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V \ 



THE collection of papers in this volume consists of the communi- 
cations made to the Section of Legal History (Via) of the Inter- 
national Congress of Historical Studies held in London in April 1913. 
All the papers read in the Section have been kindly contributed 
by their authors for this publication. In some cases, where the 
communications actually read were in the nature of extracts from 
longer treatises, the papers have been reproduced here in extenso. 
The papers of Geheimrath O. von Gierke and Dr. A. Lappo- 
Danilevskij were read at General Meetings of the Congress, but 
were written for the Section of Legal History, and naturally 
take a place in its transactions. The essays in the present volume 
are presented in a different order from that in which they followed 
each other at the Congress, as it was desirable to group them some- 
what more systematically. On several occasions some discussion 
followed the reading of the papers, but it proved unnecessary to 
publish the minutes of such discussions, as most of the principal 
points were afterwards embodied in the revised texts of the 

The general course of the proceedings in the Section was as 
follows : 

Thursday, April 3. The first meeting was held at 2 P.M. in 
the Old Hall of Lincoln's Inn, which was kindly lent by the 
Treasurer (Mr. Douglas Walker, K.C.) and the Masters of the 
Bench of Lincoln's Inn. Sir Frederick Pollock, on behalf of the 
President, Lord Alverstone, Lord Chief Justice of England, who was 
absent through ill health, welcomed the meeting. The Presidential 
Address was delivered by Professor Vinogradoff, Acting-President. 
Geheimrath O. von Gierke took the chair. Papers were read by 
Professor Wenger (No. Ill of this volume) and Professor Galante 
(No. XVIII). 

Friday, April 4. Professor Vinogradoff in the chair. Papers 
by Dr. W. Blake Odgers, K.C. (No. XII), discussed by Professor 
Galante, Mr. Bolland, Professor Vinogradoff; Dr. H. D. Hazeltine 

vi Introductory Note 

(No. XIII), discussed by Professor Vinogradoff ; Dr. W. S. Holds- 
worth (No. XV). 

Saturday, April 5. In the chair Professor Vinogradoff in 
the morning, Professor Fockema-Andreae of Ley den in the 
afternoon. Papers by Geheimrath Lenel (No. V), discussed by 
Professor Ehrlich of Czernowitz, Professor Goudy, Professor 
Koschaher of Prague; Professor Riccobono (No. IV), discussed 
by Professor Ehrlich, Geheimrath Lenel, Professor Galante, 
Geheimrath von Gierke ; Professor E. C. Clark (No. VI), discussed 
by Dr. Strachan- Davidson of Oxford and Geheimrath Lenel. 

Monday, April 7. In the chair Sir Courtenay Ilbert in the 
morning, Geheimrath Lenel in the afternoon. Papers by Sir 
Frederick Pollock (No. XIV), discussed by Professor Vinogradoff ; 
Professor Goudy (No. XI), discussed by Sir Frederick Pollock and 
Professor Astoul of Caen ; the late Professor A. Esmein x (No. X), 
read in the absence of the writer by Professor Huvelin of Lyons ; 
Professor Hiibner (No. XX), discussed by Sir Courtenay Ilbert. 

Tuesday, April 8. Professor Galante in the chair. Papers 
by Professor Schreuer (No. VII), discussed by Professor Fockema- 
Andreae, Geheimrath von Gierke, Professor Hiibner, Professor 
Huvelin ; Professor Caillemer (No. IX), read in the absence of 
the writer by Professor Astoul ; Professor Taranger (No. VIII) ; 
Dr. W. Konopczynski (No. XVII). 

Professor Galante from the chair proposed a vote of thanks 
to the Acting-President, Professor Vinogradoff; to the Vice-Presi- 
dents, Sir Frederick Pollock and Sir Courtenay Ilbert ; and to the 
Hon. Secretaries, Dr. W. S. Holdsworth and Mr. F. de Zulueta. 
Professors Schreuer, Huvelin, and Riccobono having spoken in 
the same sense, the vote was unanimously carried. Sir Frederick 
Pollock and Sir Courtenay Ilbert returned thanks. 

The difficult enterprise of publishing a polyglot volume of this 
kind has only been rendered possible by the liberal support which 
the Delegates of the Oxford University Press have placed at the 
disposal of the Section of Legal History. 

1 While these sheets were in the press, the sad news arrived of the death 
of one of our most distinguished contributors, Professor A * Esmein. We are 
indebted to his son, Monsieur Paul Esmein, for the correction of the proofs 
which were forwarded to his late father. 


I. Welcome to the Members of the Legal Section. The Right Hon. 


II. Presidential Address. Professor PAUL VINOGRADOFF, F.B.A., 

University of Oxford ..... 3 

III. Die heutigen Aufgaben einer romischen Rechtsgeschichte. Pro- 
fessor L. WENGER, University of Munich . . .13 
IV. Dalla Communio del diritto quiritario alia comproprieta moderna. 

Professor S. RiCCOBONO, University of Palermo . . 33 

V. Zur Geschichte der Heredis Institutio. Geheimrath Professor 

O. LENEL, University of Freiburg-im-Breisgau . .120 

VI. Numismatic Illustrations of the History of Roman Law. Pro- 
fessor E. C. CLARK, University of Cambridge . .143 
VII. Cotter und Tote als Rechtssubjekte bei den alten Germanen. 

Professor H. SCHREUER, University of Bonn . . 153 

VIII. The Meaning of the Words Oftal and Skeyting in the Old 
Laws of Norway. Professor A. TARANGER, University of 
Christiania . . . . . 159 

IX. Les Idees coutumieres et la Renaissance du Droit romain 
dans le Sud-Est de la France. Professor R. CAILLEMER, 
University of Grenoble . . . . .174 

X. La Maxime Princeps. legibus solutus est dans 1'ancien Droit 
public frangais. By the late Professor A. ESMEIN, of the 
Institute of France, and of the University of Paris . . 2oiy 

XI. Two Ancient Brocards. Professor H. GOUDY, University of 

Oxford . . . . . . .215 

XII. A Sketch of the History of the Four Inns of Court. Dr. 
W. BLAKE ODGERS, K.'C, Director of Legal Education in 
the Inns of Court, London . . . -233 

XIII. The Early History of English Equity. Dr. H. D. HAZELTINE, 

Reader in the University of Cambridge . '. . (261) 


viii Table of Contents 

XIV. The Transformation of Equity. The Right Hon. Sir 

FREDERICK POLLOCK, F.B.A. . . . . ( 286 

The Influence of Coke on the Development of English Law. 

Dr. W. S. HOLDSWORTH, Reader in the University of 

Oxford ....... 297 

XVI. Uber die Geschichte des Majoritatsprinzips. Geheimrath 

Professor Otto von GlERKE, University of Berlin . . 312 

XVII. Une Antithese du Principe majoritaire en Droit polonais. Dr. 

W. KONOPCZYNSKI, Decent in the University of Cracow . 336 
XVIII. The Modern Study of Canon Law. Professor ANDREA 

GALANTE, of the Italian Legal Faculty formerly at Innsbruck 348 
XIX. L'Idee de 1'Etat et son Evolution en Russie depuis les 

Troubles du xvn e Siecle jusqu'aux Reformes du xvm e . 

Dr. A. LAPPO-DANILEVSKIJ, of the Imperial Academy of 

Sciences, St. Petersburg . . . . 356 

XX. Der Verfassungsentwurf der Siebzehn Vertrauensmanner. Ein 

Beitrag zur Geschichte des Frankfurter Parlaments. 

Professor R. HUBNER, University of Giessen . . 384 





BY the Lord Chief Justice of England's desire I have to inform you 
that to his great regret, a regret in which I am sure every one here 
fully concurs for our sake as well as his, ill health prevents him 
from carrying out his intention of welcoming the Section of Legal 
History and delivering the inaugural address. I am charged to 
bid you welcome in the Chief Justice's name and as his deputy ; the 
inaugural address will be given by my friend Professor Vinogradoff, 
who is specially qualified for the task by his cosmopolitan learning 
and his mastery of historical and comparative jurisprudence. 

