Front Page Titles (by Subject) COMMENTARIVS SECVNDVS DE REBVS SINGVLIS ET DE RERVM UNIVERSITATIBVS - Institutes of Roman Law
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COMMENTARIVS SECVNDVS DE REBVS SINGVLIS ET DE RERVM UNIVERSITATIBVS - Gaius, Institutes of Roman Law [160 AD]
Gai Institutiones or Institutes of Roman Law by Gaius, with a Translation and Commentary by the late Edward Poste, M.A. Fourth edition, revised and enlarged by E.A. Whittuck, M.A. B.C.L., with an historical introduction by A.H.J. Greenidge, D.Litt. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1904).
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DE RERVM DIVISIONE.
§ 1.Superiore commentario de iure personarum | exposuimus; modo uideamus de rebus; quae uel in nostro patrimonio sunt uel extra nostrum patrimonium habentur.
Inst. 2, 1 pr.
§ 2. Summa itaque rerum diuisio in duos articulos diducitur: nam aliae sunt diuini iuris, aliae humani.
§ 3. Diuini iuris sunt ueluti res sacrae et religiosae.
Inst. 2, 1, 7.
§ 4. Sacrae sunt quae diis superis consecratae sunt; religiosae quae diis Manibusrelictae sunt.
Inst. 2, 1, 8.
§ 5. Sed sacrum quidem hoc solum existimatur quod ex auctoritate populi Romani consecratum est, ueluti lege de ea re lata aut senatusconsulto facto.
Inst. l. c.
§ 6. Religiosum uero nostra uoluntate facimus mortuum inferentes in locum nostrum, si modo eius mortui funus ad nos pertineat.
Inst. 2, 1, 9.
§ 7. Sed in prouinciali solo placet plerisque solum religiosum non fieri, quia in eo solo dominium populi Romani est uel Caesaris, nos autem possessionem tantum uel usumfructum habere uidemur; utique tamen etiamsi non sit religiosum, pro religioso habetur.
§ 7 a. Item quod in prouinciis non ex auctoritate populi Romani consecratum est, proprie sacrum non est, tamen pro sacro habetur.
§ 8. Sanctae quoque res, uelut muri et portae, quodammodo diuini iuris sunt.
Inst. 2, 1, 10.
§ 9. Quod autem diuini iuris est, id nullius in bonis est; id uero, quod humani iuris est, plerumque alicuius in bonis est: potest autem et nullius in bonis esse; nam res hereditariae, antequam aliquis heres existat, nullius in bonis sunt.
Inst. l. c.
§ 9 b. —
(8 fere uersus in C legi nequeunt)
—|NA *e domino.
§ 10. Hae autem quae humani iuris sunt, aut publicae sunt aut priuatae.
§ 11. Quae publicae sunt, nullius uidentur in bonis esse; ipsius enim uniuersitatis esse creduntur. priuatae sunt quae singulorum hominum sunt.
DE REBVS INCORPORALIBVS.
§ 12. Quaedam praeterea res corporales sunt, quaedam in 〈corporales〉.
Inst. 2, 2 pr.
§ 13. Corporales hae 〈sunt〉 quae tangi possunt, uelut fundus homo uestis aurum argentum et denique aliae res innumerabiles.
Inst. l. c.
§ 14. Incorporales sunt quae tangi non possunt, qualia sunt ea quae iure consistunt, sicut hereditas ususfructus obligationes quoquo modo contractae. nec ad rem per〈tinet, quod in hereditate res corporales con-〉tinentur et fructus qui ex fundo percipiuntur corporales sunt, et quod ex aliqua obligatione nobis debetur, id plerumque corporale est, ueluti fundus homo pecunia; nam ipsum ius successionis et ipsum ius utendi fruendi et ipsum ius obligationis incorporale est. eodem numero sunt iura praediorum urba|norum et rusticorum. —|—NA altius tollendi —|—NA luminibus uicini aed — non extollen|di, ne luminibus uicini officiatur. | item fluminum et stilicidiorum — ius, ut—|—NAin aream—|—|—|—NA ius aquae ducendae—|—NA
Inst. 2, 2, 2 and 3.
DE RERVM DIVISIONE.
§ 1. In the preceding book the law of persons was expounded; now let us proceed to the law of things, which are either subject to private dominion or not subject to private dominion.
§ 2. The leading division of things is into two classes: things subjects of divine, and things subjects of human right.
§ 3. Subjects of divine right are things sacred and things religious.
§ 4. Sacred things are those consecrated to the gods above; religious, those devoted to the gods below.
§ 5. Sacred things can only become so with the authority of the people of Rome, by consecration in pursuance of a law or a decree of the senate.
§ 6. A religious thing becomes so by private will, when an individual buries a dead body in his own ground, provided the burial is his proper business.
§ 7. On provincial soil, according to most authorities, ground does not become religious as the dominion belongs to the people of Rome or the Emperor, and individuals only have possession or usufruct, but such places, though not properly religious, are to be regarded as quasi-religious.
§ 7 a. Just as provincial soil, in default of the authorization of the people of Rome, is rendered by consecration not sacred, but quasisacred.
§ 8. Sanctioned places are to a certain extent under divine dominion, such as city gates and city walls.
§ 9. Things subject to divine dominion are exempt from private dominion; things subject to human dominion are generally subject to private dominion, but may be otherwise: for things belonging to an inheritance before any one has become heir have no actual owner.
§ 10. Things subject to human dominion are either public or private.
§ 11. Things public belong to no individual, but to a society or corporation; things private are subject to individual dominion.
DE REBVS INCORPORALIBVS.
§ 12. Again, things are either corporeal or incorporeal.
§ 13. Things corporeal are tan gible, as land, a slave, clothing, gold, silver, and innumerable others.
§ 14. Things incorporeal are intangible; such as those which have an existence simply in law as inheritance, usufruct, obligation, however contracted. For though an inheritance comprises things corporeal, and the fruits of land enjoyed by a usufructuary are corporeal, and obligations generally bind us to make over the conveyance of something corporeal: land, slaves, money; yet the right of succession, the right of usufruct, and the right of obligation are incorporeal. So are the rights attached to property in houses and land. The following are rights attached to property in houses; the right of raising a building and thereby obstructing the lights of a neighbouring building; the right of prohibiting a building being raised, so that one’s lights may not be interfered with; the right of letting rain-water fall in a body or in drops on a neighbour’s roof or area; the right of having a sewer through a neighbour’s area, or a window in a neighbour’s wall (cf. Epit. 2, 1, 3). The following are rights attached to property in land: iter, a right of way on foot or horseback; actus, a right of way for ordinary carriages; via, a right of paved way for heavy-laden wagons; pecoris ad aquam appulsus, a right of watering cattle; aquae ductus, a right of conveying water through the tenement of another.
Having treated of the law of Persons (unequal rights), we proceed to the law of Things (equal rights), and the first right which Gaius intends to discuss is the right called Dominion. Seduced, however, by an ambiguity of the word Res, which signifies either a right or the subject of a right, his opening statements (§§ 12-14) are deplorably confused.
In order to see our way, let us first examine Res as denoting the Object of a right. Every right implies, as we have stated, a duty; and every right or duty implies at least two persons, one of whom is entitled to the right while the other is liable to the duty. The immediate object of every right is an act or forbearance of the person who is liable to the duty. But the act or forbearance generally relates to some body, that is, to some tangible portion of the external world, whether a thing or a person. This body, accordingly, may be called the mediate, indirect, or secondary Object of the right. The secondary object of a right, however, is not always a body; it may be corporeal or incorporeal. For instance, dominium over land is a right to forbearance on the part of all the world from molestation of the owner in dealing with the land. A servitude, say a right of way, is a right to forbearance on the part of all the world from molestation of the person entitled when he passes over certain land. A contractual right is a right to a positive act or forbearance on the part of a determinate person, say, to the conveyance or delivery of a certain piece of land. In these cases, land, the secondary object of the right, is something corporeal. So, too, when a person is the object of a right; for instance, a child or a gladiator, 3 § 199, in the possession (detention or custody) of the parent or employer, and whose removal from such possession engenders in the removing party an obligation ex delicto. But in primordial rights, the object, at least as distinguished from the two parties in whom the right and duty respectively vest, is something incorporeal. A man has a right to forbearance on the part of all the world from molestation in his life, health, locomotion, honour. These objects of the right are incorporeal. Other rights, apparently, have no determinate object, corporeal or incorporeal, to which they are correlated. In a right to the services of a menial or gladiator, for instance, it would be hard to indicate any secondary or corporeal object to which the obligation of the menial or gladiator relates.
It is clear that no division of Objects of right will coincide with a classification of Rights: while, if we divide Res in the metaphysical sense of the World, or Being, or Existence (a sense suggested by the differentiae, corporalis, and incorporalis), Dominium, like all other rights, will be a member of the branch res incorporales, or Ownership. Gaius, however, wishes us to identify Dominium with res corporalis, and to make Obligation and the fractions of Dominium (servitutes), and even some forms of Dominium (e. g. hereditas), members of the contra-distinguished branch, res incorporalis. (Cf. 3 § 83, omnes ejus res incorporales et corporales quaeque ei debita sunt.)
Gaius was probably not entirely responsible for this confusion of thought, which, perhaps, was too deeply inwoven in the formulae of Roman jurisprudence to be easily eliminated by an institutional writer. E. g. the declaration (intentio) of a real action (in rem actio) was of the form: Si paret (1) illum fundum—(2) illam hereditatem—actoris esse. (Cf. 4 § 3 In rem actio est cum aut corporalem rem intendimus nostram esse aut jus aliquod nobis competere.) Now as hereditas is a jus successionis, § 14, it is clear that, if the second formula is correct, the first formula ought to be, not, Si paret illum fundum—but, Si paret illius fundi dominium—actoris esse. To meet this and similar inaccuracies of the framers of the formularies, Gaius is misled into identifying in res corporalis two things completely disparate, Right and the corporeal thing or Secondary Object of a right. There is a similar confusion in English law, chattels, tenements, and hereditaments being sometimes used to denote the objects, movable or immovable, of certain rights, sometimes the rights over those objects: and just as Res is divided into Corporalis and Incorporalis, so Hereditaments are divided into Corporeal and Incorporeal; although, if the term denotes a right, both branches are equally incorporeal: if it denotes the secondary object of a right, both branches are equally corporeal.
We shall find hereafter, 4 §§ 138-170, comm., that the position of possession in Roman jurisprudence—whether it belongs to the department of jus in rem or of obligatio ex delicto—is a moot question; but at present we need do no more than notice the existence of the controversy. We need also only to indicate a division of rights and duties into single rights and duties, and aggregates of rights and duties (universitas juris), such as Hereditas. A universitas juris includes Obligations as well as Rights, Jus in personam as well as Jus in rem, being in fact the succession of one person to which another person succeeds. But in spite of the diverse character of the elements of which it is composed, the juris universitas itself, or the ideal whole of these various elements, is regarded, e. g. in Hereditatis petitio, as a real Right, not an Obligation; as a Jus in rem, not a Jus in personam.
As Gaius thought that he could obtain the idea of Dominium by a division of Res into corporales and incorporales, so he seems to have thought that he could distinguish private dominium, the special department which he intends to examine, from other forms of dominium by a further division of Res. The phrases res divinae, res humanae, res communes, res publicae, res privatae, do indeed suggest the notion that res privatae is a specific member of the genus Res; but the appearance is fallacious. Very little reflection will convince us that res divinae, res publicae, res privatae are not a division of the objects of property (res); for the same thing, a piece of ground, for instance, may be an object of divine or public or private dominion; but merely a division of proprietors. In res divinae, the only doubtful case, the gods were deemed to be proprietors. Sed et illa interdicta quae de locis sacris et de religiosis proponuntur veluti proprietatis causam continent, Dig. 43, 1, 2, 2. ‘The interdicts respecting sacred and religious places protect a quasi-property.’
The division of the objects of right by their physical differences, the only way in which they can be divided, though only of subordinate importance, and though it cannot furnish the distinctions of Dominium and Obligation, nor of Public and Private dominium, yet has a considerable influence on jurisprudence, and demands a certain amount of attention. Thus ocean, air, and light, as opposed to the earth, are by their nature essentially res communes. Being incapable of appropriation, they have not been appropriated and are held in communism. Again, in wild animals, as opposed to tame, property is only coextensive with possession. On the difference between specific and generic things, or things consumed by use, quae pondere numero mensurave constant, and things not consumed by use, is founded the distinction between the contracts of mutuum and commodatum. Cf. 3 § 90. On the same difference of specific and generic things are founded different rules relating to the contract of sale, 3 §§ 139-141, comm.; and the distinction of movables and immovables founds important differences in Roman and other systems of law.
The phrases in nostro patrimonio and extra nostrum patrimonium, § 1, are apparently equivalent to alicujus in bonis and nullius in bonis, § 9, and to the expressions we meet elsewhere, in commercio and extra commercium.
Of res communes, or things such as air and running water, which sometimes come under discussion (cf. Inst. 2, 1, 1 Et quidem naturali jure communia sunt omnium haec: aer et aqua profluens et mare et per hoc litora maris) but are not mentioned by Gaius, we may observe, that they only fall within the province of positive law, as belonging to the jurisdiction of each particular state.
All the things within the territory of a given state are subject to its dominion (dominium eminens), that is, are res publicae in a general sense of the term. Of these things it allows the dominium over some to vest in private individuals for their own advantage, while it retains the dominium over others in itself as if it were a corporation or collective person (personarum universitas). This gives us a division of all things into res privatae and res publicae in a narrower sense of the term. We must note, however, that the dominium of the state is not exactly similar to private dominium, that is to say, is not dominium in the proper sense or the sense in which the word is used in civil law. For the civil dominium of private persons is a right protected and sanctioned by a political superior, whereas a sovereign state is by hypothesis in subjection to no superior. A state, then, can only be said to have dominium in a modified sense of the word, that is, so far as it is not restrained by any positive law of any superior from using and dealing with certain things as it may please.
Of things which are objects of public dominion, some are vested immediately in the state, others in subordinate persons, single or corporate, magistrates, for instance, and municipalities, to be held by such persons for various public purposes. Among these we might also reckon res divini juris, though as dedicated to religious purposes, such things were regarded by the Romans as no man’s property, §§ 3-6.
Another division of res publicae is into res in patrimonio populi and res non in patrimonio populi. Under the former are included the public treasury, the public domain, public slaves, bequests lapsing to the state (caduca) or res privatae otherwise devolving on the state; in other words, all things of which the state as universitas retains not only the property but also the use and disposition (res enim fiscales quasi propriae et privatae principis sunt, Dig. 43, 8, 2, 4). The other class includes high roads, public rivers, public buildings, &c., that is, all things of which the property is in the community and the use in the members of the community. Or we may say that the property is in the universitas, but it is subject to a personal servitude (usus) vested in all the private members of that universitas (singuli, universi).
Not only res publicae but res privatae may be thus subject. For instance, the banks of public rivers and the trees thereupon are the property of the adjacent proprietors; but the navigators of these rivers have the right of mooring, landing, unlading, and using the banks in various other ways, Inst. 2, 1, 4.
Ownership (dominium) absolute or pre-eminently so called, may be defined as a right of unlimited duration, imparting to the owner a power of indefinite enjoyment or use, and a power of aliening from all who in default of alienation by him might succeed by descent; or, in other words, from all successors interposed between himself and the sovereign as ultimus heres. It is accordingly sometimes said to consist of jus utendi, fruendi, abutendi; where abusus includes the power of consumption or destruction, of dereliction, and of disposition (sale, exchange, gift, mortgage, lease, &c.). Another element is equally important, the right of exclusion (jus prohibendi). Another is the jus transmittendi, i. e. the right of leaving the integral right, in the absence of Disposition, to those whom he would presumably have wished to be his successors.
Besides ownership (dominium) Roman law recognizes various kinds of partial property, real rights over an object of which the dominium is in another person, called jura in re or jura in re aliena, rights which fall short of absolute property but approximate to it in various degrees. Such rights, which are limitations of ownership, are servitudes, § 14, mortgage (pignus), superficies, and emphyteusis. These may all be regarded as detached fractions of ownership, portions of the right of dominion taken from the proprietor and vested in another person. Servitudes are explained by Justinian in the parallel passage of his Institutes (2, 3-5), and, together with the other jura in re aliena, demand here a brief notice.
Servitudes are (1) praedial or real (praediorum), that is, belong to a person as owner of a certain house or land (praedium dominans) in respect of a house or land belonging to another proprietor (praedium serviens), or (2) personal (personarum), that is, are vested in a person without relation to his ownership of praedium dominans, and being thus inseparably attached to him they are inalienable and determine at his death. (Compare in English law the division of easements into easements appurtenant to land and easements in gross.)
Praedial servitudes are servitudes in the strictest sense, being contrasted with ownership by their precise and definite circumscription. Ownership (dominium) is a right against the world which gives to the party in whom it resides a power of dealing with the subject which is not capable of exact definition. Servitude is such a right against the world as gives to the party in whom it resides a power of using the subject which is susceptible of precise description. It is a definite subtraction from the indefinite powers of use and exclusion which reside in the owner; or a right against the owner and the rest of the world to make certain use of a thing or prohibit certain uses.
Praedial servitudes are (1) rustic, relating to land, or (2) urban, relating to houses. Urban servitudes are further subdivided into Positive or Affirmative and Privative or Negative. The following considerations will show the meaning of this division and its origin in the nature of Property.
Servitudes are limitations of, or deductions from, another person’s ownership or dominium. Dominium contains, among other elements, (A) certain powers of action (jus utendi), and (B) certain powers of exclusion (jus prohibendi). Restrictions on these powers will be (a) a certain necessitas non utendi, and (b) a certain necessitas patiendi. Correlative to these duties on the part of the owner of the servient tenement will be certain rights of the owner of the dominant tenement, viz. (α) a certain jus prohibendi, and (β) a certain jus utendi, or in other words, (α) a certain negative servitude, and (β) a certain affirmative servitude. As it happens that all the servitudes which public policy has recognized in relation to land are of an Affirmative character (except Si concedas mihi jus tibi non esse in fundo tuo aquam quaerere, minuendae aquae meae gratia, Dig. 8, 1, 15 pr. though, as Windscheid remarks, there is no reason why this should not also be an urban servitude—) and relate to some transient action (except Ut tugurium mihi habere liceret in tuo, scilicet si habeam pascui servitutem aut pecoris appellendi, ut, si hiems ingruerit, habeam quo me recipiam, Dig. 8, 3, 6, 1), they may be called jus faciendi: while those relating to houses are both Affirmative and Negative (jus prohibendi). Affirmative Urban servitudes, implying some permanent structure, may, in conformity with classical usage (e. g. jus tignum immissum habendi) for the sake of distinction from the Rural servitudes, be called jus habendi: they resemble them in the generic character that they are each a jus utendi.
(1) Instances of Rural servitude (jus faciendi) are iter, or jus eundi, right of way for beast and man on foot or on horseback over the servient tenement to the dominant tenement; actus or jus agendi, right of way for ordinary carriages (not for heavy-laden wagons); via (or jus vehendi?), right of paved way for heavy-laden wagons; aquae haustus, the right of drawing water from a private spring; aquae ductus, the right of conveying water over the servient tenement; pecoris ad aquam appulsus, the right of watering cattle; jus pecoris pascendi, the right of pasturing cattle; jus calcis coquendae, the right of burning lime; jus cretae eximendae, the right of quarrying for chalk; jus arenae fodiendae, the right of taking sand; jus silvae caeduae, the right of cutting wood in a wood suitable for the purpose.
(2) Instances of affirmative urban servitudes are jus tigni immittendi, the right of inserting a beam in a neighbour’s wall; jus oneris ferendi, the right of resting a weight on a neighbour’s wall or column (this servitude involves on the part of the servient owner the positive obligation of repairing the servient wall (refectio); whereas all other servitudes, as real rights, are contradistinguished from obligations or personal rights, by corresponding to the merely negative duty of abstention; cf. Windscheid, Pandekten, 1 § 211 a, note 3); jus protegendi, the right of projecting a roof over the soil of a neighbour; jus stillicidii recipiendi or avertendi or immittendi, the right of directing the rainfall on to a neighbour’s roof or area; jus cloacae immittendae, the right of making a sewer through the area of a neighbour; servitus luminum or jus luminis immittendi, the right of having a window in a neighbour’s wall; jus officiendi luminibus vicini, the reacquired right of an owner to diminish the light of a neighbour; jus altius tollendi, the reacquired right of an owner to increase the height of a structure, § 31; the right of storing fruit in his villa, ut fructus in vicini villa cogantur coactique habeantur; of placing quarried stones on his land, posse te cedere jus ei esse terram, rudus, saxa, jacere posita habere, et ut in tuum lapides provolvantur ibique positi habeantur, Dig. 8, 3, 3, 1 and 2. Vangerow holds that Aquaeductus, implying jus habendi, though it is servitus Rustica as to the land from which water is taken, is servitus Urbana as to the land over which water is conveyed.
(3) Instances of jus prohibendi are jus altius non tollendi, the right of forbidding a neighbour to raise the height of his buildings; jus ne prospectui officiatur, the right of having a prospect unintercepted; jus ne luminibus officiatur, the right of having the access of light to one’s windows obstructed; jus stillicidii non avertendi, the reacquired right of prohibiting my neighbour from discharging his rainfall into my area. Inst. 2, 3.
Personal servitudes (Inst. 2, 4 and 5) are rights of a less limited character in respect of user, but more restricted as to duration than praedial: instances are Habitatio, the right of occupying a house; Usus, the right of using a thing and consuming its immediate fruits or products, without the right of letting the thing or selling its products; of acquiring, in other words, its rent and profits, which may be regarded as its mediate or secondary fruits. Fructus, usually called Ususfructus, the further right of leasing the thing and selling its fruits. Habitatio, Usus, Ususfructus were usually, though not invariably, life interests, and, unlike real servitudes, implied Detention of the object; Possession of it, as opposed to Detention (4 §§ 138-170, comm.), remaining in the proprietor. For the modes of creating and vindicating servitudes, see §§ 28-33; 4 § 88, comm. Servitus was the only jus in re aliena belonging to jus civile. The other jura in re aliena, subsequently instituted, were pignus, superficies and emphyteusis.
Pignus or hypotheca, as developed by praetorian law, was the right of a creditor in a thing belonging to his debtor, maintainable against any one, in order to secure satisfaction of his debt. The praetorian action, by which the creditor could claim possession of the thing pledged, corresponding to the vindicatio of the owner, is called actio quasi Serviana in rem or hypothecaria. See 3 §§ 90, 91, comm.
Superficies is the right of a person who, having rented land for building on a long or perpetual lease, has built a house on it, which according to jus gentium, by the rule of Accession, is the property of the proprietor of the soil; cf. Inst. 2, 1, 29. The Praetor, however, recognized in the superficiarius a jus in re which he protected by an interdict de superficie and an actio in rem utilis.
Jus in agro vectigali or emphyteusis, as this species of right came to be called subsequently to the time of Gaius, from waste lands of the Emperor being let out under this kind of tenancy to be planted or cultivated, was a perpetual lease which transferred to the tenant or emphyteuta most of the rights of the owner. Accordingly he could maintain actio vectigalis in rem against any one to recover possession of the land thus leased to him. See 3 § 145. Although emphyteusis might be of unlimited duration, and was alienable without the consent of the owner, subject to his right of pre-emption, yet the owner had a right of recovering the land for breach of condition, or failing heirs of the emphyteuta, much as the feudal lord of a fee could recover the fief on forfeiture or escheat of the tenant, emphyteusis being even regarded by some as the model on which feudal tenure was instituted. This forfeiture or escheat to the lord of the fee makes property in land theoretically imperfect, like emphyteusis, falling short of ownership. Property in chattels, on the contrary, is not held of a superior, and, therefore, is absolute.
The Profits and Easements of English law generally correspond to the Servitutes of Roman law. But the principle: Servitutium non ea natura est ut aliquid faciat quis, sed ut aliquid patiatur aut non faciat, Dig. 8, 1, 15, 1: ‘Servitudes are not a right to a performance but to a permission or forbearance:’ would exclude from the class of Servitudes some members of the class of Profits; e. g. Rents, which are said to lie in render, i. e. to involve a performance of the party burdened, not in prender, i. e. not to consist in an act of the party entitled. Roman law adhered strictly to the principle that Real rights, or rights against the world, can only correlate to negative duties, duties of forbearance; and that rights correlating to positive obligations, or duties of performance, can only be Personal; i. e. can only regard a particular individual and his universal successors.
§§ 14 a-27. Having described the various kinds of real right (jus in rem), i. e. dominium and its fractions (jura in re), we proceed to the titles of real rights, that is to say, the events to which these rights are annexed by the law; in other words, the modes prescribed by the law by which such rights may be acquired; in other words, the legal definitions of the classes of persons in whom such rights are declared to be vested.
The Titles of real rights are divisible into Titles by which single real rights are acquired and Titles by which aggregates of rights (universitates jurum) are acquired.
Titles by which single real rights are acquired are divisible into Titles sanctioned by the civil law (jus civile) and Titles sanctioned by natural law (jus gentium, jus naturale), natural law denoting the rules of Roman law introduced by praetors, jurists and statutes, as consonant to the general reason of mankind.
Titles to ownership by civil law are mancipatio, in jure cessio, usucapio, and others which will be mentioned. Titles by natural law are traditio, occupatio, accessio, and others which will be mentioned, § 35. We commence with Titles by civil law.
RERVM CORPORALIVM ADQVISITIONES CIVILES.
§ 14 a. — aut mancipi sunt aut nec mancipi. | Mancipi sunt—|NA item aedes in Italico solo—|—|—NAserui|tutes praediorum urbanorum nec mancipi sunt. |
1 § 120; Ulp. 19, 1.
§ 15. Item stipendiaria praedia et tributaria nec mancipi | sunt. sed quod diximus—|NAmancipi esse—|—NAstatim ut nata sunt mancipi esse putant; Nerua uero et Proculus et ceteri diuersae scholae auctores non aliter ea mancipi esse putant, quam si domita sunt; et si propter nimiam feritatem domari non possunt, tunc uideri mancipi esse incipere, cum ad cam aetatem peruenerit, qua domari solent.
§ 16.Item ferae bestiae nec mancipi sunt uelut ursi leones, item ea animalia quae fere bestiarum numero sunt, ueluti elephanti et cameli; et ideo ad rem non pertinet, quod haec animalia etiam collo dorsoue domari solent; nam ne nomen quidem eorum animalium illo tempore 〈notum〉 fuit, quo constituebatur quasdam res mancipi esse, quasdam nec mancipi.
§ 17. Item fere omnia quae incorporalia sunt nec mancipi sunt, exceptis seruitutibus praediorum rusticorum; nam eas mancipi esse constat, quamuis sint ex numero rerum incorporalium.
§ 18. Magna autem differentia est inter mancipi res et nec mancipi.
§ 19. Nam res nec mancipi ipsa traditione pleno iure alterius fiunt, si modo corporales sunt et ob id recipiunt traditionem.
§ 20. Itaque si tibi uestem uel aurum uel argentum tradidero siue ex uenditionis causa siue ex donationis siue quauis alia ex causa, statim tua fit ea res, si modo ego eius dominus sim.
§ 21.In eadem causa sunt prouincialia praedia, quorum alia stipendiaria alia tributaria uocamus. stipendiaria sunt ea, quae in his prouinciis sunt, quae propriae populi Romani esse intelleguntur; tributaria sunt ea, quae in his prouinciis sunt, quae propriae Caesaris esse creduntur.
Inst. 2, 1, 40.
§ 22. Mancipi uero res sunt, quae per mancipationem ad alium transferuntur; undeetiam mancipi res sunt dictae. quod autem ualet 〈mancipatio, idem ualet et in iure cessio.
§ 23.Et〉 mancipatio quidem quemadmodum fiat, superiore commentario tradidimus.
§ 24. In iure cessio autem hoc modo fit: apud magistratum populi Romani, ueluti praetorem, is cui res in iure ceditur rem tenens ita dicit hvnc ego hominem ex ivre qviritivm mevm esse aio; deinde postquam hic uindicauerit, praetor interrogat eum qui cedit, an contra uindicet; quo negante aut tacente tunc ei qui uindicauerit, eam rem addicit; idque legis actio uocatur. hoc fieri potest etiam in prouinciis apud praesides earum.
§ 25. Plerumque tamen et fere semper mancipationibus utimur. quod enim ipsi per nos praesentibus amicis agere possumus, hoc non est necesse cum maiore difficultate apud praetorem aut apud praesidem prouinciae agere.
§ 26. Quodsi neque mancipata neque in iure cessa sit res mancipi
(6 uersus in C legi nequeunt)—|NA*plena possessio concessa—|NAex formula qua hi qu —|—|—|NA fructus na—|NA.
§ 27. Item adhuc i—|NA
(4 uersus in C legi nequeunt)—|NAnon fuissent—|NA
(7 uersus in C legi nequeunt) — s —|—|NA est quo nomine—|—NAere uel—|NApraedium—|NAdem ulla libera ciuitas—admo|nendi sumus— |NA esse, prouincialis soli nexum non e— |NA significationem solum Italicum mancipi est, pro|uinciale nec mancipi est. aliter enim ueteri lingua a|—NAmancipa—|NA.
RERVM CORPORALIVM ADQVISITIONES CIVILES.
§ 14 a. Things are further divided into mancipable and not mancipable; mancipable are land and houses in Italy; tame animals employed for draught and carriage, as oxen, horses, mules, and asses; rustic servitudes over Italian soil; but urban servitudes are not mancipable.
§ 15. Stipendiary and tributary estates are also not mancipable. According to my school animals which are generally tamed are mancipable as soon as they are born; according to Nerva and Proculus and their followers, such animals are not mancipable until tamed, or if too wild to be tamed, until they attain the age at which other individuals of the species are tamed.
§ 16. Things not mancipable include wild beasts, as bears, lions; and semi-wild beasts, as elephants and camels, notwithstanding that these animals are sometimes broken in for draught or carriage; for their name was not even known at the time when the distinction between res mancipi and nec mancipi was established.
§ 17. Also things incorporeal, except rustic servitudes on Italian soil; for it is clear that these are mancipable objects, although belonging to the class of incorporeal things.
§ 18. There is an important difference between things mancipable and things not mancipable.
§ 19. Complete ownership in things not mancipable is transferred by merely informal delivery of possession (tradition), if they are corporeal and capable of delivery.
§ 20. Thus when possession of clothes or gold or silver is delivered on account of a sale or gift or any other cause, the property passes at once, if the person who conveys is owner of them.
§ 21. Similarly transferable are estates in provincial lands, whether stipendiary or tributary; stipendiary being lands in provinces subject to the dominion of the people of Rome; tributary, lands in the provinces subject to the dominion of the Emperor.
§ 22. Mancipable things, on the contrary, are such as are conveyed by mancipation, whence their name; but surrender before a magistrate has exactly the same effect in this respect as mancipation.
§ 23. The process of mancipation was described in the preceding book (1 § 119).
§ 24. Conveyance by surrender before a magistrate (in jure cessio) is in the following form: in the presence of some magistrate of the Roman people, such as a praetor, the surrenderee grasping the object says: I say this slave is my property by title Quiritary. Then the praetor interrogates the surrenderor whether he makes a counter-vindication, and upon his disclaimer or silence awards the thing to the vindicant. This proceeding is called a statute-process; it can even take place in a province before the president.
§ 25. Generally, however, and almost always the method of mancipation is preferred; for why should a result that can be accomplished in private with the assistance of our friends be prosecuted with greater trouble before the praetor or president of the province?
§ 26. If neither mancipation nor surrender before the magistrate is employed in the conveyance of a mancipable thing . . . .
§§ 14 a-23. Mancipable things—things taken by the hand and so alienable—were at first, probably, the more important accessories of a farm, that is, slaves and beasts of burden—oxen, horses, mules and asses (1 § 120), land itself in Italy and rural servitudes attaching to such land being subsequently made mancipable.
These, the objects of principal value to an agricultural community, became alienable by means of the formal proceeding by bronze and balance, called mancipation, which Gaius says (1, 119) is an imaginary sale.
In its origin, however, mancipation appears to have been not an imaginary, but a genuine sale for valuable consideration. The introduction of coined money by making the weighing of the bronze in the scales a formality first gave the proceeding an appearance of unreality, but in order to maintain its original character, the Twelve Tables, which were passed at the time when this important monetary change took place, expressly declared that no property should pass by mancipation, unless the price was actually paid to the mancipating party or security given him for it (cf. Inst. 2, 1, 41 Venditae vero et traditae non aliter emptori adquiruntur, quam si is venditori pretium solverit vel alio modo ei satisfecerit, veluti expromissore aut pignore dato: quod cavetur etiam lege duodecim tabularum)—where traditae is an evident Tribonianism for mancipatae. But this law was afterwards evaded by juristic ingenuity, the practice of paying only a nominal sum—a single sesterce—being held to be a sufficient compliance with it. This made it possible to use mancipation as a mere conveyancing form. Even in the case of genuine sales, it was found advantageous only thus to pay a nominal sum in the mancipation itself and to make the payment of the purchase money something entirely apart, for by this means the mancipating party in fact escaped the liability imposed on him by the Twelve Tables of paying, as warrantor of the title (auctor), double the price to the other party to the transaction in case of the latter being evicted (cf. Cic. pro Mur. 2, 3, in Caec. 19, 54), and it had the further advantage that the purchaser was enabled to acquire ownership by the mancipation before he had paid the actual purchase money (cf. Muirhead, Roman Law, § 30; Sohm, pp. 51, 61). How, by means of the nuncupation and by collateral fiduciary agreements, mancipation was adapted to effect various legal purposes, may be seen in other parts of the text and commentary.
The form of mancipation (1, 119) shows its archaic origin. If, as has been thought by many modern writers, the witnesses to it originally represented the five classes of the Roman people, mancipation, at least in its ultimate form, cannot have been earlier than the Servian constitution, by which this division of the people was made. The advantage of requiring the presence of a number of citizens to bear testimony to important transfers of property in an age when writing was not in common use is apparent.
§§ 24-26. In jure cessio—the other mode of transfer peculiar to Jus Civile, and so likewise confined to Roman citizens, is an adaptation of the legis actio per vindicationem to conveyancing purposes, depending for its operation on the collusive admission by the defendant of the supposed plaintiff’s claim (confessus pro judicato est). This fictitious process, which is not so primitive in character as mancipation, though it was also recognized by the law of the Twelve Tables, must have been introduced to circumvent the law in order to effect objects unattainable by direct means, such as the manumission of slaves. Though Quiritary ownership could be thus conveyed, it was, for the reason given in § 25, rarely employed for this purpose. But for creating or transferring some kinds of rights surrender before a magistrate was essential, §§ 30, 34.
In jure cessio or surrender before a magistrate cannot fail to recall to an English lawyer two similar modes of alienation that recently existed in English jurisprudence, alienation by Fine and alienation by Recovery, both of which, like in jure cessio, were based on a fictitious action; in both of which, that is to say, although the parties did not really stand in the relation of adverse litigants, the alienee was supposed to recover an estate by process of law. By a Fine, an action commenced against the alienor and at once terminated by his acknowledging the right of the alienee, a tenant in tail could aliene the fee simple, so far at least as to bar his own issue. By a Recovery, a tenant in tail could convey an absolute estate in fee. This was an action supposed to be, not like a Fine immediately compromised, but carried on through every regular stage to the conclusion; whereby the alienee recovered judgement against the alienor, who in his turn recovered judgement against an imaginary warrantor whom he vouched to warranty (cf. laudat auctorem, 3 § 141, comm.).
Res nec mancipi, that is all objects of individual ownership, other than res mancipi, were the only things allowed to pass in complete ownership (pleno jure) simply by tradition, § 19.
This informal mode of alienation did not, like mancipatio, in jure cessio, and usucapio, belong to Jus Civile, but to Jus Gentium, § 65; and was of later introduction than these.
The tradition or informal delivery of some res nec mancipi must, however, have been common from the earliest times, though such tradition would have been regarded at first merely as a delivery of possession, to be protected by the law of theft, not as a title of ownership, to be asserted by vindicatio. At a later period, however, in order to facilitate commerce, tradition became by the influence of jus gentium a mode of acquiring ownership in things which did not belong to the privileged class of res mancipi. By tradition, which is a transfer of possession, ownership may be also transferred, if the transferor is himself owner; otherwise conformably to the principle ‘Nemo plus juris transferre potest, quam ipse habet’—possession only passes, bona fide possession, if the transferee knows nothing of his defective title, malâ fide, if he is aware of it. If we consider Surrender before a Magistrate, Mancipation, Tradition, we shall see that they are only three forms of one identical title, Alienation. The substance or essence of the title, the intention on the one side to transfer property, on the other to accept it, is the same in all three; it is only the adventitious, or accidental, or evidentiary portion of the title in which they differ.
Although delivery of possession, like the solemnities of mancipation and surrender, is, as compared with the will or intention of the parties, only an evidentiary and declaratory part of the title; yet both parcels, delivery of possession, as well as agreement, are indispensable in the transfer of ownership. ‘Traditionibus et usucapionibus dominia rerum, non nudis pactis transferuntur,’ Cod. 2, 3, 20. ‘Tradition and usucapion, not bare agreement, operate as a transfer of ownership.’ Tradition, which is only applicable to corporeal things, is usually effected by some physical act of appropriation, but it may take place without any such actual delivery being made at the time. This occurs when a vendor agrees to hold the property he sells on account of, or as agent of, the purchaser (constitutum possessorium), or when a person already holding a thing on account of the vendor, e. g. as a deposit, or loan, agrees to purchase it (traditio brevi manu). (Inst. 2, 1, 44.)
We have spoken of tradition as a title whereby ownership was acquired. Tradition, however, was only an element, usually the final element, of the complex mode of acquisition, to which it gives its name. To be capable of passing property, delivery must be accompanied by another element, usually an antecedent element, some contract of sale or other legal ground, which is evidence of an intention to aliene. ‘Nunquam nuda traditio transfert dominium, sed ita si venditio vel aliqua justa causa praecesserit, propter quam traditio sequeretur,’ Dig. 41, 1, 31 pr. It is clear that bare delivery, or transfer of physical control, without any further element of Title, cannot pass Dominium, for in Loan for Use (commodatum) such transfer merely passes what may be called Detention without Possession; in Pledge (pignus) it passes what may be called derivative Possession; in Deposit it usually passes Detention alone, but sometimes Possession also, though in this case also it is derivative Possession, not Possession of the thing as one’s own. (4 §§ 138-170, comm.) The cases in which Ownership (Dominium) is passed by Tradition may be reduced to three classes, traditio donandi animo, traditio credendi animo, and traditio solvendi animo. In the first, it simply confers ownership on the donee; in the second, it confers ownership on the transferee, and subjects him to an obligation; in the third, it confers ownership on the transferee, and discharges the transferor of an obligation. In the two latter cases, i. e. tradition by way of loan, as of money (mutui datio), and tradition by way of payment (solutio), the disposition or justa causa accompanying tradition contains much that is unessential to the transfer of dominium or ownership, the only absolutely essential element being the intention of the parties to convey and take dominium. In Donation the justa causa traditionis consists solely of this essential element. The justa causa, then, which must accompany delivery, must involve the animus or voluntas transferendi dominii, and this, apparently, is given as the whole of the matter in a passage of Gaius quoted in Digest: ‘Hae quoque res, quae traditione nostrae fiunt, jure gentium nobis adquiruntur; nihil enim tam conveniens est naturali aequitati quam voluntatem domini volentis rem suam in alium transferre ratam haberi,’ Dig. 41, 1, 9, 3. Tradition is a mode of acquisition, ‘in accordance with Jus Gentium, for it is a plain dictate of natural justice, that the will of an owner to transfer his ownership to another should be allowed to take effect.’
In one case, as we have seen, the operation even of contract and delivery combined was limited by the Twelve Tables, namely, in Sale. Hence it came about that tradition did not operate a transmutation of property without a further condition—payment of the purchase money, unless the sale is intended to be a sale on credit, or satisfaction is made to the vendor in some way. Inst. 2, 1, 41. Delivery sometimes precedes the intention to transfer, for instance, in a conditional sale; in which case the transfer of property may be suspended until the condition is fulfilled. The intended transferee may be an incerta persona, for instance, when money is scattered among a mob by a praetor or consul (missilium jactus). Inst. 2, 1, 46.
Tradition in Roman law was never fictitious; it was always an actual delivery of a power of physical or corporeal control, so the delivery of the keys of a house is not something symbolical or fictitious, but a real transfer of a power of exercising dominion. The restriction of tradition, as a mode of acquiring ownership, to res nec mancipi had previously to the time of Gaius lost much of its importance, the Praetor protecting one to whom a res mancipi, such as land, had been delivered, as if Quiritarian ownership of it had been obtained by usucapion, § 41. In Justinian’s time Tradition had entirely superseded the civil titles of surrender before the magistrate and mancipation: the ancient distinction between res mancipi and res nec mancipi being no longer in existence.
§ 21. This section contains the clearest statement which we possess of the technical distinction between the two classes of provinces instituted by Augustus. Those which were not under the direct control of the Princeps were technically under the control of the Senate and People (compare Dio Cassius, liii. 12); but, as the People was mainly represented by the Senate, they are often spoken of as Senatorial Provinces. The provinces of Caesar were far more numerous; about the time of Gaius they numbered thirty-one—twenty-one being governed by Legati pro praetore, nine by Procurators, and Egypt by its Praefect—while the Public Provinces under Proconsuls numbered but eleven. See Marquardt, Staatsverwaltung, i. p. 494. The attempt to keep these departments distinct was a failure; and the control of the Public Provinces by the Princeps was now very considerable, especially in matters of jurisdiction. But the technical difference between the two kinds of provinces was still preserved in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Thus we find that Emperor causing provinces to be transferred from the one to the other category in obedience to military considerations, and asking the Senate to vote money to him from the Aerarium, the treasury which contained the dues from the Public Provinces (Vita Marci, 22, Dio Cassius, lxxi. 33).
During the Republic the taxes paid by provincials had been called stipendium—a word which points to the view originally taken that these revenues were meant to meet military expenses; for stipendium means pay for the army. During the Principate the word tributum came also to be used for imperial taxes; but this passage of Gaius shows that stipendium was still employed for the dues paid by the Public Provinces. The distinction between stipendiary and tributary provinces is perhaps based on a difference in the mode of collecting, not of levying, the taxes. It seems that in the Public Provinces the taxes were still collected by the local governments themselves and paid to the Quaestors, whereas in Caesar’s Provinces the Procurators came into direct contact with the tax-payer. The mode of collection was in the second case direct, in the first indirect. It is also possible that the ownership of the soil in Caesar’s Provinces was regarded as vested in the Princeps, that of the soil in the Public Provinces as vested in the Roman state (see Mommsen, Staatsrecht, ii. p. 1088), and this distinction may be implied in the two classes of provincialia praedia mentioned by Gaius.
The mode of taxation was uniform for the whole Empire, and the assessments were made at intervals by the Emperor’s officials. The taxes were either imports on the land (tributum soli) or on the person (tributum capitis). The land-tax was in most provinces paid either in money or grain, more usually in the former, although in certain minor districts it was delivered in the form of other produce. The personal tax might be one on professions, income, or movable property. Occasionally it was a simple poll-tax, this latter burden being probably imposed on those provincials whose property fell below a certain rating.
§ 24. The legati Caesaris or Presidents of imperial provinces had originally on jurisdiction to preside over legis actio, but this was afterwards conferred upon them, Tac. Ann. 12, 60.
§ 26. Gaius probably explained in this place the effect of tradition of a res mancipi, § 41, and then went on to treat of the jus commercii. Ulp. 19, 4, 5 Mancipatio locum habet inter cives Romanos et Latinos coloniarios Latinosque Junianos eosque peregrinos quibus commercium datum est. Commercium est emendi vendendique invicem jus.
RERVM INCORPORALIVM ADQVISITIONES CIVILES.
§ 28. 〈Res〉 incorporales traditionem non recipere manifestum est.
