namely, contracts, quasi-contracts, delicts, and quasi-delicts, each of which had several divisions and subdivisions; and the modes of procedure in raising and prosecuting these actions were different, at different periods in the history of the Roman law. 

Some actions were private and personal, which could only be raised by the person having interest, such as the action ex stipulatu (arising from a stipulation or verbal contract); while others were popular, and could be sued by any citizen. The latter were regarded as affecting the public interest, and therefore could be raised by anyone; as, for example, the accusatio sunpecti tutoris. Some contracts gave rise to two different actions, which were respectively termed directa and contraria, the former being that which arose directly and necessarily from the contract, and the latter being an action not necessarily arising, but which had arisen from circumstances attendant ...

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