As one of the delegates to this Congress of the Honourable 
Society of Lincoln's Inn, in whose Old Hall we now meet, I beg to 
add a hearty welcome on behalf of the Treasurer and my fellow 
Masters of the Bench. 

This year 1913 is the year which some of our amateur alarmists, 
only a little while ago, had fixed upon as the time appointed for 
an invasion of this realm from lands beyond sea. We now see 
their prediction fulfilled after a sort, perhaps as near the letter as 
most amateur predictions are. The invaders are here, and the 
British Academy, we hope, was not altogether unprepared. For 
some months, at any rate, its heralds cried, like Hagen when 
he stands on the rock in the Gotterddmmerung, ' Waffen durch's 
Land ! Gute Waffen ! Starke Waffen ! ' A multitude of more or 
less learned and academic persons, even more diversely equipped 
in their several Faculties than Gunther's vassals, answered the call, 
and when they came with like words in their mouth ' Was soil 

i B 

2 F. Pollock [i 

ihm das Heer nun noch helfen ? ' the instructions they received, 
though not unexpected, were otherwise not unlike Hagen's. ' Starke 
Stiere sollt ihr schlachten ' : whatever else the invading host of 
historians were to find, there should be a festive meeting with the 
usual accompaniments. Committees and sub - committees have 
accordingly been engaged in preparations which may be called, in 
a general way, serving tables I do not mean exclusively or chiefly 
dining tables. These preparations, useful and needful as they are, 
do not make it easier for those who are occupied with them to give 
adequate attention to making ready the feast of reason contemplated 
as the main object of our gathering. Nor can we expect, at this 
time of year, much reinforcement from our English-speaking 
brethren of the American schools. 

But our spiritual feast is such that the guests do not come 
empty-handed, and the list of papers to be read gives ample warrant 
that any defects on the part of the British Academy and the 
British Faculties will be more than made good by contributions in 
which Continental seats of learning from Christiania to Palermo 
will be worthily represented. 

I call on Professor Vinogradoff to take the chair. 





IT is to be regretted that our proceedings should not be inaugurated 
by a distinguished member of the English Bench : in England 
more than in any other country one has to look to the considered 
decisions of learned judges for the historical development of legal 
doctrine. It is not mere chance that the two most influential 
expositors of English law Bracton and Blackstone were judges. 
As, however, the task of giving the inaugural address has been 
entrusted to me, I must approach it from what may be called the 
academic point of view. The duty of addressing an audience 
composed of representative jurists from the principal countries of 
Europe is not an easy one, but it would not be amiss, I think, if, 
before speakers take up the thread of their various subjects, I dwelt 
very briefly on some of the points which unite us all and supply the 
connecting links between the various researches in Roman and 
English, German and Slavonic, Civil, Canon, and Common Law. 
The attempt is not so presumptuous as it may seem at first sight, 
because certain guiding lines have been traced by generations of 
leading workers, and what is chiefly required on the present 
occasion is a summing-up of familiar inquiries. After all, every 
one of us, whether he treats expressly of general principles or not, 
is bound to make up his mind on this subject : investigations as to 
the legal systems of particular nations, states and periods, bear 
necessarily on the theory of law, and embody in concrete forms 
conceptions and methods of jurisprudence. 

The fundamental unity of our study may be realized from two 


4 P. Vinogradoff [n 

main points of view. They are provided by continuity on the 
one hand and by similarity on the other. There are streams of 
doctrines and institutional facts which pass through the ages and 
cross national boundaries from one historical formation to another. 
These constitute what may be called the current of cultural 
tradition. Again, the solutions of legal problems on different 
occasions fall into groups according to similarities and contrasts, 
for which there is a common basis in the nature of the problems 
themselves. This gives rise to the application of the comparative 
method. The continuity of culture and comparative jurisprudence 
produce the atmosphere of what might have been called Inter- 
national Law, had not the term been appropriated to other uses. 

It is not necessary to dwell at length on the progress which 
has been made in tracing cultural continuity in the history of legal 
systems. A classical example used to be drawn from the reception 
of Roman Law by mediaeval and modern Europe. In recent 
years we have witnessed another and hardly less remarkable move- 
ment of investigation in regard to the force of cultural traditions : 
the study of inscriptions and papyri has led to a rediscovery of 
Hellenism. In the hands of Mitteis, Dareste, Grenfell and Hunt, 
Rostowzew, Wenger, and many others, it has entirely changed the 
aspect of ancient history, connecting, as it does, the doctrines of 
the Digest and of the Code with Greek and Oriental antecedents. 
The other day Sir William Ramsay, one of the pioneers of this 
study, called attention to an interesting fact of this kind. In St. 
Luke's Gospel (ii. 1-5) it is stated that Joseph and Mary had to 
leave the town of Nazareth where they dwelt to go to Bethlehem, 
Joseph's birthplace, in order to be enrolled there for the census. 

1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a 
decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be enrolled 
(A.V. taxed). . . . 

2. And all went to be enrolled, every one to his own city. 

4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of 
Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called 
Bethlehem ; (because he was of the house and lineage of David :) 

5. To be enrolled with Mary, his espoused wife, being great 
with child. 

This idea, that a person's birthplace is a home to which he 
remains perpetually attached, is quite foreign to modern notions, 
but it played an important part in the legal arrangements of the 

n] Presidential Address 5 

ancient world. It appears as the Origo so rigidly kept up by the 
Emperors of the Lower Empire Diocletian, Constantine, and 
their successors and it has to be considered as one of the principal 
rules of the state of siege in which the Empire lived from the 
fourth century A.D. Yet the verses of St. Luke just quoted, and 
many other indications (e.g. a decree of a Roman governor of 
Egypt in 1 54 A.D.), connect it with another set of facts viz. with 
the Eastern conception of populations firmly established in their 
homes a notion expressed by the Hellenistic term ISia. We may 
add that it connects it also, with Oriental forms of absolute rule 
tending to register and tax subject populations according to the 
requirements of fiscal utility. 1 

In this case the continuity of principle rests on the broad basis 
of social traditions. Sometimes similar results are produced by the 
development of what may be called juridical invention. When a 
technical method has been discovered which provides simple and 
adequate means for satisfying certain needs, it is not likely to dis- 
appear, even after vast changes have taken place in social conditions. 
For example, the law of jettison and salvage from shipwreck was 
settled by the naval customs of the Greeks. As Rhodian law, 2 it 
was received by the Romans and incorporated in the Digest (xiv. 2). 
It remained the basis of maritime law in the Byzantine Empire and 
took shape in the tract called No/xos Navmcos. Thence it spread 
through the customs of Mediterranean and Adriatic cities, as 
exemplified, for instance, by the ordinances of Ragusa. 3 In sub- 
stance, the rules formulated in this way still remain the basis of 
modern maritime law in European countries, including England. 

The second method of connecting materials belonging to different 
spheres of national development arises from the comparison of 
analogous and contrasting formations of law. What I have 
particularly in view is not the accumulation of more or less similai 
facts which used to be the aim of writers like Post. The enthusiasm 
for comparison frequently led in this case to confusion : interesting 

1 See The Expositor, Dec. 1912. Cf. Rostowzew, Studien zur Geschichte 
d. rbmischen Kolonats ; and de Zulueta, De Patrociniis Vicorum, in 
Vinogradoff 's Oxford Studies, 1 909. 

2 See Ashburner, The Lex Rhodia. 

3 See Liber Statutorum Civitatis Ragusii, ed. BogiSic and Jirecek, 1904. 
Cf. Dareste, tudes d'Histoire du Droit, iii. 93 ; and Vinogradoff, Law 
Quarterly Review, 1903. 