§ 29. Sed iura praediorum urbanorum in iure cedi 〈tantum〉 possunt; rusticorum uero etiam mancipari possunt.
§ 30. Vsusfructus in iure cessionem tantum recipit. nam dominus proprietatis alii usumfructum in iure cedere potest, ut ille usumfructum habeat et ipse nudam proprietatem retineat. ipse ususfructuarius in iure cedendo domino proprietatis usumfructum efficit, ut a se discedat et conuertatur in proprietatem; alii uero in iure cedendo nihilo minus ius suum retinet; creditur enim ea cessione nihil agi.
§ 31. Sed haec scilicet in Italicis praediis ita sunt, quia et ipsa praedia mancipationem et in iure cessionem recipiunt. alioquin in prouincialibus praediis siue quis usumfructum siue ius eundi agendi aquamue ducendi uel altius tollendi aedes aut non tollendi, ne luminibus uicini officiatur, ceteraque similia iura constituere uelit, pactionibus et stipulationibus id efficere potest, quia ne ipsa quidem praedia mancipationem aut 〈in〉 iure cessionem recipiunt.
§ 32. Sed cum ususfructus et hominum et ceterorum animalium constitui possit, intellegere debemus horum usumfructum etiam in prouinciis per in iure cessionem constitui posse.
§ 33. Quod autem diximus usumfructum in iure cessionem tantum recipere, non est temere dictum, quamuis etiam per mancipationem constitui possit eo quod in mancipanda proprietate detrahi potest; non enim ipse ususfructus mancipatur, sed cum in mancipanda proprietate deducatur, eo fit ut apud alium ususfructus, apud alium proprietas sit.
§ 34. Hereditas quoque in iure cessionem tantum recipit.
§ 35. Nam si is, ad quem ab intestato legitimo iure pertinet hereditas, in iure eam alii ante aditionem cedat, id est antequam heres extiterit, proinde fit heres is cui in iure cesserit, ac si ipse per legem ad hereditatem uocatus esset; post obligationem uero si cesserit, nihilo minus ipse heres permanet et ob id creditoribus tenebitur, debita, uero pereunt eoque modo debitores hereditarii lucrum faciunt; corpora uero eius hereditatis proinde transeunt ad eum cui cessa est hereditas, ac si ei singula in iure cessa fuissent.
§ 36. Testamento autem scriptus heres ante aditam quidem hereditatem in iure cedendo eam alii nihil agit; postea uero quam adierit si cedat, ea accidunt, quae proxime diximus de eo ad quem ab intestato legitimo iure pertinet hereditas, si post obligationem 〈in〉 iure cedat.
§ 37. Idem et de necessariis heredibus diuersae scholae auctores existimant, quod nihil uidetur interesse utrum 〈aliquis〉 adeundo hereditatem fiat heres, an inuitus existat; quod quale sit, suo loco apparebit. sed nostri praeceptores putant nihil agere necessarium heredem, cum in iure cedat hereditatem.
§ 38. Obligationes quoquo modo contractae nihil eorum recipiunt. nam quod mihi ab aliquo debetur, id si uelim tibi deberi, nullo eorum modo quibus res corporales ad alium transferuntur id efficere possum, sed opus est, ut iubente me tu ab eo stipuleris; quae res efficit, ut a me liberetur et incipiat tibi teneri; quae dicitur nouatio obligationis.
§ 39. Sine hac uero nouatione non poteris tuo nomine agere, sed debes ex persona mea quasi cognitor aut procurator meus experiri.
RERVM INCORPORALIVM ADQVISITIONES CIVILES.
§ 28. Incorporeal things are obviously incapable of transfer by delivery of possession (traditio).
§ 29. But while before a magistrate urban servitudes can only be created by surrender before a magistrate; rural servitudes may either be acquired by this method or by mancipation.
§ 30. Usufruct can only be created by surrender. A usufruct surrendered by the owner of the property passes to the surrenderee, leaving the bare property in the owner. A usufruct surrendered by the usufructuary to the owner of the property passes to the latter and is merged in the ownership. Surrendered to a stranger it continues in the usufructuary, for the surrender is deemed inoperative.
§ 31. These modes of creating usufruct are confined to estates in Italian soil, for only these estates can be conveyed by mancipation or judicial surrender. On provincial soil, usufructs and rights of way on foot, horseback, and for carriages, watercourses, rights of raising buildings or not raising, not obstructing lights, and the like, must be created by pact and stipulation; for the lands themselves, which are subject to these servitudes, are incapable of conveyance by mancipation or surrender before a magistrate.
§ 32. In slaves and other animals usufruct can be created even on provincial soil by surrender before a magistrate.
§ 33. My recent statement that usufruct was only constituted by surrender before a magistrate was not inaccurate, although it may in this sense be created by mancipation that we may mancipate the property and reserve the usufruct; for the usufruct itself is not mancipated, though in mancipating the property the usufruct is reserved so that the usufruct is vested in one person and the property or ownership in another.
§ 34. Inheritances also are only alienable by surrender before a magistrate.
§ 35. If the person entitled by the statutory rules of the civil law of intestacy surrender the inheritance before acceptance, that is to say, before his heirship is consummated, the surrenderee becomes heir just as if he was entitled by agnation; but if the agnate surrenders after acceptance, in spite of the surrender he continues heir and answerable to the creditors, his rights of action being extinguished and the debtors to the estate thus discharged of liability without payment, while the ownership in the corporeal objects of the inheritance passes to the surrenderee just as if it had been surrendered in separate lots.
§ 36. The surrender of an inheritance by a person instituted heir by will before acceptance is inoperative; but after acceptance it has the operation just ascribed to the agnate’s surrender of an intestate succession after acceptance.
§ 37. And so has a surrender by a necessary successor according to the authorities of the other school, who maintain that it seems immaterial whether a man becomes heir by acceptance or whether he becomes heir ipso jure, irrespective of his intention (a distinction that will be explained in its proper place): according to my school a necessary heir’s surrender of the inheritance is inoperative. [3 § 85.]
§ 38. Obligations, in whatever way contracted, are incapable of transfer by either method. For if I wish to transfer to you my claim against a third person, none of the modes whereby corporeal things are transferred is effective: but it is necessary that at my order the debtor should bind himself to you by stipulation: whereupon my debtor is discharged of his debt to me and becomes liable to you; which transformation is called novation of an obligation.
§ 39. In default of such novation he cannot sue in his own name, but must sue in my name as my cognitor or procurator.
§ 28. So incorporeal hereditaments in English law were said to lie in grant, not in feoffment, i. e. to be only conveyable by deed, or writing under seal; whereas corporeal hereditaments were conveyable by feoffment, i. e. by livery of seisin or delivery of possession.
§ 30. Inalienability was no peculiar characteristic of Usufruct and other personal servitudes. Alienation of rights, or singular succession as opposed to inheritance or universal succession, was the exception, not the rule. Dominion over res singulae was alienable, but almost all other rights were intransferable. If we except the case of hereditas legitima delata, § 35, hereditas, as we shall see, was inalienable: and what is said of Urban and Rural praedial servitudes, §§ 29, 30, refers to their creation, not to their alienation. In the law of Persons, Patria potestas, 1 § 134, and Tutela in some cases, 1 § 168, could be transferred but only by surrender before a magistrate (in jure cessio), i. e. a process which feigned that there was no transfer. Manus and mancipium could be extinguished but not transferred [Ihering, § 32], except that, apparently, mancipium could be retransferred to the natural parent or mancipator, 1 § 132.
§ 31. It appears that convention (pactio et stipulatio) alone unaccompanied by tradition or quasi-tradition was capable of creating a right analogous to a Roman servitude in provincial land, to which in jure cessio and mancipatio were inapplicable, in opposition to the principle of Roman law, as stated by some modern writers, that mere agreement can only create at the utmost an obligation (jus in personam), and in order to create a jus in rem must be accompanied by delivery of possession. But in our authorities this principle is confined to res corporales, which alone admit of real tradition. Exceptional instances in which agreement without any further accompaniment creates a jus in rem, that is, transfers either dominion or jus in re aliena, are hypotheca (see 3 § 91, comm.) and societas omnium bonorum (see 3 § 148). Vangerow, however, holds, § 350, that pactio and stipulatio could not create a genuine servitus, enforceable against the servient person or tenement, but only an Obligatio, enforceable against the contracting party and his heirs: that in the time of Gaius this was all that could be accomplished; but that afterwards, when quasitraditio of res incorporalis was recognized as practicable, genuine Servitudes could be thus constituted. The distinction between solum Italicum and provinciale was subsequently abolished, and in jure cessio and mancipatio disappeared. In the Institutes of Justinian we are told that both praedial servitudes (Inst. 2, 3, 4) and the personal servitude of usufruct (Inst. 2, 4, 2) are created by pacts and stipulations, nothing being there said of quasi-traditio, as a condition of acquiring servitudes. The combination of pact and stipulation for the purpose has been explained as an amalgamation of foreign and Roman law, a mere pact being recognized by the former, but unless embodied in a stipulation unenforceable by the latter (cf. Sohm, § 69; Dernburg, Pandekten, § 251, n. 16).
§ 32. In accordance with the principle that movables are personal, a Roman could convey movable property by conveyances confined to citizens, wherever such property was situated.
The servitus altius tollendi, or the right of increasing the height of an edifice, is at first sight very enigmatical. My right of increasing the height of my building, and thus obstructing the lights of my neighbour, would seem to be part and parcel of my unlimited rights of dominion: and, if a dispute arose, one would think that the burden of proof would be on my neighbour, who would have to prove a special limitation of my rights as owner of a praedium serviens and a special right residing in himself as owner of a praedium dominans: that is to say, that instead of my having to prove a servitude or jus altius tollendi, my neighbour would have to prove a servitude or jus altius non tellendi. Cum eo, qui tollendo obscurat vicini aedes, quibus non serviat, nulla competit actio, Dig. 8, 2, 9. ‘A man who by building obscures his neighbour’s lights, unless subject to a servitude, is not actionable.’ Altius aedificia tollere, si domus servitutem non debeat, dominus ejus minime prohibetur, Cod. 3, 34, 8. ‘A man cannot be prevented from raising the height of his house unless it is subject to a servitude.’ The same rule is laid down in English law. The following is perhaps the most probable solution of the problem:
The extinction of Rural and Urban servitudes was governed by different rules. The extinction of a Rural servitude was more easily accomplished than that of an Urban servitude: it was effected by simple non-user (non utendo) on the part of the dominant property for a period, originally, of two years, afterwards of ten. The extinction of an Urban servitude demanded, besides the negative omission of use on the part of the dominant, a positive possession of freedom (usucapio libertatis) on the part of the servient owner. Gaius (ad Edictum Provinciale, Dig. 8, 2, 6) thus explains the difference: in a servitus ne amplius tollantur aedes, or ne luminibus aedium officiatur, if the windows of the dominant house are closed with masonry there is a non-usus of the servitude on the part of the dominant owner; if at the same time the height of the servient house is raised there is possession of freedom on the part of the servient owner. Or in a servitus tigni immissi, if the dominant owner removes the beam from his neighbour’s wall there is on his part non-usus; if the servient owner builds up the orifice in which the beam was inserted, there is on his part usucapio libertatis. Originally Servitudes, like Dominium, could be acquired by Usucapion; and as Usucapion was applied to the extinction of Urban Servitudes, it was regarded by the jurists as a mode of acquiring or of creating an antagonistic servitude. On the extinction of a Rural servitude, the servient property simply recovered its original dimensions: an Urban servitude was a permanent diminution of the servient property, and on its extinction the servient property, instead of dilating to its original size, recovered what it had lost in the shape of the annexation of a contrary servitude. When at an unknown date the Usucapion of servitudes was abolished by a lex Scribonia, an exception was made in favour of these Contrary servitudes, which in fact were not genuine servitudes, but merely the expression of the greater difficulty of extinguishing an Urban servitude. Libertatem servitutium usucapi posse verius est, quia eam usucapionem sustulit lex Scribonia, quae servitutem constituebat, non etiam eam, quae libertatem praestat sublata servitute, Dig. 41, 3, 4, 28. ‘The better view is that extinction of servitude by usucapion is admissible, for the usucapion abolished by the lex Scribonia was usucapion whereby a servitude is constituted, not that which liberates by extinction of servitude.’ Thus he who laboured under a disability of building (jus altius non tollendi) was regarded on its extinction as having acquired the opposite easement, jus altius tollendi; he who was relieved of the servitus ne luminibus officiatur was regarded as acquiring a jus officiendi luminibus vicini; he who was relieved from the servitus stillicidii avertendi in tectum vel aream vicini was deemed to acquiie a jus stillicidii non avertendi, Gaius ad Edictum Provinciale. Dig. 8, 2, 2. It does not appear that the ordinary requisites of Usucapio, titulus and bona fides (§ 61, comm.), were required in this usucapio libertatis.
In usucapio libertatis, a right being acquired, the ten years are complete on the commencement of the last day: in non-usus, a right being lost, the ten years are not complete till the last day is terminated.
The three servitudes, ne prospectui officiatur, ne luminibus officiatur. ne altius tollatur, are similar in character, but differ in their degree of extension. The servitus ne luminibus officiatur is not so extensive as the servitus ne prospectui officiatur, for that may amount to an obstruction of prospect which does not cause a diminution of light, Dig. 8, 2, 15: but is wider than servitus altius non tollendi, because light may be intercepted by other causes than buildings, by plantation, for instance, though building is the principal means of interception.
Servitus luminum has been already noticed, §§ 1-14, comm., as apparently identical with jus luminis immittendi, i. e. the right of having a window in a neighbour’s wall. Luminum servitute constituta id adquisitum videtur ut vicinus lumina nostra excipiat. Dig. 8, 2, 4. ‘The servitude of Lights entitles the owner of the dominant house to have a window in the wall of his servient neighbour.’
It appears from the above explanation that the servitus luminum and the servitus ne luminibus officiatur belong to different categories, for the servitus luminum, like the jus officiendi luminibus, belongs to the category of jus habendi; while the servitus ne luminibus officiatur belongs to the category of jus prohibendi.
§ 34. Cf. 3 §§ 85-87. The statement that an inheritance is not mancipable may seem inconsistent with what we are afterwards told of the testament by bronze and balance, § 102. There is, however, no real inconsistency. The subject mancipated in the will by bronze and balance, though a universitas, was not an inheritance—there was no inheritance to mancipate, for nemo est heres viventis—but the collective rights—familia, patrimonium—of the testator.
§ 38. The mode of transferring obligations may be more properly considered hereafter, when we examine the titles by which Jus in personam originates or terminates, 3 §§ 155-162, comm. Gaius glanced at the titles to Hereditas and Obligatio because he was treating of Res incorporales under which they are included; but he should have abstained from discussing Obligatio because he is now dealing with Jus in rem, and he should have abstained from discussing Hereditas because he is now dealing with Res singulae.
§ 40. Sequitur ut admoneamus apud peregrinos quidem unum esse dominium; nam aut dominus quisque est, aut dominus non intellegitur. quo iure etiam populus Romanus olim utebatur: aut enim ex iure Quiritium unusquisque dominus erat, aut non intellegebatur dominus. sed postea diuisionem accepit dominium, ut alius possit esse ex iure Quiritium dominus, alius in bonis habere.
§ 41. Nam si tibi rem mancipi neque mancipauero neque in iure cessero, sed tantum tradidero, in bonis quidem tuis ea res efficitur, ex iure Quiritium uero mea permanebit, donec tu eam possidendo usucapias; semel enim inpleta usucapione proinde pleno iure incipit, id est et in bonis et ex iure Quiritium tua res esse, ac si ea mancipata uel in iure cessa 〈esset.
§ 42.Vsucapio autem〉 mobilium quidem rerum anno conpletur, fundi uero et aedium biennio; et ita lege xii tabularum cautum est.
Inst. 2, 6 pr.
§ 43. Ceterum etiam earum rerum usucapio nobis conpetit, quae non a domino nobis traditae fuerint, siue mancipi sint eae res siue nec mancipi, si modo eas bona fide acceperiinus, cum crederemus eum qui traderet dominum esse.
§ 44. Quod ideo receptum uidetur, ne rerum dominia diutius in incerto essent, cum sufficeret domino ad inquirendam rem suam anni aut biennii spatium, quod tempus ad usucapionem possessori tributum est.
Inst. l. e.
§ 45. Sed aliquando etiamsi maxime quis bona fide alienam rem possideat. non tamen illi usucapio procedit, uelut si quis rem furtiuam aut ui possessam possideat; nam furtiuam lex xii tabularum usucapi prohibet, ui possessam lex Iulia et Plautia.
Inst. 2, 6, 1.
§ 46. Item prouincialia praedia usucapionem non recipiunt.
§ 47. 〈Item olim〉 mulieris, quae in agnatorum tutela erat, res mancipi usucapi non poterant, praeterquam si ab ipsa tutore 〈auctore〉 traditae essent; idque ita legexii tabularum cautum erat.
§ 48. Item liberos homines et res sacras et religiosas usucapi non posse manifestum est.
§ 49. Quod ergo uulgo dicitur furtiuarum rerum et ui possessarum usucapionem per legemxii tabularum prohibitam esse, non eo pertinet, ut ne ipse fur quiue per uim possidet usucapere possit (nam huic alia ratione usucapio non conpetit, quia scilicet mala fide possidet); sed nec ullus alius, quamquam ab eo bona fide emerit, usucapiendi ius habeat.
Inst. 2, 6, 3.
§ 50. Vnde in rebus mobilibus non facile procedit, ut bonae fidei possessori usucapio conpetat, quia qui alienam rem uendidit et tradidit furtum committit; idemque accidit etiam si ex alia causa tradatur. sed tamen hoc aliquando aliter se habet; nam si heres rem defuncto commodatam aut locatam uel apud eum depositam existimans eam esse hereditariam uendiderit aut donauerit, furtum non committit; item si is, ad quem ancillae ususfructus pertinet, partum etiam suum esse credens uendiderit aut donauerit, furtum non committit; furtum enim sine adfectu furandi non committitur. aliis quoque modis accidere potest, ut quis sine uitio furti rem alienam ad aliquem transferat et efficiat, ut a possessore usucapiatur.
Inst. 2, 6, 3 and 4.
§ 51. Fundi quoque alieni potest aliquis sine ui possessionem nancisci, quae uel ex neglegentia domini uacet, uel quia dominus sine successore decesserit uel longo tempore afuerit; quam si ad alium bona fide accipientem transtulerit, poterit usucapere possessor; et quamuis ipse, qui uacantem possessionem nactus est, intellegat alienum esse fundum, tamen nihil hoc bonae fidei possessori ad usucapionem nocet, 〈cum〉 inprobata sit eorum sententia, qui putauerint furtiuum fundum fieri posse.
Inst. 2, 6, 7.
§ 52. Rursus ex contrario accidit ut qui sciat alienam rem se possidere usucapiat, ueluti si rem hereditariam, cuius possessionem heres nondum nactus est, aliquis possederit; nam ei concessum 〈est usu〉capere, si modo ea res est quae recipit usucapionem; quae species possessionis et usucapionis pro herede uocatur.
§ 53. Et in tantum haec usucapio concessa, est, ut et res quae solo continentur anno usucapiantur.
§ 54. Quare autem hoc casu etiam soli rerum annua constituta sit usucapio, illa ratio est, quod olim rerum hereditariarum possessione uelut ipsae hereditates usucapi credebantur, scilicet anno. lex enim xii tabularum soli quidem res biennio usucapi iussit, ceteras uero anno. ergo hereditas in ceteris rebus uidebatur esse, quia soli non est quia neque corporalis est. 〈et〉 quamuis postea creditum sit ipsas hereditates usucapi non posse, tamen in omnibus rebus hereditariis, etiam quae solo tenentur, annua usucapio remansit.
§ 55. Quare autem omnino tam inproba possessio et usucapio concessa sit, illa ratio est, quod uoluerunt ueteres maturius hereditates adiri, ut essent qui sacra facerent, quorum illis temporibus summa obseruatio fuit, et ut creditores haberent a quo suum consequerentur.
§ 56. Haec autem species possessionis et usucapionis etiam lucratiua uocatur; nam sciens quisque rem alienam lucri facit.
§ 57. Sed hoc tempore iam non est lucratiua. nam ex auctoritate Hadriani senatus-consultum factum est ut tales usucapiones reuocarentur. et ideo potest heres ab eo qui rem usucepit hereditatem petendo proinde eam rem consequi, atque si usucapta non esset.
§ 58. Necessario tamen herede extante nihil ipso iure pro herede usucapi potest.
§ 59. Adhuc etiam ex aliis causis sciens quisque rem alienam usucapit. nam qui rem alicui fiduciae causa mancipio dederit uel in iure cesserit, si eandem ipse possederit, potest usucapere, anno scilicet, 〈etiam〉 soli si sit. quae species usucapionis dicitur usureceptio, quia id quod aliquando habuimus recipimus per usucapionem.
§ 60. Sed fiducia contrahitur aut cum creditore pignoris iure, aut cum amico, quo tutius nostrae res apud eum sint; et siquidem cum amico contracta sit fiducia, sane omni modo conpetit ususreceptio; si uero cum creditore, soluta quidem pecunia omni modo conpetit, nondum uero soluta ita demum conpetit, si neque conduxerit eam rem a creditore debitor, neque precario rogauerit, ut eam rem possidere liceret; quo casu lucratiua ususcapio conpetit.
§ 61. Item si rem obligatam sibi populus uendiderit eamque dominus possederit, concessa est ususreceptio; sed hoc casu praedium biennio usurecipitur. et hoc est quod uulgo dicitur ex praediatura possessionem usurecipi; nam qui mercatur a populo praediator appellatur.
§ 40. We must next observe that for aliens there is only one ownership and only one owner at the same time of a thing, and so it was in ancient times with the people of Rome, for a man had either quiritary dominion or none at all. They afterwards decomposed dominion so that one person might have quiritary ownership of an object of which another person had bonitary ownership.
§ 41. For if a mancipable thing is neither mancipated nor surrendered before a magistrate but simply delivered to a person, the bonitary ownership passes to the alienee, but the quiritary ownership remains in the alienor until the alienee acquires it by usucapion; for as soon as usucapion is completed, plenary dominion, that is, the union of bonitary and quiritary ownership, vests in the alienee just as if he had acquired the thing by mancipation or surrender before a magistrate.
§ 42. Usucapion of movables requires a year’s possession for its completion, of land and houses, two years’ possession, a rule which dates from the law of the Twelve Tables.
§ 43. Quiritary ownership of a thing may also be acquired by usucapion, when possession of it has been transferred to one by a person who is not the owner of it, and this is the case in things either mancipable or not mancipable, if they are received in good faith by a person who believes the deliverer to be owner of them.
§ 44. The reason of the law appears to be the inexpediency of allowing ownership to be long unascertained, the previous owner having had ample time to look after his property in the year or two years which must elapse before usucapion is complete.
§ 45. Some things, however, notwithstanding the utmost good faith of the possessor, cannot be acquired by usucapion, things, for instance, which have been stolen or violently possessed, stolen things being declared incapable of usucapion by the law of the Twelve Tables, and things violently possessed by the lex Julia and Plautia.
§ 46. So, too, provincial land and houses are incapable of usucapion.
§ 47. Formerly, when a woman was under her agnate’s guardianship, her mancipable things were not subject to usucapion, unless she herself delivered possession of them with her guardian’s sanction, and this was an ordinance of the Twelve Tables.
§ 48. Free men, also, and things sacred or religious, are obviously not susceptible of usucapion.
§ 49. The common statement that in things stolen or violently possessed, usucapion is barred by the law of the Twelve Tables, means, not that the thief or violent dispossessor is incapable of acquiring by usucapion, for he is barred by another cause, his want of good faith; but that even a person who purchases in good faith from him is incapable of acquiring by usucapion.
§ 50. Accordingly, in things movable a possessor in good faith cannot easily acquire ownership by usucapion, because he that sells and delivers possession of a thing belonging to another is guilty of theft. However, sometimes this is otherwise, for an heir who believes a thing lent or let to, or deposited with, the deceased to be a portion of the inheritance, and sells it or gives it away, is not guilty of theft: again, the usufructuary of a female slave who believes her offspring to be his property and sells it or gives it away, is not guilty of theft; for there can be no theft without unlawful intention: and similarly other circumstances may prevent the taint of theft from attaching to the delivery of a thing belonging to another, and enable the receiver to acquire by usucapion.
§ 51. Possession of land belonging to another may be acquired without violence, when vacant by neglect of the owner, or by his death without leaving a successor, or his long absence from the country, and an innocent person to whom the possession is transferred may acquire the property by usucapion; for though the original seizer of the vacant possession knew that the land belongs to another, yet his knowledge is no bar to the usucapion of the innocent alienee, as it is no longer held that theft can be committed of land.
§ 52. On the other hand, knowledge that one is acquiring possession of another person’s property (mala fides) does not always prevent usucapion, for any one may seize a portion of an inheritance of which the heir has not yet taken possession and acquire it by usucapion, provided it is susceptible of usucapion, and he is said to acquire by title of quasi heir.
§ 53. With such facility is this usucapion permitted that even land may be thus acquired in a year.
§ 54. The reason why even land in these circumstances demands only a year for usucapion is, that in ancient times the possession of property belonging to the inheritance was held to be a means of acquiring the inheritance itself, and that in a year: for while the law of the Twelve Tables fixed two years for the usucapion of land and one year for the usucapion of other things, an inheritance was held to fall under the category of ‘other things,’ as it is neither land nor corporeal: and though it was afterwards held that the inheritance itself was not acquirable by usucapion, yet the property belonging to the inheritance, including land, continued acquirable by a year’s possession.
§ 55. The motive for permitting at all so unscrupulous an acquisition was the wish of the ancient lawyers to accelerate the acceptance of inheritances, and thus provide persons to perform the sacred rites, to which in those days the highest importance was attached, and also to secure some one from whom creditors might obtain satisfaction of their claims.
§ 56. This mode of acquisition is sometimes called lucrative usucapion, for the possessor knowingly acquires the benefit of another’s property.
§ 57. In the present day, however, this kind of usucapion is not lucrative, for the Senate on the motion of Hadrian decreed that such usucapions are revocable, and accordingly where a person thus acquired a thing by usucapion, the heir can sue him by hereditatis petitio and recover the thing just as if the usucapion had never been completed.
§ 58. The existence of a necessary heir excludes ipso jure the operation of this kind of usucapion.
§ 59. There are other conditions under which a knowledge of another’s ownership is no bar to usucapion. After a fiduciary mancipation or surrender before a magistrate of his property, if the owner himself should become possessed of it, he recovers his ownership even over land in the period of a year, by what is called usureception or a recovery by possession, because a previous ownership is thereby recovered by usucapion.
§ 60. The fiduciary alienee is either a creditor holding the property as a pledge or a friend to whom the property is made over for safe custody; in the latter case the ownership is always capable of usureception: but in that of a creditor, though the owner can always thus re-acquire after payment of the debt, before payment of the debt he can only re-acquire provided he has not obtained the thing of his creditor on hire or got possession of it by request and licence; in this case he re-acquires by a lucrative usucapion.
§ 61. Again, the owner of a thing mortgaged to the people and sold for non-payment of the mortgage debt may re-acquire it by possession, but in this case, if it is land, usucapion is biennial: and this is the meaning of the saying, that after praediatura (a public sale) land is recoverable by (biennial) possession, a purchaser from the people being called praediator.
§§ 40, 41. Roman law originally only recognized one kind of ownership, called emphatically, quiritary ownership. Gradually, however, certain kinds of ownership were recognized which, though they failed to satisfy all the elements of the definition of quiritary dominion, were practically its equivalent, and received from the courts a similar protection. These kinds of ownership might fall short of quiritary ownership in three respects, (1) either in respect of the persons in whom they resided, (2) or of the objects to which they related, (3) or of the title by which they were acquired.
(1) To be capable of quiritary ownership a man must have one of the elements of Roman citizenship. Jus quiritium, right quiritary, sometimes, indeed, denotes all the elements of civitas Romana, Roman citizenship (1 §§ 28, 35, comm.). Beneficio principali Latinus civitatem Romanam accipit si ab imperatore jus quiritium impetraverit, Ulpian 3, 2. But the only element of citizenship required for quiritary ownership was commercium, and as we have seen that the Latinus possessed commercium without connubium, the Latinus was capable of quiritary dominion. The alien (peregrinus) on the contrary was incapable, except by special privilege: yet he might have ownership, which he acquired by titles of jus gentium, e g. tradition, occupation, accession, &c., and could maintain by a real action in the court of the praetor peregrinus or praeses provinciae.
(2) Provincial land was not capable of quiritary ownership Originally, indeed, private ownership appears to have been confined to things capable of being taken by the hand (mancipatae), that is to movables; and lands were only subject to public dominion or were the common property of the gens. Private ownership, however, first invaded a portion of the land, the heredium, or hereditary homestead of the gentilis, and finally became a general institution; and ager publicus, as opposed to ager privatus, almost ceased to exist on Italian soil. But in the provinces subsequently conquered, land continued to the end subject exclusively to public dominion; and thus one of the essential features of feudal tenure, the exclusive vesting of absolute or ultimate dominion over land in the sovereign as overlord, a principle commonly supposed to have been first introduced into Europe by the invading German hordes, had already existed, though in a different form, over by far the greater portion of the Roman world. It is true that the provinces were divided into private possessions and public domains; but private possessions as well as public domains were subject to a vectigal, and the tenants of the one and lessees of the other were equally devoid of absolute ownership. Rights over solum provinciale of a more or less limited kind were however acquirable, though not by titles of jus civile, and recoverable by real action, for which Gaius uses the terms possessio and ususfructus, § 7.
(3) Bonitary ownership was distinct both from an alien’s ownership and from rights over provincial land: it may be defined as the property of a Roman citizen in a subject capable of quiritary ownership, acquired in a way not known to the jus civile, but introduced by the praetor, and protected by his imperium or executive power. We have seen, for instance, that only non-mancipable things were capable of transfer by tradition; suppose, now, that a mancipable thing were conveyed by the owner to a vendee by tradition; the process would not make him quiritary owner; he would be no better than a bona fide possessor, until by the lapse of a year or of two years he acquired quiritary ownership by usucapion. The praetor, however, assisted the less cumbrous mode of alienation by treating the vendee as if he were owner; by giving him, if in possession, the exceptio rei venditae et traditae or plea of sale and delivery against the vendor who sought to recover as quiritary owner, and enabling the vendee, if dispossessed, to recover against the quiritary owner as well as against any third person by utilis vindicatio, called actio Publiciana, in which he would meet the plea of quiritary ownership (exceptio dominii) by the replicatio rei venditae et traditae or by the replicatio doli, a replication which could not be used by a mere bona fide possessor. Bonitary ownership, or ownership established by the praetor, when once invented, was employed by the praetor in other innovations, which he introduced, namely, as we shall see hereafter, in respect of res corporales of an insolvent debtor transferred to a purchaser by universal succession (bonorum venditio), and in respect of his testamentary and intestate succession (bonorum possessio): 3 § 80.
The barbarous term Bonitary (formed from the classical in bonis esse, in bonis habere) has the authority of Theophilus, who speaks of δεσπότης βονιτάριος, 1, 5, 4; he also calls bonitary ownership natural dominion (ϕυσικὴ δεσποτεία), as opposed to statutory, civil, or quiritary dominion (ἔννομος δεσποτεία).
Actio Publiciana was not only the remedy of the bonitary owner, but was also applicable on the alienation of anything whatever by a non-proprietor to an innocent alienee (bona fide possessor) in case the latter lost possession of it.
Usucapion, as in the case of bonitary ownership, might in the lapse of time have given the bona fide possessor plenary dominion, and, with it, vindication in the event of a loss of possession; but if he lost possession whilst usucapion was still incomplete, he would have had no real action (for, not being owner, he could not vindicate), if the praetor had not allowed him to sue by the actio Publiciana, which treated bona fide possession, that is, usucapion possession, or the inception of usucapion, as if it were plenary dominion in respect of every one, except the rightful owner. The latter, however, could defend himself in this action successfully against a mere bona fide possessor by the exceptio dominii, or bring a vindication against a bona fide possessor who retained possession, though, as we have seen, the quiritary owner was not allowed to avail himself of these means of protection against a person having a praetorian or bonitary title of ownership.
§§ 52-60. An heres was either voluntarius, empowered to accept or reject the inheritance, or necessarius, heir as matter of course, without any such power of election. A voluntary heir was either an agnate entitled to succeed an intestate, or any heir, not being a suus or necessarius heres of the testator, entitled under a will. A necessary heir was either a slave of the testator manumitted by his will, or a self-successor (suus heres), that is, a descendant under power of the testator or intestate, made independent by his death, § 152. In every case of voluntarius heres, so long as the heir had not entered on the inheritance, any stranger was permitted to seize parts of it and acquire property therein by usucapion. The only title (causa, titulus) required for this acquisition was the overture or delation of the inheritance to heres and vacancy of possession. This possession, which Gaius (§ 52) calls pro herede (see Dig. 5, 3, 9) is more properly called pro possessore. Cf. 4 § 144. ‘Possessor, as possessor, is the occupant, who, asked why he possesses, answers, “Because I possess,” and does not claim to be heir even mendaciously, and has no title of possession to allege.’ But according to early Roman law any person who was allowed by the voluntary heir to remain in possession of the inheritance for a year was considered lawfully entitled to it as heir, bona fides on the part of a possessor being at this time immaterial for the purpose of acquiring by usucapion (Muirhead, Roman Law, § 32). The senatusconsultum of Hadrian, referred to in the text, § 57, did not prevent the usucapion, but made it nugatory by allowing the heir to recover the hereditaments by real action (hereditatis petitio, or the interdict Quorum bonorum, 4 § 144), just as if the usucapion had never been completed.
Though the occupant of the vacant hereditament was called praedo, his possession, being encouraged by the lawgiver, was not unlawful until restitution was claimed, Savigny, § 264. This possession is probably the key to an enigmatical rule in Roman law: ipsum sibi causam possessionis mutare non posse, Dig. 41, 3, 33, 1; causam possessionis neminem sibi mutare posse, Dig. 41, 5, 2, 1. ‘No man can change at pleasure his title of possession.’ With the intention, it may be, of limiting the operation of possessio pro herede, an anomalous institution of questionable expediency, the rule declares that a person who commences his possession of a thing in the character of a vendee from a non-proprietor, or holds it as lessee, borrower, depositary, shall not be able, on the death of the true proprietor, to accelerate or initiate usucapion by merely professing that he ceases to hold in his former character and proceeds to hold as possessor pro herede or pro possessore.
Possessio pro herede was perhaps the germ of the intestate succession of next of kin or cognati, a succession, as we shall see, not originally recognized in Roman law: at least, the family or next of kin of an intestate would generally have the best chance of seizing any movables or immovables that he left; and perhaps it was this equitable result, no less than the object mentioned by Gaius, § 55, that, in the absence of a regular succession of cognati, led the public to look on possessio pro possessore as a rational and salutary institution.
The senatusconsultum mentioned in the text, § 57, is supposed by some commentators to be the same as one mentioned in the Digest (5, 3, 6), as having been passed at the instance of the Emperor Hadrian, when Q. Julius Balbus and P. Juventius Celsus were consuls, a. d. 129—hence called Sc. Juventianum. The institution of usucapio pro herede and pro possessore, or rather the senatusconsultum by which it was defeated, has left its traces in the formula, still to be found in the Digest, of the interdict Quorum bonorum, a remedy whereby a person who claimed either as civil heir (heres), or as praetorian heir (bonorum possessor), established his claim to succeed and recovered possession of the things belonging to the inheritance. See 4 § 144. To leave these traces in the wording of the interdict was according to Vangerow no oversight on the part of Justinian, as although in his legislation the last remnants of the institution of usucapio pro possessore, that is by a mala fide possessor, had been definitely abolished; yet usucapio pro herede, that is, by a bona fide possessor, or one who sincerely though mistakenly held himself to be heir, was still recognized by jurisprudence. § 320.
§ 60. For fiducia cum creditore see 1 § 114, comm., 3 §§ 90, 91, comm. Mancipation to a friend on trust for safe custody must have been the earliest legal form of deposit, as mancipation to a creditor on trust to reconvey was the earliest mode of pledge or mortgage. For precarium see 4 §§ 138-170, comm.
§ 61. The circumstances contemplated seem to be as follows: A proprietor is debtor to the Roman people or state, and his lands are mortgaged as security for the debt. On default of payment, the state exercises the power of sale: if the debtor is not turned out of possession by the purchaser (praediator) in two years he recovers his proprietorship by usureception. It seems that the sale by the people was merely the transfer of the mortgage; so that, if the debtor afterwards satisfied the purchaser, he recovered his land. Kuntze, Excursus des Röm. Rechts, 436.
Provincial lands were not subject to Usucapion; but a possessor for ten years during the presence of the owner in the same province (inter praesentes), or for twenty years in his absence (inter absentes), if he satisfied the conditions of usucapion, had, according to the provincial edict, the plea called longi temporis praescriptio against any action brought by the owner for recovery, and subsequently was himself allowed to recover the land, as if he were owner of it, so that longi temporis possessio became in later Roman law not simply a limitation of the right of action, but a positive title analogous to usucapion.
Usucapion required something beyond mere possession for a certain period; and something beyond what we hereafter call Interdict possession, 4 §§ 138-170. The conditions of possession which entitled a possessor to appeal for the protection of his possession to the praetor’s interdict were merely that he should have de facto control of the property, as if he were owner of it, all question of right or title being immaterial: nor was a mala fide any more than a bona fide possessor excluded from this protection, unless he had obtained possession from the other party to the interdict by means of violence (vi), or clandestinely (clam), or by his permission (precario). But to produce Usucapion (1) the person and thing to be acquired must be capable of quiritary ownership, and (2) it must not have been taken by any one’s theft or violence from the former owner, § 49: so that land not being subject to furtum was more easily acquired by usucapion than movable property, § 50; (3) the possession of the usucapient must be based on a justa causa or titulus, a ground of acquiring ownership, such as tradition or bequest; (4) and commenced with bona fides on his part, a condition which appears to have been annexed to the law of the Twelve Tables by the interpretation of the prudentes. Bona fides, in the case of titulus of occupancy, which is an original mode of acquisition, e.g. usucapio pro derelicto, is a mistaken belief that the thing is res nullius, has no proprietor. In the case of derivative acquisition it is the belief that the auctor, or person from whom the thing is derived, is either owner or, if not owner, has a power of disposition as agent, guardian, mortgagee, or otherwise. Vangerow, § 321. The Canon law requires during the whole period of such prescription the bona fides which the Civil law only requires at the inception.
Justinian remodelled the law of Usucapion, combining it with longi temporis possessio. Cf. Inst. 2, 6. For movables he extended the period from one year to three years: for immovables he abolished the distinction between Italian and provincial land, and required ten years’ possession if the parties were domiciled in the same province, and twenty years’ possession if they were not domiciled in the same province. Further, he introduced a new usucapion (longissimi temporis praescriptio), which was governed by less stringent conditions than the ordinary usucapion (longi temporis praescriptio). It applied both to movables and immovables, was not vitiated by certain flaws in the subject (res furtiva, vi possessa), and needed no support of any titulus, but only required bona fides in its inception on the part of the possessor, Cod. 7, 39, 8. It was completed in thirty years.
Usucapion, particularly in this its later form, requires to be carefully distinguished from the Limitation of actions (temporalis praescriptio) with which it has been co-ordinated by some civilians under the name of Acquisitive, as opposed to Extinctive, Prescription. We shall see, 4 § 110, that all actions were originally divided into temporales and perpetuae, temporales being such as could only be brought within a certain period (e.g. in the case of praetorian actions, a year) from the time when the right of action accrued, perpetuae such as were subject to no such limitation. Subsequently, however, even the latter were limited, and no action could be brought after thirty years from the nativity of the action or the time when the right of action accrued (actio nata), Inst. 4, 12 pr. In the case of personal actions there is no danger of confusing Usucapion and Limitation. Usucapion implies possession, and in the case of personal actions, or jus in personam, no such thing as possession is conceivable, for possession only relates to res corporales. Usucapion and the Limitation of real actions are more similar, but even here a distinction may be recognized. Limitation is the extinction of a right by neglect of the person entitled, by his omission to enforce his remedy: Usucapion is the acquisition of a right by something positive on the part of the acquirer, his strictly defined possession for a certain time. Even extraordinary acquisitive prescription requires, as we have seen, bona fides in the commencement of possession: no such condition is attached to Limitation or extinctive prescription.
English law originally only recognized acquisitive prescription in the case of easements and profits, e.g. rights of way; for the acquisition of which the Prescription Act, 2 and 3 Will. 4, c. 71, requires possession for a fixed period. Moreover, since the Act for the limitation of real actions, 3 and 4 Will. 4, c. 27, deprives a proprietor of land of his right as well as his remedy if he omit to bring his action to recover it within twenty years after the right accrued (a limit which by the 37 and 38 Vict. c. 57 was reduced to twelve years), the principle of Usucapion (Acquisitive prescription) in corporeal as well as incorporeal hereditaments may be said to be now recognized in English real property law, though not very distinctly.
Besides the civil titles which we have examined, two others are mentioned by Ulpian: Singularum rerum dominia nobis adquiruntur mancipatione, traditione, in jure cessione, usucapione, adjudicatione, lege, 19, 2.
Adjudication (for the nature of which see 4 § 42), whereby property might be taken from one individual and vested in another without any of the ordinary methods of conveyance, as in the case of the award of a judex in a partition suit, may be compared in its operation to the vesting orders made by the Court of Chancery under the Trustee Acts. When trustees are disabled by lunacy or infancy from dealing with the estates vested in them, the Court of Chancery is empowered to make orders the effect of which is that the estate becomes immediately vested in the substituted trustees as effectually as if a conveyance had been duly made by the person previously entitled to the legal estate. Another parallel is to be found in the awards of certain commissioners acting under powers given by act of parliament. Thus the order of the Inclosure commissioners for exchange and partition of land closely resembles in subject and effect the adjudicatio of a judex n the actio finium regundorum.
Lex is an ambiguous and miscellaneous title. It is said to include title by caducity (caducum) under the lex Papia Poppaea, and bequest or legacy (legatum), a title deriving its validity from the lex of the Twelve Tables, Ulpian, 19, 17. Extending our view from res singulae, to which Ulpian confines himself, to universitates, lex was an apt denomination of title by will at the period when wills required the ratification of the Comitia Calata, 2 § 101, as at that time testamentary dispositions were really acts of the legislature. Title by lex in this case bears some kind of analogy to conveyances by private act of parliament in English jurisprudence.
It may assist to clear our conception of title if we observe that the title ‘Lege’ is ambiguous, and that (1) while one of its meanings implies an absence of all title, (2) another denotes a miscellaneous group of heterogeneous titles.
(1) The only case in which Law can be said in any distinctive sense to be a cause of acquisition is privilegium or private law. The acquisition of a right by immediate grant from the sovereign (private act of the legislature, private act of parliament) is unlike the acquisition of a person entitled under some general disposition of a universal law. Acquisition by bequest or escheat is not an acquisition by law in any pre-eminent manner, but only in the same degree as is acquisition by mancipation or usucapion or any other title, for all these acquisitions are equally founded on law or some legal disposition of general application. But in acquisition by privilegium there is, in this sense, neither title nor any general law. By a general law is meant a universal proposition, annexing a right or duty to a title: it knows nothing of individual persons, but stops short at classes of persons, classes, that is, defined by the title. Again, title is, properly speaking, a contingent fact distinct from a corresponding law: a fact which may occur an indefinite number of times, and entitle, that is, invest with rights or duties, an indefinite number of persons, in accordance with the dispositions of one and the same unchanging law. Title, loosely and inaccurately defined as a fact investing a person with a right, would include a privilege, i. e. a law conferring a right immediately on a given individual without the intervention of a fact distinguishable from the law; but title, properly defined as an intervening fact through which a law confers a right mediately, excludes privilege.
