documents that express, in the form of certain juridical norms, various economic and political agreements, agreements among private individuals, between a private individual (juridicial or natural) and the state, between the church and state, and between states.
Acta constitute one of the most important types of historical documentary sources. The term acta is derived from the Latin actum (actum est—it is completed), which was used in the concluding parts of official ancient Roman and medieval documents, for instance, “completed in Rome.” For this reason the term is often used to refer to all documents in general, as distinct from narrative sources, and especially with reference to legislative documents, such as laws, edicts, ukases, and so on. The discipline which studies the form and content of historical acta is diplomatics.
S. M. KASHTANOV