6 P. Vinogradoff [n 

data might be reduced to a mixture of commonplace statements and 
unproved assumptions which on closer inspection were often shown 
to be anything but homogeneous. The excesses of such uncritical 
accumulation have, indeed, thrown some discredit on the com- 
parative method itself. Fortunately this method has found a 
better treatment at the hands of writers equally skilled in historical 
criticism and in juridical analysis. It is not the juxtaposition 
of resembling facts, but the dialectical examination of given 
principles in various surroundings, which yields fruitful and some- 
times unexpected results. Let me take as an example the curious 
treatment of obligation in recent literature. Brinz, a leading authority 
on Roman Law, dissected the notion of the obligatio of the Digest. 
He observed that obligatio does not correspond to the German 
Verpflichtung : the latter points to duty, and any duty, including 
a legal one, resolves itself into a charge on the will of a person, 
whereas obligatio points at the same time to a state of subjection 
or liability (Haftung) which is derived from physical sway. 1 This 
led to a subtle analysis of the notions of legal duty and of liability 
as the two constituent elements of Roman obligation. Von Amira 
showed that the two elements were not only theoretically separable 
but actually distinct in Scandinavian law 2 ; while Puntschart 
conducted a similar demonstration in regard to the mediaeval law 
of Saxon Germany. 3 Partsch applied the discovery in a brilliant 
manner to ancient Greek law, by showing that the process of 
enforcing an obligation was carried out by a recourse to a pledge over 
whom the obligee obtained physical sway. 4 A striking instance of 
this was drawn from the scene in the Odyssey in which Poseidon 
comes forward to release Ares and Aphrodite from the net thrown 
over them by the deceived husband, Hephaestus. 5 It is recognized 
that Ares owes the husband a customary compensation (ato-ipx), 
and Poseidon offers himself as a security for the enforcement of the 
payment. The sea-god would be primarily liable in his own person 
as a hostage for Ares, but Hephaestus does not like the idea of 
binding so powerful a god, and prefers a promise from the pledge 

1 Brinz, Archiv fur dmlistische Praxis, i. (1874) 15 ff. 

2 Amira, Nordgermanisches Obligationenrecht, ii. 73. 

3 Puntschart, Schuldvertrag u. Treugelobnis des sdchsischen Rechts des 
Mittelalters (1896). 

4 Partsch, Griechisches Burgschaftsrecht, i. I o ff. 

5 Od. viii. 344 sqq. 

n] Presidential Address 7 

to pay instead of Ares if the latter should take to flight. This 
suggestive interpretation of the scene serves as an appropriate in- 
troduction to the Greek law of pledge. Von Gierke investigated 
thoroughly the dualism of duty and liability (Schuld and Haftung} 
in German law. 1 He showed, among other things, how legal duty 
{Schuld} came to be treated as an object in itself, how it gave rise to 
real right, and was sometimes combined with possession of land. On 
the other hand, the development of securities for enforcement also 
assumed a peculiar bent, because the pledge was regarded not 
as a subsidiary help to the- principal, but as a substitute for the 
direct fulfilment of the legal duty ; while the wager was explained 
as a symbol of the surrender of property. It would lead Us too 
far afield to consider the reaction of this historical analysis on the 
well-worn controversy as to the meaning and operation of the nexum 
in early Roman law. 2 I only mention the renewal of this famous 
dispute in order to recall to your minds that a discussion begun by 
a Romanist, carried on by eminent Germanists and by a student of 
Greek law, reverted, as it were, to the history of Roman law in its 
early stages. 

The method of comparative investigation in such cases is 
characterized by the part assigned to the dialectics of principles. 
It starts from the definition of conceptions and traces their ' ramifi- 
cation ' (Abzweigung\ their conflicts and compromises. At the 
same time it opens the way for the study of the material conditions 
of development. It is not only from the point of view of logical dis- 
tinctions that analogies and contrasts in law have to be considered. 
It is clear that there is a background of social conditions which 
account to a great extent for the stages of the doctrinal evolution. 
As regards this very dualism of legal duty and liability, for example, 
it was called forth historically by the characteristic attitude of 
early commonwealths to the question of the enforcement of law. 
We are so accustomed nowadays to the correspondence between 
legal rights and legal remedies that it is difficult for us to imagine 
a state of society in which such a direct correspondence did not 
exist. And yet it is with such states of society that we have to 
deal in early Germanic as well as in early Greek and Roman law. 
When self-help was the principal mode of enforcing right, when 

1 Von Gierke, Schuld u. Haftung im alterer deutschen Recht. 

2 See de Zulueta, The Recent Controversy about Nexum, Oxford, 1912. 

8 P. Vinogradoff [n 

juridical conflicts commonly resolved themselves into feuds, or had 
to be managed by arbitration, when even legal proceedings were 
initiated by ceremonial agreements, the practical enforcement of 
liability naturally took the shape of an appeal, not to public force, 
but to private execution. The two necessary elements of such an 
execution are recognition by the parties, and assured substitutes 
for the fulfilment of a recognized duty. The importance of 
recognition as a basis of law is as instructive in this case as it is 
in the formation of modern Constitutional and International Law. 
It is certainly important to realize that the formation of law 
proceeds in many, if not in all cases, not from the command of a 
sovereign, but from recognition by parties. The process of execu- 
tion by the taking of pledges is quite as characteristic. The pledge 
is originally a hostage. 1 The treaties between contracting parties 
and litigants in Iceland, Norway, Saxon England, or Germany, 
had to be supplemented by the giving of pledge-hostages, and 
sometimes these pledges experienced the treatment of hostages in 
a literal sense : they might be imprisoned or coerced until the 
obligation had been fulfilled either by them or by the principal. 2 
It is by comparing the evidence of Greek, Roman, and Germanic 
practice that we realize to what extent these features of technical 
law depended on the conditions of societies in the stage of what 
may be called primitive confederation. 

This leads to a further step in the application of the comparative 
method. If juridical conceptions can serve as links in comparative 
analysis, it is natural to ask whether these links are themselves 
perennial or subject to transformation. How far have we to deal 
with certain constant attributes of legal thought which provided a 
frame for varying contents, and how far do vital and important 
legal doctrines take shape from historical conditions? Attempts 
to construct a science of law composed of constant and ever- 
recurring rules have been made again and again. Quite recently, 
an eminent representative of the Neo-Kantian school, Stammler, 
has brought together in a voluminous book the absolute require- 
ments of juridical logic, and has inscribed on his work the significant 
motto Non est mortale quod opto. Undoubtedly a certain amount 

1 Rintelen, Schuldhaft u. Einlager im Vollstreckungsverfahren. 

2 Esmein, Melanges de Rome, viii. (1888) 426-436 ; cf. Glotz, La Solidarity 
de la Famille. 

n] Presidential Address 9 

of logical doctrine arises in connection with law ; it is necessary 
not only in order to explain the common phraseology of law, but 
to guide us in the process of juridical reasoning. But when too 
much insistence is laid on this department of jurisprudence, it is 
apt to degenerate into scholasticism, and to recall the famous 
strictures of Goethe's Mephistopheles on the teaching of logic : 

Then, the philosopher steps in 
And shows, no otherwise it could have been : 
The First was so, the Second so, 
Therefore the Third and Fourth are so ; 
Were not the First and Second, then 
The Third and Fourth had never been. 1 

As in every other branch of knowledge, it is the contents of law 
that interest men rather than the formal framework ; and the 
contents, even the most fundamental, are admittedly subject to 
variation. As Ihering has forcibly expressed it : 

Law is not less a product of history than handicraft, naval 
construction, technical skill : as Nature did not provide Adam's 
soul with a ready-made conception of a kettle, of a ship, or of a 
steamer, even so she has not presented him with property, marriage, 
binding contracts, the State. And the same may be said of all 
moral rules. . . . The whole moral order is a product of history, 
or, to put it more definitely, of the striving towards ends, of the 
untiring activity and work of human .reason tending to satisfy 
wants and to provide against difficulties. 2 

The causes producing variations of legal principles are many : 
the influence of economic surroundings, of national character, of 
historical collisions, of cultural loans, the cross-currents of religious 
and philosophical thought, may be mentioned among the factors 
which lead to variations. It would be out of the question to make 
anything but a passing reference to these factors. One class of 
causes, however, deserves particular attention, because they not 
only differentiate theories and systems of law, but combine them 

1 Der Philosoph, der tritt herein 
Und beweist euch, es musst' so sein : 
Das Erst' war' so, das Zweite so, 
Und drum das Dritt' und Vierte so ; 
Und wenn das Erst' und Zweit' nicht war', 
Das Dritt' und Viert' war 7 nimmermehr. 
2 Ziveck im Recht, ii. 112. 

io P. Vinogradoff [n 

into groups. I mean the effect of the social type on the formation 
of definite sets of jurisprudential theory. There have not been so 
many fundamental types of social organization at least in the 
Western world. Roughly speaking, we have to reckon with six 
great types. Human society has assumed the form of a tribe, that 
is, an association based mainly on real or supposed kinship ; it has 
been concentrated in cities ; it has adapted itself to the relations of 
a landed estate ; it has expanded into churches ; it has been made 
to serve the aims of free individuals under state control ; lastly, it 
may be organized as an association for the purpose of controlling 
the production and distribution of goods. 