Whenever there is a genuine title and a general law, the title is interposed between the general right or duty and the particular person therewith invested, just as the middle term is interposed between the major and minor terms of a syllogism. E.g. All persons characterized by the fact B are invested with the right or duty A: the individual C is characterized by this fact B; therefore this individual is invested with the right or duty A. A genuine law is only the major premiss, the proposition stating the general right or duty, all B is A. The condition, represented by the middle term, which connects or disconnects the right or duty with a person is the title. In a privilegium we have no such premisses and no such middle term. The investment of the particular individual C with a general right or duty is not in this case possible, being unwarranted by any genuine title.
(2) In Bequest and loss of a bequest on account of caducity or ereption there is a general law and a genuine title, but the law is not the title, any more than it is in any other mode of acquisition. Either because these modes include fewer voluntary acts than some closely allied modes (for instance, the legatee may acquire ownership of the property bequeathed to him without any act of acceptance on his part), or, for some other reason, divers modes are lumped together under the head of acquisition by lex. The name, however, besides being a misnomer, is merely a sink or receptacle of miscellaneous unrelated titles, just as we shall find in the doctrine of obligations that miscellaneous titles (variae causarum figurae) are lumped together under the denomination of quasi-contract. As to the displacement in the MS. of §§ 62-64 see below, p. 163.
§ 65. Ergo ex his quae diximus apparet quaedam naturali iure alienari, qualia sunt ea quae traditione alienantur; quaedam ciuili, nam mancipationis et in iure cessionis et usucapionis ius proprium est ciuium Romanorum.
Inst. 2, 1, 11.
§ 66. Nec tamen ea tantum, quae traditione nostra fiunt, | naturali nobis ratione adquiruntur, sed etiam—|NA occupando ideo—erimus, quia antea nulli|us essent; qualia sunt omnia quae terra mari caelo capiuntur.
§ 67. Itaque si feram bestiam aut uolucrem aut pis|cem — captum — | —NAeo usque nostrum esse intellegitur, donec nostra custodia coerceatur; cum uero custodiam nostram euaserit et in naturalem libertatem se receperit, rursus occupantis fit, quia nostrum esse desinit; naturalem autem libertatem recipere uidetur, cum aut oculos nostros euaserit, aut licet in conspectu sit nostro, difficilis tamen eius persecutio sit.
Inst 2, 1, 12.
§ 68. In his autem animalibus quae ex consuetudine abire et redire solent, ueluti columbis et apibus, item ceruis qui in siluas ire et redire solent, talem habemus regulam traditam, ut si reuertendi animum habere desierint, etiam nostra esse desinant et fiant occupantium; reuertendi autem animum uidentur desinere habere, cum reuertendi consuetudinem deseruerint.
Inst. 2, 1, 14.
§ 69. Ea quoque quae ex hostibus capiuntur naturali ratione nostra fiunt.
Inst. 2, 1, 17.
§ 70. Sed et id quod per adluuionem nobis adicitur eodem iure nostrum fit; per adluuionem autem id uidetur adici quod ita paulatim flumen agro nostro adicit, ut aestimare non possimus quantum quoquo momento temporis adiciatur; hoc est quod uulgo dicitur per adluuionem id adici uideri quod ita paulatim adicitur, ut oculos nostros fallat.
Inst. 2, 1, 20.
§ 71. Itaque si flumen partem aliquam ex tuo praedio resciderit et ad meum praedium pertulerit, haec pars tua manet.
Inst. 2, 1, 21.
§ 72. At si in medio flumine insula nata sit, haec eorum omnium communis est, qui ab utraque parte fluminis prope ripam praedia possident; si uero non sit in medio flumine, ad eos pertinet qui ab ea parte quae proxima est iuxta ripam praedia habent.
Inst. 2, 1, 22.
§ 73. Praeterea id quod in solo nostro ab aliquo aedificatum est, quamuis ille suo nomine aedificauerit, iure naturali nostrum fit, quia superficies solo cedit.
Inst. 2, 1, 30.
§ 74. Multoque magis id accidit et in planta quam quis in solo nostro posuerit, si modo radicibus terram conplexa fuerit.
Inst. 2, 1, 31.
§ 75. Idem contingit et in frumento, quod in solo nostro ab aliquo satum fuerit.
Inst. 2, 1, 32.
§ 76. Sed si ab eo petamus fundum uel aedificium et inpensas in aedificium uel in seminaria uel in sementem factas ei soluere nolimus, poterit nos per exceptionem doli mali repellere, utique si bonae fidei possessor fuerit.
Inst. l. c.
§ 77. Eadem ratione probatum est quod in chartulis siue membranis meis aliquis scripserit, licet aureis litteris, meum esse, quia litterae chartulis siue membranis cedunt. itaque si ego eos libros easue membranas petam nec inpensam scripturae soluam, per exceptionem doli mali summoueri potero.
Inst. 2, 1, 33.
§ 78. Sed si in tabula mea aliquis pinxerit ueluti imaginem, contra probatur; magis enim dicitur tabulam picturae cedere. cuius diuersitatis uix idonea ratio redditur; certe secundum hanc regulam si me possidente petas imaginem tuam esse, nec soluas pretium tabulae, poteris per exceptionem doli mali summoueri; at si tu possideas, consequens est, ut utilis mihi actio aduersum te dari debeat; quo casu nisi soluam inpensam picturae, poteris me per exceptionem doli mali repellere, utique si bonae fidei possessor fueris. illud palam est, quod siue tu subripueris tabulam siue alius, conpetit mihi furti actio.
Inst. 2, 1, 34.
§ 79. In aliis quoque speciebus naturalis ratio requiritur. proinde si ex uuis 〈aut oliuis aut spicis〉 meis uinum aut oleum aut frumentum feceris, quaeritur utrum meum sit id uinum aut oleum aut frumentum, an tuum. item si ex auro aut argento meo uas aliquod feceris, uel ex tabulis meis nauem aut armarium aut subsellium fabricaueris; item si ex lana mea uestimentum feceris, uel si ex uino et melle meo mulsum feceris, siue ex medicamentis meis emplastrum uel collyrium feceris, 〈quaeritur, utrum tuum sit id quod ex meo effeceris,〉 an meum. quidam materiam et substantiam spectandam esse putant, id est ut cuius materia sit, illius et res quae facta sit uideatur esse, idque maxime placuit Sabino et Cassio. alii uero eius rem esse putant qui fecerit, idque maxime diuersae scholae auctoribus uisum est; sed eum quoque cuius materia et substantia fuerit furti aduersus eum qui subripuerit habere actionem; nec minus aduersus eundem condictionem ei conpetere, quia extinctae res, licet uindicari non possint, condici tamen furibus et quibusdam aliis possessoribus possunt.
Inst. 2, 1, 25.
QVIBVS ALIENARE LICEAT VEL NON.
§ 62. Accidit aliquando, ut qui dominus sit alienandae rei potestatem non habeat, et qui dominus non sit alienare possit.
Inst. 2, 8 pr.
§ 63. Nam dotale praedium maritus inuita muliere per legem Iuliam prohibetur alienare, quamuis ipsius sit uel mancipatum ei dotis causa uel in iure cessum uel usucaptum. quod quidem ius utrum ad Italica tantum praedia an etiam ad prouincialia pertineat, dubitatur.
Inst. l. c.
§ 64. Ex diuerso agnatus furiosi curator rem furio|si alienare potest ex lege xii tabularum; item procurator—|—NAest; item creditor pignus ex | pactione, quamuis eius ea res non sit. sed hoc forsitan ideo uideatur fieri, quod uoluntate debitoris intellegitur pignus alienari, qui olim pactus est, ut liceret creditori pignus uendere, si pecunia non soluatur.
Inst. 2, 8, 1.
§ 65. Thus it appears that some modes of alienation are based on natural law, as tradition, and others on civil law, as mancipation, surrender before the magistrate, usucapion, for these are titles confined to citizens of Rome.
§ 66. Another title of natural reason, besides Tradition, is Occupation, whereby things previously the property of no one become the property of the first occupant, as the wild inhabitants of earth, air, and water, as soon as they are captured.
§ 67. For wild beasts, birds, and fishes, as soon as they are captured, become, by natural law, the property of the captor, but only continue such so long as they continue in his power; after breaking from his custody and recovering their natural liberty, they may become the property of the next occupant; for the ownership of the first captor is terminated. Their natural liberty is deemed to be recovered when they have escaped from his sight, or, though they continue in his sight, when they are difficult to recapture.
§ 68. In the case of those wild animals, however, which are in the habit of going away and returning, as pigeons, and bees, and deer, which habitually visit the forests and return, the rule has been handed down, that only the cessation of the intention of returning is the termination of ownership, and then the property in them is acquired by the next occupant; the intention of returning is held to be lost when the habit of returning is discontinued.
§ 69. Capture from an enemy is another title of property by natural law.
§ 70. Alluvion is another natural mode of acquisition. Alluvion is an addition of soil to land by a river, so gradual that at a particular moment the amount of accretion cannot be determined; or, to use the common expression, an addition made by alluvion is so gradual as to elude our sight.
§ 71. Accordingly a parcel of your land swept away by a river, and carried down to mine, continues your property.
§ 72. An island that rises in the middle of a river is the common property of the proprietors on both banks of the river; if it is not in the middle of the stream, it belongs to the proprietors of the nearer bank.
§ 73. Again, a building erected on my soil, though the builder has made it on his own account, belongs to me by natural law; for the ownership of a superstructure follows the ownership of the soil.
§ 74. The same occurs a fortiori when trees are planted on my land, provided they have struck root.
§ 75. Similarly, when corn is sown on my land.
§ 76. But if I bring an action to recover the land or the building, and refuse to compensate the other party for his outlay on the building or the plantation or the cornfield, he will defeat my action by the plea of fraud, at any rate if he was a bona fide possessor.
§ 77. On the same principle, the writing inscribed on my paper or parchment, even in letters of gold, becomes mine, for the property in the letters is accessory to the paper or parchment; but if I sue for the books or parchment without offering compensation for the writing, my action will be defeated by the plea of fraud.
§ 78. The canvas belonging to me, on which another man has painted, e. g. a portrait, is subject to a different rule, for the ownership of the canvas is held to be accessory to the painting: a difference which scarcely rests on a sufficient reason. By this rule, it is clear that if I am in possession, and you (the painter) claim the portrait without offering to pay the value of the canvas, I may defeat your claim by the plea of fraud. But if you are in possession, the effect is that I am entitled to an equitable action against you, but in this case unless I offer the price of the painting, you defeat me by the plea of fraud, at any rate if you are a bona fide possessor. It is certain, that, if either you or another purloined the canvas, I can bring an action of theft.
§ 79. On a change of species, also, we have recourse to natural law to determine the proprietor. Thus, if grapes, or olives, or sheaves of corn, belonging to me, are converted by another into wine, or oil, or (threshed out) corn, a question arises whether the property in the corn, wine, or oil, is in me, or in the author of the conversion; so too if my gold or silver is manufactured into a vessel, or a ship, chest, or chair is constructed from my timber, or my wool is made into clothing, or my wine and honey are made into mead, or my drugs into a plaster or eye-salve, it becomes a question whether the ownership of the new product is vested in me or in the manufacturer. According to some, the material or substance is the criterion; that is to say, the owner of the material is to be deemed the owner of the product; and this was the doctrine which commended itself to Sabinus and Cassius; according to others the ownership of the product is in the manufacturer, and this was the doctrine favoured by the opposite school; who further held that the owner of the substance or material could maintain an action of theft against the purloiner, and also an action for damages (condictio), because, though the property which is destroyed cannot be vindicated, this is no bar to a condictio or personal action for damages against the thief and against certain other possessors.
QVIBVS ALIENARE LICEAT VEL NON.
§ 62. It sometimes occurs that an owner has not a power of alienation, and that a person who is not owner has a power of alienation.
§ 63. The alienation of dower land by the husband, without the consent of the wife, is prohibited by the lex Julia, although the husband has become owner of the land by its mancipation to him as dower, or by its surrender to him before a magistrate, or by his usucapion of it. Whether this disability is confined to Italian soil, or extends to the provinces, authorities differ.
§ 64. Contrariwise, an agnate, as a lunatic’s curator, is empowered to aliene the lunatic’s property by the law of the Twelve Tables; and so is a procurator that of his principal (when invested by his principal with free power of administration: Inst. 2, 1, 43). Again, a pledgee, in pursuance of a pact authorizing him to sell, may aliene the pledge, though he is not owner of the thing; this, however, may be said to rest on the assent of the pledgor previously given in the agreement which empowered the pledgee to sell in default of payment.
§ 65. Tradition or transfer of possession, as we have seen, was a natural mode of transferring ownership in such non-mancipable things as were corporeal: in mancipable things it could only transfer bonitary ownership. The nature of this conveyance, which belongs to jus gentium, has been fully explained above, §§ 14 a-27, comm.
Fructus or produce of a thing, when they become distinct entities, belong to the owner of the principal thing, unless specially acquired from him by some one else. They may be so acquired by transfer, in which case one act of assent may suffice as the antecedent to many acts of prehension; for instance, in the gathering (perceptio) of fruits by a usufructuary. Here the taking them occurs from time to time; the will or intention of the owner of the principal thing was manifested once for all when he created the usufruct. But in the case of a hirer of land by mere contract (colonus) a special tradition of the fructus by the owner in each particular case of acquisition is required. Thus if the fructus are res nec mancipi, perception of them, with the consent of the owner, gives him ownership: if they are res mancipi, bona fide possession, which usucapio will ripen into ownership.
Mere severance (separatio) of fruits (fructus) from the soil or parent substance, without any act of appropriation (perceptio), gives to the bona fide possessor, according to Savigny, Besitz, 22 a, bona fide possession, which will be transformed into ownership by usucapion: according to Vangerow, § 326, it gives him immediate and plenary ownership. Windscheid, Pandekten, § 186, notes 11 and 12, takes an intermediate position. Cf. Inst. Just. 2, 1, 35.
If the true owner recovers his land or cattle by vindicatio, the judex will compel a bona fide possessor who is defendant to restore the unconsumed fruits (fructus extantes) but not to make compensation for the consumed fruits (fructus consumpti). The mala fide possessor, on the contrary, acquires no property in the consumed fruits, but is compelled either by the vindicatio by which the principal thing is recovered or by a separate personal action (condictio) to restore their value; he may likewise be compelled to restore the fructus extantes either by the principal vindicatio or by a separate vindicatio. He can be sued for the value of the fruits he has neglected to gather (fructus neglecti) only in the principal vindicatio: their non-existence prevents his being sued for them in a separate vindicatio; and the fact that he is not enriched by them prevents his being sued for them in a separate condictio, Savigny, System, § 267.
§§ 66-69. Occupation gives property in a thing which previously has no owner. Quod enim ante nullius est, id naturali ratione occupanti conceditur, Inst. 2, 1. 12. If a thing had already an owner, it is only after dereliction by him that it can be appropriated by occupation. Dereliction, or renunciation of ownership, requires both the intention to abandon it and an external action. Thus the casting overboard of articles in a tempest to lighten a ship is not dereliction, as there is no intention of abandoning the property in the event of salvage, Inst. 2, 1, 48. Nor does the mere intention of abandonment constitute dereliction of ownership without a throwing away or removal or some other external act; and herein dereliction of ownership differs from dereliction of possession, which does not require this second element. Differentia inter dominium et possessionem haec est, quod dominium nihilo minus ejus manet qui dominus esse non vult, possessio autem recedit ut quisque constituit nolle possidere, Dig. 41, 2, 17. ‘There is this difference between ownership and possession, that ownership continues after the will to own has ceased, whereas possession ceases with the cessation of the will to possess.’
§ 68. Among wild animals (ferae naturae) a distinction is to be drawn. In those of them that are half tamed (mansuefactae), among which are mentioned deer, peacocks, pigeons, bees, property is not limited by strict detention, as in other wild animals, but by animus revertendi. A migrating swarm (examen) of bees, accordingly, would only continue to belong to the owner of the hive as long as it continues in his sight and is easy to recapture, as it has no intention of returning. In tame animals, e. g. dogs or geese, the rights of the owner are not extinguished by their straying without an intention to return. Inst. 2, 1, 12-16.
§§ 76-79. The intimate conjunction of two things, so that they are no longer separable and restorable to their former condition, may produce a transmutation of ownership. A separable junction, as when two flocks of sheep are intermingled, or when a stone is set in a ring, or when two metals are soldered together (plumbatura), or when the grain of one man is mixed with that of another, apart from an agreement to share in common, produces no change of ownership. In one case, however, namely, when material has been used in building a house on another man’s land, although the property of the owner of the material continues, it is in a dormant state since he cannot, so long as it is fixed to the land, vindicate it, ‘quia superficies solo cedit,’ § 73. The Twelve Tables, however, allowed him the actio de tigno juncto to recover double the value.
An inseparable union sometimes produces co-ownership in the whole (communio), sometimes the exclusive ownership of one of the parties (accessio).
When two things belonging to different owners are mixed but neither produce a new species, nor the relation of principal and accessory, e. g. when two similar wines or metals are mixed; or when a new species is produced with the consent of both owners, as when mead is produced by mixing honey and wine, electrum by mixing gold and silver; then each owner loses his separate ownership of a part, and becomes joint owner of the whole. Inst. 2, 1, 27.
When a new species is produced by one owner without the consent of the other, then, according to the law as settled by Justinian, the exclusive ownership is vested in the producer, and the other can only obtain redress by actio in personam for the loss of his ownership.
Further, when the mixture establishes the relation of principal and accessory, that is, when one thing loses its independent existence and becomes a part of the other (accessio), then the ownership in the whole is vested in the owner of the dominant part, accessorium sequitur principale; cf. Dig. 6, 1, 23 Si quis rei suae alienam rem ita adjecerit, ut pars ejus fieret, veluti si quis statuae suae bracchium . . . adjecerit, dominum ejus totius rei effici . . . plerique recte dicunt. It will sometimes be a question which part is to be regarded as principal and which as accessory, and the solution does not depend on their comparative value. The Roman jurists themselves differ sometimes, as is shown in the text, in their application of the principle of accession, but the principle itself seems to be that the part which maintains its previous identity and gives the dominating character to the entire thing is principal, while the part which is merged in the other and so ceases to have an independent existence, is accessory, as e. g. trees of one person planted and taking root in the land of another, are thereby entirely incorporated in the land. So again, a fresco painted by one person on a wall belonging to another is evidently something accessory to the wall. The case of an independent picture is a subject of dispute in this relation. Gaius, § 78, appears to think that it ought to be governed by the analogy of a manuscript, where the property in the writing follows the property in the paper, § 77. It may be said, however, that the principle of accession does not properly apply to a picture or to a manuscript of literary value, since they are new creations, differing in character from the materials in which they are embodied. It was indeed finally settled by Justinian that the property in the picture belonged to the painter, though the latter would be bound, as in similar cases, to make good the loss suffered by the previous owner of the canvas. Inst. 2, 1, 34, cf. Sohm. § 64 n.
The remedy of the ex-proprietor of the accessory is utilis actio, § 78. This appears to be a real action (utilis in rem actio), which, as a real action implies that the plaintiff is owner, seems to mean a Fictitious action, 4 § 34, i. e. one whose formula feigns that the property was never divested by Accession. This may be what Gaius means by utilis actio.
§ 79. Specification or conversion by labour of something so as to constitute a new thing is a title which cannot without violence be brought under either Occupatio or Accessio. Here one person contributes only his labour, whereby he transforms the material or materials belonging to another into a new product (nova species). The Sabinians held that the product belonged (by Accessio?) to the owner of the material, the Proculians (by Occupatio?) to the producer of the specification or conversion. Justinian adopts an intermediate opinion, which Gaius mentions, Dig. 41, 1, 7, 7, cf. Inst. 2, 1, 25, that the product belongs to the producer, provided that it cannot be reduced to its original substance, while if it can be it belongs to the owner of that substance; e. g. a gold or silver vessel belongs to the owner of the gold or silver out of which it was made: and provided further that the change is a genuine fabrication or manufacture; for instance, the mere thrashing out of corn is not sufficient to change the ownership, and therefore the corn belongs to the owner of the sheaves, cf. § 79: and the mere dyeing of wool operates no transfer of ownership to the dyer, Dig. 41, 1, 26, 3.
In the subjoined synopsis of the various titles to ownership which have been considered the proper position of Specification is open to controversy, but it would seem that it should be regarded as a distinct and original mode of acquisition.
Acquisition is either Derivative, that is derived by Succession from some one else, or Original, arising independently of any one else.
Derivative acquisition depends on (1) the will of the previous owner (alienatio, testatio), (2) the disposition of a magistrate or judex (adjudication, addiction, execution), or (3) a direct disposition of law (intestate succession, caducity, forfeiture).
Original acquisition is either independent of Possession or depends on Possession.
Original acquisition independent of Possession is either the effect of Separation or of Conjunction.
Separation is a title to property in the case of Separatio fructuum, which confers property in the fruits on the owner of the principal thing, or on the bona fide possessor of it, or on the emphyteuta.
Conjunction is either the conjunction of equal with equal or the conjunction of accessory with principal.
The conjunction of equal with equal is seen in Confusio, which produces communio or co-proprietorship.
The conjunction of accessory with principal is either of immovable with immovable, instanced in Alluvio:
or of movable with immovable, instanced in Satio, Plantatio, Inaedificatio:
or of movable with movable, instanced in Scriptura, Pictura.
Original acquisition dependent on Possession is either further dependent on Time or is not dependent on Time.
Original acquisition dependent on Possession and further dependent on Time is seen in Usucapio and Praescriptio longi temporis, when this latter became an acquisitive and not simply an extinctive title.
Original acquisition dependent on Possession but independent of Time is seen in Occupatio, or taking possession of a res nullius, including Captio ferarum, Captio hostilis, Inventio derelicti, Inventio thesauri.
§§ 62-64. It is conjectured that by some accidental displacement these three paragraphs have been transposed, and that in their proper order they should follow § 61. There seems no good reason why they should be interposed between the titles of civil law and the titles of natural law.
The lex Julia, relating only to Italian soil, permitted the husband to aliene the dotal land, with the consent of the wife, but prohibited its hypothecation, even with her consent. Justinian extended the prohibition to provincial soil, and to alienation with the wife’s consent, Inst. 2, 8, pr.
In the time of the jurist Javolenus, who flourished under Trajan and Hadrian, and still probably in that of Gaius, the power of sale of a pledge, § 64, was what is known in later jurisprudence as accidentale negotii, requiring a special agreement, Dig. 47, 2, 73, where by an omission of the compilers the law is not brought up to date. But in later law, as early at least as the time of Ulpian it had become a necessary consequence of the transaction—essentiale negotii—so that a contrary agreement is inoperative, except that it imposes a necessity of three denunciations or demands of payment, Dig. 13, 7, 4.
DE PVPILLIS AN ALIQVID A SE ALIENARE POSSVNT.
§ 80. Nunc admonendi sumus neque feminam neque pupillum sine tutoris auctoritate rem mancipi alienare posse; nec mancipi uero feminam quidem posse, pupillum non posse.
Inst 2, 8, 2.
§ 81. Ideoque si quando mulier mutuam pecuniam alicui sine tutoris auctoritate dederit, quia facit eam accipientis, cum scilicet pecunia res nec mancipi sit, contrahit obligationem.
Inst. l. c.
§ 82.At si pupillus idem fecerit, | quia non facit accipientis s—, nullam | contrahit obligationem; unde pupillus uindicare quidem nummos suos potest, sicubi extent, id | est eos petere suos ex iure Quiritium esse—|—NA repetere potest s—|NAtere. unde de pupillo quidem quaeritur, an num—|—NAquos mutuos dedit, ab eo qui accepit, —|—NA actione eos persequi possit, quoniam—|—NApotest.
Inst l. c.
§ 83.At ex contrario | omnes res tam mancipi quam nec mancipi mulieribus et pupillis sine tutoris auctoritate solui possunt, quoniam meliorem condicionem suam facere eis etiam sine tutoris auctoritate concessum est.
§ 84. Itaque si debitor pecuniam pupillo soluat, facit quidem pecuniam pupilli, sed ipse non liberatur, quia nullam obligationem pupillus sine tutoris auctoritate dissoluere potest, quia nullius rei alienatio ei sine tutoris auctoritate concessa est; sed tamen si ex ea pecunia locupletior factus sit et adhuc petat, per exceptionem doli mali summoueri potest.
Inst. l. c.
§ 85. Mulieri uero etiam sine tutoris auctoritate recte solui potest; nam qui soluit, liberatur obligatione, quia res nec mancipi, ut proxime diximus, a se dimittere mulieres etiam sine tutoris auctoritate possunt. quamquam hoc ita est, si accipiat pecuniam; at si non accipiat, sed habere se dicat et per acceptilationem uelit debitorem sine tutoris auctoritate liberare, non potest.
Inst. l. c.
WHETHER WARDS CAN ALIENE.
§ 80. We must next observe, that neither a woman nor a ward (pupillus) can aliene a mancipable thing without their guardian’s sanction: nor can a ward even aliene a non-mancipable thing without such sanction, though a woman can.
§ 81. Thus a woman lending money without the guardian’s sanction passes the property therein to the borrower, money being a non-mancipable thing, and so imposes a contractual obligation on the borrower.
§ 82. But a ward lending money without his guardian’s sanction does not pass the property, and so does not impose a contractual obligation on the borrower, he can therefore recover back the money, if it exists, by vindication, that is, by claiming it as quiritary owner; whereas a woman can only bring a personal action of debt. Whether a ward can maintain an action against the borrower in case the money has been spent by him, is a subject of controversy, for a ward can acquire a right of action against a person without the sanction of his guardian.
§ 83. On the contrary, both mancipable and non-mancipable things can be conveyed to women and to wards without their guardian’s sanction, because they do not require his sanction to better their position.
§ 84. Accordingly, a debtor who pays money to a ward passes the property therein to the ward, but is not discharged of his obligation, because a ward cannot release a debtor from any liability without his guardian’s sanction, as without such sanction he cannot part with any right: if, however, he is profiting by the money, and yet demands further payment, he may be barred by the plea of fraud.
§ 85. A woman may be lawfully paid without her guardian’s sanction, and the payer is discharged of liability, because, as we have just mentioned, a woman does not need her guardian’s sanction for the alienation of a non-mancipable thing, provided always that she receives actual payment: for if she is not actually paid, she cannot formally release her debtor by acceptilation (3 § 169) unless with her guardian’s sanction.
§ 80, cf. 1, §§ 142-154, comm., 189-193.
§§ 81, 82. For mutuum, see 3 § 90. If the money delivered by a ward could be traced it was recoverable from any one by real action (vindicatio): if it had been consumed in bona fides a personal action, condictio certi, would probably lie against the borrower to recover an equivalent sum: if it had been consumed in mala fides a personal action, ad exhibendum, would lie to recover an equivalent sum and damages, Inst. 2, 8, 2.
§ 85. The pupilage of women after attaining the age of twelve, i. e. the age of puberty, had become obsolete before the time of Justinian, and with it their incapacities of alienation.
§ 86. Adquiritur autem nobis non solum per nosmet ipsos, sed etiam per eos quos in potestate manu mancipioue habemus; item per eos seruos in quibus usumfructum habemus; item per homines liberos et seruos alienos quos bona fide possidemus. de quibus singulis diligenter despiciamus.
Inst. 2, 9 pr.
§ 87. Igitur 〈quod〉 liberi nostri quos in potestate habemus, item quod serui nostri mancipio accipiunt uel ex traditione nanciscuntur, siue quid stipulentur, uel ex aliqualibet causa adquirunt, id nobis adquiritur; ipse enim qui in potestate nostra est nihil suum habere potest. et ideo si heres institutus sit, nisi nostro iussu hereditatem adire non potest; et si iubentibus nobis adierit, hereditas nobis adquiritur proinde atque si nos ipsi heredes instituti essemus; et conuenienter scilicet legatum per eos nobis adquiritur.
Inst. 2, 9, 3.
§ 88. Dum tamen sciamus, si alterius in bonis sit seruus, alterius ex iure Quiritium, ex omnibus causis ei soli per eum adquiri cuius in bonis est.
§ 89. Non solum autem proprietas per eos quos in potestate habemus adquiritur nobis, sed etiam possessio; cuius enim rei possessionem adepti fuerint, id nos possidere uidemur; unde etiam per eos usucapio procedit.
Inst. l. c.
§ 90. Per eas uero personas quas in manu mancipioue habemus proprietas quidem adquiritur nobis ex omnibus causis, sicut per eos qui in potestate nostra sunt; an autem possessio adquiratur, quaeri solet, quia ipsas non possidemus.
§ 91. De his autem seruis in quibus tantum usumfructum habemus ita placuit, ut quidquid ex re nostra uel ex operis suis adquirant, id nobis adquiratur; quod uero extra eas causas, id ad dominum proprietatis pertineat. itaque si iste seruus heres institutus sit legatumue quod ei datum fuerit, non mihi sed domino proprietatis adquiritur.
Inst. 2, 9, 4.
§ 92. Idem placet de eo qui a nobis bona fide possidetur, siue liber sit siue alienus seruus. quod enim placuit de usufructuario, idem probatur etiam de bonae fidei possessore. itaque quod extra duas istas causas adquiritur, id uel ad ipsum pertinet, si liber est, uel ad dominum, si seruus est.
Inst. l c.
§ 93. Sed bonae fidei possessor cum usuceperit seruum, quia eo modo dominus fit, ex omni causa per eum sibi adquirere potest. usufructuarius uero usucapere non potest: primum quia non possidet, sed habet ius utendi [et] fruendi; deinde quia scit alienum seruum esse.
Inst. l. c.
§ 94. De illo quaeritur, an per eum seruum in quo usumfructum habemus possidere aliquam rem et usucapere possimus, quia ipsum non possidemus. per eum uero quem bona fide possidemus sine dubio et possidere et usucapere possumus. loquimur autem in utriusque persona secundum definitionem quam proxime exposuimus, id est si quid ex re nostra uel ex operis suis adquirant [id nobis adquiritur].
Inst. l. c.
§ 95. Ex his apparet per liberos homines quos neque iuri nostro subiectos habemus neque bona fide possidemus, item per alienos seruos, in quibus neque usumfructum habemus neque iustam possessionem, nulla ex causa nobis adquiri posse. et hoc est quod uulgo dicitur per extraneam personam nobis adquiri non posse. tantum de possessione quaeritur, an 〈per extraneam〉 personam nobis adquiratur.
Inst. 2, 9, 5.
§ 96. In summa sciendum est his qui in potestate manu mancipioue sunt nihil in iure cedi posse; cum enim istarum personarum nihil suum esse possit, conueniens est scilicet, ut nihil suum esse in iure uindicare possint.
§ 86. We may acquire property not only by our own acts but also by the acts of persons in our power, hand, or mancipium; further, by slaves in whom we have a usufruct; further, by freemen or another’s slave of whom we are bona fide possessors: let us now examine these cases in detail.
§ 87. The rights of property which children under power or slaves acquire by mancipation or tradition, or claims they acquire by stipulation, or by any other title, are acquired for their superior; for a person subject to power is incapable of holding property, accordingly if instituted heir he must have the command of his superior to be capable of accepting the inheritance, and if he has the command of the superior and accepts the inheritance, it is acquired for the superior just as if the latter had himself been instituted heir: and the rule that it is the superior who acquires applies equally in the case of a legacy.
§ 88. But it is to be noticed that when one man is bonitary owner of a slave and another quiritary owner, whatever the mode of acquisition, it enures exclusively to the bonitary owner.
§ 89. Not only ownership is acquired for the superior but also possession, for the possession of the inferior is deemed to be the possession of the superior, and thus the former is to the latter an instrument of acquiring by usucapion.
§ 90. Persons in the hand or mancipation of a superior acquire ownership for him by all modes of acquisition just as children or slaves in his power; whether they acquire possession for him is a controversy, as they are not themselves in his possession.
§ 91. Respecting slaves in whom a person has only a usufruct, the rule is, that what they acquire by means of the property of the usufructuary or by their own labour is acquired for the usufructuary; but what they acquire by any other means belongs to their proprietor. Accordingly, if such a slave is instituted heir or made legatee, the inheritance or legacy is acquired, not for the usufructuary, but for the owner.
§ 92. The possessor in good faith of a freeman or a slave belonging to another is held to have the same rights as a usufructuary; what they acquire on any other account than the two we mentioned, belonging in the one case to the freeman himself in the other to the rightful owner.
§ 93. But after a possessor in good faith has acquired the ownership of a slave by usucapion, since he has thus become owner of him, all acquisitions by the slave enure to his benefit. A usufructuary cannot acquire a slave by usucapion, for, in the first place, he has not possession, but only a right of usufruct; and in the second place, he knows that the slave belongs to some one else.
§ 94. It is a question whether a slave can be an instrument of possession and usucapion for a usufructuary, the slave not being himself in his possession. A slave, undoubtedly, can be the instrument of possession and usucapion for a bona fide possessor. Both cases are subject to the limitation made above as to things acquired by the slave by means of the usufructuary’s property or by his own labour.
§ 95. It appears that freemen not subject to my power nor in my bona fide possession, and slaves of other people of whom I am neither usufructuary nor lawful possessor, cannot under any circumstances be instruments of acquiring for me, and this is the import of the dictum that a stranger to the family cannot be an instrument in the acquisition of anything; only in respect of possession there is a controversy as to whether it cannot be acquired through a stranger.
§ 96. Finally, it is to be observed that persons under power, in hand, or in mancipium, cannot acquire by surrender before a magistrate, for, as nothing can belong to such persons, it follows that they cannot vindicate anything as their own before a magistrate.
§ 87. Manus and mancipium had ceased to exist before the time of Justinian, and patria potestas was much reduced. The gradual steps by which filiusfamilias acquired an independent proprietary position have been already described, 1 § 55, comm. The reduction of patria potestas, and the abolition of the dependent law of Agnation, may be almost regarded (so fundamental were these institutions in jus civile) as the abrogation of the jus civile, and the substitution in its stead of what the Romans called jus gentium.
§ 88. The power of acquiring by the acts of a slave and the power of manumission, so as to make a slave Latinus, accompany Bonitary, not Quiritary, ownership, where these are separated, 1 §§ 35, 54, 3 § 166.
§ 90. It is to be noticed, as Professor Muirhead points out in his note to this passage, that no reason is given for making a distinction between persons in manu mancipiove and filiifamilias and slaves in respect of the acquiring possession for their superior.
§ 94. Dig. 41, 2, 1, 8 Per eum, in quo usumfructum habemus, possidere possumus, sicut ex operis suis adquirere nobis solet, nec ad rem pertinet, quod ipsum non possidemus: nam nec filium.
§ 95. All Dispositions or modes of conferring either rights against one (jus in personam), or rights against the world (jus in rem), are divisible, as we have before mentioned, into two parcels; an essential portion, some mental or internal act, the Intention of the parties; and an evidentiary portion, the Execution of this intention, its incorporation in some overt act. Can these elements of title be contributed by different persons? Can the Intention of disposing, that is, of acquiring or aliening, reside in one, and can its Execution, its external manifestation, be delegated to a representative?
Originally, that is, under the ancient civil law, representation was only admitted when the representative was in an inferior status to the principal, was his slave, or subject to his potestas, manus, or mancipium, § 95. This limitation was found to be inconvenient, when, in the progress of Roman conquest, Roman citizens became proprietors in remote parts of the world; and Possession was allowed to be acquirable by the instrumentality of extranea persona, that is, of a person who stood in no relation of inferiority to the acquirer, which though a doubtful point in the time of Gaius, was finally settled by a constitution of the Emperor Severus. In a civil solemnity, like mancipation, a man could not be represented by an independent agent; but when the transfer of possession (traditio) became a mode and ultimately the universal mode of transferring dominion, it followed that Ownership (dominium), as well as Possession, could be acquired by the agency of libera persona, if the person making traditio of a thing to the agent was himself owner of it, Inst. 2, 5.
The acquisition of Obligations or personal rights by brokerage of an independent agent was less perfectly developed. In fact Roman law adhered throughout its history to the rule that an agent could only contract rights for himself and not for his principal, though means were taken to circumvent this restriction as far as possible. The process employed for this purpose was a duplication of the relation of agency (mandatum). A as principal (dominus) appointed B his agent (procurator). B then contracted with a third party in his own name, and, in order to transfer the benefit of his contract to A, he ceded to him his right of action, that is to say, B, as principal, in his turn made A his agent (procurator in rem suam), whereby A was able to sue in the name of B, and obtain judgement on his own account. Finally, the praetor allowed the principal to sue immediately, without an express mandate, if intention to assign was shown, by bringing a utilis actio, 3 § 163, comm.
§ 96. We might have expected that, as those subject to potestas can acquire for their superiors by Mancipatio, § 87, so they could also acquire by In jure cessio, especially as the same form of words—Hunc ego hominem ex jure Quiritium meum esse aio—was used in Mancipatio, 1 § 119, and in Vindicatio, 4 § 16. It seems, however, that in Mancipatio the formula could be changed to Hanc rem ex jure Quiritium Lucii Titii domini mei esse aio, 3 § 167; and that a similar modification was not admissible in in jure cessio. It follows that an inferior (filius, qui in mancipio est, or servus) could acquire for his superior rural servitudes, but not urban or personal servitudes, §§ 29, 30, these being only created by in jure cessio; not, that is to say, as res singulae: for as parts of a rerum universitas these and all other rights could be acquired for a superior by an inferior by making aditio of an hereditas with the sanction of the superior, § 188; and even as res singulae these rights could be acquired for a superior by an inferior by title of legatum; that is, if they are conferred by a testator on the inferior as legatarius, Vat. frag. 51.
As Hereditas includes Obligations (res incorporales), active and passive, as well as Dominium (res corporalis), the consideration of Obligation should, theoretically speaking, precede the consideration of Inheritance; in an elementary exposition like the present, however, no practical inconvenience is occasioned by postponing the consideration of Obligations, while we gain by exhausting the subject of jus in rem before proceeding to the examination of jus in personam.
We may remember that Hereditas, as well as Servitudes and Obligations, was included by the Romans under the term Res incorporales, § 14. The whole division of rights, however, into Res corporales and Res incorporales is unsatisfactory; for, as we have already noticed, it was only from confusion of thought that Dominium was held to be Res corporalis; for all Rights are, really, Res incorporales.
QVIBVS MODIS PER VNIVERSITATEM RES ADQVIRANTVR.
§ 97.Hactenus tantisper admonuisse sufficit quemadmodum singulae res nobis adquirantur. nam legatorum ius quo et ipso singulas res adquirimus opportunius alio loco referemus. uideamus itaque nunc quibus modis per uniuersitatem res nobis adquirantur.
Inst. 2, 9, 6.
§ 98. Si cui heredes facti sumus, siue cuius bonorum possessionem petierimus, siue cuius bona emerimus, siue quem adoptauerimus, siue quam in manum ut uxorem receperimus, eius res ad nos transeunt.
Inst. l. c.
§ 99. Ac prius de hereditatibus dispiciamus quarum duplex condicio est: nam uel ex testamento uel ab intestato ad nos pertinent.
Inst. l. c.
§ 100. Et prius est, ut de his dispiciamus quae nobis ex testamento obueniunt.
Inst. l. c.
§ 101. Testamentorum autem genera initio duo fuerunt: nam aut calatis comitiis testamentum faciebant, quae comitia bis in anno testamentis faciendis destinata erant, aut in procinctu, id est cum belli causa arma sumebant; procinctus est enim expeditus et armatus exercitus. alterum itaque in pace et in otio faciebant, alterum in proelium exituri.
Inst 2, 10, 1.
§ 102. Accessit deinde tertium genus testamenti quod per aes et libram agitur. qui neque calatis comitiis neque in procinctu testamentum fecerat, is si subita morte urguebatur, amico familiam suam, id est patrimonium suum, mancipio dabat, eumque rogabat quid cuique post mortem suam dari uellet. quod testamentum dicitur per aes et libram, scilicet quia per mancipationem peragitur.
Inst. l. c.
§ 103. Sed illa quidem duo genera testamentorum in desuetudinem abierunt; hoc uero solum quod per aes et libram fit in usu retentum est. sane nunc aliter ordinatur quam olim solebat. namque olim familiae emptor, id est qui a testatore familiam accipiebat mancipio, heredis locum optinebat, et ob id ei mandabat testator quid cuique post mortem suam dari uellet; nunc uero alius heres testamento instituitur, a quo etiam legata relinquuntur, alius dicis gratia propter ueteris iuris imitationem familiae emptor adhibetur.
Inst. l. c.
§ 104. Eaque res ita agitur: qui facit 〈testamentum〉, adhibitis, sicut in ceteris mancipationibus, v testibus ciuibus Romanis puberibus et libripende, postquam tabulas testamenti scripserit, mancipat alicui dicis gratia familiam suam; in qua re his uerbis familiae emptor utitur familia pecvniaqve tva endo mandatelam cvstodelamqve meam, qvo tv ivre testamentvm facere possis secvndvm legem pvblicam, hoc aere, et ut quidam adiciunt aeneaqve libra esto mihi empta; deinde aere percutit libram, idque aes dat testatori uelut pretii loco; deinde testator tabulas testamenti tenens ita dicit haec ita vt in his tabvlis cerisqve scripta svnt, ita do ita lego ita testor itaqve vos qviritfs testimonivm mihi perhibetote; et hoc dicitur nuncupatio: nuncupare est enim palam nominare, et sane quae testator specialiter in tabulis testamenti scripserit, ea uidetur generali sermone nominare atque confirmare.
§ 105. In testibus autem non debet is esse qui in potestate est aut familiae emptoris aut ipsius testatoris, quia propter ueteris iuris imitationem totum hoc negotium quod agitur testamenti ordinandi gratia creditur inter familiae emptorem agi et testatorem; quippe olim, ut proxime diximus, is qui familiam testatoris mancipioaccipiebat heredis loco erat; itaque reprobatum est in ea re domesticum testimonium.
Inst. 2, 10, 9.
§ 106. Unde et si is qui in potestate patris est familiae emptor adhibitus sit, pater eius testis esse non potest; ac ne is quidem qui in eadem potestate est, uelut frater eius. sed si filius familias ex castrensi peculio post missionem faciat testamentum, nec pater eius recte testis adhibetur nec is qui in potestate patris est.
§ 107. De libripende eadem quae et de testibus dicta esse intellegemus; nam et is testium numero est.
§ 108. Is uero qui in potestate heredis aut legatarii est, cuiusue heres ipse aut legatarius in potestate est, quique in eiusdem potestate est, adeo testis et libripens adhiberi potest, ut ipse quoque heres aut legatarius iure adhibeantur. sed tamen quod ad heredem pertinet quique in eius potestate est cuiusue is in potestate erit, minime hoc iure uti debemus.
QVIBVS MODIS PER VNIVERSITATEM RES ADQVIRANTVR.
§ 97. So much at present respecting the modes of acquiring single rights; for bequest by way of legacy, another title whereby single rights are acquired, will find a more suitable place in a later portion of our treatise. We proceed to the titles whereby an aggregate of rights is acquired.
§ 98. If we become civil heirs of anyone, or claim praetorian succession to his property, or purchase the estate of an insolvent, or adopt a person sui juris, or receive a wife into our hand, the whole property of those persons is transferred to us in an aggregate mass.
§ 99. Let us begin with inheritances, whose mode of devolution is twofold, according as a person dies testate or intestate.
§ 100. And we first treat of acquisition by will.
§ 101. Wills were originally of two kinds, being made either at the comitia calata, which were held twice a year for making wills, or in martial array, that is to say, in the field before the enemy, martial array denoting an army equipped and armed for battle. One kind, then, was used in time of peace and quiet, the other by persons about to go to battle.
§ 102. More recently, a third kind was introduced, effected by bronze and balance. A man who had not made his will, either in the comitia calata or in martial array, being in apprehension of approaching death, used to convey his estate by mancipation to a friend, whom he requested to distribute it to certain persons in a certain manner after his death. This mode of testamentary disposition is called the will by bronze and balance, because it is carried out by the process of mancipation.
