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[DE LEGATIS.] - 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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§ 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.