According to the road selected by a community among these 
classes, certain points of view are created for the formulation and 
solution of juridical problems, as may be gathered from familiar 
examples. Property will be treated differently by individualistic 
and by socialistic communities, but it has also received a peculiar 
treatment at the hands of the Church and of the City-State, as well 
as in feudal and in tribal law. Again, the notions of crime and 
punishment have been differentiated according to the character of 
the social tie. In tribal society, crime was substantially ' contempt 
of court' or a direct offence against the tribe, while punishment 
appeared chiefly as revenge ; the City was unsparing in its require- 
ments from its children, the citizens, and relentless in its methods 
of educating and eventually suppressing them. The notion of 
breach of faith is as characteristic of feudal jurisprudence as the 
notion of sin is characteristic of the Church. The treatment of 
crime as an expression of perverse will and the psychology of 
deterrent punishment are natural to individualistic communities ; 
whereas in societies with a- socialistic bent crime comes to be 
considered from the pathological point of view, and punishment 
assumes the aspect of medical treatment. Even the fundamental 
conceptions of law itself are to a great extent dependent on sub- 
mission to one or the other type of social order. In tribal societies, 
law is a declaration of custom ; in city-states it is justice as con- 
ceived by the city Soa rrjs n-oAews ; in feudal organizations it is 
based on express or tacit agreements ; from the point of view of the 
Church, it is the recognition of Divine precepts in the govern- 
ment of the world ; in individualistic societies it is the command 
of the sovereign will ; from the socialistic point of view, it should 

n] Presidential Address 1 1 

be the means for carrying out social justice and expediency in the 
attribution of rights. 

In laying stress on jurisprudential principles as realized by 
history, I do not wish to suggest for a moment that any one of 
these notions has reigned supreme in a particular commonwealth 
to the exclusion of all others. Juridical history, as well as history 
in general, shows to what extent political ideas slide and shade off 
one into the other, and how, on the other hand, every epoch 
presents contradictions and compromises between rival forces. 
Nevertheless, the study of juridical evolution discloses prevailing 
tendencies which change with the times as has been brilliantly 
illustrated, for example, in reference to our own age. in Dicev's 


Page 7 note I for al&erer read alteren 
Page n, 1. 20 for Wenger read Menger 

Vinogradoff, Legal History Face p. 10 

Nov. 1913 

its necessary complement, in Bentham's theory of the summation 
of individual expediencies. Both elements are, as a matter of fact, 
blended in the rationalistic system of Austin. All these doctrines 
take root in the competition of the modern commercial world, and 
find a curious counterpart in the individualistic jurisprudence of 
the Pax Romana as encased in the political fabric of the Empire. 
It I seems, in fact, as if, instead of seeking for the philosopher's 
stone in the shape of a single theory of law, we had better attend 
for the present to five or six theories of law derived from different 
social premisses. 

However this may be, one thing seems clear. Jurists approach 
historical problems on their own lines, with their particular habits 
of mind. Whatever attention they may give to the careful study 
of evidence, to the proper sequence of events, and to exact 

io P. Vinogradoff [n 

into groups. I mean the effect of the social type on the formation 
of definite sets of jurisprudential theory. There have not been so 
many fundamental types of social organization at least in the 
Western world. Roughly speaking, we have to reckon with six 
great types. Human society has assumed the form of a tribe, that 
is, an association based mainly on real or supposed kinship ; it has 
been concentrated in cities ; it has adapted itself to the relations of 
a landed estate ; it has expanded into churches ; it has been made 
to serve the aims of free individuals under state control ; lastly, it 
may be organized as an association for the purpose of controlling 
the production and distribution of goods. 

According to the road selected by a community among these 

notion of sin is characteristic of the Church. The treatment of 
crime as an expression of perverse will and the psychology of 
deterrent punishment are natural to individualistic communities ; 
whereas in societies with a socialistic bent crime comes to be 
considered from the pathological point of view, and punishment 
assumes the aspect of medical treatment. Even the fundamental 
conceptions of law itself are to a great extent dependent on sub- 
mission to one or the other type of social order. In tribal societies, 
law is a declaration of custom ; in city-states it is justice as con- 
ceived by the city 86ga -njs iroAcws ; in feudal organizations it is 
based on express or tacit agreements ; from the point of view of the 
Church, it is the recognition of Divine precepts in the govern- 
ment of the world ; in individualistic societies it is the command 
of the sovereign will ; from the socialistic point of view, it should 

n] Presidential Address 1 1 

be the means for carrying out social justice and expediency in the 
attribution of rights. 

In laying stress on jurisprudential principles as realized by 
history, I do not wish to suggest for a moment that any one of 
these notions has reigned supreme in a particular commonwealth 
to the exclusion of all others. Juridical history, as well as history 
in general, shows to what extent political ideas slide and shade off 
one into the other, and how, on the other hand, every epoch 
presents contradictions and compromises between rival forces. 
Nevertheless, the study of juridical evolution discloses prevailing 
tendencies which change with the times as has been brilliantly 
illustrated, for example, in reference to our own age, in Dicey's 
Law and Opinion in England. 

This makes it both possible and desirable to group the facts 
supplied by history not only in their organic sequences of national 
development, but also according to the social types to which they 
correspond. Many partial attempts have been made in this direc- 
tion. I may refer, for example, to Maine's and Leist's books on 
Aryan tribal law ; to statements of jurisprudence by Catholic writers 
like Cathrein, and by socialists like Wenger. But the method is 
worthy of a much wider application. For example, it would be 
an interesting task to treat from this point of view the theories of 
jurisprudence which correspond to modern systems of public and 
private law. It would be found, perhaps, that Hobbes' theory of 
the omnipotent state finds its opposite pole, and at the same time 
its necessary complement, in Bentham's theory of the summation 
of individual expediencies. Both elements are, as a matter of fact, 
blended in the rationalistic system of Austin. All these doctrines 
take root in the competition of the modern commercial world, and 
find a curious counterpart in the individualistic jurisprudence of 
the Pax Romana as encased in the political fabric of the Empire. 
It ! seems, in fact, as if, instead of seeking for the philosopher's 
stone in the shape of a single theory of law, we had better attend 
for the present to five or six theories of law derived from different 
social premisses. 

However this may be, one thing seems clear. Jurists approach 
historical problems on their own lines, with their particular habits 
of mind. Whatever attention they may give to the careful study 
of evidence, to the proper sequence of events, and to exact 

12 P. Vinogradoff [n 

knowledge of historical environment, they are sure to look out for 
doctrine in the end that is, for statements of principles, of their 
consequences in theory and their application in practice. This 
being so, methods of analysis and of constructive reasoning which 
are exercised daily in pleading and deciding cases, in stating and 
interpreting rules, in formulating and safeguarding rights, are 
bound to reappear in the grouping and discussion of historical 
material by lawyers. Legal history as an exact reproduction of 
the past has, indeed, to be supplemented by historical jurisprudence 
in the sense of a reasoned account of the evolution of legal 
principles. Such a jurisprudence is free from the delimitations 
imposed on nations and periods : it derives its divisions and 
chapters from conceptional distinctions. 