§ 103. The first two modes have fallen into desuetude, and that by bronze and balance, which alone survives, has undergone a transformation. In former times the vendee of the estate, the alienee by mancipation from the testator, held the place of heir, and received the testator’s instructions respecting the disposition of his property after his death. At the present day, the person who is instituted heir, and who is charged with the bequests, is different from the person who, for form’s sake, and in imitation of the ancient law, represents the purchaser.
§ 104. The proceedings are as follows: The testator having summoned, moned, as is done in other mancipations, five witnesses, all Roman citizens of the age of puberty, and a holder of the balance, and having already reduced his will to writing, makes a pro-formâ mancipation of his estate to a certain vendee, who thereupon utters these words: ‘Thy family and thy money into my charge, ward, and custody I receive, and, in order to validate thy will conformably to the public enactment (the Twelve Tables), with this ingot, and’—as some continue—‘with this scale of bronze, unto me be it purchased.’ Then with the ingot he strikes the scale, and delivers the ingot to the testator, as by way of purchase-money. Thereupon the testator, holding the tablets of his will, says as follows: ‘This estate, as in these tablets and in this wax is written, I so grant, so bequeath, so declare; and do you, Quirites, so give me your attestation.’ These words are called the nuncupation, for nuncupation signifies public declaration, and by these general words the specific written dispositions of the testator are published and confirmed.
§ 105. For the part of witness, it is a disqualification to be in the power of the purchaser of the estate or of the testator, because, the old proceeding furnishing the model, the whole testamentary process is supposed to be a transaction between the purchaser and the testator; and in old times, as was just observed, the purchaser was in the place of the heir; wherefore the testimony of persons in the same family was rejected.
§ 106. Hence too, if the vendee is a filiusfamilias, neither his father nor any one in his father’s power, his brother, for instance, is competent to attest; on the other hand if a filiusfamilias, after his discharge from service, make a will of his military peculium, neither his father nor any one in his father’s power is qualified to be a witness.
§ 107. The same rules apply to the balance-holder, for the balance-holder is reckoned as a witness.
§ 108. Not only is a person who is in the power of the heir or legatee, or a person who has power over the heir or legatee, or a person in the same power as the heir or legatee, capable of being witness or balance-holder. but the heir or legatee himself can act in this character. However, it is advisable that as regards the heir, and those in his power. and the person in whose power he is, the testator should not avail himself of this right.
§§ 97, 98. On the death of a civis all his rights and obligations (except those of a purely personal character, such as ususfructus and liability for delict) were regarded as constituting a universitas juris or undivided succession (supra, p. 126) called hereditas. The hereditas, in fact, was the legal personality of the deceased, and so the successor to it, called heres, had exactly the same position in respect of the entire family property as the deceased paterfamilias. Hence he was personally liable to pay all the debts in full, as if he had himself contracted them, cf. Sohm, § 108.
In the corresponding passage of Justinian’s Institutes bonorum emptio and conventio in manum, being obsolete, are not mentioned.
§§ 101-103. A will is thus defined by Ulpian: Testamentum est mentis nostrae justa contestatio, in id sollemniter facta ut post mortem nostram valeat, 20, 1. Testamentary disposition was an interference with the rights of family succession under the law of intestacy, which at first seemed so great an innovation as to require the sanction of the gentes. Accordingly the will executed in the Comitia Calata, or convocation of the gentes, was really a private law (perhaps originally instituted as a modified form of adoption, when a man had no children to succeed to his property); and even the will in procinctu, when we remember the original identity at Rome of the civil and military organization, may be regarded as the legislative act of the curiae in military convocation. The essential characteristic of this will was the nomination of a heres. Hence so important became the institution of a heres to the validity of a will in Roman law, that a Roman testament might be simply defined as the institution of a heres.
The mancipatory will, or will by bronze and scale, probably began to supersede the older form, which was perhaps confined to patricians, when the Twelve Tables gave legal force to the nuncupative part of mancipation (Cum nexum faciet mancipiumque, uti lingua nuncupassit, ita jus esto, Festus. ‘In contract or conveyance by bronze and balance, the oral declaration shall have legal force’), and had expressly recognized in every paterfamilias, whether patrician or plebeian, a power of testamentary disposition (Uti legassit super [familia], pecunia, tutelave suae rei, ita jus esto. Ulpian, 11, 14).
The introduction of writing marks an era in mancipatory wills. Originally, the testator gave oral instructions to the familiae emptor, or purchaser of the family property, in the presence of the witnesses, as to the terms on which the property was to be held by him and distributed after the testator’s death. These oral instructions, forming the lex mancipii, or conditions of the conveyance, called nuncupatio, served as a means, under the clauses of the Twelve Tables above cited, of nominating a heres. Hence a special lex curiata for this purpose was no longer necessary, and the familiae emptor, instead of being a kind of trustee for carrying out the testator’s wishes, became a mere formality, used simply for the purpose of making the will mancipatory. Afterwards, for the sake of secrecy, the testator committed his intentions to writing, and the nuncupation became a mere form of publication, or general ratification of the directions contained in the tablets which the testator held in his hand, when he executed the mancipation.
§ 105. It is an intelligible rule, that a person interested in the validity of a will should be incompetent as a witness; and, when the familiae emptor was in the place of the heir, it was reasonable to disqualify for attestation any one united in interest to him. But when the mancipation was purely fictitious (imaginaria mancipatio, Ulpian, 20, 2; imaginaria venditio, Inst. 2, 10, 1), one sesterce being paid as the nominal price, and the imaginary vendee distinct from the heir, the continuance of this disqualification shows the tendency of the Romans to venerate rules after the principles on which they were founded had ceased to operate. In the meantime the heir, who was, strictly speaking, really interested, was competent to be a witness. Cicero, for instance, mentions that he and Clodius were both witnesses to a will in which they were appointed heirs, Pro Milone, 18, 48; but in the time of Gaius, as we see by the text, § 108, such attestation was at least questionable, and when Ulpian wrote it seems to have been inadmissible. The whole law on this subject was, however, deranged: totum jus conturbatum erat, Inst. 2, 10, 10: the transference of interest from the familiae emptor to the heres not being accompanied by a corresponding transference of testimonial disqualification from the relatives of the familiae emptor to the relatives of the heres. Justinian converted the advice of Gaius into a fixed rule of law, and disabled the heir and persons united to him by the bond of potestas from giving attestation, Inst. 2, 10, 10. Legatees retained their competency to attest.
§ 106. This statement of Gaius respecting a will of castrense peculium is inadvertently transferred to Justinian’s Institutes, 2, 10, 9, but is inconsistent with a dictum of Ulpian’s in the Digest: Per contrarium quaeri potest, an pater ejus, qui de castrensi peculio potest testari, adhiberi ab eo ad testamentum testis possit. Et Marcellus libro decimo Digestorum scribit posse: et frater ergo poterit, Dig. 28, 1, 20, 2. We have here, then, a case of Antinomy (contradictory laws) in Justinian’s legislation. Vangerow, § 444, solves the antinomy by supposing that Ulpian speaks of a will made during service; the Institutes, like Gaius, of a will made post missionem.
By English law, 1 Vict. c. 26, any devise or legacy to an attesting witness is void, and the evidence of the witness admissible, and no person is incompetent to attest on account of being appointed executor.
In another form of will deriving its validity from the authority of the praetor, the form of mancipation was dropped, and the only authentication required was the apposition of the seals of seven attesting witnesses. Under such a will, however, the successor could not take the legal estate or hereditas, but only possession of the goods or bonorum possessio, §§ 119, 120, 148.
Before the time of Justinian, a form of will had been established deriving its validity from three orders of legislation (jus tripertitum), the civil law, the praetorian edict, and the imperial constitutions. In accordance with the last, the witnesses were required to sign or subscribe their names; in accordance with the praetorian edict they were required to attach their seals (signacula); and in accordance with the civil law, their number was required to be seven (a number obtained by adding the libripens and familiae emptor to the five witnesses of the mancipation), and the whole formality of attestation and publication was required to be continuous (unitas actus), that is, to proceed from beginning to end without interruption or interposition of any other business as one act. Inst. 2, 10, 3.
Another form of will is mentioned by Justinian as perfectly valid at civil law, the Nuncupative will, consisting solely of an oral declaration in the presence of seven witnesses, Inst. 2, 10, 14. A modification of this produced one of the most solemn forms of testament. The nuncupation was made before the Praeses provinciae, or a judex; and thereupon a memorandum or protocol (insinuatio) of the testator’s dispositions was made at length in the public records (acta or gesta) of the proceedings of the governor or court. This was called a public testament. Cod. 6, 23, 19.
By English law, 1 Vict. c. 26, only two witnesses are required to a will, whether of real or personal estate. The will must be in writing, signed at the end by the testator, or by some other person in his presence and by his direction; and such signature must be made or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of the two witnesses, who must be present at the same time, and who must attest and subscribe the will in the presence of the testator.
[DE TESTAMENTIS MILITVM.]
§ 109. Sed haec diligens obseruatio in ordinandis testamentis militibus propter nimiam inperitiam constitutionibus principum remissa est. nam quamuis neque legitimum numerum testium adhibuerint neque uendiderint familiam neque nuncupauerint testamentum, recte nihilo minus testantur.
Inst. 2, 11 pr.
§ 110. Praeterea permissum est iis et peregrinos et Latinos instituere heredes uel iis legare, cum alioquin peregrini quidem ratione ciuili prohibeantur capere hereditatem legataque, Latini uero per legem Iuniam.
§ 111. Caelibes quoque qui lege Iulia hereditatem legataque capere uetantur; item orbi, id est qui liberos non habent, quos lex —|NA
(48 uersus in C perierunt)—|—NAprohibentur hi—|—NA
(6 uersus in C legi nequeunt)—| —NA eius more faciant—|—|NAxxx annorum—|—NA
(8 uersus in C legi nequeunt)—|—NA res — |—NA
(2 uersus in C legi nequeunt)—|—NA
[DE TESTAMENTIS MILITVM.]
§ 109. But from these strict rules in the execution of a will soldiers, in consideration of their extreme ignorance of law, have by imperial constitutions a dispensation. For neither the legal number of witnesses, nor the ceremony of mancipation or of nuncupation, is necessary to give force to their will.
§ 110. Moreover, they may make aliens and Latini (Juniani) their heirs or legatees, whereas under other wills an alien is disqualified from taking a succession or legacy by the civil law, and Latini by the lex Junia.
§ 111. Celibates also, whom the lex Julia disqualifies for taking successions or legacies, and childless persons whom the lex Papia prohibits from taking more than half a succession or legacy (see § 286), are exempt from these incapacities under the will of a soldier.
§ 109. The military will could only be executed during actual service, and in this period only when the soldier was in camp, not when he was at home or on leave of absence. A will made after the soldier’s discharge from service or during his absence from camp was governed by the same rules as the will of a civilian (paganus). A military will, executed without the ordinary formalities, only remained valid during a year after discharge from service. Inst. 2, 11, 3.
§ 112. —ex auctoritate diui Hadriani senatusconsultum factum est quo permissum est |—NAfeminis etiam sine coemptione te|stamentum facere, si modo non minores essent annorum xii, scilicet ut quae tutela liberatae non essent, tutore auctore testari deberent.
§ 113. Videntur ergo melioris condicionis esse feminae quam masculi: nam masculus minor annorumxiiii testamentum facere non potest, etiamsi tutore auctore testamentum facere uelit, femina uero post xii annum testamenti faciendi ius nanciscitur.
§ 114. Igitur si quaeramus an ualeat testamentum, inprimis aduertere debemus an is qui id fecerit habuerit testamenti factionem; deinde si habuerit, requiremus an secundum iuris ciuilis regulam testatus sit, exceptis militibus, quibus propter nimiam inperitiam, ut diximus, quomodo uelint uel quomodo possint, permittitur testamentum facere.
§ 112. But a senatusconsult under the late emperor Hadrian, as already mentioned (1 § 115 a), made coemption unnecessary, and permitted women to make a will on attaining 12 years of age, only requiring their guardian’s sanction if they were still in a state of pupilage.
§ 113. Women, then, are in a better legal position than males, for a male under 14 years of age cannot make a will, even with his guardian’s sanction, but a female acquires testamentary capacity as soon as she is 12 years old.
§ 114. Accordingly, to determine the validity of a will, we must first ascertain whether the testator had testamentary capacity; next, if he had, whether he conformed to the requisitions of the civil law in its execution, with this reservation, that soldiers, on account of their extreme ignorance of law, as was mentioned, are allowed to make their wills in any way they like and in any way they can.
§ 112. On the lost leaf of the Veronese codex Gaius proceeded to mention the classes who were incompetent to make a will. Among these would be the filiusfamilias, who could only dispose of his peculium castrense. Cf. Inst. 2, 12; Ulp. 20, 10; Epit. 2, 2, 1.
§ 114. Testamenti factio is a term applied, (A) to the Testator, Testamenti factio activa; (B) to the object of his bounty, Testamenti factio passiva; (C) to the witnesses. Let us consider it in each of these applications.
(A) Testamenti factio activa sometimes comprehends all the conditions (physical included) of testamentary capacity, and then it excludes children below the age of puberty and lunatics: but the proper meaning of testamenti factio is the qualification by Status for mancipatio, and consequently for the mancipatory will: that is to say, it is equivalent to Commercium, and therefore is ascribed to all cives, all Latini, and all aliens who have received a grant of commercium.
To make a will, however, a testator must have not only personal capacity, but he must also have property to leave. This latter condition is necessarily wanting to the Filiusfamilias and to the Latinus Junianus: in their case, therefore, Testamenti factio does not mean capacity of being testator, but of playing some other part in the mancipatory will; i. e. of being heir, or legatee, or witness.
The testator’s capacity is required at two periods: at the time of making the will and at the time of the testator’s death. The strict civil law also required the continuance of capacity during the interval between these dates: but the praetor disregarded any intervening incapacity (capitis diminutio minima), and, notwithstanding such an event, gave the will efficacy by granting to the heir, not the civil hereditas (which was beyond his power), but juxta-tabular possession (bonorum possessio juxta or secundum tabulas), §§ 145-147, comm., Ulpian 23, 6. Dig. 37, 11, 1, 8 Exigit praetor ut is cujus bonorum possessio datur utroque tempore jus testamenti faciendi habuerit, et quum facit testamentum et cum moritur. . . . Sed si quis utroque tempore testamenti factionem habuerit, medio tempore non habuerit, bonorum possessio secundum tabulas peti poterit.
Two other cases of incapacity were cured by the principle of postliminy and the lex Cornelia testamentaria: if a testator suffered capitis diminutio maxima by falling into the hands of the enemy, when he returned from captivity his will reacquired validity by the operation of postliminy: if he never returned his will obtained validity by the fiction that he died a moment before his capture. Dig. 28, 3, 6, 12 Quatenus tamen diximus ab hostibus capti testamentum irritum fieri, adjiciendum est postliminio reversi vires suas recipere jure postliminii, aut si ibi decedat, lege Cornelia confirmari. Dig. 49, 15, 18 In omnibus partibus juris, is, qui reversus non est ab hostibus, quasi tunc decessisse videtur, cum captus est. Ulpian, 23, 5.
The physical conditions of testamentary incapacity (infancy, lunacy) are only critical at the date of making the will.
(B) The Honoratus or the recipient of the testator’s bounty, whether heres or legatarius, required testamenti factio passiva, which like testamenti factio activa meant Commercium or capacity of taking part in mancipatio. Accordingly both a filiusfamilias and a Latinus could be heres or legatee (for the limitation, however, of the capacity of Latinus Junianus by the lex Junia see below). This capacity must exist at three periods (tria tempora): the making of the will, the death of the testator, and the acquisition of the succession by the heres (aditio). The interval between the making of the will and the death of the testator was immaterial, Inst. 2, 19, 4, Dig. 28, 5, 60, 4. The interval between the death of the testator and the aditio of the heres was material, because on the first heres institutus becoming incapable the inheritance would be instantaneously delated (offered for acceptance) to the heres substitutus or to the heres ab intestato.
The looking to the capacity of Honoratus at the date of making the will as well as later, though apparently based on no motives of testamentary policy, but only due to the mancipatory form of the primitive will, which was ostensibly a mancipatio inter vivos, i. e. a disposition taking effect in the lifetime of the mancipator, was retained in Justinian’s legislation after wills had lost their mancipatory form.
In respect of Honoratus it is necessary to distinguish institutio from acquisitio (aditio); and testamenti factio passiva, competence for institution, from capacitas or jus capiundi, competence for acquisition. Testamenti factio passiva was required at the date of the making of the will; and in its absence a disposition was deemed to be unwritten (pro non scripto habetur); and the property disposed of went by Accretio to the other heredes scripti. Capacitas, in its distinctive sense, was only required at the date of acquisition; and in its absence the unacquired property became caducous, and devolved in part or in whole to persons fulfilling certain conditions or to the state, as determined by the laws of caducity.
Incapaces, or persons who, from want of capacity to take, forfeited part or the whole of the testator’s bounty, comprehended:
(1) Latini Juniani, who were made incapable by the lex Junia, 1 § 23, 2 §§ 110, 275. Cf. Ulpian, 17, 1.
(2) The unmarried (caelibes) were totally, and the married but childless (orbi) were made partially incapable by the lex Papia Poppaea.
(3) Husband or wife (vir et uxor), who by the same law could only take, as between one another if they had no children, one tenth of a heritage, and another tenth for every living child by a former marriage: further, another tenth for a common child that lived to the day of naming (nominum dies), or as Mommsen (Staatsr. 3, 202) would read the MS. of Ulpian, after the ninth day (nono die), or two tenths for two such children, but not more. In addition to their tenth, the husband or wife who were childless might have the usufruct of a third part, and, if they had had children, the property in a third, Ulpian, 1, 15.
These disqualifications were not recognized in Justinian’s legislation: so that at that period the distinction between capacitas and testamenti factio passiva had lost much of its importance. We find, however, under Justinian the penalty of forfeiture (ereptio, ablatio) for Indignitas. Indigni were persons deemed on various grounds unworthy of the testator’s bounty. The devolution of the property intended for them followed different rules from those which governed other cases of Incapacity. See § 151, comm.
(C) Testamenti factio was further applied to designate the qualification of the witnesses to a will. This was only required to exist at one period, the date of the execution of the will.
§ 113. By English law, the age at which a person was competent to make a will was formerly the same as by Roman law, namely, 12 years for females, 14 years for males; but now, by 1 Vict. c. 26, no one is competent to make a will before attaining 21 years of age.
BONORVM POSSESSIO SECVNDVM TABVLAS.
§ 115. Non tamen, ut iure ciuili ualeat testamentum, sufficit ea obseruatio quam supra exposuimus de familiae uenditione et de testibus et de nuncupationibus.
§ 116. 〈Sed〉 ante omnia requirendum est, an institutio heredis sollemni more facta sit; nam aliter facta institutione nihil proficit familiam testatoris ita uenire testesque ita adhibere et ita nuncupare testamentum, ut supra diximus.
§ 117. Sollemnis autem institutio haec est titivs heres esto; sed et illa iam conprobata uidetur titivm heredem esse ivbeo; at illa non est conprobata titivm heredem esse volo; sed et illae a plerisque inprobatae sunt titivm heredem institvo, item heredem facio.
§ 118. Obseruandum praeterea est, ut si mulier quae in tutela est faciat testamentum, tutore auctore facere debeat; alioquin inutiliter iure ciuili testabitur.
§ 119. Praetor tamen si septem signis testium signatum sit testamentum, scriptis heredibus secundum tabulas testamenti bonorum 〈possessionem〉 pollicetur: 〈et〉 si nemo sit ad quem ab intestato iure legitimo pertineat hereditas, uelut frater eodem patre natus aut patruus aut fratris filius, ita poterunt scripti heredes retinere hereditatem. nam idem iuris est et si alia ex causa testamentum non ualeat, uelut quod familia non uenierit aut nuncupationis uerba testator locutus non sit.
§ 120. Sed uideamus an etiamsi frater aut patruus extent, potiores scriptis heredibus habeantur. rescripto enim imperatoris Antonini significatur, eos qui secundum tabulas testamenti non iure factas bonorum possessionem petierint, posse aduersus eos quiabintestato uindicant hereditatem defendere se per exceptionem doli mali.
§ 121. Quod sane quidem ad masculorum testamenta pertinere certum est; item ad feminarum quae ideo non utiliter testatae sunt, quia uerbi gratia familiam non uendiderint aut nuncupationis uerba locutae non sint; an autem et ad ea testamenta feminarum quae sine tutoris auctoritate fecerint haec constitutio pertineat, uidebimus.
§ 122. Loquimur autem de his scilicet feminis quae non in legitima parentum aut patronorum tutela sunt, sed [de his] quae alterius generis tutores habent, qui etiam inuiti coguntur auctores fieri; alioquin parentem et patronum sine auctoritate eius facto testamento non summoueri palam est.
BONORVM POSSESSIO SECVNDVM TABVLAS.
§ 115. The civil law, however, is not satisfied by our observing the requisitions hereinbefore explained respecting mancipation, attestation, and nuncupation.
§ 116. Above all things, we must observe whether the institution of an heir was in solemn form; for if the institution of an heir was not in the prescribed form, it is unavailing that the mancipation, attestation, nuncupation, were regular.
§ 117. The solemn form of institution is this: ‘Be Titius my heir.’ The following also seems now to be recognized: ‘I order that Titius be my heir.’ ‘I wish Titius to be my heir’ is not admitted; and most reject the following: ‘I institute Titius my heir,’ ‘I make Titius my heir.’
§ 118. It is also to be remembered that a woman who has a guardian must have her guardian’s sanction to make a will, otherwise her will is invalid at civil law.
§ 119. The praetor, however, if the will is attested by the seals of seven witnesses, promises to put the persons named in the will in juxta-tabular possession, and if there is no one to take the inheritance by statutory right under the rules of intestacy, a brother by the same father, for instance, a father’s brother, or a brother’s son, the persons named in the will are able to retain the inheritance; for the rule is the same as if the will is invalid from any other cause, as because the familia has not been sold or because the words of nuncupation have not been spoken.
§ 120. But are not the heirs named in the will preferred even to a brother and paternal uncle? since the rescript of the emperor Antoninus permits the person named in the will who has obtained juxta - tabular possession under an informal will to repel the claimants in intestacy by the plea of fraud.
§ 121. This certainly applies both to the wills of males and also to the wills of females which are informal for such faults as omission to sell the familia or to say the words of nuncupation: whether the constitution applies also to wills of females executed without their guardians’s sanction, is a question.
§ 122. We are not speaking of females who are the statutory wards of their parent or patron, but of those who are wards of the other sort of guardian, who are compellable to give their sanction; for a parent or patron can certainly not be displaced by a will he has not chosen to sanction.
§ 117. The necessity of using formal words in the institution of an heir was abolished by a constitution of Constantius and Constans, a. d. 339, Cod. 6, 23, 15.
As to the nomenclature employed in the following exposition of Roman testamentary law, it must be observed that as the Roman conception of Heres is not found in English law, so we have no legal term corresponding to it. In the language of English jurisprudence Heir denotes a successor to real estate, while Executor, the notion of which is derived to some extent from Roman law, denotes a successor appointed to succeed to personal property. Again Heir denotes a successor to real estate in case of intestacy. Devisee denotes a successor to real estate under a will.
The word Executor is not available as a translation of heres. The Executor of English law, unless also a legatee, holds a merely onerous office; whereas the heres of Roman law was always, if there was any residue, a beneficiary. The Roman heres, in fact, united the characters of the English Executor and residuary legatee: and the lex Falcidia provided that the residue should as against the claims of legatus always amount to a fourth of the testator’s property. Nor is the executor, like the heres, personally liable for the debts of the deceased beyond assets.
In translating the word Heres heir, which is convenient from its relation to the indispensable terms disinherit and disinheritance, an English reader must not be misled by false associations with Real Property law, but must understand that it is used to signify the Universal successor of Roman law, whether designated by will or by the rules of intestacy.
Bequest (which in English law is related to personality as devise to realty) has been used in connexion with legacies, i. e. with dispositions in favour of legatarius as opposed to heres; in favour, that is, of a person who takes a single thing or things belonging to the testator, not his familia, that is, the Universitas of his rights and obligations, or a fraction of this Universitas.
§§ 119, 120. The praetor only sustained a testament in spite of its civil invalidity when the grounds of civil invalidity were want of mere external formalities (mancipation, nuncupation), not against more serious defects, such as preterition of self-successor. He sustained it, however, against the preterition of suus postumus, if suus postumus died before the testator, Dig. 28, 3, 12.
The praetorian succession, or right of succession introduced by the praetor under the name of Bonorum possessio, sometimes as supplementary to, and sometimes in the place of, civilis hereditas, may be divided into testate succession and intestate succession. The latter branch (bonorum possessio intestati) was firmly established at an earlier period than the former (bonorum possessio secundum tabulas). The rescript mentioned by Gaius, § 120, which is attributed by some writers to Antoninus Pius and by others to Marcus Aurelius, as is the more probable view, may be regarded as having definitively established the validity of the praetorian testament, not simply when supplementary to, but also when in opposition to, jus civile; in other words, a praetorian will might make a person bonorum possessor cum re, although the inheritance was claimed by some one with a valid civil title.
In its origin Bonorum possessio was probably only the provisional or interimistic possession granted to one of the parties in a suit of Hereditatis petitio, cf. Sohm, § 110. This suit was a species of Real action (actio in rem), and in all Real actions it is necessary to determine which of the litigants shall have possession during the pendency of the litigation. In the earliest period, that of statute-process (legis actio), the interim possession was called vindiciae, and the praetor who assigned it to one of the parties was said vindicias dicere, 4 § 16. In making the grant of vindiciae he was probably governed by the same rule which afterwards prevailed when the question of interim possession was determined by application of the Interdicts Utrubi and Uti possidetis: that is to say he probably allowed the party in actual possession to continue in possession. But this rule was inapplicable to the case of Hereditatis petitio, for at the decease of the proprietor who leaves an inheritance not one of the claimants to succeed may be in actual possession. Here accordingly the grant was governed by different principles: if a will, prima facie valid, was propounded, possession was granted to the claimant under the will (bonorum possessio secundum tabulas): if no such will was propounded, possession was granted to the civil heirs, the self-successor (suus heres) being eventually allowed to claim bonorum possessio unde liberi, coming before the nearest agnates (legitimi). Then as supplementary to the civil law, persons who were not recognized as heredes, namely persons claiming under a praetorian will, till they were preferred by statute to agnates, § 120, and next cognates (bonorum possessio unde cognati), and the wife or husband, as such (bonorum possessio unde vir et uxor), were put in possession in default of other heirs: children (liberi), who by emancipation had lost the character of self-successors, were nevertheless admitted to possession in the first order in preference to agnates of the second order, just as if they had continued unemancipated (bonorum possessio unde liberi). The right of provisional possession of course corresponded to a presumptive right of definitive ownership.
Although a will was propounded, yet if a descendant of the testator, who would have been self-successor if he had not been emancipated, was therein pretermitted (praeteritus), i. e. not either instituted heir or disinherited, possession was granted to such pretermitted descendant (bonorum possessio contra tabulas). Contra-tabular possession did not make a will absolutely void as the passing over of suus heres might do: if the praeteritus was an emancipated son, although he obtained contra-tabular possession, he was bound, as we shall see, by some of the dispositions of the will; so that his succession was partly intestate, partly testate.
§ 122. In ancient Rome, females, even after attaining their majority, were subject to perpetual guardianship. In the time of Gaius, the only survival of such guardianship to which they continued really subject appears to have been that of ascendants and patrons, cf. 1 §§ 189-193; 2 §§ 85, 112. But before the time of Justinian even this had ceased.
DE EXHEREDATIONE LIBERORVM.
§ 123. Item qui filium in potestate habet curare debet, ut eum uel heredem instituat uel nominatim exheredet; alioquin si eum silentio praeterierit, inutiliter testabitur, adeo quidem, ut nostri praeceptores existiment, etiamsi uiuo patre filius defunctus sit, neminem heredem ex eo testamento existere posse, quia scilicet statim ab initio non constiterit institutio. sed diuersae scholae auctores, siquidem filius mortis patris tempore uiuat, sane inpedimento eum esse scriptis heredibus et illum ab intestato heredem fieri confitentur; si uero ante mortem patris interceptus sit, posse ex testamento hereditatem adiri putant, nullo iam filio inpedimento; quia scilicet existimant 〈non〉 statim ab initio inutiliter fieri testamentum filio praeterito.
Inst. 2, 13 pr.
§ 124. Ceteras uero liberorum personas si praeterierit testator, ualet testamentum 〈sed〉 praeteritae istae personae scriptis heredibus in partem adcrescunt, si sui heredes sint in uirilem, si extranei, in dimidiam. id est si quis tres uerbi gratia filios heredes instituerit et filiam praeterierit, filia adcrescendo pro quarta parte fit heres, et ea ratione idem consequitur, quod ab intestato patre mortuo habitura esset; at si extraneos ille heredes instituerit et filiam praeterierit, filia adcrescendo ex dimidia parte fit heres. quae de filia diximus, eadem et de nepote deque omnibus liberorum personis seu masculini seu feminini sexus dicta intellegemus.
Inst. l. c
§ 125. Quid ergo est? licet eae secundum ea quae diximus scriptis heredibus dimidiam partem detrahant, tamen praetor eis contra tabulas bonorum possessionem promittit, qua ratione extranei heredes a tota hereditate repelluntur et efficiuntur sine re heredes.
§ 126. Et hoc iure utebamur, quasi nihil inter feminas et masculos interesset; sed nuper imperator Antoninus significauit rescripto suas non plus nancisci feminas per bonorum possessionem, quam quod iure adcrescendi consequerentur. quod in emancipatarum quoque persona obseruandum est, ut hae quoque, quod adcrescendi iure habiturae essent, si in potestate fuissent, id ipsum etiam per bonorum possessionem habeant.
§ 127. Sed siquidem filius a patre exheredetur, nominatim exheredari debet; alioquin non uidetur exheredari. nominatim autem exheredari uidetur, siue ita exheredetur titivs filivs mevs exheres esto,siue ita filivs mevs | exheres esto, non adiecto proprio nomine.
Inst. 2, 13, 1.
§ 128. Ceterae uero liberorum personae uel femini sexus uel masculini sa|tis inter ceteros exheredantur, id est his uerbis cete|ri omnes exheredes svnto,quae uerba — post in|stitutionem heredum adici solent. sed hoc ita— |NA.
Inst. l. c.
§ 129. Nam praetor omnes uirilis sexus liberorum personas, | id est nepotes quoque et pronepotes—|—|—|NA.
§ 130. Postumi quoque liberi uel heredes institui debent uel exheredari.
§ 131. Et in eo par omnium condicio est, quod 〈et〉 in filio postumo et in quolibet ex ceteris liberis siue feminini sexus siue masculini praeterito ualet quidem testamentum, sed postea agnatione postumi siue postumae rumpitur, et ea ratione totum infirmatur. ideoque si mulier ex qua postumus aut postuma sperabatur abortum fecerit, nihil inpedimento est scriptis heredibus ad hereditatem adeundam.
Inst. l. c.
§ 132.Sed feminini quidem sexus personae uel nominatim uel inter ceteros exheredari solent, dum tamen si inter ceteros exheredentur, aliquid eis legetur, ne uideantur per obliuionem praeteritae esse. masculini uero sexus personas placuit non aliter recte exheredari, quam si nominatim exheredentur, hoc scilicet modo qvicvmqve mihi filivs genitvs fverit ex|heres esto.
Inst. l. c.
§ 132 a —|NA potest u — |—NA
(4 uersus in C legi nequeunt)—|—NAagat—|n—|NA.
§ 133.Postumorum autem loco sunt et hi qui in sui heredis | locum succedendo quasi agnascendo fiunt parenti|bus sui heredes. ut ecce si filium et ex eo nepotem ne|ptemue in potestate habeam, quia filius gradu praecedit, | is solus iura sui heredis habet, quamuis nepos quo|que et neptis ex eo in eadem potestate sint; sed si filius meus me uiuo moriatur, aut qualibet ratione exeat de potestate mea, incipit nepos neptisue in eius locum succe|dere, et eo modo iura suorum heredum quasi agnatio|ne nanciscuntur.
Inst. 2, 13, 2.
§ 134. Ne ergo eo modo rumpatur mihi te|stamentum, sicut ipsum filium uel heredem instituere uel | exheredare debeo, ne non iure faciam testamentum, ita et ne|potem neptemue ex eo necesse est mihi uel heredem instituere uel exheredare, ne forte, me uiuo filio mortuo, succedendo in locum eius nepos neptisue quasi agnatione rumpat testamentum; idque lege Iunia Vellaea prouisum est, in qua simul exheredationis modus notatur, ut uirilis sexus 〈postumi〉 nominatim, feminini uel nominatim uel inter ceteros exheredentur, dum tamen iis qui inter ceteros exheredantur aliquid legetur.
Inst. l. c.
§ 135.Emancipatos liberos iure ciuili neque heredes instituere neque exheredare necesse est, quia non sunt sui heredes; sed praetor omnes tam feminini quam masculini sexus, si heredes non instituantur, exheredari iubet, uirilis sexus nominatim, feminini uel nominatim uel inter ceteros; quodsi neque heredes instituti fuerint neque ita ut supra diximus exheredati, praetor promittit eis contra tabulas bonorum possessionem.
Inst. 2, 13, 3.
§ 135 a. In potestate patris non sunt qui cum eo ciuitate Romana donati sunt nec in accipienda ciuitate Romana pater petiit, ut eos in potestate haberet, aut, si petiit, non inpetrauit, nam qui 〈in〉 potestatem patris ab imperatore rediguntur nihil diffe|runt a—.
§ 136. Adoptiui filii quamdiu manent in ado|ptione naturalium loco sunt; emancipati uero 〈a〉 patre adoptiuo neque iure ciuili neque quod ad edictum praetoris pertinet, inter liberos numerantur.
Inst. 2, 13, 4.
§ 137. Qua ratione accidit ut ex diuerso quod ad naturalem parentem pertinet, quamdiu quidem sint in adoptiua familia, extraneorum numero habeantur; si uero emancipati fuerint ab adoptiuo patre, tunc incipiant in ea causa esse qua futuri essent, si ab ipso naturali patre 〈emancipati〉 fuissent.
Inst. l. c.
DE EXHEREDATIONE LIBERORVM.
§ 123. Moreover, a testator who has a son in his power must take care either to institute him heir or to disinherit him individually, for passing him over in silence invalidates the will. So much so, that according to the Sabinians, even if the son die in the lifetime of the father, no one can take as heir under the will on account of the original nullity of the institution. But the followers of the other school hold that although the son, if alive at the time of his father’s death, bars the heirs mentioned in the will and takes as self-successor by intestacy, yet, if the son die before the father, the heirs under the will may succeed, the son being no longer in their way, because according to this view the will was not void ab initio by his silent pretermission.
§ 124. By the pretermission of other self-successors a will is not avoided, but the omitted persons come in to share with the heirs named in the will, taking an aliquot part if the latter are self-successors, a moiety if they are strangers. Thus if a man has three sons and institutes them heirs, saying nothing of his daughter, the daughter comes in as co-heir and takes a fourth of the estate, being entitled to the portion which would have devolved on her by intestacy: but when the instituted heirs are strangers, the daughter, if passed over, comes in and takes a moiety. What has been said of the daughter applies to the son’s children, male and female.
§ 125. But though a female according to this statement of the law only deprives the heirs under the will of a moiety, the praetor promises to give her contra-tabular possession, so that, if strangers, they lose the whole, and become heirs without taking anything.
§ 126. And this was once the law, and there was no distinction between males and females; but the Emperor Antoninus has recently decided by rescript that female self-successors shall not take more by contra-tabular possession than they would by coming in as co-heirs at civil law, by right of accrual. And the same rule applies to emancipated daughters, that is, they obtain by contra-tabular possession the same shares as they would have obtained as co-heirs by right of accrual if they had not been emancipated.
§ 127. A son must be disinherited individually; otherwise the disherison is invalid. Individual disherison may be expressed in these terms: Be Titius my son disinherited: or in these: Be my son disinherited, without inserting his name.
§ 128. Other male and all female self-successors may be sufficiently disinherited inter ceteros thus: Be the remainder disinherited, which words usually follow the institution of the heir: this, however, is only the rule of the civil law.
§ 129. For the Praetor requires all male self-successors, sons, grandsons, greatgrandsons, to be disinherited individually, although he permits females to be disinherited in an aggregate (inter ceteros), and, failing such disherison, promises them the contra-tabular succession.
§ 130. Children born after the making of the will must either be instituted heirs or disinherited.
§ 131. And in this respect all stand in the same position, that if a son or any other child, male or female, born after the making of the will, be passed over in silence, the will is originally valid, but subsequently rescinded and totally avoided by the birth of the child; so that if the woman from whom a child was expected have an abortive delivery, there is nothing to prevent the heirs named in the will from taking the succession.
§ 132. Female self-successors born after the making of the will may be disinherited either individually or inter ceteros, with this proviso, that if they are disinherited inter ceteros, some legacy must be left them in order that they may not seem to have been pretermitted through forgetfulness. Male self-successors, sons and further lineal descendants, are held not to be duly disinherited unless they are disinherited individually, thus: Be any son that shall be born to me disinherited.
§ 133. With children born after the making of the will are classed children who by succeeding to the place of self-successors become subsequent self-successors like the afterborn. For instance, if a testator have a son, and by him a grandson or granddaughter under his power, the son being nearer in degree alone has the rights of self-successor, although the grandson and granddaughter are equally in the ancestor’s power. But if the son die in the lifetime of the testator, or by any other means pass out of the testator’s power, the grandson and granddaughter succeed to his place, and thus acquire the rights of self-successors to the testator just as if they were children born after the making of the will.
§ 134. To prevent this subsequent rupture of my will, just as a son must be either instituted heir or disinherited individually to make a will originally valid, so a grandson or granddaughter by a son must be either instituted heir or disinherited, lest if the son die in the testator’s lifetime the grandson and granddaughter should take his place and rupture the will in the same way as if they had been children born after the execution of the will. The lex Junia Vellaea allows this and directs them to be disinherited like children born after a will is executed, that is to say, males individually, females either individually or inter ceteros, provided that those who are disinherited inter ceteros receive some legacy.
§ 135. Emancipated children by civil law need neither be appointed heirs nor disinherited because they are not self-successors. But the Praetor requires all, females as well as males, unless appointed heirs, to be disinherited, males individually, females either individually or inter ceteros, and if they are neither appointed heirs nor disinherited as described, the Praetor promises to give them the contratabular possession.
§ 135 a. Children who are made Roman citizens along with their father are not subject to his power, if at the time he either omitted to petition for, or failed to obtain, a grant of patria potestas: for those who are subjected to the father’s power by the emperor differ in no respect from those under power from time of birth.
§ 136. Adoptive children, so long as they continue in the power of the adoptive father, have the rights of his natural children: but when emancipated by the adoptive father they neither at civil law nor in the Praetor’s edict are regarded as his children.
§ 137. And conversely in respect of their natural father as long as they continue in the adoptive family they are reckoned as strangers: but when emancipated by the adoptive father they have the same rights in their natural family as they would have had if emancipated by their natural father (that is, unless either instituted heirs or disinherited by him, they may claim the contratabular succession).
§ 123. The praeterition of suus heres, another circumstance which as well as testamenti factio affected the validity of a will, was at civil law critical both at the time of making the will and at the time of the testator’s death and in the interval: but in later times this defect of a will was healed by the praetor, who granted juxta-tabular possession if the defect only existed at the first and third period, Dig. 28, 3, 12 pr., so that practically the existence of a pretermitted suus heres at the time of the testator’s death was alone important.
The necessity of disinheriting a suus heres is grounded on the principle of primitive law, that the child is co-proprietor with the parent: hence, unless something occurs to divest the child of his property, he will simply become sole proprietor by survivorship on the death of his father. Dig. 28, 2, 11, ‘In self-succession we have a still more striking instance of an unbroken continuity of dominion, for there appears to be no vesting by it of new property by inheritance, but the heir is deemed to have been previously proprietor even during the lifetime of the father. Hence the names filiusfamilias and paterfamilias imply a similar kind of legal relation to the patrimony, though one is parent and the other child. Therefore the death of the parent occasions no acquisition of new property by inheritance, but only an increased freedom in the administration of already existing property. Hence, even in the absence of testamentary institution, a self-successor is proprietor: and it is no objection to this, that a parent has the power of disinheriting a self-successor, for he also had the power of putting him to death.’
The characteristic of the Roman will that it grounded a Universal succession (unlike the English will which may be a merely Partial definition of the succession), which is expressed in the maxim, Nemo pro parte testatus, pro parte intestatus decedere potest, had its historic origin, not probably in a perception of its manifold utility, but in the primitive form of the will—a proposal, perhaps in the form of an adoption, laid before the legislative assembly for its sanction, § 101. The assembly could no more judge of the justice of a proposed arrangement without having laid before it the whole plan of succession than it could judge of the fairness of a contract by inspection of a single paragraph. It could not therefore allow the testator merely to lay before it certain partial modifications of the intestate succession and leave the rest of his inheritance to follow the general rules of intestacy, without further informing the assembly of their operation. Nor were the testamentary powers, conferred by the Twelve Tables, on which the mancipatory will was founded, intended to be used so as to defeat the claims of sui heredes (Muirhead, Roman Law, § 32). These considerations involve the rules respecting the effect of Praeteritio. If the testator’s dispositions were valid in spite of Praeteritio, he would have it in his power to commit a fraud upon the assembly by suppressing some element that was material to enable them to form a judgement. Accordingly Praeteritio was made to defeat itself, in the case of the son by nullification (inutilitas), in the case of other issue by Accretio, § 124. However, although by the Civil law Praeterition avoided a will and was not cured by the death of Praeteritus before Testator, yet Praetorian law only regarded the date of Testator’s death, and, if no Praeteritus was then existent, counteracted the nullity of the will by Juxta-tabulation.
After the introduction of the mancipatory will the fraud against the legislature would cease to be a motive for the rule requiring the testator to define a Universal succession; but the rule was retained for the sake of continuity and in order to force the testator to have before his mind a clear and systematic view of his intentions by requiring their simultaneous expression in a single act. It secured the afterborn from oblivion and protected the son who was falsely supposed to be dead from the consequences of the testator’s error. At the latest period the use of Codicils permitted to a certain extent the partial and fragmentary disposition of a patrimony, but this was not extended to the principal point, the heredis institutio. Ihering, § 53.
§ 124. Justinian abolished this accretion and equalized the sexes, enacting that the pretermission of any suus heres or sua heres should absolutely vacate a will, and entitle to bonorum possessio contra tabulas, like the pretermission of the son, Cod. 6, 28, 4; Inst. 2, 13, 5.
§ 127. Justinian abolished this distinction and required that all sui heredes should be disinherited individually like the son, ibid.
§ 130. Afterborn children (postumi), that is, children born after the making of a will, are uncertain persons, and, by the general rule that uncertain persons cannot be instituted or disinherited (incerta persona heres institui non potest, Ulpian 22, 4), ought to be incapable of institution or disinheritance, and, therefore, if they are sui heredes, would necessarily invalidate a will, because every will is informal when there exists a suus heres who is neither instituted nor disinherited. If the suus heres was born in the lifetime of the testator, the revocation of the will would not be an irremediable evil, because the testator would still have it in his power to make another will, and accordingly in this case the civil law left the general rule to operate. But if the suus heres were born after the death of the testator, the evil would be irreparable, and the testator would die intestate. To prevent this, the civil law made an exception to the rule that an uncertain person cannot be instituted or disinherited, and permitted the institution or disinheritance of any suus heres who should be born after the death of the testator: and on the authority of the celebrated jurist Aquilius Gallus, the inventor of a form of acceptilation (3 § 170), this power was extended to the institution or disinheritance of any afterborn grandchild of the testator whose father should die in the interval between the making of the will and the death of the testator. Dig. 28, 2, 29 pr. Gallus sic posse institui postumos nepotes induxit: Si filius meus vivo me morietur, tunc si quis mihi ex eo nepos sive quae neptis post mortem meam in decem mensibus proximis, quibus filius meus moreretur, natus nata erit, heredes sunto. ‘Gallus Aquilius introduced the institution of afterborn grandchildren in the following manner: If my son die in my lifetime, then let any grandson or granddaughter by him who may be born after my death within ten months after the death of my son, be my successor.’ Such grandchildren are called Postumi Aquiliani.
In respect of the suus heres born after the making of the will but in the lifetime of the testator, the case which the civil law left to the operation of the general rule, it might certainly be sometimes possible to make a new will after his birth, but it might sometimes be impossible or highly inconvenient; and accordingly the lex Junia Vellaea, which was probably passed at the close of the reign of Augustus, in its first chapter permitted such sui heredes, being children of the testator, and also grandchildren of the testator born after their father’s death in the lifetime of their grandfather, to be instituted or disinherited. Such children and grandchildren were called Postumi Vellaeani primi capitis. In its second chapter it permitted the institution or disinheritance of another class of uncertain persons, viz. quasi-afterborn children (postumorum loco); grandchildren, for instance, who were born before the making of the will, but whose acquisition of the character of sui heredes by the decease of their father is subsequent to the making of the will.
Such grandchildren are called Postumi Vellaeani secundi capitis.
Besides the Postumi Aquiliani, the Postumi Vellaeani primi capitis and the Postumi Vellaeani secundi capitis, the jurist Salvius Julianus, who systematized the Edict, established the validity of the institution or disinheritance of a fourth class, intermediate between the Postumi Vellaeani of the first and second chapter: grandchildren, namely, who, like the Vellaeani of the first chapter, were born after the making of the grandfather’s will, but who, like those of the second chapter, were born before the death of their father. Such grandchildren are not sui heredes to their grandfather at their birth, but only by succession, that is by the subsequent death of their father, like those of the second chapter, Dig. 28, 2, 29, 15.
The following is a conspectus of the different kinds of Postumi sui, i. e. descendants who after the making of a will come into the immediate power of a testator, whether (A) children or (B) grandchildren: to remoter descendants analogous principles will apply.
(A) Children are either
(a) Veritably afterborn, that is to say born after their father has made his will, whether after their father’s decease, in which case the civil law treated them as certae personae, or in their father’s lifetime, in which case they form a subdivision of Velleiani primi capitis:
(b) Or quasi-afterborn (loco postumorum), i. e. quasi-sons or quasi-daughters by adrogatio, adoptio, legitimatio, in manum conventio.
(c) Another quasi-afterborn is the child who falls under the immediate power of his soldier father, that is, becomes his suus heres, in consequence of the death of his grandfather, in whose power he previously was, after his father had made a will of castrense peculium. Dig. 28, 2, 28, 1.
(B) Afterborn grandchildren who, as self-successors to their grandfather, require institution or disinheritance in his will fall into four classes, differentiated by the order of priority in which certain events occur, as hereunder indicated:
Will of grandfather: Death of father: Death of grandfather: Birth of grandchild.
Postumi Vellaeani Primi Capitis,
Will of grandfather: Death of father: Birth of grandchild: Death of grandfather.
Will of grandfather: Birth of grandchild: Death of father: Death of grandfather.
Postumi Vellaeani Secundi Capitis,
Birth of grandchild: Will of grandfather: Death of father: Death of grandfather.
The last two cases depend on the principle of successio. The grandchild is at birth in the power of his grandfather, but is not his suus heres, so long as there is an intervening ascendant—the father—in the same power. On the death of the intervening ascendant the grandchild is said to succeed to his place, and becomes by such succession suus heres to his grandfather.
The afterborn stranger, though incapable at civil law of being appointed heir (§ 242), was relieved by the praetor who gave him the juxta-tabular possession. Justinian gave him a civil title, Inst. 3, 9 pr.
§ 132. To the necessity of leaving some legacy to the disinherited afterborn sua heres (and not, as Blackstone suggests, to the querela inofficiosi) we may perhaps attribute the vulgar error in England of the necessity of leaving the heir one shilling in order to cut him off effectually. The querela inofficiosi testamenti was a process by which a will formally valid could be either totally or partly upset at the instance of certain near relations on the ground that the claims of natural affection had been disregarded by the testator. The querela inofficiosi was not barred by any legacy, however slight, being left to such relation, but only by giving him one fourth of his intestate portion (§ 152, comm.; Sohm, § 113. For the changes which Justinian made in the law on this subject see Inst. 2, 18, 1, 2; Novella, 18, 1, and 115). Thus even a legacy left to an afterborn sua heres would be unavailing to save the will from being inofficiosum, unless it amounted to one fourth of her share by descent. If no legacy at all were left her, the will would be informal and absolutely void as against her, unless she was disinherited; if less than a fourth of her share were left, the will would not be absolutely void but voidable, i. e. liable to be altogether or in part overthrown if she chose to impeach it as inofficiosum.
§ 135. The Praeteritio of a descendant who is suus heres to the testator or, but for emancipation, would be suus heres, entitles the descendant to bonorum possessio. If the praeteritus is filius suus heres, the will is absolutely void and contra-tabular possession is an intestate succession: but if the praeteritus is emancipatus, the effect of contra-tabular possession is to divide the inheritance between the praeteritus and other descendants who were instituted heirs, excluding both instituted strangers and disinherited sui heredes.
Contra-tabular possession might be claimed either by the praeteritus himself, or by any of the instituted sui heredes. For if an instituted heir took less by his institution than he would by this partial intestacy, it would be his interest to claim contra-tabular possession, commisso per alium edicto, ‘the edict having been brought into operation by another,’ viz. by another descendant, who had been pretermitted.
The portions of the will that remained in force were:
(1) The exheredations: for such of the liberi as were duly disinherited continued, as was mentioned, excluded from the inheritance:
(2) The pupillary substitutions, the nature of which will hereafter (§ 179) be explained:
(3) Legacies given to certain conjunctae personae, e. g. legacies to ascendants or descendants of the testator, or a bequest to the wife of the dower which she had brought to her husband. If, instead of making the conjuncta persona a legatee, the testator had given his bounty in the form of a portion of the inheritance in which the conjuncta persona was instituted heir, such institution continued valid. The validity, however, of such legacies and institutions was by a constitution of Antoninus Pius, Dig. 37, 5, 7, and 8 pr. subjected to this limitation, that all the conjunctae personae together could not take more than a virilis portio, i. e. they were not entitled to more than fell to the lot of each contra-tabulant or claimant of contra-tabular possession; with this further proviso, that any conjuncta persona who is instituted heir of the inheritance in a portion of the heritage may retain as much thereof as he would have obtained by claiming contra-tabular possession, cf. Roby, vol. i, p. 250.
The partial intestacy produced by contra-tabular possession shows that the rule which we have already quoted, nemo pro parte testatus pro parte intestatus decedere potest, must be taken with some reservation. Although a testator cannot voluntarily dispose of only part of his heritage, such partial disposition may be introduced against the testator’s intention by the operation of law. The significance of the rule is principally this: that if a testator only names for a certain fraction of the inheritance, or if the fraction in which one of several heirs is instituted lapses by his decease before the testator’s death, the portion which was undisposed of or lapsed does not devolve, as it would in English law, to the heirs-at-law or persons entitled by intestacy, but goes by accrual (aceretio) to those to whom the remainder of the inheritance is left.
QVIBVS MODIS TESTAMENTA INFIRMENTVR.
§ 138. Si quis post factum testamentum adoptauerit sibi filium aut per populum eum qui sui iuris est, aut per praetorem eum qui in potestate parentis fuerit, omni modo testamentum eius rumpitur quasi agnatione sui heredis.
Inst. 2, 17, 1.
§ 139. Idem iuris est si cui post factum testamentum uxor in manum conueniat, uel quae in manu fuit nubat; nam eo modo filiae loco esse incipit et quasi sua.
§ 140. Nec prodest siue haec siue ille qui adoptatus est in eo testamento sit institutus institutaue; nam de exheredatione eius superuacuum uidetur quaerere, cum testamenti faciendi tempore suorum heredum numero non fuerit.
§ 141. Filius quoque qui ex prima secundaue mancipatione manumittitur, quia reuertitur in potestatem patriam, rumpit ante factum testamentum; nec prodest, 〈si〉 in eo testamento heres institutus uel exheredatus fuerit.
§ 142. Simile ius olim fuit in eius persona cuius nomine ex senatusconsulto erroris causa probatur, quia forte ex peregrina uel Latina quae per errorem quasi ciuis Romana uxor ducta esset natus esset; nam siue heres institutus esset a parente siue exheredatus, siue uiuo patre causa probata siue post mortem eius, omni modo quasi agnatione rumpebat testamentum.
§ 143. Nunc uero ex nouo senatusconsulto quod auctore diuo Hadriano factum est, siquidem uiuo patre causa probatur, aeque ut olim omni modo rumpit testamentum; si uero post mortem patris, praeteritus quidem rumpit testamentum, si uero heres in eo scriptus est uel exheredatus, non rumpit testamentum; ne scilicet diligenter facta testamenta rescinderentur eo tempore quo renouari non possent.
§ 144. Posteriore quoque testamento quod iure factum est superius rumpitur. nec interest an extiterit aliquis ex eo heres, an non extiterit; hoc enim solum spectatur, an existere potuerit. ideoque si quis ex posteriore testamento quod iure factum est aut noluerit heres esse, aut uiuo testatore aut post mortem eius antequam hereditatem adiret decesserit, aut per cretionem exclusus fuerit, aut condicione sub qua heres institutus est defectus sit, aut propter caelibatum ex lege Iulia summotus fuerit ab hereditate: quibus casibus pater familias intestatus moritur, nam et prius testamentum non ualet ruptum a posteriore, et posterius aeque nullas uires habet, cum ex eo nemo heres extiterit.
Inst. 2, 17, 2.
§ 145. Alio quoque modo testamenta iure facta infirmantur, ueluti 〈cum〉 is qui fecerit testamentum capite deminutus sit; quod quibus modis accidat, primo commentario relatum est.
Inst. 2, 17, 4.
§ 146. Hoc autem casu inrita fieri testamenta dicemus, cum alioquin et quae rumpuntur inrita fiant, 〈et quae statim ab initio non iure fiunt inrita sint; sed et ea quae iure facta sunt et postea propter capitis deminutionem inrita fiunt〉 possunt nihilo minus rupta dici. sed quia sane commodius erat singulas causas singulis appellationibus distingui, ideo quaedam non iure fieri dicuntur, quaedam iure facta rumpi uel inrita fieri.
Inst. 2, 17, 5.
QVIBVS MODIS TESTAMENTA INFIRMENTVR.
§ 138. If after making his will a man adopts as son either a person sui juris by means of the people (in comitia) or one subject to the power of an ascendant by means of the Praetor, his will is inevitably revoked as it would be by the subsequent birth of a self-successor.
§ 139. The same happens if after making his will the testator receives a wife into his hand, or marries a person who is in his hand, as she thereby acquires the status of a daughter and becomes his self-successor.
§ 140. Nor does it avail to prevent the rupture that such a wife or adopted son was in that will instituted heir, for as to disinheriting them, not having been self-successors when the will was made, the question could not then have been material.
§ 141. So a son manumitted after the first or second sale reverts into the power of his father and revokes a previous will, nor does it avail that he is therein appointed heir or disinherited.
§ 142. The same rule formerly held of the son in whose behalf the decree of the senate allows proof of error, if he was born of an alien or Latin mother who was married in the mistaken belief that she was a Roman: for whether he was appointed heir by his father or disinherited, and whether the error was proved in his father’s life or after his death, in every case the will was revoked as by the subsequent birth of a self-successor.
§ 143. Now, however, by a recent decree of the senate, made on the proposition of the late emperor Hadrian, if the father is alive when the error is proved, the old rule obtains and the will is in every case avoided; but when the error is proved after the father’s death, if the son was passed over in silence, the will is revoked; but if he was appointed heir or disinherited the will is not revoked; in order that carefully executed wills should not be rescinded at a period when reexecution is impossible.
§ 144. A subsequent will duly executed is a revocation of a prior will, and it makes no difference whether an heir ever actually takes under it or no; the only question is, whether one might. Accordingly, whether the heir instituted in a subsequent will duly executed declines to be heir, or dies in the lifetime of the testator, or after his death before accepting the inheritance, or is excluded by expiration of the time allowed for deliberation, or by failure of the condition under which he was instituted, or by celibacy as the lex Julia provides; in all these cases the testator dies intestate, for the earlier will is revoked by the later one, and the later one is inoperative, since no one becomes heir under it.
§ 145. There is another event whereby a will duly executed may be invalidated, namely, the testator’s undergoing a loss of status: how this may happen was explained in the preceding book.
§ 146. In this case the will may be said to be rescinded; for although both those wills that are revoked and those that are not from the first made in proper form may be said to be rescinded, and those that are made in proper form but subsequently annulled by loss of status may be said to be revoked, yet as it is convenient that different grounds of invalidity should have different names to distinguish them, we will say that some wills are not made in proper form, others made in proper form are either revoked or rescinded.
§ 138. A will may be void from the first because it is not duly made—testamentum nullum, injustum, non jure factum—or it may be avoided by some subsequent circumstance—testamentum ruptum §§ 138, 144, irritum § 146, destitutum—or it may be upset as being unduteous—inofficiosum. A will is destitutum, ‘cum ex eo nemo heres extiterit,’ § 144. A will may be revoked or ruptured by a subsequent will, but not by a codicil. The tearing up or destruction of a will does not revoke it, unless this is done by the testator ‘animo revocandi.’ See § 151, comm. The innovations of Justinian changed the effects of adoption. Under his enactment, if a child is adopted by an ascendant the old rules obtain; but a person adopted by a stranger only acquires rights in the adoptive family in case of the adopter’s intestacy, and therefore need not be instituted or disinherited by the adopter; he retains, however, his rights in his natural family, and therefore must be instituted or disinherited in the will of his natural parent. 1 §§ 97-107, comm.
§ 139. By English law the only circumstance by which a will is avoided (besides revocation, cancellation, execution of a later will) is the marriage of the testator, and this operates universally, irrespectively of the birth of children. Marriage without manus, which was usual in the time of Gaius, had no effect on a will.
§ 140. This was reversed before the time of Justinian, for we find in Dig. 28, 3, 18 that the institution of the future adoptive son saves a will from being ruptured by adoption. Indeed, considering that the object of the lex Vellaea was to save wills from rupture, we may be surprised that the extension of its provisions from the natural postumi to the artificial postumi or quasi postumi had not been established in the days of Gaius.
§ 141. Cf. 1 §§ 132-136.
§ 142. As to erroris causae probatio see 1 § 67.
BONORVM POSSESSIO SECVNDVM TABVLAS.
§ 147. Non tamen per omnia inutilia sunt ea testamenta quae uel ab initio non iure facta sunt uel iure facta postea inrita facta aut rupta sunt. nam si septem testium signis signata sint testamenta, potest scriptus heres secundum tabulas bonorum possessionem petere, si modo defunctus testator et ciuis Romanus et suae potestatis mortis tempore fuerit. nam si ideo inritum factum sit testamentum, quod puta ciuitatem uel etiam libertatem testator amisit, aut is in adoptionem se dedit 〈et〉 mortis tempore in adoptiui patris potestate fuit, non potest scriptus heres secundum tabulas bonorum possessionem petere.
Inst. 2, 17, 4.
§ 148. 〈Itaque qui〉 secundum tabulas testamenti quae aut statim ab initio non iure factae sint, aut iure factae postea ruptae uel inritae erunt, bonorum possessionem accipiunt, si modo possunt hereditatem optinere, habebunt bonorum possessionem cum re; si uero ab iis auocari hereditas potest, habebunt bonorum possessionem sine re.
§ 149. Nam si quis heres iure ciuili institutus sit uel ex primo uel ex posteriore testamento, uel ab intestato iure legitimo heres sit, is potest ab iis hereditatem auocare; si uero nemo sit alius iure ciuili heres, ipsi retinere hereditatem possunt, nec ullum ius aduersus eos habent cognati qui legitimo iure deficiuntur.
§ 149 a. Aliquando tamen, sicut supra | quoque notauimus, etiam legitimis heredibus | potiores scripti habentur, ueluti si ideo non iure | factum sit testamentum, quod familia non uenierit aut nun|cupationis uerba testator locutus non sit; —|—NAagnati petant hereditatem — |NA ex constitutione
§ 150. — |NA ueri—lege Iulia—|NA possessores—e|a lege bona caduca fiunt et ad populum deferri | iubentur, si defuncto nemo—.
§ 151. | Potest ut iure facta testamenta contraria uoluntate | infirmentur. apparet 〈autem〉 non posse ex eo solo infirma|ri testamentum, quod postea testator id noluerit ualere, usque adeo ut si linum eius inciderit, nihilo minus iure ciuili ualeat. quin etiam si deleuerit quoque aut conbusserit tabulas testamenti, nihilo minus 〈non〉 desinent ualere quae ibi fuerunt scripta, licet eorum probatio difficilis sit
§ 151 a. Quid ergo est? si quis ab intestato bonorum possessionem petierit et is | qui ex eo testamento heres est petat hereditatem,—|—|—NAperueniat hereditas; et hoc ita rescripto imperatoris Antonini significatur.
BONORVM POSSESSIO SECVNDVM TABVLAS.
§ 147. Wills are not altogether inoperative either when originally informal or when though at first made in proper form they were subsequently rescinded or revoked; for if the seals of seven witnesses are attached, the testamentary heir is entitled to demand possession in accordance with the will, if the testator was a citizen of Rome and sui juris at the time of his death; but if the cause of nullity was, say, the testator’s loss of citizenship, or loss of liberty, or adoption and he dies subject to his adoptive father’s power, the heir instituted in the will is barred from demanding possession in accordance with the will.
§ 148. Persons granted possession in accordance with a will either originally not made in due form or originally made in due form and subsequently revoked or rescinded, have, if only they can maintain their right to the inheritance, effective possession of it (bonorum possessio cum re); but if they can be deprived of the property by an adverse claimant, the grant of possession to them is ineffective (bonorum possessio sine re).
§ 149. For an heir instituted according to jus civile either by an earlier or later will, or a statutory heir by intestacy, can evict the mere bonorum possessor according to the will from the inheritance; but in default of such claim on the part of a civil heir, such possessor according to the will can retain the inheritance, and cannot be deprived of it by cognates, these having no civil title.
§ 149 a. Sometimes, however, an heir with a civil title is postponed to an irregularly appointed heir; for instance, if the irregularity was only the absence of mancipation or nuncupatory publication, since if the agnates of the deceased claim the inheritance, they may be repelled by the plea of fraud, according to the constitution of the Emperor Antoninus.
§ 150. Possession according to the will is not defeated by the lex Julia, under which law a condition of caducity or devolution to the fiscus is the absence of every kind of heir, whether civil or praetorian.
§ 151. A validly executed will may be invalidated by a contrary expression of will: but a will is not, it is clear, invalidated by the mere intention of revocation. And consequently, in spite of the testator’s cutting the strings by which it is tied, it nevertheless, at civil law, continues valid: and his erasure or burning of the dispositions does not render them invalid, though it makes them difficult of proof.
§ 151 a. What then is the result? If a claimant demand bonorum possessio by intestacy. and a testamentary heir under such circumstances demand the civil inheritance under the will, the latter is repelled by the plea of fraud: and if no one should demand bonorum possessio by title of intestacy, the testamentary heir is superseded by the fiscus as unworthy of the succession in order to carry the testator’s intention of excluding him into effect: and this was enacted by a rescript of the Emperor (Marcus Aurelius) Antoninus.
§ 147. The validity of a testament implies, strictly speaking, the continuance of a testator’s intention, and therefore of his capacity of intention (testamenti factio), from its first declaration to the moment of his death. Accordingly an intermediate capitis diminutio avoided the will invalid (irritum) at civil law, § 146. The praetor, however, only looked at the first and last moments, and, if at these periods the testator had testamenti factio, sustained his intentions by granting possession according to the will, although he had undergone capitis diminutio minima in the intervening period.
So at civil law a will was revoked (ruptum) by after-birth (agnatio) of a self-successor, § 138; but if he died before the testator, the praetor sustained the will by granting possession according to the will to the heir instituted in it. Dig. 28, 3, 12 pr. Postumus praeteritus, vivo testatore natus, decessit: licet juris scrupulositate nimiaque subtilitate testamentum ruptum videatur, attamen si signatum fuerit testamentum, bonorum possessionem secundum tabulas accipere heres scriptus potest, remque obtinebit, ut et divus Hadrianus et Imperator noster rescripserunt. In order that possession in accordance with the will, granted when a will had been avoided (irritum) by intervening loss of capacity, might be efficacious (cum re), i. e. not defeasible by the claimant entitled at civil law by intestacy, it was necessary that the testator on reacquiring capacity should confirm his will by a codicil or other writing (codicillis aut aliis litteris), Dig. 37, 11, 11, 2.
§ 148. There was no ipso jure, or necessarius, bonorum possessor, corresponding to the heres necessarius, § 152, with whom delatio and adquisitio hereditatis were coincident: all bonorum possessores corresponded to the other class of heres, the heres extraneus or voluntarius, with whom adquisitio was distinct from delatio hereditatis, and required a voluntary act (aditio). That is to say, the person called (vocatus) by the praetorian edict to the succession forfeited his right to succeed unless he made his claim (agnitio, petitio, admissio bonorum possessionis) within a certain period, for ascendants and descendants a year, for others 100 dies utiles from the date of the vocatio (delatio). On the claim under the edict being made, the grant (datio) of bonorum possessio followed as a matter of course without any judicial investigation (causae cognitio). It was a mere formality, a certificate of the magistrate, the praetor or praeses provinciae, that the agnitio had been made within the allotted period, before the expiration of the term allowed for deliberation. If any real controversy arose, it was decided by one of two actions, hereditatis petitio, or the Interdict Quorum bonorum. If the claimant relied on his title at civil law, he sued by hereditatis petitio; if he relied on the title given him by the praetorian edict, he sued by the Interdict Quorum bonorum. See 4 § 144. If defeated in either of these proceedings, he gained nothing by having obtained the formal grant of praetorian succession—he had only bonorum possessio sine re.
§ 149 a. A praetorian title was, as a general rule, sine re, if a civil title was opposed to it, but the constitution of the Antonine emperor, probably Marcus Aurelius, mentioned here and in § 120, made an important inroad on this principle.
§ 150. Originally when a heritage was vacant from the failure of intestate successors, Ulpian 28, 7, or from the neglect of an heir to enter upon it, § 52, any stranger might take possession and acquire by usucapio, but this right was rendered ineffectual by Hadrian’s Senatusconsultum, § 57. The lex Julia de Maritandis ordinibus, which is the statute here referred to, was passed a. d. 4; for an account of its purport and of the meaning of the term caduca see § 190 and § 206, comm. Besides its rights to caduca under this statute the public treasury or that of the Emperor could claim all inheritances left without an heir (bona vacantia). The state did not become necessary successor (ipso jure) but had the delatio (ad populum deferri jubentur), i.e. had the right of deliberation and acceptance or repudiation, Inst. 3, 11, 1. As universal successor the state could recover from the unentitled occupant by Hereditatis petitio, Dig. 5, 3, 20, 7, and could transfer its rights to a purchaser, as if the transfer were made under the Sc. Trebellianum, l. c. 54 pr. (cf. § 253).
The treasury was bound to pay all codicillary legacies and trusts: and succeeded to all the obligations active and passive, in other words, to all the personal rights and personal duties, of the heritageleaver: but like other successors in later times, under the law of Justinian, might, by taking advantage of the Benefice of inventory, confine its liability to the extent of the assets, §§ 158-162, comm. In the event of the repudiation of the succession by the Fiscus, the goods were sold for the benefit of creditors. Vangerow, § 564.
Gaius probably here means, though the MS is defective, that although a grant of bonorum possessio might be rendered ineffective (sine re) in consequence of the superior claims of a person with a civil title by whom the possessor could be evicted, the fiscus had no title to an inheritance under the lex Julia, if the deceased, though without a civil successor, had left a bonorum possessor. (Cf. note on § 150 in Muirhead’s Gaius.)
§ 151. The Rupture (ruptio) of a will was produced by two circumstances: (1) Agnatio postumi, the subsequent birth of a selfsuccessor, or the coming into existence of a quasi postumus, § 139: and (2) Revocation, §§ 138-146, comm. On the principle, Nihil tam naturale est quam eo genere quidque dissolvere quo colligatum est (Dig. 50, 17, 35), the most formal and originally the only mode of revoking a will would be the execution of a subsequent will. Another mode of Revocation sanctioned by Justinian depended on two conditions: a declaration attested by three witnesses or made in the form of a record or protocol deposited in the archives of a court, and the expiration of ten years from the date of the execution of the will, Cod. 6, 23, 27.
The mere cancellation or obliteration of a will, with the intention of revoking it, was an informal Revocation and left the will valid at civil law: the will, however, was not allowed to hold good against this evidence of the testator’s change of intention. The rescript of Marcus Aurelius a. d. 166 to this effect, to which Gaius alludes § 151 a, is preserved in the Digest, 28, 4, 3.
Justinian ordained that a will should be perfectly revoked and completely avoided by the cutting of the cords, or removal of the seals. or other intentional destruction of the outward signs of its due solemnization, Cod. 6, 23, 30. English law, as laid down in 1 Vict. c. 26 § 20 and interpreted in the celebrated case of Lord St. Leonards, L. R. 1 P. D. 154, seems to be in conformity with Roman law on the subject of unintentional erasure or destruction of a will.
§ 151 a. Ereption for indignitas, an institution which survived in the legislation of Justinian, Dig. 34, 9, Cod. 6, 35, must be distinguished from the lapse of a testamentary disposition under the lex Julia (caducum), §§ 185-190, comm. In the latter case there was want of capacitas, as opposed to want of testamenti factio passiva, on the part of honoratus. In the case of the indignus there was not even incapacitas but only liability to deprivation. Some grounds of Ereption were common to the heir and legatee, others peculiar to the heir, others peculiar to the legatee. The forfeiture of the inheritance or legacy was sometimes in favour of the Fiscus, sometimes in favour of other persons, usually of those who would have taken but for the disposition in favour of indignus.
Instances of grounds for which either heir or legatee forfeited their interest to the Fiscus were: undertaking a secret unlawful trust, coercion of the testator in respect of his will, killing the testator or neglect to avenge his death, wrongful impeachment of his will for inofficiositas, &c.
Grounds for which their shares were forfeited to other persons than the Fiscus were: refusal of the office of guardian when the prospect of the discharge of this duty was the motive of the testator’s bounty, refusal to undertake the education of an infant child of the testator, neglect of the testator’s burial, &c.
Grounds on which the heir alone forfeited the whole or part of his inheritance to the Fiscus were: concealment of a portion of the hereditaments in order to defraud a legatee (whereupon the heir forfeited the fourth which he was entitled to retain from such legacy by the lex Falcidia), the discovery that though putative son he was not a genuine son of the testator, the deliberate cancellation of his name by the testator, the imperfect execution of a subsequent will in which he was excluded from the heritage, a codicillary declaration of his unworthiness to inherit, &c.
Grounds on which an heir forfeited his portion to persons other than the Fiscus were: neglect on the part of a mother to demand a guardian for her infant child, a second marriage by a mother who herself is guardian before she has caused another guardian to be substituted, neglect of a lunatic testator, neglect to ransom the testator, criminal prosecution of testator, &c.
Grounds exclusively affecting a legatee and that in favour of the heir are theft from the heritage and concealment of the testator’s will.
DE HEREDVM QVALITATE ET DIFFERENTIA.
§ 152. Heredes autem aut necessarii dicuntur aut sui et necessarii aut extranei.
Inst. 2, 19 pr.
§ 153. Necessarius heres est seruus cum libertate heres institutus, ideo sic appellatus, quia siue uelit siue nolit, omni modo post mortem testatoris protinus liber et heres est.
Inst. 2, 19, 1.
§ 154. Vnde qui facultates suas suspectas habet, solet seruum suum primo aut secundo uel etiam ulteriore gradu liberum et heredem instituere, ut si creditoribus satis non fiat, potius huius heredis quam ipsius testatoris bona ueneant, id est ut ignominia quae accidit ex uenditione bonorum hunc potius heredem quam ipsum testatorem contingat; quam-quam apud Fufidium Sabino placeat eximendum eum esse ignominia, quia non suo uitio sed necessitate iuris bonorum uenditionem pateretur; sed alio iure utimur.
Inst. l. c.
§ 155. Pro hoc tamen incommodo illud ei commodum praestatur, ut ea, quae post mortem patroni sibi adquisierit, siue ante bonorum uenditionem siue postea, ipsi reseruentur; et quamuis pro portione bona uenierint, iterum ex hereditaria causa bona eius non uenient, nisi si quid ei ex hereditaria causa fuerit adquisitum, uelut si † Latinus adquisierit, locupletior factus sit; cum ceterorum hominum quorum bona uenierint pro portione, si quid postea adquirant, etiam saepius eorum bona uenire solent.
Inst. l. c.
§ 156. Sui autem et necessarii heredes sunt uelut filius filiaue, nepos neptisue ex filio, 〈et〉 deinceps ceteri qui modo in potestate morientis fuerunt. sed uti nepos neptisue suus heres sit, non sufficit eum in potestate aui mortis tempore fuisse, sed opus est ut pater quoque eius uiuo patre suo desierit suus heres esse aut morte interceptus aut qualibet ratione liberatus potestate; tum enim nepos neptisue in locum sui patris succedunt.
Inst. 2, 19, 2.
§ 157. Sed sui quidem heredes ideo appellantur, quia domestici heredes sunt et uiuo quoque parente quodammodo domini existimantur; unde etiam si quis intestatus mortuus sit, prima causa est in successione liberorum. necessarii uero ideo dicuntur, quia omni modo, 〈siue〉 uelint siue 〈nolint, tam〉 ab intestato quam ex testamento heredes fiunt. Inst. l. c.
§ 158. Sed his praetor permittit abstinere se ab hereditate, ut potius parentis bona ueneant.
Inst. l. c.
§ 159. Idem iuris est et 〈in〉 uxoris persona quae in manu est, quia filiae loco est, et in nuru quae in manu filii est, quia neptis loco est.
§ 160. Quin etiam similiter abstinendi potestatem facit praetor etiam ei qui in causa mancipii est, 〈si〉 cum libertate heres institutus sit, quamuis necessarius, non etiam suus heres sit, tamquam seruus.
§ 161. Ceteri qui testatoris iuri subiecti non sunt extranei heredes appellantur. itaque liberi quoque nostri qui in potestate nostra non sunt heredes a nobis instituti [sicut] extranei uidentur. qua de causa et qui a matre heredes instituuntur eodem numero sunt, quia feminae liberos in potestate non habent serui quoque qui cum libertate heredes instituti sunt et postea a domino manumissi, eodem numero habentur.
Inst. 2, 19. 3.
§ 162. Extraneis autem heredibus deliberandi potestas data est de adeunda hereditate uel non adeunda.
Inst. 2, 19, 5.
§ 163. Sed siue is cui abstinendi potestas est inmiscuerit se bonis hereditariis, siue is cui de adeunda 〈hereditate〉 deliberare licet, adierit, postea relinquendae hereditatis facultatem non habet, nisi si minor sit annorum xxv. nam huius aetatis hominibus, sicut in ceteris omnibus causis deceptis, ita etiam si temere damnosam hereditatem susceperint, praetor succurrit. scio quidem diuum Hadrianum etiam maiori xxv annorum ueniam dedisse, cum post aditam hereditatem grande aes alienum quod aditae hereditatis tempore latebat apparuisset.
Inst. l. c., and 6.
§ 164. Extraneis heredibus solet cretio dari, id est finis deliberandi, ut intra certum tempus uel adeant hereditatem, uel si non adeant, temporis fine summoueantur. ideo autem cretio appellata est, quia cernere est quasi decernere et constituere.
§ 165. Cum ergo ita scriptum sit heres titivs esto, adicere debemus cernitoqve in centvm diebvs proximis qvibvs scies poterisqve. qvodni ita creveris, exheres esto.
§ 166. Et qui ita heres institutus est, si uelit heres esse, debebit intra diem cretionis cernere, id est haec uerba dicere qvod me p. mevivs testamento svo heredem institvit, eam hereditatem adeo cernoqve. quodsi ita non creuerit, finito tempore cretionis excluditur; nec quicquam proficit, si pro herede gerat, id est si rebus hereditariis tamquam heres utatur.
Inst. 2, 19, 7.
§ 167. At is qui sine cretione heres institutus sit, aut qui ab intestato legitimo iure ad hereditatem uocatur, potest aut cernendo aut pro herede gerendo uel etiam nuda uoluntate suscipiendae hereditatis heres fieri; eique liberum est quocumque tempore uoluerit, adire hereditatem; 〈sed〉 solet praetor postulantibus hereditariis creditoribus tempus constituere, intra quod si uelit adeat hereditatem, si minus, ut liceat creditoribus bona defuncti uendere.
§ 168. Sicut autem 〈qui〉 cum cretione heres institutus est, nisi creuerit hereditatem, non fit heres, ita non aliter excluditur, quam si non creuerit intra id tempus quo cretio finita est; itaque licet ante diem cretionis constituerit hereditatem non adire, tamen paenitentia actus superante die cretionis cernendo heres esse potest.
§ 169. At is qui sine cretione heres institutus est, quiue ab intestato per legem uocatur, sicut uoluntate nuda heres fit, ita et contraria destinatione statim ab hereditate repellitur.
§ 170. Omnis autem cretio certo tempore constringitur. in quam rem tolerabile tempus uisum est centum dierum. potest tamen nihilo minus iure ciuili aut longius aut breuius tempus dari; longius tamen interdum praetor coartat.
§ 171. Et quamuis omnis cretio certis diebus constringatur, tamen alia cretio uulgaris uocatur, alia certorum dierum: uulgaris illa, quam supra exposuimus, id est in qua adiciuntur haec uerba qvibvs sciet poteritqve; certorum dierum, in qua detractis his uerbis cetera scribuntur.
§ 172. Quarum cretionum magna differentia est. nam uulgari cretione data nulli dies conputantur, nisi quibus scierit quisque se heredem esse institutum et possit cernere. certorum uero dierum cretione data etiam nescienti se heredem institutum esse numerantur dies continui; item ei quoque qui aliqua ex causa cernere prohibetur, et eo amplius ei qui sub condicione heres institutus est, tempus numeratur; unde melius et aptius est uulgari cretione uti.
§ 173. Continua haec cretio uocatur, quia continui dies numerantur. sed quia [tamen] dura est haec cretio, altera in usu habetur; unde etiam uulgaris dicta est.
DE HEREDVM QVALITATE ET DIFFERENTIA.
§ 152. Heirs are either necessary successors or necessary self-successors or external successors.
§ 153. A necessary successor is a slave instituted heir with freedom annexed, so called because, willing or unwilling, without any alternative, on the death of the testator he immediately has his freedom and the succession.
§ 154. For when a man’s affairs are embarrassed, it is common for his slave, either in the first place (institutio) or as a substitute in the second or any inferior place (substitutio), to be enfranchised and appointed heir, so that, if the creditors are not paid in full, the property may be sold rather as belonging to this heir than to the testator, the ignominy of insolvency thus attaching to the heir instead of to the testator; though, as Fufidius relates, Sabinus held that he ought to be exempted from ignominy, as it is not his own fault, but legal compulsion, that makes him insolvent; this, however, is not in our view the law.
§ 155. To compensate this disadvantage he has the advantage that his acquisitions after the death of his patron, and whether before or after the sale, are kept apart for his own benefit, and although a portion only of the debts is satisfied by the sale, he is not liable to a second sale of his after-acquired property for the debts of the testator, unless he gain anything in his capacity as heir, as if he inherit the property of a Latinus Junianus [another freedman of the testator]; whereas other persons, who only pay a dividend, on subsequently acquiring any property, are liable to subsequent sales again and again.
§ 156. Sui et necessarii heredes are such as a son or daughter, a grandson or granddaughter by the son, and further lineal descendants, provided that they were under the power of the ancestor when he died. To make a grandson or granddaughter self-successor it is, however, not sufficient that they were in the power of the grandfather at the time of his death, but it is further requisite that their father in the life of the grandfather shall have ceased to be self-successor, whether by death or by any mode of liberation from parental power, as the grandson and granddaughter then succeed to the place of the father.
§ 157. They are called sui heredes because they are family heirs, and even in the lifetime of the parent are deemed to a certain extent co-proprietors; wherefore in intestacy the first right of succession belongs to the children. They are called necessary, because they have no alternative, but, willing or unwilling, both in testacy and intestacy, they become heirs.
§ 158. The praetor, however, permits them to abstain from the succession, and leave the estate of the ancestor to be sold as an insolvent one.
§ 159. The same rule governs a wife in the hand of a husband, for she is on the footing of a daughter, and a son’s wife in the hand of the son, for she is on the footing of a granddaughter.
§ 160. A similar power of abstention is granted by the praetor to a person held in mancipium when instituted heir with freedom annexed, although he is simply a necessary successor and not also a self-successor, mancipation being assimilated to servitude.
§ 161. Those who were not subject to the testator’s power are called strangers, or external heirs. Thus children not in our power, if instituted heirs, are deemed strangers; and for the same reason children instituted by their mother belong to this class, because women are not invested with power over their children. Slaves instituted heirs with freedom annexed, and subsequently manumitted, belong to the same class.
§ 162. External heirs have the right of deliberating whether they will or will not enter on an inheritance.
§ 163. But if either a person who has the power of abstention or a person who has the power of deliberation as to his acceptance of the inheritance, interferes with the property belonging to the inheritance, he has no longer the right of relinquishing the inheritance, unless he is a minor under twenty-five years of age; for minors, both when they take any other injudicious step, and when they incautiously accept a disadvantageous inheritance, obtain relief from the praetor. The late Emperor Hadrian even relieved a person who had attained his majority, when, after his acceptance of an inheritance, a great debt, unknown at the time of acceptance, had come to light.
§ 164. External heirs are commonly given by the will a prescribed term for decision (cretio), that is, a definite delay for deliberation, within which time they must formally accept, and in default of formal acceptance are barred. Cretio is so called because the word cernere is equivalent to decernere, that is, to come to a determination and resolution.
§ 165. Accordingly, after the words, ‘Titius, be thou my heir,’ we ought to add, ‘and formally declare thy acceptance within a hundred days in which thou knowest of thy institution and hast power to declare whether thou accept; or in default of so declaring be thou disinherited.’
§ 166. And the heir thus appointed, if he wish to inherit, must within the term prescribed solemnly declare his decision in the following words: ‘Whereas Publius Mevius in his will has made me his heir, that inheritance I hereby accept and adjudge to myself.’ In default of such formal declaration, the elapsing of the period allowed shuts him out from the inheritance, and it is of no avail that he behave as heir, that is, deal with the estate of the deceased as if he were heir.
§ 167. In the absence of a prescribed term for deliberation in the case of testamentary succession, and in the case of a statutory right of succession on intestacy, a man takes the inheritance either by formal declaration, or by behaving as heir, or by informal declaration, and is not barred from accepting by any lapse of time; but it is usual for the praetor, at the demand of the creditors of the deceased, to appoint a period, on the expiration of which without his acceptance the creditors are permitted to put up the estate of the deceased for sale.
§ 168. But just as a person who is instituted heir subject to a prescribed term for decision does not actually become heir unless he makes a formal declaration of his acceptance, so the only way he is excluded from the inheritance is by his not thus declaring within the last day of the appointed term; and though, pending the term, he may have made up his mind to disclaim, yet if he change his mind before the time is expired and formally declare his acceptance, he can become heir.
§ 169. If no term is prescribed in the institution, or in the case of a statutory right of succession on intestacy, just as an informal declaration makes him heir, so the contrary declaration immediately bars him from the succession.
§ 170. Every prescribed term of deliberation has a certain limit, and a reasonable limit is held to be a hundred days, yet by the civil law a longer or shorter period is allowed to be fixed, though a longer period is sometimes shortened by the praetor.
§ 171. Although, however, the time of deliberation is always limited to certain days, yet one mode of limitation is called ordinary, the other determinate; the ordinary being that above indicated, namely, with the addition of the words ‘in which he knows and is able’; determinate that in which these words are omitted.
§ 172. These modes are very different in effect, for when the ordinary period is allowed, the only days computed are those on which he knows of his institution and is in a position to decide, but when a determinate period is allowed, notwithstanding the heir’s want of knowledge of his institution, the days begin to be counted continuously; and so notwithstanding his inability from any cause to declare, or any condition annexed to his institution, nevertheless the days begin to be reckoned. Accordingly, it is better and more convenient to employ the ordinary mode of limitation.
§ 173. The determinate period is called continuous, because the days are reckoned continuously. On account of the harshness of this condition the other is commonly employed, and hence is called ordinary.
§ 152. The rules of institution and disinheritance were formal restrictions on the unlimited power of testamentary disposition, which was conferred by the terms of the Twelve Tables; § 102, comm. The general tendency and purpose of these restrictions are to protect children against the caprice of parents, and to be fully comprehended they should be viewed in connexion with the rules respecting testamentum inofficiosum, which were not simply formal but real restrictions of testamentary freedom. These limitations of testamentary power may be considered as consequences of the Roman conception of family duty. An English testator has unlimited power to dispose of his property, and natural feeling is supposed to be a sufficient guaranty that none of his children will be left without suitable provision. Of Roman testators Justinian says: Inst. 2, 18 pr. Plerumque parentes sine causa liberos suos vel exheredant vel omittunt. The grounds on account of which parents may disinherit children, and children parents, are stated by Justinian in his 115th Nov., where the law on the subject of disinherison is consolidated and amended. They had to be mentioned in the will, and it was open to the disinherited person to show that they were unfounded. It is to be noticed that foreign systems of law, following the Roman example, generally restrict the father’s power of disinherison. Cf Sohm, § 113. The principal impediments to or restrictions on testamentary freedom in the history of Roman law may be distinguished as follows:—
(1) We have seen, § 123, that a suus heres must either be instituted or disinherited, a rule which the praetor extended to an emancipated child, § 135. This secured him against being simply forgotten.
(2) If a child was disinherited without a cause, or received less than one fourth, either as heir or legatee, of what his share would have been by intestate descent (portio legitima), he could by impeaching the will as immoral or unnatural (querela inofficiosi testamenti) have it set aside on the fictitious presumption of the testator’s insanity. The presumption, at least, was so far fictitious that it was not allowed to be rebutted by any other proof of his sanity except proof of the adequacy of the motives for which the child was disinherited. The querela inofficiosi was a form of petitio hereditatis, that is, a real action, and fell under the jurisdiction of the centumviral court, 4 § 31. Cf. Pliny, Ep. 5, 1; 6, 33. The amount of the share which must be left to a child to save a will from avoidance for inofficiositas bears some analogy to a requirement of the lex Falcidia, for it is identical with the amount which that law secures to the child or any one else when instituted heir as against the claims of legatees. The querela inofficiosi could not only be brought by a child but also by certain other near relatives, namely, parents, and by brothers and sisters, but by the last only if a turpis persona was instituted. Children and other near relations, even though emancipated, might be entitled to this remedy. See Inst. 2, 18; Dig. 5. 2; Cod. 3, 28.
(3) Although a child (or any one else) were instituted heir, yet the institution might be made illusory by the exhaustion of the whole inheritance in legacies, leaving nothing to the heir but the burden of administration. To meet this, the lex Falcidia provided that when more than three fourths of an inheritance is absorbed in legacies, all the legacies should abate proportionably so as to leave the heir a clear fourth of the portion in which he was instituted (quarta Falcidia), § 227.
(4) The senatus consultum Pegasianum provided in the same way against the inheritance being similarly exhausted by fideicommissa, § 254.
We may add that an impubes adopted by adrogation, if disinherited or without cause emancipated, was entitled to one fourth of the inheritance of his adoptive father (quarta Antonini), 1 § 102; Inst. 1, 11, 3.
§ 154. Primo aut secundo vel etiam ulteriore gradu, for an account of substitutio see § 174, &c.