This feature is especially noticeable in those connecting studies 
with which I have been dealing in my address. The gravitation 
towards the home (or the traditions of maritime law) are not 
circumscribed by the boundaries of monarchies. The principles of 
legal duty and liability unfold their contents not only in theoretical 
discussion, but in the analogies and contrasts of various legal 
systems. The conceptions of property, of crime and punishment, 
of law itself, appear in correspondence to the social type in their 
environment. And, I should like to say in conclusion, it is perhaps 
this alliance between exact observation and dialectical reasoning 
which makes our mode of studying history, despite technical diffi- 
culties and the dryness of many details, so attractive to the mind. 
Thanks to the juridical method, masses of historical facts, accumulated 
as if by accident, are sifted and become capable of being treated as 
manifestations of a certain Aoyos of reason governing the moral 



DIE Frage, welche ich vor Ihnen, wenn nicht zu beantworten, so 
doch zu erortern versuchen will, veranlasst mich, obwohl vor einem 
internationalen Forum von Historikern und Rechtsgelehrten spre- 
chend, doch einen nationalen Ausgangspunkt zu wahlen. Wie 
Ihnen alien bekannt, hat Deutschl^nd zur Jahrhundertswende sich 
ein neues nationales Privatrecht geschaffen und damit die friiher 
weit verbreitete Geltung des altehrwiirdigen Corpus Juris Civilis 
beseitigt. Der notwendige Riickschlag, den diese Neuregelung 
eines so wichtigen Gebietes der staatlichen Ordnung auf das 
Studium dieser Ordnung selbs.t ausiiben musste, hat eine arge 
Unruhe in den Studienbetrieb an den juristischen Fakultaten 
hineingetragen. Die Zeiten, in denen das Pandektenstudium im 
deutschen Sinne, d.h. also das Studium des durch Wissenschaft 
und Praxis ausgestalteten gemeinen Rechts " die vornehmste 
Aufgabe fur Forschung und Lehre an den deutschen Universitaten 
war, sind dahin : Lehrer und in neuerer Zeit auch Schiller schlagen 
sich ubersturzende Reformen vor: von Riickkehr zur alten 
Ordnung, Wiedereinfuhrung des Pandektenstudiums erhoffen die 
einen Forderung, von Beseitigung des romischen Rechtsstudiums, 
insbesondere der sogenannten Rechtsgeschichte, aber nicht bloss 
der romischen, auch der deutschen, von rein praktischer Gegen- 
wartsausbildung schwarmen die anderen. Ich brauche vor dieser 
Versammlung von Mannern, die ihre Lebensarbeit in den Dienst 
historischer Forschung gestellt haben, die geschichtliche Methode 
des Rechtsunterrichts und der juristischen Forschung nicht zu 
verteidigen, nicht zu betonen, wie jene Reformer" die Jurisprudenz 
in ihrem Lebensnerv bedrohen, die sie aus einer Wissenschaft zu 


14 L. IVenger [m 

einer positiven Kunde von Bestimmungen degradieren wollen, welche 
man im praktischen Leben unmittelbar brauchen konne. Es sind 
Banausen, die nicht nach der Idee der Publizitat fur den Im- 
mobiliarrechtsverkehr fragen, sondern nach der Art, wie ein Grund- 
buchsgesuch ausserlich aussehen muss, die nicht von den Gedanken 
gehandelt wissen wollen, die sich im Recht der Wertpapiere 
verkorpern, sondern verlangen, dass der Rechtsunterricht auf alle 
Einzelheiten der gegenwartig geltenden Wechselordnung eingehend 
vorbereite ! 

Aber gerade dieser Ansturm gegen allesGeschichtliche zwingt die 
Vertreter einer historischen Rechtsforschung zur Anspannung aller 
Krafte der Verteidigung. Es soil, um von der romischen Rechts- 
geschichte zu sprechen, der Beweis erbracht werden, dass sie mehr 
ist, als was jene unkundigen Verachter von ihr behaupten, ,mehr 
als eine blosse Aufzahlung von Leges und Senatsbeschliissen, von 
Juristennamen und Juristenschriften, die heute niemanden mehr 
interessieren. Ich bin damit bei meinem Thema angelangt und 
werde in der Kiirze der mir zu Gebote stehenden Zeit auf einiges 
von dem hinzuweisen versuchen, was meines Erachtens heute 
Aufgabe einer Darstellung der romischen Rechtsgeschichte ist. 

Ich meine dabei eine Darstellung, welche dem Studierenden 
und dem Gebildeten geboten werden kann, welche die Resultate 
der Forschung zusammenfasst und die Zusammenhange aufweist, 
die das Einst und Jetzt verbinden, aber auch die Gegensatze nicht 
verhiillt, die Vergangenheit und Gegenwart von einander scheiden. 
Und ich meine, dass es zur Zeit an einer liber den Grundriss sich 
erhebenden Darstellung, die der Forschung auf alien Gebieten des 
offentlichen und privaten Rechtslebens der Antike folgt, tatsachlich 
fehle. Es sei mir gestattet, wieder an einer deutschen Parallele 
zu exemplifizieren. Ein entsprechendes Werk wie etwa Schroders 
Lehrbuch der deutschen Rechtsgeschichte , oder auch nur Brunners 
Grundzuge der deutschen Rechtsgeschichte fehlt den Romanisten. 
Es existieren gute Arbeiten aus friiherer Zeit : es liegt mir feme, 
sie hier aufzuzahlen oder gar zu kritisieren. Aber seit einem 
Vierteljahrhundert ist kein deutsches Lehrbuch der romischen 
Rechtsgeschichte mehr erschienen : auch keine Neuauflage eines 
alteren Buchs. Erst in aller jiingster Zeit (1912-13) macht Robert 
von Mayr in der bekannten Sammlung Goeschen den Versuch, die 
romische Rechtsgeschichte darzustellen die Enge des verfiigbaren 

in] Romische Rechtsgeschichte 15 

Raums, der Zweck der Sammlung bindet aber den Verfasser, der, 
wenn ich ihm nachempfinden darf, uberall durch die ihm gezogenen 
Grenzen beengt ist. Man vergleiche etwa Schroders Lehrbuch 
mit Schroders eben erscheinender Darstellung der deutschen 
Rechtsgeschichte in Goeschens Sammlung ! In gewisser Hin- 
sicht gilt, wenn ich mir liber eigene Arbeit ein Urteil erlauben 
darf, dasselbe auch von den Partien iiber Verfassung und Ver- 
waltung des europ&ischen Alter turns (1911) und von der eben 
im Druck befindlichen Abhandlung iiber das Recht der Griechen 
und Romer in Hinnebergs Kultur der Gegenwart. Ich habe in 
wiederholten Gesprachen mit Kollegen an deutschen und oster- 
reichischen Universitaten zu konstatieren Gelegenheit gehabt, dass 
dieser Mangel und die Wichtigkeit der Aufgabe einer Neu- 
darstellung allgemeiner empfunden wird. Die romische Rechts- 
geschichte ist ihrem umspannenden Namen untreu geworden, sie 
ist zur Geschichte der Quellen und Literatur zusammengeschrumpft, 
obwohl sie sich wenigstens in den Universitatskatalogen noch 
romische Rechtsgeschichte " nennt. Ja, ich begegnete auch der 
Ansicht, dass eben nur das als Rechtsgeschichte " in Betracht 
kame. Die gangbaren Lehrbiicher des Privatrechts ich nenne 
etwa als Vertreter Sohm, Czyhlarz, Girard, Costa beschranken 
sich darauf, eine Quellengeschichte oder den Abriss einer solchen 
voranzustellen. Diese selbst erfreut sich eingehender Bearbeitung : 
P. Kriiger ist (1913) in zweiter, Kipp (schon 1909) in dritter 
Auflage erschienen. 