§ 155. Velut si Latinus, cf. § 195 and 3 § 58; and for an explanation of the idiom see note to this passage in Muirhead’s Gaius.
§ 157. Communism or co-ownership appears to be an older institution than divided or individual ownership. Even after the rights of the paterfamilias had been enormously developed at the expense of the rest of the household, as may have been the case in prehistoric times, a vestige of the times when property vested rather in the family than in the chief was perhaps preserved in the rules respecting the suus heres. Suus heres appears equivalent to sibi heres, and implies that he who now enters on proprietary rights in the character of paterfamilias had already possessed proprietary rights over the same subject-matter in the character of filiusfamilias.
Less barbarous than self-successor (the term chosen to represent suus heres as expressing sibi heres) but too long for perpetual use, would have been the circumlocution, immediate lineal successor. Suus heres is a lineal descendant as opposed to the legitimus heres or nearest agnate, who is a collateral relation, on whom the inheritance devolves by the lex duodecim Tabularum in case there are no sui: and he is an immediate heir as opposed to an eventual heir. For instance, a grandson by an unemancipated son is in the grandfather’s power, and may eventually be his heir, but is not his suus heres during the life of the son.
§§ 158-162. After acquiring an inheritance the heir became personally liable to the testator’s creditors for the full amount of the testator’s debts. But to relieve sui et necessarii heredes from being thus compulsorily burdened, the beneficium abstinendi was given them, § 158. The praetor could not, indeed, unmake, any more than he could make, a heres, but by his control over procedure he could put a person who had a civil title in the same position as if he had none, while, on the other hand, he regarded persons, having no civil title to the inheritance, as if they were heredes.
Adquisitio hereditatis by an external or voluntary heres may probably have required at first in all cases a formal act (cretio); but acting the part of heres (pro herede gerere), however informally, came to be recognized as equivalent in legal effect to a formal declaration, unless an institution was expressly made ‘cum cretione.’ The object of instituting an heir ‘cum cretione’ was to oblige him to accept or abandon the inheritance within a prescribed term. For otherwise the law allowed him to postpone his decision indefinitely, § 167.
It was to get rid of the inconvenience caused by leaving the inheritance open for a long period, that the praetor at the request of creditors of the estate fixed a period, generally a hundred days (tempus deliberandi), after which he authorized the sale of the property, § 167. When it became customary for the praetor to prescribe this time for deliberation, the formularies of cretio had no intelligible policy and were regarded as irksome. After being dispensed with in certain cases by other emperors, they were totally abrogated by Arcadius and Theodosius, a. d. 407. Cod. 6, 30, 17 Cretionum scrupulosam sollennitatem hac lege penitus amputari decernimus. ‘Solemn declaration with its embarrassing formalities is hereby decreed to be absolutely abolished.’ (For allusions to cretio by Cicero see Roby, Roman Law, 1, p. 396 and App. Bk. III.) For the repudiation of an inheritance by a voluntary heir no solemn form was at any time in use, and perhaps such repudiation was not legally recognized in early law, though it was possible for the heres to assign his right by in jure cessio. Thus an inheritance could not be lost any more than it could be acquired by a mere expression of intention, and it has been suggested that the abeyance of inheritances on this account was a cause which gave rise to bonorum possessio. In the time of Gaius, however, a heres could on delatio reject an inheritance by any informal act expressive of his intention, and the acceptance or rejection of an inheritance once made was irrevocable. § 169.
To afford an escape from the danger of accepting inheritances more onerous than lucrative Justinian introduced the beneficium Inventarii, or privilege of making an inventory, reducing the liability of an heir who made the required inventory to the extent of the assets that came to his hands. The inventory must be commenced within thirty days from notice of the inheritance and completed in sixty other days. It must be executed in the presence of a notary (tabellarius) and the persons interested or three witnesses, Inst. 2, 19, 6; Cod. 6, 30, 22.
By English law the executor in every case is bound to make an inventory, and in no case is he answerable to the testator’s creditors beyond the assets that come to his hands, unless for a sufficient consideration he make his own estate chargeable by a written engagement, as provided by the Statute of Frauds.
§§ 164-173. When a right is extinguished by inactivity prolonged for a certain period, as in the case of a heres after delatio who has omitted to make cretio within the time prescribed, the period has two modes of measurement: either every day is counted, and then the period is called tempus continuum; or only available days, days on which activity is possible, are counted, and then the period is called tempus utile. When a general rule prescribes a term, not greater than a year, within which certain steps must be taken before a court or judicial authority, on pain of forfeiting certain rights, such a term must be measured as tempus utile. Such are the rules requiring certain suits to be instituted within a year from their nativity, that is, limiting a year for their period of prescription; and the rule requiring the demand of the possession of a heritage (agnitio bonorum possessionis), whether testate or intestate, to be made, if the claimant is an ascendant or descendant, within a year; if he is a stranger, within a hundred days. The demand was made in writing, addressed to a competent magistrate, and was followed by an immediate grant de plano in the form of a simple subscriptio, Do bonorum possessionem. Kuntze, 856. When the step required is rendered impossible, not by a permanent obstacle, such as infancy, lunacy, prodigality, or juristic personality, but by some transitory circumstance, the days on which the action is hindered are excluded from the computation of the term.
Such hindrance (1) may relate to the person entitled, and then will be his captivity, or his absence on public service, or his detention by weather or illness, coupled with inability to appoint a procurator:
(2) Or, in the case of the limitation of actions, it may relate to the person of the defendant: if, for instance, he is unknown, or concealed, or absent and undefended:
(3) Or it may consist in the absence of the praetor from the court. Such absence might be accidental, or it might arise from the regular intermission of the dies juridici, or days on which the praetor performed his judicial functions, § 279, comm. As in the time of Marcus Aurelius such days only amounted to 230 in a year (Suetonius, Octavianus, 32), this cause alone would make annus utilis equivalent to about 1½ ordinary years. The intermission of dies juridici was doubtless the principal cause of a claimant’s inability to perform an act in court on certain days; but in Roman law, as in modern times it was administered in Germany, when much of the procedure in an action had come to consist in delivery of writings at the office of a court, irrespectively of its session days and vacations, this cause lost its importance.
Knowledge (scientia) of the fact that he is entitled is not necessarily requisite on the part of the person entitled: in other words, his ignorance is not always sufficient to exclude a day from the number of dies utiles. The prescription of an action, when it is accomplished in annus utilis, begins to run from its nativity (actio nata), irrespectively of the plaintiff’s knowledge of his right to sue. Ignorance of a right of action is generally the effect of Negligence, and therefore undeserving of relief, and might be protracted for an indefinite period. On the contrary, ignorance is sometimes a condition that delays the commencement of tempus continuum: for instance, the 50 dies continui allowed to a person for stating the grounds on which he was entitled to be excused from accepting a guardianship only began to run when he had notice of his nomination, Inst. 1, 25, 16: which shows that scientia and ignorantia have no necessary relation to the distinction of dies utiles and dies continui.
In the demand (agnitio) of bonorum possessio, however, by the claimant of a testate or intestate succession, the edict expressly made the scientia as well as the potestas of the claimant a condition of dies utilis, Dig. 38, 15, 2. Indeed the aditio of an inheritance was not possible unless made with a knowledge of the fact of the delatio and of its nature, whether testacy or intestacy. Moreover the ignorance of his rights could not be ascribed to the negligence of the person entitled, nor was it likely to be indefinitely protracted, as it would be the interest of the person next entitled to give him notice of the delation. Knowledge will generally only affect the beginning of a term, and the person who is once made aware of the delation of an inheritance will usually continue aware: but it is possible that a period of error should supervene; for instance, that, after an agnate has notice that he is entitled by intestacy and after his term for acceptance has commenced to run, a forged will should be produced and obtain credit: in which case the dies utiles would not continue to run until the forgery of the will was ascertained. Savigny, § 189.
The testamentary clause allowing a term for cretio vulgaris in contrast to cretio continua, like the edict relating to bonorum possessio, made scientia as well as potestas a condition of tempus utile.
As we have seen no time was prescribed by law for the aditio of the civil inheritance, § 167: for the acquisition (agnitio) of the praetorian succession we have seen that for ascendants and descendants a year, for others a hundred days was prescribed, Inst. 3, 9, 9. Agnitio and Repudiatio could be made by a procurator or agent, Dig. 37, 1, 3, 7: not so Aditio, Dig. 29, 2, 90, and still less Cretio.
§ 174. [de svbstitvtionibvs.] Interdum duos pluresue gradus heredum facimus, hoc modo l. titivs heres esto cernitoqve in diebvs 〈centvm〉 proximis qvibvs scies poterisqve. qvodni ita creveris, exheres esto. tvm mevivs heres esto cernitoqve in diebvs centvm et reliqua. et deinceps in quantum uelimus substituere possumus.
Inst 2, 15 pr.
§ 175. Et licet nobis uel unum in unius locum substituere pluresue, et contra in plurium locum uel unum uel plures substituere
Inst. 2, 15, 1.
§ 176. Primo itaque gradu scriptus heres hereditatem cernendo fit heres et substitutus excluditur; non cernendo summouetur, etiamsi pro herede gerat, et in locum eius substitutus succedit. et deinceps si plures gradus sint, in singulis simili ratione idem contingit.
§ 177. Sed si cretio sine exheredatione sit data, id est in haec uerba si non creveris tvm p. mevivs heres esto, illud diuersum inuenitur, quod si prior omissa cretione pro herede gerat, substitutum in partem admittit et fiunt ambo aequis partibus heredes. quodsi neque cernat neque pro herede gerat, tum sane in uniuersum summouetur, et substitutus in totam hereditatem succedit.
§ 178. Sed Sabino quidem placuit, quamdiu cernere et eo modo heres fieri possit prior, etiamsi pro herede gesserit, non tamen admitti substitutum; cum uero cretio finita sit, tum pro herede gerente admitti substitutum. aliis uero placuit etiam superante cretione posse eum pro herede gerendo in partem substitutum admittere et amplius ad cretionem reuerti non posse.
§ 179. Liberis nostris inpuberibus quos in potestate habemus non solum ita ut supra diximus substituere possumus, id est ut si heredes non extiterint, alius nobis heres sit; sed eo amplius ut, etiamsi heredes nobis extiterint et adhuc inpuberes mortui fuerint, sit iis aliquis heres; uelut hoc modo titivs filivs mevs mihi heres esto. si filivs mevs mihi 〈heres non erit sive heres〉 erit et privs moriatvr qvam in svam tvtelam venerit, tvnc seivs heres esto.
Inst. 2, 16 pr.
§ 180. Quo casu siquidem non extiterit heres filius, substitutus patri fit heres; si uero heres extiterit filius et ante pubertatem decesserit, ipsi filio fit heres substitutus. quam ob rem duo quodammodo sunt testamenta, aliud patris, aliud filii, tamquam si ipse filius sibi heredem instituisset; aut certe unum est testamentum duarum hereditatum.
Inst. l. c.
§ 181. Ceterum ne post obitum parentis periculo insidiarum subiectus uideatur pupillus, in usu est uulgarem quidem substitutionem palam facere, id est eo loco quo pupillum heredem instituimus; 〈nam〉 uulgaris substitutio ita uocat ad hereditatem substitutum, si omnino pupillus heres non extiterit; quod accidit cum uiuo parente moritur, quo casu nullum substituti maleficium suspicari possumus, cum scilicet uiuo testatore omnia quae in testamento scripta sint ignorentur. illam autem substitutionem per quam, etiamsi heres extiterit pupillus et intra pubertatem decesserit, substitutum uocamus, separatim in inferioribus tabulis scribimus, easque tabulas proprio lino propriaque cera consignamus, et in prioribus tabulis cauemus, ne inferiores tabulae uiuo filio et adhuc inpubere aperiantur. sed longe tutius est utrumque genus substitutionis [separatim] in inferioribus tabulis consignari, quod si ita [consignatae uel] separatae fuerint substitutiones, ut diximus, ex priore potest intellegi in altera [alter] quoque idem esse substitutus.
Inst. 2, 16, 3.
§ 182. Non solum autem heredibus institutis inpuberibus liberis ita substituere possumus, ut si ante pubertatem mortui fuerint, sit is heres quem nos uoluerimus, sed etiam exheredatis. itaque eo casu si quid pupillo ex hereditatibus legatisue aut donationibus propinquorum adquisitum fuerit, id omne ad substitutum pertinet.
Inst. 2, 16, 4.
§ 183. Quaecumque diximus de substitutione inpuberum liberorum uel heredum institutorum uelexheredatorum, eadem etiam de postumis intellegemus.
Inst l. c.
§ 184. Extraneo uero heredi instituto ita substituere non possumus, ut si heres extiterit et intra aliquod tempus decesserit, alius ei heres sit; sed hoc solum nobis permissum est, ut eum per fideicommissum obligemus, ut hereditatem nostram totam uel 〈pro〉 parte restituat; quod ius quale sit, suo loco trademus.
Inst. 2, 16, 9.
§ 174. Sometimes two or more degrees of heirs are instituted, as follows: ‘Lucius Titius, be thou my heir, and declare solemnly within a hundred days after you know and are able: or, in default of so declaring, be disinherited. Thereupon, be thou, Mevius, my heir, and solemnly declare within a hundred days,’ &c.; and in this way we can make as many substitutions as we like.
§ 175. We may substitute in place of one either one or several, and, conversely, in the place of several we may substitute either several or one.
§ 176. Accordingly, if the person instituted in the first degree accepts the inheritance, he is heir, and the substitutes are excluded: if he fail to declare with due formality, he is barred in spite of acts of heirship, and his place is taken by the substitute; and if there are several degrees, in every one a similar result occurs.
§ 177. If the formula prescribing a term of deliberation contains no clause of disherison, but merely consists of these words: ‘If thou fail to declare, be Publius Mevius my heir’ [cretio imperfecta], the result is herein different, that, if the person first instituted, though he omit the solemn declaration, act as heir, the substitute is only admitted to a portion, and both take a moiety: if he neither formally declare nor act as heir, he is entirely excluded, and the substitute succeeds to the whole inheritance.
§ 178. It was the opinion of Sabinus that, as long as a term for formally declaring and thereby becoming heir subsists, a person in a higher grade does not let in the substitute, even if he informally act as heir, and that only after the expiration of the term is the substitute admitted instead of the person instituted, who has been acting as heir. But the other school held that, even pending the allotted term, informal acts of heirship let in the substitute and bar the prior heir from reverting to his right of formal declaration.
§ 179. To children below the age of puberty in the power of the testator, not only can such a substitute as we have described be appointed, that is, one who shall take the inheritance on their failure to inherit, but also one who, if after inheriting they die before attaining the age of puberty, shall be their heir; which may be done in the following terms: ‘Be my son Titius my heir, and if my son does not become my heir, or after becoming my heir die before becoming his own guardian, [that is before attaining the age of puberty], then be Seius the heir.’
§ 180. In which case, if the son fail to inherit, the substitute is the heir of the testator, but if the son die after inheriting and without attaining the age of puberty, the substitute is heir to the son. Thus there are two wills, so to speak, the father’s and the son’s. just as if the son himself had instituted an heir; or at any rate there is one will dealing with two inheritances.
§ 181. However, to save the ward from the danger of foul play after the death of the parent, it is common for the ordinary substitution to be made openly, that is, in the clause wherein the ward is instituted, for as the ordinary substitution only calls a man to the succession in case of the ward altogether failing to inherit, and this can only occur by his death in the lifetime of his parent, the substitute in this case is open to no suspicion of crime, because while the testator is alive the contents of the will are a secret. But the substitution, wherein a man is named heir after the succession and death of the ward before reaching the age of puberty, is written separately on later tablets, tied with their own cords and sealed with their own wax, and it is prohibited in the prior tablets that the will should be opened in the lifetime of the son before he attains the age of puberty. Indeed it is far safer that both kinds of substitution should be sealed up separately in two subsequent tablets, for if the ordinary substitution is contained in the first tablets it is easy to conjecture that the same substitute is appointed in the second.
§ 182. Not only when we appoint children under the age of puberty our heirs can we make such a substitution that if they die before puberty the substitute is their heir, but we can do it even when we disinherit them, so that in case the ward should acquire anything either by heirship, legacies, or by gifts of his relatives, all will belong to the substitute.
§ 183. What has been said of substitution to children below the age of puberty, whether appointed heirs or disinherited, is true of substitution to afterborn children.
§ 184. To a stranger instituted heir we cannot appoint a substitute who, if the stranger inherit and die within a certain time, is to be his heir; but we have only power to bind him by a trust to convey the inheritance to another, in part or in whole, a right which shall be explamed in the proper place. [2 § 277.]
§ 177. It will be observed that this rule deviates from the principle laid down in § 166. A constitution of Marcus Aurelius changing the law further in the same direction, and mentioned by Ulpian (Sed postea divus Marcus constituit, ut et pro herede gerendo ex asse fiat heres, 22, 34. ‘Subsequently Marcus Aurelius enacted that acts of heirship would make him [the person instituted, in the case of cretio imperfecta] exclusive heir’), was clearly not enacted when this paragraph was written by Gaius, and furnishes an indication of the date at which this book of his Institutions was published. Marcus Aurelius was sole emperor a. d. 169-176.
§ 179. Cicero frequently mentions a great case in which the question arose whether a vulgaris substitutio may be implied from a pupillaris substitutio. The centumviral court decided that the intention rather than the words of the testator should prevail, and that the heir appointed to succeed the son in case the son died before puberty should be deemed appointed to succeed the testator in case no son was born: Malim mihi L. Crassi unam pro M’. Curio dictionem quam castellanos triumphos duos, Brutus 73, ‘I would rather have made the single speech of Lucius Crassus for Manius Curius than have had two triumphs for the capture of fortresses.’ The other passages are worth referring to De Orat. 1, 39, 57; 2, 6, 32; Brutus, 39, 52; Pro Caecina, 18, 53; Topica, 10, 44. Marcus Aurelius enacted that in every case pupillaris substitutio should be implied in vulgaris substituto and vice versa, unless the contrary intention was expressed, Dig. 28, 6, 4.
§ 184. That is to say, we cannot by the ordinary rules of law limit an inheritance so as to make it subject to a resolutive condition or determinable at a future time. All we can do is to direct the heir by way of trust (fidei commissum) to reconvey the inheritance to some one at a future time or on the happening of some future event. Hereditas itself, strictly speaking, is indelible (semel heres semper heres). Regula est juris civilis qua constitutum est hereditatem adimi non posse, Dig. 28, 2, 13, 1. Cf. §§ 246-257, comm.
DE HEREDIBVS INSTITVENDIS.
§ 185. Sicut autem liberi homines, ita et serui, tam nostri quam alieni, heredes scribi possunt.
§ 186. Sed noster seruus simul et liber et heres esse iuberi debet, id est hoc modo stichvs servvs mevs liber heresqve esto, uel heres liberqve esto.
§ 187. Nam si sine libertate heres institutus sit, etiamsi postea manumissus fuerit a domino, heres esse non potest, quia institutio in persona eius non constitit; ideoque licet alienatus sit, non potest iussu domini noui cernere hereditatem.
§ 188. Cum libertate uero heres institutus siquidem in eadem causa durauerit, fit ex testamento liber et inde necessarius heres. si uero ab ipso testatore manumissus fuerit, suo arbitrio hereditatem adire potest. quodsi alienatus sit, iussu noui domini adire hereditatem debet, qua ratione per eum dominus fit heres; nam ipse neque heres neque liber esse potest.
Inst. 2, 14, 1.
§ 189. Alienus quoque seruus heres institutus si in eadem causa durauerit, iussu domini hereditatem adire debet; si uero alienatus ab eo fuerit aut uiuo testatore aut post mortem eius, antequam cernat, debet iussu noui domini cernere; si uero manumissus est, suo arbitrio adire hereditatem potest.
Inst. l. c.
§ 190. Si autem seruus alienus heres institutus est uulgari cretione data, ita intellegitur dies cretionis cedere, si ipse seruus scierit se heredem institutum esse, nec ullum inpedimentum sit, quominus certiorem dominum faceret, ut illius iussu cernere possit.
DE HEREDIBVS INSTITVENDIS.
§ 185. Not only freemen but slaves, whether belonging to the testator or to another person, may be instituted heirs.
§ 186. A slave belonging to the testator must be simultaneously instituted and enfranchised in the following manner: ‘Stichus, my slave, be free and be my heir;’ or, ‘Be my heir and be free.’
§ 187. If he is not enfranchised at the same time that he is instituted, no subsequent manumission by his owner enables him to take the succession, because the institution is originally void, and even if aliened he cannot formally declare his acceptance by the order of the new master.
§ 188. When a slave is simultaneously instituted and enfranchised, if he continue in the same condition, the will converts him into a freeman and a necessary heir: if the testator himself manumits him in his lifetime, he is able to use his own discretion about acceptance: if he is aliened he must have the order of his new master to accept, and then his master through him becomes heir, the alienated slave himself becoming neither heir nor free.
§ 189. When another person’s slave is instituted heir, if he continue in the same position, he must have the order of his master to accept the succession; if aliened by him in the lifetime of the testator, or after his death before formal acceptance, he must have the order of the new master to be able to accept: if manumitted before acceptance, he is able to follow his own judgement as to accepting.
§ 190. When a slave of another person is instituted heir with the ordinary term of cretio, the term only begins to run from the time when the slave has notice of his appointment, and is not prevented in any way from informing the master so that he may at his order make formal acceptance.
§ 187. This rule was abolished by Justinian, who enacted that the enfranchisement of the testator’s slave, though unexpressed, should always be implied in his institution as heir. Cod. 6, 27, 5; Inst. 1, 6, 2.
§ 188. Justinian explains why the slave lost his liberty: Destitisse enim a libertatis datione videtur dominus qui eum alienavit, Inst. 2, 14, 1. ‘A revocation of the bequest of liberty is inferred from the fact of his alienation.’ If we ask why the implied intention that suffices to revoke the enfranchisement does not suffice to revoke the institution, the answer is, that a bequest can be revoked by any act clearly implying an intention to revoke, whereas an institution requires a more solemn revocation, by execution of a later will, or some other means, §§ 147-151, comm.
§ 189. What was the motive of instituting as heir the slave of another person? Such a disposition could not be dictated by kindness to the slave, for he would probably gain nothing by his institution; but was a device adopted for two purposes, (1) for facilitating the conversion of a succession into money, and (2) for securing an institution against failure.
(1) By such a disposition the testator gave the proprietor of the slave, whose benefit was intended, the option of either becoming actual heir, or of doing, what he could not otherwise readily do, i. e. of receiving the net value, or a large portion of the net value, of the succession, without incurring the expense of the annexed sacred rites (sacra) and the burden of administration, by practically selling the succession for the highest price he could get to any one who was willing to incur these expenses and troubles as a matter of speculation. To effect this, he had only to sell the slave at a price enhanced by his character of institutus. The slave thereupon, making aditio of the inheritance in obedience to an order of the purchaser, vested the inheritance in the purchaser. If the former proprietor was reluctant to part with his slave, he had only to bargain for his reconveyance by a fiducia or condition annexed to the sale or mancipatio. Reddendus (or in the time of Gaius it might have been a case of mancipatio cum fiducia) est servus ea conditione ut, cum jussu ejus adierit, rursum retradatur. By this branch of speculation the instituted slave might pass through many hands before the succession vested, Dig. 37, 11, 2, 9.
(2) A second object gained by the institution of another person’s slave was the transmission of an inheritance to the heirs of such person. If the heir instituted died in the lifetime of the testator, the institution failed, and the failure could not be prevented by the substitution (secondary institution) of the heir of the person instituted, for such heir would be a persona incerta, § 242. The difficulty was met by instituting a slave, who on the death of his master, the virtual heir, would become the slave of the master’s heir, and acquire for him the succession of the testator. To guard against the contingency of the death of the slave in the lifetime of the testator, several slaves might be instituted by way of substitution. Ihering, § 56. An inheritance delated to a slave is said to be ambulatory: Ambulat cum dominio bonorum possessio, l. c. (In a similar way we might say: ambulat cum capite noxa, 4 § 77.)
§ 190. Si ipse servus scierit se heredem institutum. The knowledge of the slave was material for the purpose of acquisition, since the slave is regarded as if he were heir, though acquiring not for himself but for his master. Cf. Inst. 3, 17, 1 and 2.
A slave instituted heir might be the property of several masters, who when he entered upon the inheritance would become co-heredes of it according to their respective shares in him. Inst. 2, 14, 3. In the same title of the Institutes, Justinian mentions that an heir might either be appointed to take the whole of an inheritance or to share it with other co-heirs in any proportions. We may briefly state the technical terms and rules of interpretation by which different shares were allotted. An inheritance was commonly regarded as a pound (as) consisting of twelve ounces (unciae). The different fractions were thus denominated: uncia, a twelfth of an as, or an ounce; sextans, a sixth of an as, or two ounces; quadrans, a fourth of an as, or three ounces; triens, a third of an as, or four ounces; quincunx, five ounces; semis, half an as, or six ounces; septunx, seven ounces; bes (bis triens), two thirds of an as, or eight ounces; dodrans (deme quadrantem), an as minus a fourth, or nine ounces; dextans (deme sextantem), an as minus a sixth, or ten ounces; deunx (deme unciam), an as minus an ounce, or eleven ounces; as, twelve ounces.
An heir instituted in twelve ounces (ex asse) took the whole: but it was a rule that no one could be partly testate and partly intestate, and therefore if an heir were instituted in a part (ex parte) and no other co-heir instituted, that part represented a pound, and the heir took the whole. So if the shares allotted to several co-heirs amounted to more than twelve ounces, then, if no other heir was appointed with an unexpressed share, the as was deemed to consist of more than twelve ounces, and each co-heir took a ratable part of the inheritance. If one heir were instituted in a part, say ex besse, and a co-heir were instituted for whom no part was expressed, then the co-heir would take the residue of the as, that is, would be deemed to be instituted ex triente. But if the parts expressed for certain heirs exhausted or exceeded the as and another heir or heirs were named without express shares, then the whole inheritance was supposed to consist of two asses (dupondius) and the expressed shares were reduced to so many ounces out of twenty-four, the heir or heirs with unexpressed parts taking the residue. Similarly, if necessary, the inheritance was supposed to consist of thirty-six ounces.
If the institution of one co-heir lapsed, the shares of the remaining co-heirs were ratably augmented (accretio), just as, if originally less than twelve ounces had been distributed, the expressed shares of each would be ratably augmented so as to exhaust the inheritance.
This rule, however, was modified by the leges caducariae, passed chiefly to discourage celibacy, namely the lex Julia de maritandis ordinibus, a. d. 4, and the lex Papia Poppaea, on marriage and succession, a. d. 9, in which the provisions of the lex Julia were incorporated, for which reason both laws are sometimes referred to as lex Julia et Papia.
Caducum is a devise or bequest, valid at Civil law, but vacated by some particular law or statute, such as a legacy to a celibate or Latinus Junianus, in case the former fails within a hundred days to comply with the law [the Lex Papia], or the latter to acquire full citizenship; or in case of the institution of a co-heir, or bequest to a legatee who dies or becomes an alien before the will is opened, Ulpian, 17, 1. [By the Civil law, unconditional devises and bequests vested (dies cedit) at the death of the testator (though still defeasible by the failure of the will); by the lex Papia Poppaea not before the opening of the will, thus making the chance of a lapse greater, but Justinian re-established the rule of Civil law.] Cf. Roby, Roman Law, Bk. III, ch. x, B.
The leges caducariae, which fixed the conditions of caducity, were aimed against the coelebs and the orbus. Cf. §§ 111, 144, 286. Coelebs is defined to be an unmarried man between the age of twenty and sixty, or an unmarried woman between the age of twenty and fifty. Orbus is a man between fifty and sixty without children, natural or adoptive.
An unmarried person could take nothing as heres extraneus or legatee; an orbus could only take half of the devise or bequest intended for him. The inheritance or legacy thus lapsed was allotted by the leges caducariae in the first place, in the case of a legacy, to conjoint legatees of the same specific thing if the legatees had children; in the second place to children or parents of the deceased who were instituted heirs in his will; in the third place to heirs and other legatees having children; and in last remainder to the treasury (aerarium), § 206. Caracalla, a. d. 212-217, made them lapse immediately to the fiscus; Hodie ex constitutione imperatoris Antonini omnia caduca fisco vindicantur, sed servato jure antiquo liberis et parentibus, Ulpian, 17, 2. But from the rules of caducity ascendants and descendants of the testator to the third degree were excepted both by the lex Papia and by the constitution of Caracalla. Constantine, a. d. 320, abolished the pains and penalties of celibacy and childlessness, Cod. 8, 57, and Justinian formally and finally abrogated the leges caducariae.
By substitutions, or alternative institutions, testators were able to modify the course of accrual by Civil law (jus accrescendi), and, what perhaps was still more interesting, to escape from the operation of the laws of caducity, by which sometimes a whole inheritance might fall into the clutches of the treasury.
§ 191. Post haec uideamus de legatis. quae pars iuris extra propositam quidem materiam uidetur; nam loquimur de his iuris figuris quibus per uniuersitatem res nobis adquiruntur; sed cum omni modo de testamentis deque heredibus qui testamento instituuntur locuti sumus, non sine causa sequenti loco poterit haec iuris materia tractari.
Inst. 2, 20, pr.
§ 192. Legatorum itaque genera sunt quattuor: aut enim per uindicationem legamus aut per damnationem aut sinendi modo aut per praeceptionem.
§ 193. Per uindicationem hoc modo legamus titio uerbi gratia hominem stichvm do lego; sed 〈et〉 si alterutrum uerbum positum sit, ueluti do aut lego, aeque per uindicationem legatum est; item, ut magis uisum est, si ita legatum fuerit svmito, uel ita sibi habeto,uel ita capito, aeque per uindicationem legatum est.
§ 194. Ideo autem per uindicationem legatum appellatur, quia post aditam hereditatem statim ex iure Quiritium res legatarii fit; et si eam rem legatarius uel ab herede uel ab alio quocumque qui eam possidet petat, uindicare debet, id est intendere suam rem ex iure Quiritium esse.
§ 195. In eo solo dissentiunt prudentes, quod Sabinus quidem et Cassius ceterique nostri praeceptores quod ita legatum sit statim post aditam hereditatem putant fieri legatarii, etiamsi ignoret sibi legatum | esse [dimissum], sed posteaquam scierit et — lega|tum, proinde esse atque si legatum non esset; Nerua uero et Proculus ceterique illius scholae auctores non aliter putant rem legatarii fieri, quam si uoluerit eam ad se pertinere. sed hodie ex diui Pii Antonini constitutione hoc magis iure uti uidemur quod Proculo placuit; nam cum legatus fuisset Latinus per uindicationem coloniae, Deliberent, inquit, decuriones an ad se uelint pertinere, proinde ac si uni legatus esset.
§ 196.Eae autem solae resper uindicationem legantur recte quae ex iure Quiritium ipsius testatoris sunt. sed eas quidem res quae pondere numero mensura sura constant placuit sufficere si mortis tempore sint ex iure Quiritium testatoris, ueluti uinum oleum frumentum pecuniam numeratam. ceteras res uero placuit utroque tempore testatoris ex iure Quiritium esse debere, id est et quo faceret testamentum et quo moreretur; alioquin inutile est legatum.
§ 197. Sed sane hoc ita est iure ciuili. postea uero auctore Nerone Caesare senatusconsultum factum est, quo cautum est, ut si eam rem quisque legauerit quae eius numquam fuerit, proinde utile sit legatum, atque si optimo iure relictum esset; optimum autem ius est per damnationem legati, quo genere etiam aliena res legari potest, sicut inferius apparebit.
§ 198. Sed si quis rem suam legauerit, deinde post testamentum factum eam alienauerit, plerique putant non solum iure ciuili inutile esse legatum, sed nec ex senatusconsulto confirmari. quod ideo dictum est, quia et si per damnationem aliquis rem suam legauerit eamque postea alienauerit, plerique putant, licet ipso iure debeatur legatum, tamen legatarium petentem posse per exceptionem doli mali repelli quasi contra uoluntatem defuncti petat.
§ 199. Illud constat, si duobus pluribusue per uindicationem eadem res legata sit, siue coniunctim siue disiunctim, et omnes ueniant ad legatum, partes ad singulos pertinere et deficientis portionem collegatario adcrescere. coniunctim autem ita legatur titio et seio hominem stichvm do lego; disiunctim ita l. titio hominem stichvm do lego. seio evndem hominem do lego.
§ 200. Illud quaeritur, quod sub condicione per uindicationem legatum est, pendente condicione cuius sit. nostri praeceptores heredis esse putant exemplo statuliberi, id est eius serui qui testamento sub aliqua condicione liber esse iussus est; quem constat interea heredis seruum esse. sed diuersae scholae auctores putant nullius interim eam rem esse; quod multo magis dicunt de eo quod [sine condicione] pure legatum est, antequam legatarius admittat legatum.
§ 201. Per damnationem hoc modo legamus heres mevs stichvm servvm mevm dare damnas esto, sed et si dato scriptum fuerit, per damnationem legatum est.
§ 202. Eoque genere legati etiam aliena res legari potest, ita ut heres redimere 〈rem〉 et praestare aut aestimationem eius dare debeat.
§ 203. Ea quoque res quae in rerum natura non est, si modo futura est, per damnationem legari potest, uelut frvctvs qvi in illo fvndo nati ervnt, aut qvod ex illa anoilla natvm erit.
§ 204. Quod autem ita legatum est, post aditam hereditatem, etiamsi pure legatum est, non ut per uindicationem legatum continuo legatario adquiritur, sed nihilo minus heredis est. et ideo legatarius in personam agere debet, id est intendere heredem sibi dare oportere; et tum heres, si 〈res〉 mancipi sit, mancipio dare aut in iure cedere possessionemque tradere debet; si nec mancipi sit, sufficit si tradiderit. nam si mancipi rem tantum tradiderit nec mancipauerit, usucapione pleno iure fit legatarii; conpletur autem usucapio, sicut alio quoque loco diximus, mobilium quidem rerum anno, earum uero quae solo tenentur biennio.
§ 205. Est et illa differentia huius 〈et〉 per uindicationem legati, quod si eadem res duobus pluribusue per damnationem legata sit, siquidem coniunctim, plane singulis partes debentur sicut in illo 〈quod per〉 uindicationem legatum est, si uero disiunctim, singulis solidum debetur. ita fit, ut scilicet heres alteri rem, alteri aestimationem eius praestare debeat. et in coniunctis deficientis portio non ad collegatarium pertinet, sed in hereditate iemanet.
§ 206. Quod autem diximus deficientis portionem in per damnationem quidem legato in hereditate retineri, in per uindicationem uero collegatario adcrescere, admonendi sumus ante legem Papiam hoc iure ciuili ita fuisse; post legem uero Papiam deficientis portio caduca fit et ad eos pertinet qui in eo testamento liberos habent.
§ 207. Et quamuis prima causa sit in caducis uindicandis heredum liberos habentium, deinde si heredes liberos non habeant, legatariorum liberos habentium, tamen ipsa lege Papia significatur, ut collegatarius coniunctus, si liberos habeat, potior sit heredibus, etiamsi liberos habebunt.
§ 208. Sed plerisque placuit, quantum ad hoc ius quod lege Papia coniunctis constituitur, nihil interesse utrum per uindicationem an per damnationem legatum sit.
§ 209. Sinendi modo ita legamus heres mevs damnas esto sinere l. titivm hominem stichvm svmere sibiqve habere.
§ 210. Quod genus legati plus quidem habet 〈quam〉 per uindicationem legatum, minus autem quam per damnationem. nam eo modo non solum suam rem testator utiliter legare potest, sed etiam heredis sui; cum alioquin per uindicationem nisi suam rem legare non potest, per damnationem autem cuiuslibet extranei rem legare potest.
§ 211. Sed siquidem mortis testatoris tempore res uel ipsius testatoris sit uel heredis, plane utile legatum est, etiamsi testamenti faciendi tempore neutrius fuerit.
§ 212. Quodsi post mortem testatoris ea res heredis esse coeperit, quaeritur an utile sit legatum. et plerique putant inutile esse. quid ergo est? licet aliquis eam rem legauerit quae neque eius umquam fuerit neque postea heredis eius umquam esse coeperit, ex senatusconsulto Neroniano proinde uidetur ac si per damnationem relicta esset.
§ 213. Sicut autem per damnationem legata res non statim post aditam hereditatem legatarii efficitur, sed manet heredis eo usque, donec is [heres] tradendo uel mancipando uel in iure cedendo legatarii eam fecerit, ita et in sinendi modo legato iuris est; et ideo huius quoque legati nomine in personam actio est qvidqvid heredem ex testamento dare facere oportet.
§ 214. Sunt tamen qui putant ex hoc legato non uideri obligatum heredem, ut mancipet aut in iure cedat aut tradat, sed sufficere, ut legatarium rem sumere patiatur; quia nihil ultra ei testator imperauit, quam ut sinat, id est patiatur legatarium rem sibi habere.
§ 215. Maior illa dissensio in hoc legato interuenit, si eandem rem duobus pluribusue disiunctim legasti; quidam putant utrisque solidam deberi, [sicut per uindicationem;] nonnulli occupantis esse meliorem condicionem aestimant, quia cum eo genere legati damnetur heres patientiam praestare, ut legatarius rem habeat, sequitur, ut si priori patientiam praestiterit et is rem sumpserit, securus sit aduersus eum qui postea legatum petierit, quia neque habet rem, ut patiatur eam ab eo sumi, neque dolo malo fecit quominus eam rem haberet.
§ 216. Per praeceptionem hoc modo legamus l. titivs hominem stichvm praecipito.
§ 217. Sed nostri quidem praeceptores nulli alii eo modo legari posse putant, nisi ei qui aliqua ex parte heres scriptus esset; praecipere enim esse praecipuum sumere; quod tantum in eius persona procedit qui aliqua ex parte heres institutus est, quod is extra portionem hereditatis praecipuum legatum habiturus sit.
§ 218. Ideoque si extraneo legatum fuerit, inutile est legatum; adeo ut Sabinus existimauerit ne quidem ex 〈senatus〉-consulto Neroniano posse conualescere: nam eo, inquit, senatusconsulto ea tantum confirmantur quae uerborum uitio iure ciuili non ualent, non quae propter ipsam personam legatarii non deberentur. sed Iuliano et Sexto placuit etiam hoc casu ex senatusconsulto confirmari legatum. nam ex uerbis etiam hoc casu accidere, ut iure ciuili inutile sit legatum, inde manifestum esse, quod eidem aliis uerbis recte legatur, ueluti per uindicationem, per damnationem, sinendi modo; tunc autem uitio personae legatum non ualere, cum ei legatum sit cui nullo modo legari possit, uelut peregrino cum quo testamenti factio non sit; quo plane casu senatusconsulto locus non est.
§ 219. Item nostri praeceptores quod ita legatum est nulla 〈alia〉 ratione putant posse consequi eum cui ita fuerit legatum quam iudicio familiae erciscundae quod inter heredes de hereditate erciscunda, id est diuidunda, accipi solett; officio enim iudicis id contineri, ut ei quod per praeceptionem legatum est adiudicetur.
§ 220. Vnde intellegimus nihil aliud secundum nostrorum praeceptorum opinionem per praeceptionem legari posse, nisi quod testatoris sit; nulla enim alia res quam hereditaria deducitur in hoc iudicium. itaque si non suam rem eo modo testator legauerit, iure quidem ciuili inutile erit legatum; sed ex senatusconsulto confirmabitur. aliquo tamen casu etiam alienam rem 〈per〉 praeceptionem legari posse fatentur; ueluti si quis eam rem legauerit, quam creditori fiduciae causa mancipio dederit; nam officio iudicis coheredes cogi posse existimant soluta pecunia luere eam rem, ut possit praecipere is cui ita legatum sit.
§ 221.Sed diuersae scholae auctores putant etiam extraneo per praeceptionem legari posse proinde ac si ita scribatur titivs hominem stichvm capito, superuacuo adiecta prae syllaba; ideoque per uindicationem eam rem legatam uideri. quae sententia dicitur diui Hadriani constitutione confirmata esse.
§ 222. Secundum hanc igitur opinionem si ea res ex iure Quiritium defuncti fuerit, potest a legatario uindicari, siue is unus ex heredibus sit siue extraneus; quodsi in bonis tantum testatoris fuerit, extraneo quidem ex senatusconsulto utile erit legatum, heredi uero familiae erciscundae iudicis officio praestabitur; quodsi nullo iure fuerit testatoris, tam heredi quam extraneo ex senatusconsulto utile erit.
§ 223. Siue tamen heredibus secundum nostrorum opinionem, siue etiam extraneis secundum illorum opinionem, duobus pluribusue eadem res coniunctim aut disiunctim legata fuerit, singuli partes habere debent.
§ 191. Let us now examine legacies, a kind of title which seems foreign to the matter in hand, for we are expounding titles whereby aggregates of rights are acquired; but we had at any rate to treat of wills and heirs appointed by will, and it is natural in close connexion therewith to consider this species of title [for a legacy is an accessory of a will].
§ 192. Legacies are of four kinds; by vindication, by condemnation, by permission, by preception.
§ 193. A legacy by vindication is in the following form: ‘To Lucius Titius I give and bequeath, say, my slave Stichus,’ or only one word need be used as, ‘I give or I bequeath;’ and other terms such as: ‘Let him take,’ ‘Let him have,’ ‘Let him seize,’ equally confer a legacy by vindication according to the prevailing opinion.
§ 194. It is so called, because immediately on the acceptance of the inheritance the thing becomes the Quiritarian property of the legatee, and if he claims it from the heir or any other possessor, he ought to vindicate it, that is, claim by action that he is owner thereof by law of the Quirites.
§ 195. So far the two schools are agreed, the only point in dispute between them is this, that according to Sabinus and Cassius and the other authorities of my school, what is thus left becomes the property of the legatee immediately on the acceptance of the inheritance, even before he has notice of the legacy, and on notice and repundiation by the legatee, the legacy is cancelled. While Nerva and Proculus and the jurists of that school make the passing of the property to the legatee depend on his accepting the legacy; and now a constitution of the late emperor Pius Antoninus seems to have established the doctrine of Proculus as the rule, for in the case of a Latinus Junianus bequeathed by vindication to a colony, the Emperor said, ‘The decurions must deliberate whether they wish to become owners as they would have to do if the bequest was to an individual.’
§ 196. Only those things are properly bequeathed by vindication which are the Quiritarian property of the testator; things, however, estimated by weight, number, or measure, need only be the Quiritarian property of the testator at the time of his death, for instance, wine, oil, corn, ready-money: other things are required to be the testator’s Quiritarian property at both periods, both at the time of his death and at the time of making his will, or the legacy is void.
§ 197. However, this is only the civil law. In later times, on the proposition of Nero, a senatus-consult was passed, providing that if a testator bequeathed a thing which never belonged to him, the bequest should be as valid as if it had been made in the most favourable form; the most favourable form being by condemnation, whereby the property of another person may be bequeathed, as will presently appear.
§ 198. If a man bequeath a thing belonging to him, and afterwards aliene it, most jurists hold that the bequest is not only avoided at civil law, but does not obtain validity by the senatusconsult, the ground of this opinion being that, even when a thing is bequeathed by condemnation and afterwards aliened, although the legacy is due ipso jure, a claim to it, as most jurists hold, may be repelled by the plea of fraud, as contravening the testator’s intention.
§ 199. It is a settled rule, that if the same thing be bequeathed by vindication to two or more persons, whether jointly [in the same sentence] or severally [in different sentences], and all claim the legacy, each is only entitled to a ratable part, but a lapsed portion accrues to the co-legatees. A joint bequest is as follows: ‘To Titius and Seius I give and bequeath my slave Stichus;’ a several bequest as follows; ‘To Lucius Titius I give and bequeath my slave Stichus. To Seius I give and bequeath the same slave.’
§ 200. When a condition is annexed to a bequest by vindication, it is a question who, pending the condition, is the owner: my school say, the heir, as in the case of the slave conditionally enfranchised by will, who is admittedly in the interim the property of the heir: the other school assert that there is no interim proprietor, and they insist still more strongly that this is so in the case of an unconditional simple bequest before the acceptance by the legatee.
§ 201. A legacy by condemnation is in the following form: ‘Be my heir condemned to give my slave Stichus,’ or simply, ‘Let my heir give my slave Stichus.’
§ 202. By this form a testator may bequeath a thing belonging to another person, binding the heir to purchase and deliver the thing, or pay its value.
§ 203. A thing which does not exist provided that it will exist may be bequeathed by condemnation, as the future produce of such and such land, or the child to be born of such and such female slave.
§ 204. A bequest in this form, even though no condition is annexed, unlike a bequest by vindication, is not forthwith on the acceptance of the inheritance the property of the legatee, but continues the property of the heir; hence the legatee must sue for it by personal action, that is, lay claim that the heir is bound to convey it to him; and in this case the heir, if the thing is mancipable, ought to convey it to him by mancipation or to surrender it before a magistrate and deliver possession of it; if not mancipable, mere delivery of possession suffices: for if a mancipable thing is merely delivered without mancipation, the legatee must acquire plenary ownership by usucapion, and usucapion, as before mentioned, in the case of movables requires a year’s possession, in the case of landed property two years’ possession.
§ 205. There is another difference between bequest by vindication and bequest by condemnation herein, that if the same thing is bequeathed to two or more by condemnation, if they are named jointly, each is entitled to a ratable part, as in legacy by vindication; if severally, each is entitled to the whole, and the heir is bound to convey the specific thing to one, and the value to the other; and in a joint bequest a lapsed portion does not accrue to the co-legatee, but belongs to the heir.
§ 206. The statement that a lapsed portion in legacy by condemnation falls to the heir, and in legacy by vindication accrues to the co-legatee, be it observed, gives the rule of the civil law before the lex Papia; but since the lex Papia, a lapsed portion becomes caducous, and belongs to the legatees who have children.
§ 207. And although the first title to a caducous legacy is that of heirs with children, and the second, if the heirs are childless, of legatees with children, yet the lex Papia itself declares that in a joint bequest a co-legatee with children is to be preferred to heirs even though they have children.
§ 208. And most jurists hold that, as to the rights which the lex Papia gives to joint legatees, it makes no difference whether the bequest is by vindication or by condemnation.
§ 209. A bequest by permission is in the following form: ‘Be my heir condemned to permit Lucius Titius to take and to have to himself my slave Stichus.’
§ 210. A bequest in this form has a wider scope than one in the form of vindication, but less than one in the form of condemnation, for hereby not only can the testator’s property be effectively bequeathed, but also that of the heir, whereas by the form of vindication the testator can only bequeath his own property, and by the form of condemnation he can bequeath the property of any stranger.
§ 211. If at the time of the testator’s death the thing thus bequeathed belong to the testator or the heir, the bequest is valid, even though at the time of making the will it belonged to neither.
§ 212. If it first belong to the heir after the death of the testator it is a question whether the bequest is valid, and it is most generally held to be invalid. However, even though a thing bequeathed never belonged to the testator or after his death became the property of the heir, by the senatusconsult of Nero all bequests are put on the same footing as a bequest by condemnation.
§ 213. Just as a thing bequeathed by condemnation does not immediately on the acceptance of the inheritance belong to the legatee, but continues to belong to the heir until by delivery, or mancipation, or surrender before the magistrate, he makes it the property of the legatee; so it happens in bequest by permission, and accordingly this form of bequest is ground to support a personal action in the terms: ‘Whatever the heir is bound by the will to convey or perform.’
§ 214. Although some hold that a bequest in this form does not bind the heir to mancipate or surrender before the magistrate, or convey by tradition, but is satisfied by his permitting the legatee to take the thing, as the testator only enjoined the heir to let him have it.
§ 215. A more serious question arises in another point respecting this form of bequest: if the same thing is bequeathed severally to two or more, some hold that each is entitled to the whole, [as in bequest by vindication (? condemnation);] others hold that the first occupant is alone entitled, because as this form of bequest only condemns the heir to suffer the legatee to have the thing, as soon as the first occupant has been suffered to take it, the heir is safe against any subsequent claimant, as he neither has possession of the thing, so as to let it again be taken, nor has fraudulently parted with possession.
§ 216. A bequest by preception is in the following form: ‘Let Lucius Titius take my slave Stichus by preception [before partition].’
§ 217. My school hold that such a bequest can only be made to one of several co-heirs, because preception, or previous taking, can only be attributed to a person who, taking as heir, over and above his portion as heir, and before partition of the inheritance between the coheirs takes something as legatee.
§ 218. Therefore, if a stranger is given a legacy in this form it is void, and Sabinus held that the flaw is not remedied by the senatusconsult of Nero, for that senatusconsult only cures verbal flaws which make a bequest void at civil law, not personal disabilities of the legatee. Julian, however, and Sextus held that this bequest also is made valid by the senatusconsult, as only being avoided at civil law by a verbal informality; as appears from the fact that the very same person might take by the bequest in another form, as in those by vindication, condemnation, or permission, whereas a personal defect in the legatee only invalidates the legacy, if the legatee is a person totally disqualified from taking any legacy whatever, e. g. an alien, who is incapable of taking anything under a will: in which case (they contend) the senatusconsult is clearly inapplicable.
§ 219. Again, my school hold that in this form of bequest, the only action by which a legatee can recover is the action for partition of an inheritance, the judge’s commission including a power of adjudicating a thing bequeathed by preception.
§ 220. From this it follows that, according to my school, nothing can be bequeathed by preception but what belongs to the testator, for nothing but what belongs to the inheritance forms the subject of this action. If, then, a thing that does not belong to the testator is bequeathed in this form, the bequest is void at civil law, but made valid by the senatusconsult. In one case they admit that another person’s property may be bequeathed by preception, for instance, if a man bequeath a thing which he has conveyed by fiduciary mancipation to a creditor, as it is within the powers of the judge to order the co-heirs to redeem the property by payment of the mortgage debt, and thus enable the legatee to exercise his right of preception.
§ 221. The other school hold that a stranger may take a bequest in the form of preception just as if it were in the form: ‘Let Titius take my slave Stichus,’ the addition [by preception, or, before partition] being mere surplusage, and the bequest being in effect in the form of vindication; and this opinion is said to be confirmed by a constitution of the late emperor Hadrian.
§ 222. According to this view, if the thing was the Quiritarian property of the defunct, it can be recovered in a vindicatio by the legatee, whether an heir or a stranger, but if it was only the bonitarian property of the testator, a stranger will recover the bequest under the senatusconsult, an heir by the authority of the judge in an action for partition of inheritance. But if it was in no sense the property of the testator, either an heir or a stranger may recover it under the senatusconsult.
§ 223. Whether they are heirs, according to my school, or strangers, according to the other, if two or more legatees have the same thing bequeathed to them jointly or severally, each legatee is only entitled to a ratable portion.
§§ 194, 195. Justinian seems to accept the Sabinian view that an unconditional legacy is acquired by the legatee immediately upon the heir’s entrance on the inheritance, without his assent or even his knowledge, though he may subsequently reject it: in the latter case the effect is the same as if the right had never been acquired. So also Justinian clearly takes the Sabinian view on the question of interim ownership mentioned in § 200. Cf. Dig. 8, 6, 19, 1. The testamenti factio passiva of municipalities, that is, their capacity as juristic persons to be made heirs or legatees, has already been noticed, 1 §§ 197-200, comm. § 238, comm.
§§ 196, 197. Cf. Si ea res, quae non fuit utroque tempore testatoris ex jure Quiritium, per vindicationem legata sit, licet jure civili non valeat legatum tamen senatusconsulto Neroniano firmatur quo cautum est ut quod minus pactis (aptis?) verbis legatum est perinde sit ac si optimo jure legatum esset: optimum autem jus legati per damnationem est, Ulpian, 24, 11 a.
By this senatusconsult of the Emperor Nero the four forms of legacy are not entirely abolished, but the importance of their distinctions is very much diminished. A legacy, by whatever form bequeathed, is henceforth always recoverable, provided it could have been effectively bequeathed in any form. As Sc. Neronianum made legatum per vindicationem transformable into legatum per damnationem, it made legatum per praeceptionem a species of Vindicatio, similarly transformable, and capable, therefore, of conferring res aliena as well as res testatoris not only on heres but also on non-heres. A fortiori it made legatum sinendi modo, a species of legatum per damnationem, capable of bequeathing res aliena.
Subsequently a constitution of Constantine, Constantius, and Constans, a. d. 339, which, as we have already seen, abolished the necessity of formal terms in instituting an heir, dispensed with them also in the remaining testamentary dispositions: Et in postremis ergo judiciis ordinandis amota erit sollennium sermonum necessitas, Cod. 6, 23, 15, 2. In legatis vel fidei commissis verborum necessaria non sit observantia, ita ut nihil prorsus intersit, quis talem voluntatem verborum casus exceperit aut quis loquendi usus effuderit, Cod. 6, 37, 21: apparently a part of the same constitution.
Three years afterwards, a constitution of Constantius and Constans abolished all legal formulas in the following terms: Juris formulae, aucupatione syllabarum insidiantes, cunctorum actibus penitus amputentur, Cod. 2, 57, 1. ‘Legal formulas, with snares in every syllable to make them treacherous, in every occasion are to be utterly abolished.’
Finally, Justinian enacted ut omnibus legatis una sit natura, Inst. 2, 20, 2, that all bequests should be of one nature; and allowed them to be recovered by personal action or by real action also, at the option of the legatee, if ownership or jus in re in a specific thing was directly bequeathed to them; for some subjects are essentially incapable of recovery by real action; e. g. if a determinate quantity of anything estimated by number, measure, or weight, were bequeathed by a testator who had none in his possession at the time of his death, § 196, the heir would be bound to procure and convey it or its value to the legatee, § 202, but there would be no specific thing in existence which the legatee could recover by real action.
§ 199. Co-legatees per vindicationem would be each entitled to the whole except for the concurrence of the other co-legatees. Accordingly, if one fails the others benefit by Accretio, Dig. 32, 80. Co-legatees per damnationem, if conjunctim, are never entitled to more than a ratable portion, and failure of one benefits the heir: but co-legatees of this kind, if disjunctim, are entitled to as many wholes as there are co-legatees, § 205. Co-legatees, if sinendi modo, were a class of co-legatees per damnationem, but if the bequest was disjunctim, and one or more failed to take, only the first occupant was entitled, § 215.
§ 207. The loss of the legacies, which they otherwise would have acquired under the lex Papia, was one of the penalties whereby the legislator endeavoured to deter heirs and legatees from undertaking secret trusts (fideicommissum tacitum) contrived for the purpose of evading some disqualification. In fraudem juris fidem accommodat, qui vel id quod relinquitur vel aliud tacite promittit restituturum se personae quae legibus ex testamento capere prohibetur, sive chirographum eo nomine dederit, sive nuda pollicitatione repromiserit, Dig. 34, 9, 10, pr. (from a treatise of Gaius on the lex Julia et Papia). In England secret trusts one of the causes which led to the passing of the statute of Uses and Trusts. At Rome secret trusts, tacita fideicommissa (on which Gaius wrote a treatise, Dig. 34, 9, 23), were discouraged by being made one of the cases of Ereption for unworthiness, § 151, comm. Si quis in fraudem tacitam fidem accommodaverit, ut non capienti fideicommissum restituat, nec quadrantem eum deducere senatus censuit, nec caducum vindicare ex eo testamento si liberos habeat, Ulpian, 25, 17. ‘An heir who lends his assistance to the evasion of the law by the acceptance of a secret trust in favour of a disqualified beneficiary loses by decree of the senate his right under the lex Falcidia to retain one fourth of his inheritance, and to claim the caducous legacies, to which by the lex Papia he would have been entitled as a father of children.’
§ 215. A passage in the Digest, 33, 2, 14, makes this depend on the intention of the testator. The words—per vindicationem seem to have been introduced into the MS. by mistake for per damnationem, cf. §§ 199, 205.
[AD LEGEM FALCIDIAM.]
§ 224. Sed olim quidem licebat totum patrimonium legatis atque libertatibus erogare nec quicquam heredi relinquere praeterquam inane nomen heredis; idque lex xii tabularum permittere uidebatur, qua cauetur, ut quod quisque de re sua testatus esset, id ratum haberetur, his uerbis vti legassit svae rei, ita ivs esto. quare qui scripti heredes erant, ab hereditate se abstinebant, et idcirco plerique intestati moriebantur.
Inst. 2, 22, pr.
§ 225. Itaque lata est lex Furia, qua, exceptis personis quibusdam, ceteris plus mille assibus legatorum nomine mortisue causa capere permissum non est. sed et haec lex non perfecit quod uoluit; qui enim uerbi gratia quinque milium aeris patrimonium habebat, poterat quinque hominibus singulis millenos asses legando totum patrimonium erogare.
Inst. l. c.
§ 226. Ideo postea lata est lex Voconia, qua cautum est, ne cui plus legatorum nomine mortisue causa capere liceret quam heredes caperent. ex qua lege plane quidem aliquid utique heredes habere uidebantur; sed tamen fere uitium simile nascebatur; nam in multas legatariorum personas distributo patrimonio poterat 〈testator〉 adeo heredi minimum relinquere, ut non expediret heredi huius lucri gratia totius hereditatis onera sustinere.
Inst. l. c.
§ 227. Lata est itaque lex Falcidia, qua cautum est, ne plus ei legare liceat quam dodrantem. itaque necesse est, ut heres quartam partem hereditatis habeat. et hoc nunc iure utimur.
Inst. l. c.
§ 228. In libertatibus quoque dandis nimiam licentiam conpescuit lex Fufia Caninia, sicut in primo commentario rettulimus.
[AD LEGEM FALCIDIAM.]
§ 224. By the ancient law a testator might exhaust his whole estate by bequests and enfranchisements, and leave nothing to the heir but an empty title; and this privilege seemed granted by the Twelve Tables, which concede an unlimited power of testamentary disposition, in these terms: ‘As a man’s last bequests respecting his property are, so let it be law:’ hence the persons who were appointed heirs declined to accept the inheritance, and people commonly died intestate.
§ 225. This led to the enactment of the lex Furia, whereby, excepting certain specified classes, a thousand asses was made the maximum that a legatee or donee in contemplation of death was permitted to take. This law, however, failed to accomplish its purpose, for a testator with an estate of, say, five thousand asses, might leave to five legatees a thousand asses apiece, and strip the heir of the whole.
§ 226. This occasioned the enactment of the lex Voconia, which provided that no legatee or other person taking by reason of death should take more than the heirs took. By this law, some portion at all events was secured to the heir, but, like the former, it could be defeated, for the multitude of legatees among whom a man could distribute his estate might leave so little to the heir as to make it not worth his while to undertake the burden of the whole inheritance.
§ 227. At last, the lex Falcidia was enacted, prohibiting the bequest of more than three fourths of an estate, in other words, securing for the heir one fourth of the inheritance, and this is the rule of law now in force.
§ 228. The enfranchisement of slaves was likewise kept within limits by the lex Fufia Caninia, as mentioned in the first volume of these Institutions. 1 §§ 42-46.
§ 224. A slightly different form of this celebrated ordinance is given by the Auctor ad Herennium: Paterfamilias uti super familia pecuniave sua legaverit ita jus esto, 1, 13, 23; also Cic. de Invent. 2, 50, 148.
§ 225. The lex Furia testamentaria, which is referred to by Cicero, although it imposed on the legatee who took more than a thousand asses a penalty of four times the amount of the excess, which was recoverable by manus injectio pura, 4 § 23, yet is instanced by Ulpian (1, 2) as a minus quam perfecta lex, because, though it imposed a penalty on the legatee, it did not invalidate the prohibited bequest. In a minus quam perfecta lex the legislator, instead of declaring invalid the disposition that he wished to discourage, or conferring on the person burdened by such disposition a counter right (exceptio) whereby he might defeat the claim of the person who sought to enforce such disposition, merely imposed on the creditor under such a disposition a penalty if he either enforced his claim by suit or if he even accepted voluntary payment from the person who stood in the relation of debtor. Minus quam perfecta lex est quae vetat aliquid fieri et si factum sit non rescindit sed poenam injungit ei qui contra legem fecit: qualis est lex Furia testamentaria quae plus quam mille assium legatum mortisve causa prohibet capere praeter exceptas personas, et adversus eum qui plus ceperit quadrupli poenam constituit, Ulpian, 1, 2. So the lex Furia de sponsu, 3 § 121, which perhaps was another clause of the enactment which contained the lex Furia testamentaria, imposed a penalty on the creditor who exacted more than a ratable portion of a guaranteed debt from a single sponsor, 4 § 22. By the lex Falcidia, 40 b. c., on the contrary, a lex perfecta which superseded the lex Furia testamentaria, a legacy was absolutely null and void (ipso jure) beyond a certain extent and the heres as debtor could not be forced to pay more than the sum prescribed, a rule which may be expressed by the maxim, legata ipso jure minuuntur: and the Epistola Hadriani, 3 § 121, a law passed for the protection of the kind of surety which superseded sponsores and fidepromissores, conferred a counter right called Beneficium divisionis on the fidejussor or surety who was sued for more than a ratable portion of the debt, enabling him to defeat the valid claim of the creditor by the exceptio divisionis. Under the lex Furia testamentaria the heres could neither defend himself by alleging the absolute nullity of the excessive bequest (ipso jure) nor by pleading an opposing right (exceptio) whereby the valid claim of the legatee might be counteracted. 4 § 115, comm.
Assuming that the lex Furia de sponsu and the lex Furia testamentaria were two clauses of the same enactment, the lex Furia may have had the singular destiny of having provoked by antagonism the introduction of two new institutions in Roman jurisprudence. The desire of evading its penalties relating to sponsio may have been a cause of fidejussio; and the desire of evading its penalties relating to legata a stimulus to the invention of fideicommissa.
The exceptae personae of the lex Furia testamentaria were the cognates of that ascendant to the sixth degree with sobrino natus, or second cousin of the seventh, Ulpian, 28, 7; Vat. Fragm. 301.
§ 226. The lex Voconia, supposed to have been passed by the tribune Quintus Voconius Saxa, 169 b. c., contained a provision to the effect that a woman could not be instituted heiress to a classicus, or person scheduled in the first class of the census, i. e. registered as owner of property to the amount of a hundred thousand sesterces and upward, § 274; and by another provision of this enactment, mentioned in the text, it was provided the utmost amount that any one, male or female, could take as legatee, should be limited to half the value of the inheritance. This disposition of the lex Voconia was probably the origin of the form of legacy called partitio, § 254, whereby a testator bequeathed as legacy an aliquot part of his inheritance. A rich testator with one heres would leave to a woman by way of legacy one half, with two heredes one third, of the inheritance, and so on, if he wished to leave her the utmost the law permitted.
The result of the lex Voconia, coupled with the rules of pretermission and intestacy, is the following: a daughter might take half her father’s estate either as legatee (partiaria, § 254), or, if pretermitted (praeterita), as heiress, § 124. If she was filia unica, she might take the whole estate as heiress, if her father died intestate: but Romans were very averse to dying intestate; and in this event she would not have had a testamentary guardian and so have been much hampered in the free disposition of her property, at least till the agnatic guardianship of women was abolished.
§ 227. The terms of the principal clause of the lex Falcidia, passed b. c. 40, are given in the Digest 35, 2, 1, pr. ‘Every Roman citizen who, after this law passes, makes a will, is entitled and empowered to give and bequeath whatever money he likes to any Roman citizen in accordance with the laws of Rome, provided that such bequest leave at least one fourth of the inheritance to be taken under that will by the heirs. Such bequests the legatees are permitted to accept without penalty (sine fraude) (an allusion to the penalty of the lex Furia), and the heir therewith charged is bound to pay.’
The words limiting the operation of the lex Falcidia to wills executed after the date of its enactment take this law out of the general rule respecting the temporal limits of the application of laws in the event of legislative innovations. The general rule for determining, on any change of the law, whether a given right is to be governed by the older or the newer law, is the principle that a new law should have no retroactive influence on vested rights (acquired rights), but should govern all that have yet to vest. Now under a will no one has vested rights, whatever his expectations, before the death of the testator. This date fixes the possible opening of the succession (vocatio heredis, delatio hereditatis), the vesting of the rights of the heir and also of the legatee (legatorum dies cedens, § 244), unless this is postponed till a later date, and determines the law by which they are governed. By the general rule, then, the lex Falcidia would have applied to all wills whose testators died after its enactment, at whatever date they were executed. The legislator wished to disarm the opposition of those who had made their wills by excepting them from its operation; though in many cases the lex Falcidia would be less rigorous than the lex Furia and lex Voconia, which it superseded, and testators would be glad to revise their testamentary dispositions. Savigny, System, § 394.
Some illustrations of the joint operation of the lex Falcidia and the Sc. Pegasianum, or rather the Sc. Trebellianum as modified by Justinian, will be presently given. § 259, comm.
[DE INVTILITER RELICTIS LEGATIS.]
§ 229. Ante heredis institutionem inutiliter legatur, scilicet quia testamenta uim ex institutione heredis accipiunt, et ob id uelut caput et fundamentum intellegitur totius testamenti heredis institutio.
Inst. 2, 20, 34.
§ 230. Pari ratione nec libertas ante heredis institutionem dari potest.
Inst. l. c.
§ 231. Nostri praeceptores nec tutorem eo loco dari posse existimant; sed Labeo et Proculus tutorem posse dari, quod nihil ex hereditate erogatur tutoris datione.
§ 232. Post mortem quoque heredis inutiliter legatur, id est hoc modo cvm heres mevs mortvvs erit, do lego, aut dato. ita autem recte legatur cvm heres 〈mevs〉 morietvr, quia non post mortem heredis relinquitur, sed ultimo uitae eius tempore. rursum ita non potest legari pridie qvam heres mevs morietvr; quod non pretiosa ratione receptum uidetur.
Inst. 2, 20, 35.
§ 233. Eadem et de libertatibus dicta intellegemus.
§ 234. Tutor uero an post mortem heredis dari possit quaerentibus eadem forsitan poterit esse quaestio quae de 〈eo〉 agitatur qui ante heredum institutionem datur.
[DE POENAE CAVSA RELICTIS LEGATIS.]
§ 235. Poenae quoque nomine inutiliter legatur. poenae autem nomine legari uidetur quod coercendi heredis causa relinquitur, quo magis heres aliquid faciat aut non faciat; ueluti quod ita legatur si heres mevs filiam svam titio in matrimonivm conlocaverit, x 〈milia〉 seio dato, uel ita si filiam titio in matrimonivm non conlocaveris, x milia titio dato; sed et si heredem, 〈si〉 uerbi gratia intra biennium monumentum sibi non fecerit, x 〈milia〉 Titio dare iusserit, poenae nomine legatum est; et deni|que ex ipsa definitione multas similes species —|—NA possumus.
Inst. 2, 20, 36.
§ 236. Nec libertas quidem poenae | nomine dari potest, quamuis de ea re fuerit quaesitum.
§ 237. De tutore uero nihil possumus quaerere, quia non potest datione tutoris heres conpelli quicquam facere aut non facere; ideoque 〈—〉 datur, poenae nomine tutor datus fuerit, magis sub condicione quam poenae nomine datus uidebitur.
§ 238. Incertae personae legatum inutiliter relinquitur. incerta autem uidetur persona quam per incertam opinionem animo suo testator subicit, uelut cum ita legatum sit qvi primvs ad fvnvs mevm venerit ei heres mevs x 〈milia〉 dato. idem iuris est, si generaliter omnibus legauerit qvicvmqve ad fvnvs mevm venerit. in eadem causa est quod ita relinquitur qvicvmqve filio meo in matrimonivm filiam svam conlocaverit, ei heres mevs x milia dato. illud quoque [in eadem causa est] quod ita relinquitur qvi post testamentvm 〈scriptvm primi〉 consvles designati ervnt, aeque incertis personis legari uidetur. et denique aliae multae huiusmodi species sunt. sub certa uero demonstratione incertae personae recte legatur, ueluti ex cognatis meis qvi nvnc svnt qvi primvs ad fvnvs mevm venerit, ei x milia heres mevs dato.
Inst 2, 20, 25.
§ 239. Libertas quoque non uidetur incertae personae dari posse, quia lex Fufia Caninia iubet nominatim serous liberari.
§ 240. Tutor quoque certus dari debet.
§ 241. Postumo quoque alieno inutiliter legatur. 〈Est〉 autem alienus postumus qui natus inter suos heredes testatori futurus non est. ideoque ex emancipato quoque filio conceptus nepos extraneus postumus est; item qui in utero est eius quae iure ciuili non intellegitur uxor, extraneus postumus patris intellegitur.
Inst. 2, 20, 26.
§ 242. Ac ne heres quidem potest institui postumus alienus; est enim incerta persona.
Inst. 2, 20, 28.
§ 243. Cetera uero quae supra diximus ad legata proprie pertinent. quamquam non inmerito quibusdam placeat poenae nomine heredem institui non posse; nihil enim interest, utrum legatum dare iubeatur heres, si fecerit aliquid aut non fecerit, an coheres ei adiciatur, quia tam coheredis adiectione quam legati datione conpellitur, ut aliquid contra propositum suum faciat aut non faciat.
§ 244. An ei qui in potestate sit eius quem heredem instituimus recte legemus, quaeritur. Seruius recte legari putat, sed euanescere legatum, si quo tempore dies legatorum cedere solet, adhuc in potestate sit; ideoque siue pure legatum sit et uiuo testatore in potestate heredis esse desierit, siue sub condicione et ante condicionem id acciderit, deberi legatum. Sabinus et Cassius sub condicione recte legari, pure non recte, putant; licet enim uiuo testatore possit desinere in potestate heredis esse, ideo tamen inutile legatum intellegi oportere, quia quod nullas uires habiturum foret, si statim post testamentum factum decessisset testator, hoc ideo ualere quia uitam longius traxerit, absurdum esset. sed diuersae scholae auctores nec sub condicione recte legari, quia quos in potestate habemus eis non magis sub condicione quam pure debere possumus.
Inst. 2, 20, 32.
§ 245. Ex diuerso constat ab eo qui in potestate 〈tua〉 est herede instituto recte tibi legari; sed si tu per eum heres extiteris, euanescere legatum, quia ipse tibi legatum debere non possis; si uero filius emancipatus aut seruus manumissus erit uel in alium translatus, et ipse heres extiterit aut alium fecerit, deberi legatum.
Inst. 2, 20, 33.
[DE INVTILITER RELICTIS LEGATIS.]
§ 229. A legacy bequeathed before an heir is instituted is void, because a will derives its operation from the institution of an heir, and accordingly the institution of an heir is deemed the beginning and foundation of a will.
§ 230. For the same reason a slave cannot be enfranchised before an heir is appointed.
§ 231. Nor, according to my school, can a guardian be nominated before an heir is appointed: according to Labeo and Proculus he may, because no part of the inheritance is given away by the nomination of a guardian.
§ 232. A bequest to take effect after the death of the heir is void, that is to say, if limited in the following terms: ‘After my heir’s death I give and dispose,’ or, ‘let my heir give.’ The following limitation is valid: ‘When my heir dies,’ because the legacy is not to take effect after his death, but at the last moment of his life. A bequest to take effect on the day preceding the death of the successor is void. This distinction reposes on no valid reason.
§ 233. The same rules apply to enfranchisements.
§ 234. Whether a guardian can be nominated after the death of the heir, probably admits of the same divergence of opinion as whether he can be nominated before the appointment of the heir.
[DE POENAE CAVSA RELICTIS LEGATIS.]
§ 235. Penal bequests are void. A penal bequest is one intended to coerce the heir to some performance or forbearance. For instance, the following: ‘If my heir give his daughter in marriage to Titius, let him pay ten thousand sesterces to Seius:’ and the following: ‘If thou do not give thy daughter in marriage to Titius, do thou pay ten thousand sesterces to Titius:’ and the following: ‘If my heir does not, say, within two years build me a monument, I order him to pay ten thousand sesterces to Titius;’ all these are penal bequests, and many similar instances may be imagined in accordance with the definition.
§ 236. Freedom cannot be left as a penal bequest, although the point has been disputed.
§ 237. The nomination of a guardian cannot give rise to the question, because the nomination of a guardian cannot be a means of compelling an heir to any performance or forbearance, and a penal nomination of a guardian is inconceivable: if, however, a nomination were made with this design, it would be deemed rather conditional than penal.
§ 238. A bequest to an uncertain person is void. An uncertain person is one of whom the testator has no certain conception, as the legatee in the following bequest: ‘Any one who comes first to my funeral, do thou, my heir, pay him ten thousand sesterces:’ or a whole class thus defined: ‘Every one who comes to my funeral:’ or a person thus defined: ‘Any one who gives his daughter in marriage to my son, do thou, my heir, pay him ten thousand sesterces:’ or persons thus defined: ‘Whoever after my will is made are the first consuls designate:’ all these persons are uncertain, and many others that might be instanced. A bequest, qualified by a definite description, to an uncertain person is valid, as the following: ‘Of all my kindred now alive whoever first comes to my funeral, do thou, my heir, pay him ten thousand sesterces.’
§ 239. Freedom cannot be bequeathed to an uncertain person. because the lex Fufia Caninia requires slaves to be enfranchised by name.
§ 240. An uncertain person cannot be nominated guardian.
§ 241. An afterborn stranger cannot take a bequest: an afterborn stranger is one who on his birth will not be a self-successor to the testator: thus a grandson by an emancipated son is an afterborn stranger to his grandfather, and a child in the womb of one who is not regarded as a wife by civil law is an afterborn stranger to his father.
§ 242. An afterborn stranger cannot even be appointed heir, because he is an uncertain person.
§ 243. Though what was said above of penal dispositions refers properly to bequests, yet a penal institution of an heir is justly considered by some authorities to be void, for it makes no difference whether a legacy is left away from an heir on his doing or failing to do something, or a co-heir is appointed, as the addition of a co-heir is as effective a means of coercion as the giving a legacy, to force an heir to do or not do something against his inclination.
§ 244. Whether a legacy can be lawfully left to a person in the power of the heir is a question. Servius holds that the bequest is valid, though it lapses if he continue under power at the date when the legacies vest; and whether the bequest is absolute and the legatee ceases to be subject to the power of the heir in the lifetime of the testator, or whether it is conditional and he is liberated before the condition is accomplished, in either case he holds the legatee entitled to the legacy. Sabinus and Cassius hold that a conditional bequest is valid, an absolute bequest invalid, because though the legatee may cease to be subject to the heir in the lifetime of the testator, yet the bequest must be deemed invalid because it would be absurd to hold that a disposition which would be void if the testator died immediately after making his will, can acquire validity by the mere prolongation of his life. The other school of jurists hold that even a conditional bequest is invalid, because a person under power is as incapable of having conditional as absolute legal claims against his superior.
§ 245. Conversely it is certain that if a person in your power is appointed heir, he can be charged with payment of a legacy to you; though if you inherit by his means the legacy fails, because you cannot be bound to pay yourself; but if your son is emancipated, or your slave manumitted or aliened, and either he himself becomes heir or he makes the person to whom he is alienated heir, you are entitled to the legacy.
§§ 229-236. The rules requiring that bequests should follow the institution of the heir, and should be limited to take effect in the lifetime of the heir, and prohibiting penal bequests, were abolished by Justinian, as may be seen by comparing the corresponding passages in his Institutes.
§ 238. Justinian abolished the rule prohibiting bequests to uncertain persons, Cod. 6, 48. Corporations or Universitates are certae personae, not incertae as we might imagine from their mention in this constitution and elsewhere, the conception of a juristic person not being very distinctly formed by the Roman jurists. But though, as juristic persons, they were capable in general of property, yet, perhaps from a feeling of the impolicy of the principle of Mortmain, they were incapable of taking either hereditas or legatum. Cf. Ulpian, 22, 5 ‘Nec municipia nec municipes heredes institui possunt, quoniam incertum corpus est, et neque cernere universi neque pro herede gerere possunt ut heredes fiant: senatusconsulto tamen concessum est, ut a libertis suis heredes institui possint. Sed fideicommissa hereditas municipibus restitui potest: denique hoc senatusconsulto prospectum est.’ Leo, a. d. 469, made municipalities capable of taking an inheritance (hereditas), and by the legislation of Nerva and Hadrian all municipalities (civitates) had become capable of taking bequests (legatum), Ulpian, 24, 18. By Justinian’s time Churches and Foundations as well as Municipalities had become capable of taking an inheritance or a legacy, but not corporations generally, except by special permission, Cod. 6, 24, 8. 1 §§ 197-200, comm.
§ 242. Although an afterborn stranger could not be appointed heir by the civil law, yet the praetor sustained such an appointment, and gave him the bonorum possessio. Justinian permitted him to take the hereditas, Inst. 3, 9 pr. After Justinian’s legislation, Cod. 6, 48, but little remained of the once important disqualification of incerta persona except the rule, that a succession, testamentary or intestate, could not belong to a postumus alienus, unless he was begotten (conceptus) in the lifetime of the heritage-leaver.
§ 244. Dies legati cedens, or the time from which a legatee has an interest in the legacy, contingent on the inheritance being entered on, which in the event of his death is transmissible to his heredes, dated, as we have seen, in the time of Gaius from the opening of the testator’s will: dies veniens, the acquisition of a legacy, dates from aditio of the heres. It does not require acceptance or even knowledge of the legacy, § 195. In reference to contracts these terms mean the date when an obligation vests and the date when payment may be exacted. On dies cedens an obligation is acquired: it forms part of the creditor’s patrimony, and is capable of novation, cession, acceptilation: on dies veniens or actio nata, payment may be exacted and is recoverable by suit. The distinction between dies cedens and dies veniens in obligations arises when a dies adjecta or future date of performance is contained in the lex contractus.
A right to a conditional legacy vested when the condition was accomplished. Herein a conditional legacy differs from a conditional contract. A fulfilled condition of a contract or promise is retracted to the date of the promise: i. e. the obligation of the promiser and the right of the promisee date from the conclusion of the contract as if it had been originally unconditional. Though an unconditional legacy was liable to be defeated by the heres declining the inheritance, or the will from any other cause failing of operation, yet, as soon as the validity of the will was ascertained by the aditio of the heres, the vesting of an unconditional legacy dated back from the opening of the will, or the death of the testator.
One of the Catos was the author of a maxim, that to test the validity of a legacy we must examine whether it would be valid if the testator died immediately after executing his will. This was called regula Catoniana, Dig. 34, 7, 1 pr. The retroactive effect of the removal of an original impediment to the validity of a title is called the convalescence of the title. Accordingly, Cato’s rule may be described as a rule denying the convalescence of legacies. Cato’s rule, however, was only a criterion of the validity of unconditional bequests; the validity of conditional bequests can only be tested when the condition is accomplished. Accordingly, of the three opinions mentioned in this paragraph, that of Sabinus is to be regarded as sound, and is so treated by Justinian, Inst. 2, 20, 32.
DE FIDEICOMMISSARIIS HEREDITATIBVS.
§ 246.Nunc transeamus ad fideicommissa.
Inst. 2, 23 pr.
§ 247. Et prius de hereditatibus uideamus.
Inst. l. c.
§ 248. Inprimis igitur sciendum est opus esse, ut aliquis heres recto iure instituatur eiusque fidei committatur, ut eam hereditatem alii restituat; alioquin inutile est testamentum in quo nemo recto iure heres instituitur.
Inst. 2, 23, 2.
§ 249. Verba autem [utilia] fideicommissorum haec [recte] maxime in usu esse uidentur peto, rogo, volo, fidei committo; quae proinde firma singula sunt, atque si omnia in unum congesta sint.
§ 250. Cum igitur scripserimus 〈l〉 titivs heres esto, possumus adicere rogo te l. titi petoqve a te, vt cvm primvm possis hereditatem meam adire, c. seio reddas restitvas. possumus autem et de parte restituenda rogare; et liberum est uel sub condicione uel pure relinquere fideicommissa, uel ex die certa.
Inst. l. c.
§ 251. Restituta autem hereditate is qui restituit nihilo minus heres permanet; is uero qui recipit hereditatem aliquando heredis loco est, aliquando legatarii.
Inst. 2, 23, 3.
§ 252. Olim autem nec heredis loco erat nec legatarii, sed potius emptoris. tunc enim in usu erat ei cui restituebatur hereditas nummo uno eam hereditatem dicis causa uenire; et quae stipulationes 〈inter uenditorem hereditatis et emptorem interponi solent, eaedem interponebantur〉 inter heredem et eum cui restituebatur hereditas, id est hoc modo: heres quidem stipulabatur ab eo cui restituebatur hereditas, ut quidquid hereditario nomine condemnatus soluisset, siue quid alias bona fide dedisset, eo nomine indemnis esset, et omnino si quis cum eo hereditario nomine ageret, ut recte defenderetur; ille uero qui recipiebat hereditatem inuicem stipulabatur, ut si quid ex hereditate ad heredem peruenisset id sibi restitueretur, ut etiam pateretur eum hereditarias actiones procuratorio aut cognitorio nomine exequi.
§ 253. Sed posterioribus temporibus Trebellio Maximo et Annaeo Seneca consulibus senatusconsultum factum est, quo cautum est, ut si cui hereditas ex fideicommissi causa restituta sit, actiones quae iure ciuili heredi et in heredem conpeterent 〈ei〉 et in eum darentur cui ex fideicommisso restituta esset hereditas per quod senatusconsultum desierunt illae cautiones in usu haberi. praetor enim utiles actiones ei et in eum qui recepit hereditatem quasi heredi et in heredem dare coepit, eaeque in edicto proponuntur.
Inst. 2, 23, 4.
§ 254. Sed rursus quia heredes scripti, cum aut totam hereditatem aut paene totam plerumque restituere rogabantur, adire hereditatem ob nullum aut minimum lucrum recusabant, atque ob id extinguebantur fideicommissa, postea Pegaso et Pusione 〈consulibus〉 senatus censuit, ut ei qui rogatus esset hereditatem restituere proinde liceret quartam partem retinere, atque e lege Falcidia in legatis retinere conceditur. (ex singulis quoque rebus quae per fideicommissum relincuntur eadem retentio permissa est.) per quod senatusconsultum ipse 〈heres〉 onera hereditaria sustinet. ille autem qui ex fideicommisso reliquam partem hereditatis recipit legatarii partiarii loco est, id est eius legatarii cui pars bonorum legatur; quae species legati partitio vocatur, quia cum herede legatarius partitur hereditatem. unde effectum est, ut quae solent stipulationes inter heredem et partiarium legatarium interponi, eaedem interponantur inter eum qui ex fideicommissi causa recipit hereditatem et heredem, id est ut et lucrum et damnum hereditarium pro rata parte inter eos commune sit.
Inst. 2, 23, 5.
§ 255. Ergo siquidem non plus quam dodrantem hereditatis scriptus heres rogatus sit restituere, tum ex Trebelliano senatusconsulto restituitur hereditas, et in utrumque actiones hereditariae pro rata parte dantur, in heredem quidem iure ciuili, in eum uero qui recipit hereditatem ex senatusconsulto Trebelliano. quamquam heres etiam pro ea parte quam restituit heres permanet eique et in eum solidae actiones conpetunt; sed non ulterius oneratur nec ulterius illi dantur actiones, quam apud eum commodum hereditatis remanet.
Inst. 2, 23, 6.
§ 256. At si quis plus quam dodrantem uel etiam totam hereditatem restituere rogatus sit, locus est Pegasiano senatusconsulto.
Inst. l. c.
§ 257. Sed is qui semel adierit hereditatem, si modo sua uoluntate adierit, siue retinuerit quartam partem siue noluerit retinere, ipse uniuersa onera hereditaria sustinet; sed quarta quidem retenta quasi partis et pro parte stipulationes interponi debent tamquam inter partiarium legatarium et heredem; si uero totam hereditatem restituerit, ad exemplum emptae et uenditae hereditatis stipulationes interponendae sunt.
Inst. l. c.
§ 258. Sed si recuset scriptus heres adire hereditatem ob id, quod dicat eam sibi suspectam esse quasi damnosam, cauetur Pegasiano senatusconsulto, ut desiderante eo cui restituere rogatus est, iussu praetoris adeat et restituat, proindeque ei et in eum qui receperit 〈hereditatem〉 actiones dentur, ac iuris est ex senatusconsulto Trebelliano. quo casu nullis stipulationibus opus est, quia simul et huic qui restituit securitas datur, et actiones hereditariae ei et in eum transferuntur qui receperit hereditatem.
Inst. l. c.
§ 259. Nihil autem interest utrum aliquis ex asse heres institutus aut totam hereditatem aut pro parte restituere rogetur, an ex parte heres institutus aut totam eam partem aut partis partem restituere rogetur; nam et hoc casu de quarta parte eius partis ratio ex Pegasiano senatusconsulto haberi solet.
Inst. 2, 23, 8.
DE FIDEICOMMISSARIIS HEREDITATIBVS.
§ 246. We now proceed to trusts.
§ 247. And to begin with trust inheritances.
§ 248. The first requisite is that an heir should be duly instituted and that it be committed to his trust to transfer the inheritance to another, for the will is void unless an heir is duly instituted.
§ 249. The words properly and commonly used to create a trust are: ‘I beg, I request, I wish, I intrust;’ and they are just as binding separately as united.
§ 250. Accordingly, when we have written: ‘Lucius Titius, be thou my heir,’ we may add: ‘I request and beg thee, Lucius Titius, as soon as thou canst accept my inheritance, to convey and transfer it to Gaius Seius;’ or we may request him to transfer a part. So again a trust may be either conditional or absolute, and to be performed either immediately or from a certain day.
§ 251. After the transfer of the inheritance the transferror nevertheless continues heir, while the transferree sometimes is in the position of an heir, sometimes in that of a legatee.
§ 252. But formerly he was neither in the position of heir nor in that of legatee but rather in that of purchaser. Since in those times it was customary for the transferree of an inheritance to pay a sesterce as fictitious purchaser of it, and the stipulations appropriate to a vendor and purchaser of an inheritance were entered into by the heir and transferree, that is to say, the heir stipulated from the transferree that he should be indemnified for any sums he might be condemned to pay or might in good faith pay on account of the inheritance, and be adequately defended in any suit on account of the inheritance; and the transferree on the other hand stipulated that he should receive from the heir anything coming to the heir from the inheritance and be permitted to bring actions belonging to the heir as his cognitor or procurator.
§ 253. But subsequently, in the consulate of Trebellius Maximus and Annaeus Seneca, a senatusconsult was passed providing that, when an inheritance is transferred in pursuance of a trust, the actions which the civil law allows to be brought by the heir or against the heir shall be maintainable by the transferree and against the transferree. Hence the old covenants were discontinued, and the Praetor used to give to and against the transferree as quasi heir the modified forms of action (utiles actiones) which are formulated in the edict.
§ 254. However, as heirs, when requested to transfer the whole or nearly the whole of an inheritance, declined for only a small or no benefit to accept the inheritance, which caused a failure of the trusts, the senate in the consulship of Pegasus and Pusio decreed, that an heir requested to transfer an inheritance should have the same right to retain a fourth of it as the lex Falcidia gives to an heir charged with the payment of legacies; and gave a similar right of retaining the fourth of any separate things left in trust. When this senatusconsult comes into operation, the heir bears the burdens of the inheritance and the transferree of the residue is on the footing of a partiary legatee, that is, of a legatee of a certain part of the estate under the kind of legacy called partition, because the legatee shares the inheritance with the heir. Accordingly the stipulations appropriate between an heir and partiary legatee are entered into by the heir and transferree, in order to secure a ratable division of the gains and losses arising out of the succession.
§ 255. If then the heir is requested to transfer no more than three fourths of the inheritance the Sc. Trebellianum governs the transfer, and both are liable to be sued for the debts of the inheritance in ratable portions, the heir by civil law, the transferree by the Sc. Trebellianum: for though the heir even as to the transferred portion continues heir, and can, according to jus Civile, sue or be sued for the entire debts, his liabilities and rights of action are limited by the Sc. in the proportion of his beneficial interest in the inheritance.