Eine Arbeit allerdings erfullt in ihrer eben erschienenen Neu- 
auflage eine auch weit gespannte Erwartung : Lenels Neudar- 
stellung von Bruns* Geschichte und Quellen des romischen Rechts. 1 
Hier finden wir in knappster Skizzierung grosse Partien einer 
modernen romischen Rechtsgeschichte, leider war der Verfasser 
durch Bruns' StofTabgrenzung und die Anlage des ganzen enzyklo- 
padischen Werkes gebunden. 

Nicht unerwahnt soil endlich Pacchionis Corso (1905) bleiben, 
wenngleich auch er prinzipiell nur Staatsverfassung und Quellen 
bringen will. 

Uberall sind die wichtigen Probleme der ich mochte zusam- 
menfassend sagen Staatsverwaltung in den Hintergrund gedrangt, 

1 Holtzendorff- Kohler, Enzyklopddie der Rechtswissenschaft, 7. Aufl. 
(1913), Bd. i. S. 303 ff. 

1 6 L. IVenger [m 

hochstens gelegentlich gestreift, das interessante Gebiet des Straf- 
rechts ist ganz vernachlassigt, nur das Privatprozessrecht erfreut 
sich im Anschluss an das dominierende Privatrecht eingehenderer 
Beachtung. Aber wahrend die Darstellung des Privatprozessrechts 
meist kaum bis zum Kognitionsverfahren, jedenfalls nicht bis zum 
justinianischen Prozessrecht herabgefiihrt wird, liegt im Privatrecht 
alles Gewicht auf dem vom Rechtskaiser kodifizierten Recht. 

Ich will hier die alte theoretisch naturlich unlosbare, praktisch- 
empirisch nach den Erfahrungen des einen so, des anderen anders 
zu beantwortende Frage nicht erortern, ob die Darstellung 
geschichtliche Perioden der Entwickelung des Rechts fixieren und 
innerhalb dieser den ganzen Werdegang des Rechts darstellen, oder 
ein Rechtsinstitut von den grauesten Anfangen durch alle Zeit hin- 
durch verfolgen soil. Beide Methoden haben ihre Vor- und Nach- 
teile, beide lassen sich im miindlichen Unterricht verwerten, doch 
fur buchmassige Darstellung ist meines Erachtens die Perioden- 
teilung brauchbarer. 

Die Frage, ob die herkommliche Teilung der romischen Rechts- 
geschichte in die bekannten vier Perioden beibehalten oder aufge- 
geben zu werden verdient, ist schwer zu entscheiden. Wenn man 
das Privatrecht oder den Prozess im Auge hat, da wird man an die 
Zwolftafeln, an die neu einsetzende Entwickelung des Rechts- und 
Wirtschaftslebens seit den siegreichen Kampfen mit Karthago, 
oder im Privatprozessrecht an die Bedeutung der aebutischen Lex 
denken : aber die Verfassungsgeschichte heischt doch die alther- 
kommliche Teilung in Konigsherrschaft, Republik, Prinzipatszeit 
und Despotic. Auch der Abschluss der Darstellung der Rechts- 
geschichte ist von selbst mit Justinians Werk gegeben. Das 
offentliche Recht ist von der Zeit der Griindung germanischer 
Reiche auf romischer Erde der Domane der nationalen Rechts- 
geschichte zugewiesen ; naturgemass ist auch die Darstellung des 
Privatrechts von da ab nationale Rechtsgeschichte, die ihrerseits 
freilich die Aufnahme der fremden Rechte in den Bereich der 
Darstellung ziehen muss. Ganz eigenartig und nur mit dem 
iiberragenden Einfluss der rezipierten romischen Rechtsmassen 
auf deutscher Erde erklarlich ist die Entstehung der deutschen 
Pandektenlehre und -Praxis, des im neuen biirgerlichen Gesetzbuch 
noch so lebhaft nachwirkenden gemeinen Rechts." 

Nach den zu behandelnden Gegenstanden wird sich eine 

in] Rmnische Rechtsgeschichte 1 7 

Darstellung der romischen Rechtsgeschichte " am besten in 
folgende Abschnitte gliedern konnen : Staatsverfassung uiid Quellen- 
geschichte, Staatsverwaltung, . Strafrecht und Strafprozessrecht, 
Privatrecht und Privatprozessrecht. Es sei gestattet, einige 
Fragen aus diesen Kapiteln fur die einzelnen Perioden naher 
zu behandeln. 

I. DieKonigszei t. Bei alien Z weifeln liber die Anfange Roms, 
bei aller Uberwucherung der Konigsgeschichte mit sagenhafter 
Ausschmiickung, wird doch soviel behauptet werden diirfen, dass 
auch Rom beim Eintritt in die Geschichte von Konigen beherrscht 
war und dies selbst dann, wenn die Griinder der ewigen Stadt 
Etrusker gewesen sein sollten. So sehr schon hier die Hypothese 
anstelle sicherer Erkenntnis tritt, so miissen wir selbst den Versuch 
wagen, in die Zeit vor der Griindung " der Stadt zuriickzublicken. 
All die reizvollen Probleme der vorhistorischen Zeit tauchen da 
auch vor dem Auge des romischen Rechtshistorikers auf : wo sind 
die Vorvater der Romer her? wo sassen die Indogermanen ? was 
weiss man liber ihre Kultur? wo fangt die reine Hypothese an? 
Dann das grakoitalische Problem. 1st etwas Wahres an der lange 
behaupteten engeren Verwandtschaft zwischen Griechen und 
Italikern? Gerade hier kann neben der Sprachvergleichung die 
Rechtsgeschichte der allgemeinen, Geschichte durch Vergleichung 
der Rechtsinstitute einen Dienst erweisen. Endlich das italische 
Volkerproblem. Wo sind sie alle her, die in Italien sesshaft 
geworden, die Japygen, die Etrusker, die Latiner und die Samniten ? 

Und dann die Anfange Roms : die Fragen nach der personalen 
Gliederung des Volks, nach Familie und Geschlecht und nach den 
Mannerverbanden, den Phratrien und Kurien, aber auch nach der 
territorialen Gliederung der sesshaft Gewordenen, nach Dorf und 
Gau und der jungeren Tribus. 

Die Grundung der Stadt, die Bedeutung der Stadt und des 
Stadtbiirgertums fiihren zur Frage nach dem Stadtstaat und seinem 
Gegensatz zum Territorialstaat. Senatus populusque Romanus ist 
Rom und <n 'A&jvcuoi Athen, auch wenn der Feind die heimische 
Scholle erobert hat. Wir diirfen auch an diesem Punkte Halt 
machen und der griechischen Staatsphilosophie gedenken, die 
politische und wirtschaftliche Autarkic der Polis noch zu der Zeit 
forderte, als Alexander das Erbe der orientalischen Weltmonarchie, 
des grossartigsten Territorialstaates, angetreten hatte. 


i8 L. IVenger [m 

Die Griindung der Stadt und die Konigsgeschichte riihrt aber 
wiederholt auch an das etruskische Ratsel. Dann Uberhaupt : wie 
ist das Konigtum gekommen, wie hat es gewirkt, wie ist es 
beseitigt worden ? Welch bose Schuld hat es auf sich geladen, 
dass selbst Caesar noch fur den Zuruf Rex mit dem Tode biissen 
musste ? Welcher historische Kern liegt der servianischen Reform " 
zugrunde und ist etwa die Episode der Tarquinier absolutistische 
Restauration ? 1 

Dann die Stande des Volks : Patrizier und Plebejer. Worin 
lag der Gegensatz begriindet ? Ist er zuerst nur wirtschaftlicher, 
sekundar politischer Natur ? Wie stellen sich die Plebejer zu den 
Klienten ? 

Die in dem Abschnitt liber Staatsverwaltung zu erorternden 
Fragen nach Gross- und Kleinbesitz treten schon in der Konigszeit 
entgegen : dann muss auch der primitivste Organismus der 
librigens das konigliche Rom gewiss nicht mehr gewesen ist die 
Heeres- und Finanzverwaltung regeln. 