§ 256. If more than three fourths or the whole is devised in trust to be transferred, the Sc. Pegasianum comes into operation.
§ 257. And when once the heir has accepted, that is to say, voluntarily, whether he retains one fourth or declines to retain it, he bears the burdens of inheritance: but, if he retains a fourth, he should covenant with the transferree as quasi partiary legatee; if he transfers the whole, he should covenant with him as quasi vendee of an inheritance.
§ 258. If an heir refuse to accept an inheritance from a suspicion that the liabilities exceed that assets, it is provided by the Sc. Pegasianum, that on the request of the transferree he may be ordered by the Praetor to accept and transfer; whereupon the transferree shall be just as capable of suing and being sued as the transferree under the Sc. Trebellianum. In this case no stipulations are necessary, because the transferror is protected, and the hereditary actions pass to and against the transferree.
§ 259. It makes no difference whether a person appointed as heir to the whole inheritance be requested to restore the whole or part of it, or whether a person appointed as heir to a share be requested to restore his whole share or only a part of it; for in this case also a fourth of the share to which he is appointed is taken into account under the Sc. Pegasianum.
§ 246. The dispositions of a testator which have been hitherto considered were directions addressed to his heir, resembling the orders of a father to his son or of a master to his slave, or the commands of a magistrate or of a legislator to his subjects. Hence the importance of the regular institution of an heir, of finding a person who, being a mere creature of the testator’s, shall be compelled to execute his commands.
Fideicommissa, to which we now proceed, are not commands, but requests. Legatum est quod legis modo, id est, imperative, testamento relinquitur, nam ea quae precativo modo relinquuntur fideicommissa vocantur, Ulpian, 24, 1. ‘A legacy is a legislative or imperative testamentary disposition: a precative disposition (a disposition in the form of entreaty) is a trust.’
The original object of trusts was to extend the testator’s bounty to those who were legally incapacitated to be legatees; for instance, aliens and Latini Juniani; and though Hadrian subsequently incapacitated aliens for taking the benefit of a trust, § 285, yet, as declarations of trust were exempt from many other restrictions which hampered direct legacies, they survived the circumstance which was the principal motive of their introduction, cf. §§ 260-289. For instance, another object of the declaration of trusts was to avoid the restrictions imposed by the lex Falcidia on the amount of legacies bequeathable to legatees who were capable of taking (had capacitas as well as testamenti factio passiva), § 254, and this object would continue to operate as a motive for the employment of trusts even after the invalidation of trusts in favour of peregrini, till it was defeated by the Sc. Pegasianum. Or again, a limitation to take effect after the death of heres, § 277, or a charge by means of codicilli on the intestate heir, which were not recognized by civil law, remained valid as trusts.
That trusts had originally no legal validity, we see from Cicero, Verres, 2, 1, 47, where we learn that it was usual for the testator to make the heir take an oath to perform the testator’s wishes, thus supplying by religious motives the want of a political sanction. But Augustus, as we are informed by Justinian, Inst. 2, 23, 1, in some individual cases of breach of trust directed the consuls to interpose their authority and compel trustees to execute their charge; and trusts soon became an ordinary mode of testamentary disposition, and, in process of time, a permanent fiduciary jurisdiction was established, the court of a special praetor fideicommissarius.
Originally if a testator wished to leave to a certain person the net amount of his fortunes, unsaddled with the burden and risk of administration, he instituted another as heres, whose sole function was the satisfaction of creditors and the discharge of the other duties of administration: and bequeathed the net residue of his patrimony to the real object of his bounty as legatee (legatarius). When this course was restricted by the lex Falcidia, a testator who wished a certain object of his bounty to receive the whole of his patrimony free from burdens would institute another person as heres, subject to a trust to transfer the whole of the inheritance, after payment of debts and perhaps with some remuneration for his trouble, to the real beneficiary (fideicommissarius). At first the testator could only rely on the honour of the heres, for these trusts were not legally binding; and not long after they became legally binding they were subjected by Sc. Pegasianum, under the Emperor Vespasian, to the same restrictions as were imposed on legacies. Sc. Trebellianum, under Nero, had placed the person to whom the inheritance was transferred in exactly the same position as the heir (heredis loco), to whom the Falcidian abatement was of course inapplicable. Sc. Pegasianum, to subject fideicommissarius to this abatement, for the benefit of heres fiduciarius, gave the latter the option of treating him as if he were legatarius. Thus the advantage of having a disinterested Executor, of leaving the testator’s wishes to be carried into effect by a person not, like the heir or one loco heredis, himself interested in the distribution; an advantage which an English testator may, if he chooses, secure, was deliberately sacrificed by the Roman legislator.
Another method of leaving to a person the net value of an inheritance without the troubles of administration, viz. the institution of the slave of the person whose benefit was intended, has already been noticed. § 189, comm.
The conversion of a moral into a legal obligation by the legalization of trusts was similar to what occurred when, under the Twelve Tables, legal force was given to the mancipatio cum fiducia, declaring the conditions and purposes of a remancipation, 2 § 60; and, remembering the celebrated ordinance, Cum nexum faxit mancipiumque, uti lingua nuncupassit, ita jus esto, it may occur to us to wonder why Augustus did not imitate the energetic brevity of the ancient legislator, and simply enact, Cum testamentum faxit codicillosve, uti fideicommiserit, ita jus esto. There would then have been no need of the cumbrous machinery of fictitious sales and stipulations between quasi vendor and quasi vendee; but a little reflection will show that such an enactment would have operated very inconveniently, and have defeated the very purposes for which trusts were instituted. Such an enactment would have made trusts, like nuncupations, a matter of civil law; and the jus strictum of the civil law was far from elastic or rational even in the time of Augustus; so that, if it was intended to enlarge the powers of testators and the discretion of the fiduciary tribunal, it was absolutely necessary to make trusts a province not of legal but of equitable jurisdiction.
§ 251. The transferree, it will be seen, was quasi heir when the Sc. Trebellianum applied: when the Sc. Pegasianum applied he was either quasi legatee or quasi vendee.
§ 252. These stipulations were employed because the fictitious sale (dicis causa, nummo uno) of the inheritance produced no universal succession, and so did not transfer the liability. But after Antoninus Pius these stipulations were not required in case of an actual sale of an inheritance, for though this did not operate as a universal succession, it involved a cession of actions. Dig. 2, 14, 16; cf. Dig. 18, 4, Cod. 4, 39.
§ 253. The terms of the Sc. Trebellianum, passed in the reign of Nero, probably a. d. 57, are given in the Digest 36, 1, 1 and 2. ‘Forasmuch as equity requires that whenever an inheritance is left in trust, any actions arising thereout should be brought against the transferree of the inheritance or by him, rather than that the fiduciary heir should incur any risk in consequence of his trust; it is decreed that the actions of and against an heir, shall not be granted to or against an heir who transfers a succession in pursuance of a trust, but to and against the testamentary transferree, in order that in future the last wishes of testators may have more effect.’ It is strange that the lawgiver should have stooped to the use of fiction (actio utilis), the natural instrument of a magistrate timidly usurping legislative power. Bethmann-Hollweg, § 96, suggests that actio utilis was in this case not actio fictitia but actio in factum concepta. (Cf. Lenel xv. 68.)
§ 254. By the Sc. Trebellianum, if the whole beneficial interest in an inheritance was transferred, the whole right of suing and being sued passed to the transferree: if only a portion of the beneficial interest was transferred, both the transferror and the transferree could sue and be sued in the same proportion. But if the whole or almost the whole inheritance is to be transferred to another the heir has little or no inducement to enter upon it, on which account the trust may fail with the other provisions of the will. Hence the Sc. Pegasianum, passed in the reign of Vespasian, a. d. 70-76, apparently provided that when less than a fourth of the inheritance is left to the benefit of the fiduciary heir, he should still be entitled to retain his fourth, the Sc. Trebellianum being then inoperative, that is to say, that in such a case the actions by or against the inheritance shall not be maintainable by or against both the heir and the transferree in the proportion of their interests, but should be exclusively maintainable by or against the heir. In fact, having subjected the transferree to the liability of abatement which the lex Falcidia imposed on the legatee, it seemed logical to put him in all other respects on the footing of a legatee, or singular successor, including the immunity from being sued and incapacity of suing for the debts of the succession. If then the fiduciary heir, retaining his fourth, became thus sole administrator, the Sc. Pegasianum directed him and the transferree to enter into the covenants usual between an heir and a partiary legatee. The heir promised, in the event of an underestimate, to make an additional payment; and the transferree promised, in the event of an overestimate, to make a proportional repayment. A partiary legatee is a legatee by partition, which Theophilus calls a fifth form of legacy, and of which Ulpian gives the formula, 24, 25. ‘As single things can be bequeathed, so can a universality, for instance thus: Do thou, my heir, partition and divide my inheritance with Titius; in which case a moiety is deemed to be bequeathed, but any other part, a third or fourth, may be bequeathed, and this form of bequest is called partition.’ This form of legacy probably owed its origin to the lex Voconia, § 226, which forbade Classicus to make an heiress.
§§ 257, 258. The subject is not very clearly explained by Gaius, but it would seem that after the Sc. Pegasianum was passed, the principle of the Sc. Trebellianum continued to apply, if as much as a quarter of the estate was reserved to the heir by the testator; thus the inheritance with its rights and duties would be divided pro parte between the heir and the transferree. But if the heir was left less than one fourth, his relation to the transferree, if he accepted the inheritance, was determined by the Sc. Pegasianum. In such circumstances he might enter on the inheritance and deduct a fourth, or if he chose to carry out the trust implicitly enter without making this deduction. But in the latter case, as well as in the former, the law treated him not as an heir but as a legatee, which made the old stipulations still necessary.
However Modestinus recommended, as the safer course if the heir declined to avail himself of his right to the fourth, that he should feign unwillingness to accept a damnosa hereditas, and should make a compulsory acceptance by the order of the praetor, § 258, in which case the actions are transferred in totality to the transferree by the express provision of the Sc. Pegasianum, Dig. 36, 1, 47. The sequence of §§ 257, 258 seems to indicate an intention of Gaius to suggest that this course might be adopted.
The requirement for form’s sake of a compulsory aditio and restitutio, instead of making the hereditas vest immediately under the will in the fideicommissarius (the course pursued by the legislator in the English statute of Uses and Trusts), has already, 1 §§ 189-193, been noticed as characteristic of Roman jurisprudence. It had this inconvenience, that it permitted the trusts to be defeated by the death or absence, malicious (dolo malo) or involuntary, of the heres fiduciarius. No remedy was provided for this contingency till the time of Justinian, who enacted that in such a case the inheritance should vest in the fideicommissarius by mere operation of law (ipso jure). Sancimus itaque ut sive per contumaciam afuerit is cui restitutio imposita est, sive morte praeventus nullo relicto successore fuerit, sive a primo fideicommissario in secundum translatio celebrari jussa est, ipso jure utiles actiones transferantur, Cod. 6, 49, 7, 1 b.
§ 259. The stipulations of the transferree as quasi vendee or quasi partiary legatee required by the Sc. Pegasianum were not only a cumbrous machinery, but after all afforded an insufficient security to the parties. The heir and transferree were always in mutual danger of one another’s insolvency, and an heir after transferring the whole inheritance, though not fairly liable to any molestation or vexation on account of it, might find himself with two lawsuits on his hands: he might first be sued by the creditors of the estate, and then have to recover back what he is condemned to pay them from the transferree by suing him on the covenants of quasi vendor and quasi vendee.
It is not surprising therefore, that Justinian abolished these provisions of the Sc. Pegasianum, and enacted that in every case there shall be a transfer or division of actions as contemplated by the Sc. Trebellianum, i. e. that the actions by or against the inheritance shall either be transferred in totality to the transferree, or be maintainable by or against both the heir and the transferree in the proportion of their interests. See Inst. 2, 23, 7.
The following observations may serve to complete the explanation of the Sc. Trebellianum and the Sc. Pegasianum.
Succession is the transfer of a right from one person (auctor) to another person (successor), such as occurs, for instance, in the conveyance or alienation of property. Here the same right of ownership that was previously vested in the alienor is subsequently vested in the alienee. The right continues the same; the person invested therewith is changed. It was characteristic of obligatio; a relation between two determinate persons (before, at least, the comparatively modern invention of papers payable to the holder and transferable by delivery) that it was not capable of a similar alienation. All that could be done to accomplish a similar result was to employ one of two processes, Novation or Cession of Action, § 38. 3 §§ 155-162, comm. In these procedures there is strictly speaking no Succession, for in Novation the transferree is not invested with the same right that previously vested in the transferror, but a new right is created in the transferree while the old right of the transferror is extinguished: and in Procuration or Cession the right still continues nominally in the transferror, as representative of whom the transferree recovers it or enforces it by action, retaining for himself what is recovered.
This inalienability of obligations, however, was confined to singular successions (in singularum rerum dominium successio): universal succession (per universitatem successio) or the transmission of the ideal whole of a patrimony, of which we have an example in hereditas testamentary or intestate, differed from singular succession by the capacity of passing obligation as well as Dominion. The heres of the testator or intestate sued and was sued in his own name on the obligations, active or passive, that originally vested in the deceased. But universal succession was an institution only recognized by Roman jurisprudence in certain definite cases. It was a formidable operation and rigorously circumscribed. It was not a transaction that the law allowed to be accomplished at the discretion of individual parties in pursuance of private convention. It was only admitted in the cases enumerated by Gaius, § 98, and, without legislative interference, the list could not be augmented.
These difficulties in the transfer of obligation opposed a great obstacle to the transfer (restitutio) of trust successions: and these difficulties were partially removed by the Sc. Trebellianum, and more completely by Justinian, by investing the Restitutio with the character of successio per universitatem, in other words, by the legislative sanction of a new instance of universal succession.
The following observations may illustrate the joint operation of the laws concerning Trusts and the lex Falcidia under the law of Justinian. Although the fideicommissarius or person to whom an inheritance or a portion thereof is directed to be transferred (restitui) is charged like a coheres with the legacies in proportion to the quota which he takes, he has not like the heres a right of deducting from the legacies with which he is charged, and retaining for himself a Falcidian portion or fourth of his quota. His rights against the legatee depend on the question whether the testator in directing the transfer, or in other words creating the trust, used either expressly or by implication the terms deductis legatis, ‘after deduction of legacies,’ a clause favouring the legatees; or whether, in giving the legacies, he used terms charging them on the inheritance (si ad heredis onus esse testator legata dixerit); which would imply that the cestui que trust was to be exactly assimilated to the legatees. The following examples will illustrate the working of the law.
A testator owning 400 (sestertia, or any other units) leaves all to A as his sole heres, but directs him as trustee (fiduciarius) to convey half the inheritance to B (fideicommissarius), and leaves a legacy of 200 to C. The effect is that C receives 100 from A and 100 from B. Dig. 36, 1, 1, 20.
But suppose the testator left a legacy of 400 to C. Then C will receive 200 from B who has no right of retaining anything, and 100 from A, who is entitled to retain for himself one fourth of his inheritance, i. e. the 100 that remain.
Questions, however, requiring special treatment may arise in the following cases:—(1) If an heir is charged to transfer the whole of an inheritance and the legacies are added to his charge (si ad heredis onus esse testator legata dixerit), the interests of both the legatee and transferree undergo, if necessary, a proportional reduction. For instance a testator, proprietor of 400, makes A his sole heres, but requests him to transfer the whole succession to B, and gives a legacy of 300 to C, making use of the above-mentioned terms. The result is that A, the heres, retains 100 as his Falcidian fourth, and the remaining 300 are distributed between B the cestui que trust and C the legatee, in the proportion of 4 to 3; that is to say, the cestui que trust takes 4/7 or 1713/7, and the legatee takes 3/7 or 1284/7. Dig. 36, 1, 3 pr.
(2) If the testator directs the heir to transfer the whole of the inheritance ‘after deduction of the legacies’ (deductis legatis), the transferree bears the whole burden of the legacies, and only keeps what remains after full payment of the legatee, subject to this proviso, that, though a transferree is generally not entitled to a Falcidian fourth, yet if a transferree who has to bear the burden of legacies receives the inheritance reduced by the Falcidian fourth of the heres, he is himself entitled to reduce proportionally the legacies and retain a fourth thereof for himself. Dig. 35. 1, 43, 3; 35, 2, 32, 4. E. g. a testator, proprietor of 400, makes A his sole heres, requesting him to transfer the whole inheritance to B after deduction of legacies, and leaves a legacy of 300 to C. The result is that the heir retains ¼ (100); and the remaining 300 is distributed between the legatee and transferree, the legatee taking 300 reduced by ¼ (225), and the transferree taking that ¼ (75). The same effect would have been produced if the testator, instead of using the clause deductis legatis, had simply charged the legacies on the fideicommissarius. Or the rights of the fideicommissarius may be calculated with the same result by the following method. The heres retains ¼ and transfers ¾ to the cestui que trust, who under Justinian’s legislation is no longer a partiary legatee as he was under the Sc. Pegasianum, but a sharer of the inheritance with the heres in the proportion of ¾ to ¼. The legatee is entitled to 300 from these co-heirs in the proportion of their shares of the inheritance. The heres, however, is protected by the lex Falcidia, and thus ¼ of the legacy is lost to the legatee: he obtains, however, ¾ (225) from the transferree, who retains for himself the remaining ¼ (75).
(3) If the heres makes voluntary aditio, but does not retain the Falcidian fourth to which he is entitled, then, if the legacy was charged on the inheritance, the whole inheritance is divided between the transferree and legatee in the proportion of 4 to 3: that is, the transferree obtains altogether 2284/7 and the legatee 1713/7.
(4) If the legacy was expressly charged on the fideicommissarius, or if there was no express clause defining whether it was charged on him or on the heres, then the legatee will benefit by the heres abstaining from his fourth: and the transferree will only get what remains after full payment of the legacy. Thus, in the circumstances we have assumed, the legatee will get 300 and the transferree 100.
(5) If the heres abstains from his ¼ expressly in favour of the transferree, the latter alone gets the benefit of such abstention.
(6) If the heres only makes compulsory aditio, he takes no share of the Falcidian fourth, which all goes to the account of the transferree who compelled the heres to make aditio. Dig. 36, 1, 2.
(7) If the heres has to transfer the whole but has received his Falcidian fourth in the shape of legacies, the transferree has to satisfy the other legatees: and if he cannot pay the whole of their legacies they may recover from the heres all that he receives beyond his fourth.
(8) If the heres is directed to transfer not the whole but ¾ of the inheritance, the transferree has to satisfy the legatees, but deducts and retains for himself ¼ of their legacies, as he would under the circumstances supposed in (3). Vangerow, § 559.
§ 260. Potest autem quisque etiam res singulas per fideicommissum relinquere, uelut fundum hominem uestem argentum pecuniam, et uel ipsum heredem rogare, ut alicui restituat, uel legatarium, quamuis a legatario legari non possit.
Inst. 2, 24, pr.
§ 261. Item potest non solum propria testatoris res per fideicommissum relinqui, sed etiam heredis aut legatarii aut cuiuslibet alterius. itaque et legatarius non solum de ea re rogari potest, ut eam alicui restituat quae ei legata sit, sed etiam de alia, siue ipsius legatarii siue aliena sit. [sed] hoc solum obseruandum est, ne plus quisquam rogetur aliis restituere, quam ipse ex testamento ceperit; nam quod amplius est, inutiliter relinquitur.
Inst. 2, 24, 1.
§ 262. Cum autem aliena res per fideicommissum relinquitur, necesse est ei qui rogatus est aut ipsam redimere et praestare, aut aestimationem eius soluere, sicut iuris est, si per damnationem aliena res legata sit. sunt tamen qui putant, si rem per fideicommissum relictam dominus non uendat, extingui fideicommissum; sed aliam esse causam per damnationem legati.
Inst. l. c.
§ 263. Libertas quoque seruo per fideicommissum dari potest, ut uel heres rogetur manumittere uel legatarius.
Inst. 2. 24, 2.
§ 264. Nec interest utrum de suo proprio seruo testator roget, an de eo qui ipsius heredis aut legatarii uel etiam extranei sit.
Inst. l. c.
§ 265. Itaque et alienus seruus redimi et manumitti debet. quodsi dominus eum non uendat, sane extinguitur fideicommissaria libertas, quia hoc casu pretii conputatio nulla interuenit.
Inst. l. c.
§ 266. Qui autem ex fideicommisso manumittitur, non testatoris fit libertus, etiamsi testatoris seruus fuerit, sed eius qui manumittit.
Inst. l. c.
§ 267. At qui directo testamento liber esse iubetur, uelut hoc modo stichvs servvs 〈mevs〉 liber esto, uel hoc stichvm servvm mevm libervm esse ivbeo,is ipsius testatoris fit libertus. nec alius ullus directo ex testamento libertatem habere potest, quam qui utroque tempore testatoris ex iure Quiritium fuerit, et quo faceret testamentum et quo moreretur.
Inst. l. c.
§ 268. Multum autem differunt ea quae per fideicommissum relincun|tur ab his quae directo iure legantur.
§ 269. Nam ecce per fideicommissum etiam —|—NA heredis relinqui potest; cum alioquin legatum —|—NA inutile sit.
§ 270. | Item intestatus moriturus potest ab eo ad quem bona eius pertinent fideicommissum alicui relinquere; cum alioquin ab eo legari non possit.
§ 270 a.Item legatum codicillis relictum non aliter ualet, quam si a testatore confirmati fuerint, id est nisi in testamento cauerit testator, ut quidquid in codicillis scripserit id ratum sit; fideicommissum uero etiam non confirmatis codicillis relinqui potest.
§ 271. Item a legatario legari non potest; sed fideicommissum relinqui potest. quin etiam ab eo quoque cui per fideicommissum relinquimus rursus alii per fideicommissum relinquere possumus.
§ 272. Item seruo alieno directo libertas dari non potest; sed per fideicommissum potest.
§ 273. Item codicillis nemo heres institui potest neque exheredari, quamuis testamento confirmati sint. at is qui testamento heres institutus est potest codicillis rogari, ut eam hereditatem alii totam uel ex parte restituat, quamuis testamento codicilli confirmati non sint.
§ 274. Item mulier quae ab eo qui centum milia aeris census est per legem Voconiam heres institui non potest, tamen fideicommisso relictam sibi hereditatem capere potest.
§ 275. Latini quoque qui hereditates legataque directo iure lege Iunia capere prohibentur ex fideicommisso capere possunt.
§ 276. Item cum senatusconsulto prohibitum sit proprium seruum minorem annis xxx liberum et heredem instituere, plerisque placet posse nos iubere liberum esse, cum annorum xxx erit, et rogare, ut tunc illi restituatur hereditas.
§ 277. Item quamuis non 〈possimus〉 post mortem eius qui nobis heres extiterit alium in locum eius heredem instituere, tamen possumus eum rogare, ut cum morietur alii eam hereditatem totam uel ex parte restituat. et quia post mortem quoque heredis fideicommissum dari potest, idem efficere possumus et si ita scripserimus cvm titivs heres mevs mortvvs erit, volo hereditatem meam ad p. mevivm pertinere. utroque autem modo, tam hoc quam illo, Titius heredem suum obligatum relinquit de fideicommisso restituendo.
§ 278. Praeterea legata 〈per〉 formulam petimus; fideicommissa uero Romae quidem apud consulem uel apud eum praetorem qui praecipue de fideicommissis ius dicit persequimur, in prouinciis uero apud praesidem prouinciae.
§ 279. Item de fideicommissis semper in urbe ius dicitur; de legatis uero, cum res aguntur.
§ 280. Item fideicommissorum usurae et fructus debentur, si modo moram solutionis fecerit qui fideicommissum debebit; legatorum uero usurae non debentur; idque rescripto diui Hadriani significatur. scio tamen Iuliano placuisse, in eo legato quod sinendi modo relinquitur idem iuris esse quod in fideicommissis; quam sententiam et his temporibus magis optinere uideo.
§ 281. Item legata Graece scripta non ualent; fideicommissa uero ualent.
§ 282. Item si legatum per damnationem relictum heres infitietur, in duplum cum eo agitur; fideicommissi uero nomine semper in simplum persecutio est.
§ 283. Item 〈quod〉 quisque ex fideicommisso plus debito per errorem soluerit, repetere potest, at id quod ex causa falsa per damnationem legati plus debito solutum sit, repeti non potest. idem scilicet iuris est de eo [legato], quod non debitum uel ex hac uel ex illa causa per errorem solutum fuerit.
§ 284. Erant etiam aliae differentiae, quae nunc non sunt.
§ 285. Vt ecce peregrini poterant fideicommissacapere; et fere haec fuit origo fideicommissorum. sed postea id prohibitum est; et nunc ex oratione diui Hadriani senatusconsultum factum est, ut ea fideicommissa fisco uindicarentur.
§ 286. Caelibes quoque, qui per legem Iuliam hereditates legataque capere prohibentur, olim fideicommissa uidebantur capere posse.
§ 286 a. Item orbi, qui per legem Papiam [ob id quod liberos non habebant] dimidias partes hereditatum legatorumque perdunt, olim solida fideicommissa uidebantur capere posse. sed postea senatusconsulto Pegasiano proinde fideicommissa quoque ac legata hereditatesque capere posse prohibiti sunt; eaque translata sunt ad eos, qui 〈in eo〉 testamento liberos habent, aut si nullus liberos habebit, ad populum, sicut iuris est in legatis et in hereditatibus, quae eadem aut simili ex cau〈sa caduca fiunt.
§ 287.I〉tem olim incertae personae uel postumo alieno per fideicommissum relinqui poterat, quamuis neque heres institui neque legari ei posset; sed senatusconsulto, quod auctore diuo Hadriano factum est, idem in fideicommissis quod in legatis hereditatibusque constitutum est.
§ 288. Item poenae nomine iam non dubitatur nec per fideicommissum quidem relinqui posse.
§ 289. Sed quamuis in multis iuris partibus longe latior causa sit fideicommissorum quam eorum quae directo relincuntur, in quibusdam tantumdem ualeant, tamen tutor non aliter testamento dari potest quam directo, ueluti hoc modo liberis meis titivs tvtor esto, uel ita liberis meis titivm tvtorem do; per fideicommissum uero dari non potest.
§ 260. Not only an inheritance, but also single things, may be bequeathed by way of trust, as land, a slave, a garment, plate, money; and the trust may be imposed either on an heir or on a legatee, although a legatee cannot be charged with a legacy.
§ 261. Again not only the testator’s property, but that of the heir, or of a legatee, or that of any stranger, may be left by way of trust. Thus a legatee may be charged with a trust to transfer either a thing bequeathed to him, or any other thing belonging to himself or to a stranger; provided always that he is not charged with a trust to transfer more than he takes under the will, for in respect of such excess the trust would be void.
§ 262. When a stranger’s property is bequeathed by way of trust, the trustee must either procure and convey the specific thing or pay its value, like an heir charged under a bequest by condemnation; though some hold that the owner’s refusal to sell avoids such a trust, though it does not avoid a bequest by condemnation.
§ 263. Liberty can be left to a slave by a trust charging either an heir or a legatee with his manumission.
§ 264. And it makes no difference whether the slave is the testator’s own property, or that of the heir himself, or of the legatee, or even that of a stranger.
§ 265. A stranger’s slave, therefore, must be purchased and manumitted, but his owner’s refusal to sell extinguishes the gift of liberty, because liberty admits of no valuation in money.
§ 266. A trust of manumission makes the slave the freedman, not of the testator, though he may have been the owner of the slave, but of the manumitter.
§ 267. A direct bequest of liberty, such as: ‘Be my slave Stichus free,’ or, ‘I order that my slave Stichus be free,’ makes the slave the freedman of the testator. A direct bequest of liberty can only be made to a slave who is the testator’s quiritarian property at both periods, both at the time of making his will and at the time of his decease.
§ 268. There are many differences between trust bequests and direct bequests.
§ 269. Thus by way of trust a bequest may be charged on the heir of the heir, whereas such a bequest made in any other form is void.
§ 270. Again, a man going to die intestate can charge his heir with a trust, but cannot charge him with a legacy.
§ 270 a. Again, a legacy left by codicil is not valid, unless the codicil has been confirmed by the testator, that is, unless the testator has provided in his will that anything written in his codicil is ratified: whereas a trust requires no ratification of the codicil.
§ 271. A legatee too cannot be charged with a direct legacy, but can be the subject of a trust, and the beneficiary of a trust may himself be charged with a further trust.
§ 272. So also a slave of a stranger cannot be enfranchised by direct bequest, but may by the interposition of a trust.
§ 273. A codicil is not a valid instrument for the institution of an heir or for his disinheritance, though it is ratified by will: but an heir instituted by will may be requested by a codicil to transfer the inheritance in whole or in part to another person without any ratification by will.
§ 274. A woman who cannot by the lex Voconia be instituted heiress by a testator registered in the census as owning a hundred thousand sesterces, can nevertheless take an inheritance bequeathed to her by way of a trust.
§ 275. And Latini Juniani, who are disabled by the lex Junia from taking an inheritance or legacy by direct bequest, can take it by means of a trust.
§ 276. Again a decree of the senate (rather, the lex Aelia Sentia 1 § 18) incapacitates a testator’s slave under thirty years of age from being enfranchised and instituted heir; but, according to the prevalent opinion, he can be ordered to be free on attaining the age of thirty, and the heir may be bound by way of trust to transfer the inheritance to him on that event.
§ 277. An heir cannot be instituted after the death of a prior heir, but an heir may be bound by way of trust to transfer the inheritance, when he dies, in whole or in part to another person; or, as a trust may be limited to take effect after the death of the heir, the same purpose may be accomplished in these terms. ‘When my heir is dead, I wish my inheritance to go to Publius Mevius;’ and whichever terms are employed, the heir of my heir is bound by a trust to transfer the inheritance to the person designated.
§ 278. Legacies, moreover, are recovered by the formulary procedure; but trusts are enforced by the extraordinary jurisdiction of the consul or praetor fideicommissarius at Rome; in the provinces by the extraordinary jurisdiction of the president.
§ 279. Cases of trust are heard and determined at Rome at all times of the year; cases of legacy can only be litigated during the trial term.
§ 280. Trusts entitle to payment of interest and interim profits on delay of performance (mora) by the trustee; legatees are not entitled to interest, as a rescript of Hadrian declares. Julianus, however, held that a legacy bequeathed in the form of permission is on the same footing as a trust, and this is now the prevalent doctrine.
§ 281. Bequests expressed in Greek are invalid; trusts expressed in Greek are valid.
§ 282. An heir who disputes a legacy in the form of condemnation is sued for double the sum bequeathed; but a trustee is only suable for the simple amount of the trust.
§ 283. On overpayment by mistake in the case of a trust, the excess can be recovered back by the trustee; but on overpayment from some mistaken ground of a bequest by condemnation, the excess cannot be recovered back by the heir; and the law is the same in the case of what is not due at all, but which has been paid by some mistake or other.
§ 284. There formerly were other differences which no longer exist.
§ 285. Thus aliens could take the benefit of a trust, and this was the principal motive in which trusts originated, but afterwards they were incapacitated; and now, by a decree of the senate passed on the proposition of Hadrian, trusts left for the benefit of aliens may be claimed by the fiscus.
§ 286. Unmarried persons, who are disabled by the lex Julia from taking inheritances or legacies, were formerly deemed capable of taking the benefit of a trust.
§ 286 a. And childless persons, who forfeit by the lex Papia, on account of not having children, half their inheritances and legacies, were formerly deemed capable of taking in full as beneficiaries of a trust. But at a later period the Sc. Pegasianum extended to trust dispositions the rules which attach to legacies and inheritances, transferring the trust property to those mentioned in the will who have children, and failing these to the people (aerarium), as happens to legacies or inheritances which on the same or similar grounds become ‘caduca.’
§ 287. So too, at one time, an uncertain person or an afterborn stranger could take the benefit of a trust, though he could neither take as heir nor as legatee, but a decree of the senate, passed on the proposition of the emperor Hadrian, made the law in this respect relating to legacies and inheritances applicable also to trusts.
§ 288. It is now clear that trusts cannot be left with the object of inflicting a penalty.
§ 289. Although in many branches of law trusts have an ampler scope than direct dispositions, while in others they are on a par, yet a testamentary guardian can only be appointed by direct nomination, as thus: ‘Be Titius guardian to my children;’ or thus: ‘I nominate Titius guardian to my children;’ he cannot be appointed by way of trust.
§ 265. Justinian declares that the heir is not forthwith released from his obligation by the owner’s refusal to sell, but will be bound to seize any opportunity that may subsequently offer of purchasing and manumitting the slave in pursuance of the trust, Inst. 2, 24, 2.
§ 270 a. Codicils, as well as fideicommissa, according to Justinian, first acquired legal validity in the time of Augustus, who, being trustee under a codicil, set the example of performing the trust. The jurist Trebatius being consulted by Augustus, whether it was possible to give legal force to codicils without defeating the policy of testamentary law, gave a decided opinion in the affirmative; and all scruples respecting the validity of codicils vanished when it became known that codicils had been left by the eminent jurist Labeo, Inst. 2, 25, pr.
Codicillus is the diminutive of codex, and denotes the less important and solemn documents or instruments of a man of business, a pocket-book, an agenda, a codicil; as codex denotes the more important and formal documents, a journal, a ledger, a will. A codicil enabled a testator who had solemnly executed a will to add to or modify its dispositions without the necessity of re-execution. It was usual in a will to ratify any prior or subsequent codicils; a codicil, however, might exist without any will. An informal will could only take effect as a codicil if such was the expressed intention of the testator. A codicil could not contain an institution or disinheritance or substitution; but it might contain a trust for the transfer of the whole of an inheritance: and though a codicil could not contain a disinheritance, yet we have seen (§§ 147-151, comm.) that a codicillary declaration that the heir was unworthy produced confiscation or ereption of the inheritance for indignitas. A testator could only leave a single will, for a later will revoked a former; but he might leave many codicils. A codicil needed no formalities, though Justinian required the attestation of five witnesses, not, however, as an essential solemnity, but as a means of proof: for, in the absence of five witnesses, the heir might be required to deny the existence of a trust upon his oath, Inst. 2, 23, 12. The admission of codicils was a departure from the rule requiring a unity in the act of testation. The concentration of his last will in a single act disposing simultaneously of all his property was no longer required of the testator. He now might distribute his fortune by way of legacy in a series of fragmentary or piecemeal and unrelated dispositions.
§ 278. Fideicommissa were enforced by persecutio, or the praetor’s extraordinaria cognitio, 4 § 184, comm.
§ 279. The law terms at Rome during the greater part of the formulary period, were of two different kinds: (1) the juridical term or term for jurisdictio, and (2) the judicial term or term for trials.
(1) The term for jurisdiction, that is, for the solemn acts of the praetor sitting on the tribunal in his court in the comitium, was that originally prescribed for the ancient legis actiones. The year was divided into forty dies fasti, unconditionally allotted to juridical proceedings, one hundred and ninety dies comitiales, available for juridical purposes unless required for the legislative assemblies, dies intercisi, of which certain hours were available for jurisdiction, and sixty dies nefasti, which were absolutely unavailable for juridical proceedings.
(2) Judicia, or trials before a judex in the forum, were unaffected by dies fasti and nefasti, but dependent on another division, dies festi and profesti: dies festi (days devoted to feriae, ludi, epulae, sacrificia) being exempted from litigation. Besides these occasional interruptions of litigation, there were longer set vacations, which we find rearranged on several occasions. Thus at one time we find two judicial terms (rerum actus, cum res aguntur) in the year, a winter and a summer term, and two vacations, one in spring and another in autumn. Claudius substituted a single vacation at the close of the year, and made the law term continuous. Rerum actum, divisum antea in hibernos aestivosque menses, conjunxit, Suetonius, Claudius, 23. Galba abolished this vacation, and confined the intervals of litigation to dies feriati. Marcus Aurelius, in the time of Gaius, abolished the distinction between the jurisdiction term (dies fasti) and the trial term (rerum actus). He devoted two hundred and thirty days (adding the number of dies fasti to the number of dies comitiales) to forensic proceedings, under the name of dies juridici or dies judiciarii, and allowed even the rest of the year, dies feriati, to be used for litigation with the consent of the parties. Judiciariae rei singularem diligentiam adhibuit: fastis dies judiciarios addidit, ita ut ducentos triginta dies annuos rebus agendis litibusque disceptandis constitueret, Capitolinus, Marcus, 10. ‘He also very carefully regulated the administration of justice, adding forensic days to the calendar, and allotting two hundred and thirty to litigation and civil suits.’
Subsequently to the time of Gaius, a law of Valentinian, Theodosius, and Arcadius, a. d. 389, while it declared the principle that all days are dies juridici, excepted, besides Sundays and certain other holidays, two months for harvest and vintage, and two weeks at Easter. Justinian further appointed, by way of interpolation in this law, certain vacations at Christmas, Epiphany, and Pentecost, Cod. 3, 12, 6, thus furnishing the model on which the four English law terms were regulated by Edward the Confessor. Subsequently the Statute of Westminster, 13 Edward I, permitted assizes to be held in the vacations, and thus a distinction grew up in England somewhat resembling that of the jurisdictional (dies fasti) and judicial terms (rerum actus); with this difference, however, that the same judges presided both in their own court held at Westminster, and on assize, where they acted under commissions to try cases in the county in which the cause of action arose. Thus in England a judge, after sitting at Westminster during term, was able to go on circuit during part of the vacation; but at Rome the distinction rested on the difference between proceedings in jure and in judicio. See Puchta, Institutionen, § 158.
§ 280. After the time of Gaius the liability of a defendant to interest and profits (fructus) from the date on which he was guilty of mora appears to have been extended to all legacies without exception. Ex mora praestandorum fideicommissorum vel legatorum fructus et usurae peti possunt: mora autem fieri videtur cum postulanti non datur, Paulus 3, 8, 4. ‘Delay of the heir to satisfy trusts and legacies entitles the cestui que trust and legatee to fruits and interest. Delay dates from the ineffectual demand of the creditor.’
A demand, however, is not requisite when a term for payment was fixed in the disposition which gave rise to the debt (dies adjecta): in other words, no interpellation is necessary in an obligation ex die, i. e. an obligatio with a dies adjecta; for then Mora begins at the expiration of the term. This is expressed by modern jurists in the maxim, dies interpellat pro homine, ‘the day demands instead of the creditor.’
A further condition of Mora is the absence of all doubt and dispute, at least of all dispute that is not frivolous and vexatious, as to the existence and amount of the debt. Qui sine dolo malo ad judicem provocat non videtur moram facere, Dig. 50, 17, 63. ‘An honest appeal to a judge is not deemed a mode of Delay.’
The date of Mora must not be identified with that of the Nativity of an action (actio nata), an important date, as we shall see, in the doctrine of Limitation or Prescription of which it is the starting-point, a starting-point that may be antecedent to Mora Mora generally cannot precede an interpellation or demand of payment: but the omission of a demand is precisely a part of that course of remissness and negligence whereby, under the rules of Prescription, a creditor ultimately forfeits his right to sue. Savigny, § 239.
Mora on the part of a person under an obligation to another obliges him to put the latter in as good a position as he would have been in if there had been no Mora. Hence the effect of Mora debitoris may be to make the debitor liable for fructus or interest. So again, if after Mora some accidental circumstance makes delivery of a thing impossible, the party bound to deliver it is not discharged from his liability, since if it had not been for Mora on his part, the plaintiff might have escaped loss by previous alienation of the thing, or in some other way. On the same principle, if a thing which a person is bound to deliver to another falls in value after Mora, he must pay the latter the highest value which could have been obtained for the thing at any time, since his default was established. Windscheid, 1 § 280.
Litis contestatio, joinder of issue between the parties to an action, another landmark of great importance in Roman jurisprudence in ascertaining and measuring the sanctioning rights and obligations of suitors, 3 § 180, comm., may be regarded as a kind of bilateral Disposition to be classed among Quasi-contracts. The consequences, however, of litis contestatio, in spite of difference of character, are to some extent similar to those of Mora. For in the event of condemning the defendant the judex has to regard the relations of the parties, as if restitution had been made at the time of litis contestatio. Hence a bona fide possessor is liable from this date for all fructus, although he was not previously liable for such as he had consumed. 4 § 114, comm.
§ 283. Money paid by mistake was not recoverable when the payer was liable to be sued for double damages, as in the actio legati per damnationem, Inst. 3, 27, 7, because then the payment is not deemed to be a mistake, but a compromise, in order to avoid the chance of condemnation in double damages. The laws protecting certain rights by duplication of damages, 4 § 171, would have been evaded if a debtor was allowed to pay the simple damages and then attempt to recover them back by condictio indebiti soluti.
§ 285. So by English law aliens were not, till recently, allowed to purchase real property or to take it by devise. Such property, purchased by an alien or devised to an alien, was forfeited to the crown. An alien, however, could hold personal property and take bequests of personal property. In France, formerly, an alien was not allowed to make a will, but all his property at his death escheated to the crown by the droit d’aubaîne. [Aubain is from alibanus. Alibi in barbarous Latin produced alibanus, just as longiter produced lontanus and ante antianus. Diez.]
§ 289. Justinian, following the tendency of previous legislation, abolished the distinction between legacies and trusts, enacting that legacies should no longer be governed by the rigours of the civil law, but subject to the same rules and construed with the same liberality as trusts, Inst. 2, 20, 2 and 3 Nostra autem constitutio (Cod. 6, 43, 1), quam cum magna fecimus lucubratione, defunctorum voluntates validiores esse cupientes et non verbis, sed voluntatibus eorum faventes, disposuit, ut omnibus legatis una sit natura et, quibuscunque verbis aliquid derelictum sit, liceat legatariis id persequi non solum per actiones personales, sed etiam per in rem et per hypothecariam . . . Sed non usque ad eam constitutionem standum esse existimavimus, cum enim antiquitatem invenimus legata quidem stricte concludentem, fideicommissis autem, quae ex voluntate magis descendebant defunctorum, pinguiorem naturam indulgentem: necessarium esse duximus omnia legata fideicommissis exaequare, ut nulla sit inter ea differentia.
By English law, a will of realty operates as a mode of conveyance and document of title without probate, but since the Land Transfer Act, 1897, it is usually proved. A will of personalty requires for its authentication to be proved before a court by the oath of the executor and, unless the attestation clause is in a certain form, by the affidavit of one of the subscribing witnesses; or, if the validity of the will is disputed, by examination of the witnesses on oath in the presence of the parties interested. The will itself is deposited in the registry of the Court of Probate; a copy of it in parchment, under the seal of the Court of Probate, delivered to the executor along with a certificate of proof, is the only proper evidence of his right to intermeddle with the personal estate of the testator.
The following were the corresponding formalities of Roman law prescribed by lex Julia vicesimaria: Paulus, Sent Rec. 4, 6:—
‘A will is opened in the following manner: the witnesses, or the majority, who affixed their seals, are summoned and acknowledge their seals, the cord is broken, the tablets are opened, the will is read, a copy is taken, a public seal is affixed to the original, and it is deposited in the archives, so that if the copy is ever lost there may be a means of making another.
‘In municipalities, colonies, towns, prefectures, wicks, castles, market towns, a will must be read in the forum or basilica, in the presence of the attesting witnesses or of respectable persons, between eight o’clock in the morning and four o’clock in the afternoon; and, as soon as a copy has been made, must be sealed up again by the magistrate in whose presence it was opened.
‘A will is intended by the law to be opened immediately after the death of the testator; accordingly, though rescripts have varied, it is now the rule that, if all the parties are present, three or five days is the interval within which the tablets must be opened; if they are absent, the same number of days after they are assembled; in order that heirs, legatees, manumitted slaves, and the military treasury (entitled, 3 § 125, to vicesima hereditatum, i. e. 5 per cent. on the value of Roman citizens’ testamentary successions), may come into their rights without unnecessary delay.’
In cases of urgency, when the will was opened in the absence of the attesting witnesses in the presence of respectable persons, it was afterwards forwarded to the witnesses for the verification of their seals, Dig. 29, 3, 7. Every one who desired it had the power of inspecting a will and taking a copy, Dig. 29, 3, 8.