Ebenso schwierige als interessante Probleme stellen die in 
dieser altesten Zeit der romischen Rechtsgeschichte wurzelnden 
Institute des Privat- und des damit innig zusammenhangenden 
Privatprozessrechts dar. Eher noch konnen wir liber Familien- 
und Erbrecht Genaueres wenn nicht behaupten, so doch vermuten. 
Freilich auch da ist Raum flir Zweifel genug : schon die Erklarung 
der verschiedenen Eheschliessungsformen mit dem gleichen Er- 
gebnis legitimer Vollgewalt des Mannes tiber die Frau ist nur 
in hypothetischer Form moglich. Adoption und Testament, die 
wir recht frlih ansetzen dlirfen, erinnern an Parallelen aus der 
griechischen Entwickelung. Natlirlich ist gerade bei dieser Rechts- 
vergleichung ausserste Vorsicht am Platze. Noch unsicherer 
sind die Anfange des Vermogensrechts. Da stehen zunachst die 
Anschauungen in einem Punkte einander ganz entgegen : ist das 
Eigentum Gemeineigentum oder Individualeigentum ? Hier kann 
wohl nur weitausgreifende Rechtsvergleichung, wie sie ja gerade auf 
diesem Gebiete schon angewendet ist, zu einem Resultate flihren, 

1 Wieviel hier unsichere Uberlieferung ist, wie wenig wir hier und in der 
Folgezeit bis auf die Zeit der Gracchen Sicheres wissen, ist so recht wieder 
bei einer Besprechung dieser Fragen im Freundeskreise der ,, Miinchener 
Philologischen Gesellschaft " zum Ausdruck gekommen. Es ist richtig : auch 
die neueste juristische Literatur ist recht konservativ. 

in] Romische Rechtsgeschichte 19 

das Anspruch auf Wahrscheinlichkeit erheben darf. Hier hat sich 
auch Mommsen zur Konstruktion einer kommunistischen Agrar- 
genossenschaft verleiten lassen, von der, wie Pohlmanns scharfe 
Kritik 1 dartut, nichts iibrig bleibt, als die blosse Moglichkeit 
gemeinwirtschaftlicher Elemente in der altesten Agrarverfassung. 
Da gilt es, manche landlaufige Theorie zu revidieren und manche 
Behauptung zu iiberpriifen, die sich wie ein Axiom von Lehrbuch 
zu Lehrbuch vererbt. Auf dem Gebiete des Vertragsrechts haben 
sich wohl auch im altesten Rom die Prinzipien der Barleistung 
und der Entgeltlichkeit geltend gemacht, wahrend das spater so 
iiberall vorbildliche romische Obligationenrecht von der scharfen 
begrifflichen Scheidung von Schuld und Haftung, dem Leistensollen 
des Schuldners und dem Einstehen des Biirgen oder selbstbiirgen- 
den Schuldners, nicht minder beherrscht gewesen sein wird, als 
das Recht der Germanen und das der Griechen, ja auch das der 
Babylonier und der Assyrer. Gerade diese Fragen miissen fiir die 
romische Rechtsgeschichte noch der Antwort naher gebracht 
werden, als dies bisher der Fall ist. Und hier hilft, wie die neuen 
Arbeiten von Partsch und Koschaker gezeigt haben, die Rechts- 
vergleichung weiter. Dass auch wichtige Fragen des Prozessrechts 
mit der Schuld-Haftungslehre zusammenhangen, ist nach neueren 
Vermutungen recht wahrscheinlich. 

Noch ist der Anfange des staatlichen Strafrechts zu gedenken, 
dabei aber die Vorstufe nicht zu ubersehen, die das Straf- oder 
richtiger Racheverfahren der Familie und der Sippe bildet. Schon 
in diese Zeit ist aber gewiss die Scheidung der delicta privata von 
den crimina publica zu verlegen, und die bewusste oder unbewusste 
Erweiterung des Kreises der letztgenannten auf Kosten der 
Delikte zu beachten, die der privaten Ahndung wenn auch nicht 
mehr immer der Selbsthilfe iiberlassen sind. 

Schon ins konigliche " Rom miissen endlich die Anfange des 
Verkehrs mit dem Auslande fallen : die verschiedenartigen Vertrage 
mit anderen Stadten iiber Rechtshilfe und gegenseitigen Rechts- 
schutz der Burger und iiber das hospitium, das dem staatlichen 
Recht auch hier vorangeht. Es ist von grossem Interesse, diese 

1 Geschichte der sozialen Frage und des Sozialismus in der antiken Welt, 
2. Aufl. (1912), ii. 415-433. Vgl. auch Bruns-Lenel, a. a. O. 311. Vgl. fur 
Hellas Pohlmann Bd. i. Vgl. auch allgemein und insbesondere fur die 
Germanen R. Hildebrand, Recht und Sitte^ 2. Aufl. (1907). 

2O L. Wenger [m 

Wurzeln des ,,V6lkerrechts" blosszulegen und bedeutende Arbeiten 
gerade englischer Herkunft l haben diese Probleme wesentlich 
gefordert. Neben diesen losen Beziehungen zum Auslande steht 
aber der eigenartige latinische Bund, dessen Bedeutung fiir den 
spater so fruchtbaren Gedanken, dass es iiber der Poliszusammen- 
gehorigkeit noch grossere Zusammenhange geben konne, nicht 
gering eingeschatzt werden darf. 2 Uberall und nicht zuletzt auf 
dem Gebiete der internationalen Beziehungen werden aber mit 
Vorteil die griechischen Parallelen heranzuziehen sein. 

II. Die Zeit der Re'publik. In helleres Licht scheint die 
Geschichte Roms nach dem Sturz seiner Konige zu treten. Die 
von der romischen Uberlieferung geschilderten Verfassungskampfe 
sind uns in grossen Ziigen schon von der Schule her bekannt : wir 
sehen die nicht immer parallel verlaufenden, sondern sich wieder- 
holt auch kreuzenden wirtschaftlichen und politischen Gegensatze. 
Darin wird bei alien sonstigen Zweifeln gewiss Wahres stecken. 
Wir verstehen die Bedeutung der Zwolftafelgesetzgebung, deren 
Authentizitat freilich in neuerer Zeit hart angefochten, aber dank 
Girards, Lenels und anderer Gegenkritik nun als fester erhartet 
gelten mag, als vor Pais' und dem viel weiter gehenden Angriff 
Lamberts. Dabei haben freilich auch die Angreifer manches 
Richtige beobachtet und namentlich Pais' besonnene Stellungnahme 
auf unserem letzten Kongress in Berlin sei noch in Erinnerung 
gebracht. 3 Auch weiten Juristenkreisen Frankreichs und Deutsch- 
lands ist aber die Beachtung der historischen Tatsache recht ein- 
dringlich nahezulegen, dass freies Recht " kein Freiheitspostulat 
ist, und dass das antike Richterkonigtum Uberall der Herrschaft 
des Gesetzes wich, unter dessen Tyrannis sich auch der Grieche 
willig beugte. 

Die romischen Verfassungskampfe fiihren nach der Uber- 
lieferung wenigstens formell zu einer Demokratie, wie sie selbst 
Athen nie gekannt hat : ich meine den fiir verschiedene Jahr- 
hunderte bezeugten, und freilich schon darum bedenklichen Satz ut 
quod tributim plebes iussisset populum teneret. Die Gesetze der 

1 Coleman Phillipson, The International Law and Custom of Ancient 
Greece and Rome. 2 Bde. 1911. 

2 Fiir die Konigszeit freilich mit alien notigen Vorbehalten und Frage- 

3 Literaturiibersicht neuestens bei Bruns-Lenel, a. a. O. 325 A. 2 und 3. 

HI] Romische Rechtsgeschichte 

Plebejerversammlung, zu welcher der Patrizier nicht Vejmjxal x 
Zutritt hat, sollten auch ihn binden. Die Geschichte der Verfas- 
sungskampfe bietet auch sonst noch genug des Dunkleri : 'manches 
Licht ist in jiingster Zeit erst angesteckt worden. Sicher erscheint 
aber im Widerspruch zur Theorie der Uberlieferung die Tatsache, 
dass Rom praktisch eine vollendete Demokratie doch nie 
geworden ist. Wir diirfen ja bei all den Schilderungen der inneren 
Kampfe, die schliesslich angeblich das Ubergewicht der Plebejer 
endgiltig festlegen, nicht vergessen, dass die aussere Geschichte 
Roms von dieser Demokratisierung der Verfassung, wenn sie 
wirklich so oder ahnlich, wie uns erzahlt wird, vor sich gegangen 
ist, wenig spiiren lasst. Wahrend die Regierung der Imperien- 
trager fiihrt, der Inhaber von Gewalten, deren Vereinigung ihm eine 
ganz besondere Stellung verlieh, liegt die aussere Politik auch 
damals die ungemein wichtigere Ausserung des Staatslebens in 
den Handen des Senats. 

Was ist aber Rom " in der republikanischen Zeit geworden ? 
Drei Bestandteile hat es : die herrschende Stadt, die dienenden 
Provinzen und die verbiindeten oder sonstwie angegliederten 
Stadte. Hier muss eindringlich auf die merkwiirdige Verleihung 
des Burgerrechts an Leute hingewiesen werden, die politisch 
mangels einer Reprasentativverfassung damit nichts anzufangen 
wissen : denn wer wollte nach Rom reisen, um dort in die 
Volksversammlung zu gehen, wenn er in Spanien seine Heimat 
hatte ? Rom hat den Fehler vermieden, der Athens Herrlichkeit 
zu Fall gebracht hat : es hat den Bundesgenossen in weitestem Aus- 
mass das Danaergeschenk seines Burgerrechts gemacht. Da der 
romische Zivitat erwerbende Burger einer Landstadt die Eigen- 
schaft eines Burgers dieser Stadt nicht verliert, so ist damit der 
Gegensatz zwischen dem Staatsburgerrecht und dem Stadtburger- 
recht tatsachlich gegeben. 

In aller Stille vollzieht sich auch die Latinisierung erst Italiens, 
dann des ganzen Westens, soweit der Romer Herrschaft reicht. 
Das ist eine Erscheinung, die mir wenigstens immer zu den merk- 
wiirdigsten der ganzen romischen Geschichte zahlte. Die Stadt, 
die von sich aus eine solche Entnationalisierung weiter Gebiete 
durchfiihrt, wie wir sie doch annehmen miissen, muss eine ganz 
gewaltige Lebenskraft besessen haben. Freilich sind wir im ganzen 
Westen liber das Fortleben des nationalen Elements und seine 

22 L. Wenger [m 

Ausserung in der Volkssprache und dem Volksrecht viel schlechter 
orientiert, als im Osten aber es muss doch wohl ein bedeutender 
Unterschied zwischen den Beziehungen Roms zu dem kulturell so 
viel tiefer stehenden Westen und zu den politisch unterworfenen, 
kulturell aber stets als Lehrer verehrten Griechen bestanden haben. 

Wir kommen damit auf ein besonders wichtiges Gebiet der 
romischen Rechtsgeschichte, auf die Frage des griechischen Ein- 
flusses. Sie ist oft und viel erortert worden, aber sie ist noch 
keineswegs erledigt. In der republikanischen Periode begegnet 
sie, Antwort verlangend, in der Zwolftafelgesetzgebung ; sie be- 
gegnet allgemein bei den Beziehungen Roms zu Grossgriechenland 
und weiter zum griechischen Mutterlande und alien Gebieten des 
hellenistischen Ostens. Wir diirfen aber, wenn wir das Mass 
griechischen Einflusses auf der Romer Recht zu ergriinden suchen, 
auch nicht vergessen, die Frage zu iiberprlifen, inwieferne etwa 
unsere Quellen tatsachlich griechisches Recht bringen, wenn sie 
lateinisches zu geben scheinen : ich denke natiirlich in erster 
Linie an Plautus und Terenz. 

In der Darstellung der Staatsverwaltung dieser Zeit wird 
neben der voranstehenden Erorterung des Staatsgebietes und 
der Verwaltungskorper, worauf schon die Sprache kam, die des 
Heer- und Finanzwesens, dann aber der Agrargeschichte und 
der Entwickelung des Handels einen breiten Raum einnehmen. 
Recht und Wirtschaft" ist kein bloss modernes Schlagwort : 
kein Rechtshistoriker darf die Wirtschaftsgeschichte beiseite- 

Das fiihrt zu Partien, die mit mehr oder weniger Grund 
herkommlich im Privatrecht verhandelt werden : Standegliederung, 
steigende Bedeutung der Sklaverei, damit wohl zusammenhangend 
der privatrechtliche Grundsatz von der Unzulassigkeit freier 
Stellvertretung, Zwischenbildungen verschiedener Arten von 
Halbfreiheit, dann aber auch die Bildung des neuen Adels, der 
Nobiles l und der Ritter. 

Fur das Privatrecht der republikanischen und der Prinzipats- 
zeit ist jetzt Mitteis' Romisches Privatrecht bis auf die Zeit 
Diokletians richtunggebend. Zwar behandelt der bisher vorlie- 
gende erste Band (1908) nur die Grundbegriffe und die Lehre 
von den juristischen Personen, aber diese Gebiete eingehend 

1 Dazu jetzt M. Gelzer, Die Nobilitiit der romischen Republik (1912) 

in] Rmnische Rechtsgeschichte 23 

und grossenteils ganz in neue Bahnen weisend. In seiner 
Stellungnahme zu grundlegenden Fragen, die bereits gestreift 
wurden, ist das Werk vorbildlich : so zum Problem des arischen 
Rechts, zum Verhaltnis des Romerrechts zu dem der Umbro- 
Samniten, endlich zum griechischen Recht. 

Ungeschrieben ist noch eine Geschichte des romischen 
Privatprozessrechts, die Wlassaks peinlich sorgfaltige For- 
schungen verwertet hatte, von den ,,Prozessgesetzen" an bis zu 
den neuesten Arbeiten liber Exzeptionen und Praskriptionen. 
Lenels Ediktsrekonstruktion, Girards Studien und so manche 
andere Arbeit muss erst erworben werden, damit wir sie auch voll 
besitzen. Kellers vorzligliches Zivilprozessbiichlein ist seit 1883 
nicht wieder erschienen und seither auch kein anderes. Wie 
viel Arbeit steckt aber in einzelnen Artikeln von Pauly-Wissowas 
Realenzyklopadie ! 

III. Die Zeit des Prinzipats. Bewundernswert ist Augustus' 
kluges Werk, mit dem die Revolutibnsepoche abschliesst. Die 
Republik ist scheinbar wiederhergestellt : eadem magistratuum 
vocabula, und doch : quotus quisque reliquus qui rempublicam 
vidisset? Wie viel besagt diese taziteische Charakteristik des 
Reichs beim Regierungsantritt des Tiberius (Annal. i. 3) ! Die 
staatsrechtliche Umgestaltung ist unschwer zu schildern, aber der 
im modernen Staatsrecht zutn Kampfe zweier Richtungen 
gewordene Gegensatz zwischen juristischer und politischer 
Betrachtung des Staatslebens tritt hier klar entgegen. Politisch 
ist die Republik tot und die Monarchic auf dem Wege, und in 
dieser Hinsicht darf man jetzt schon sagen, dass der Schwerpunkt 
des Reichs in den hellenistischen Osten verlegt ist. Sind doch 
dort die Kaiser Gotter, ein Gedanke, der dem Romer, auch seit die 
alte Virtus nur selten mehr auf Erden wandelte, doch hart in den 
Kopf ging. Die Verfassungsgeschichte dieser Zeit muss zeigen, 
wie aus der Republik die Monarchic wird, wie erst die Volksver- 
sammlung depossediert wird und wie dann in energischem Ringen 
die beiden iibrig bleibenden Gewalten, Senat und Prinzeps, nach 
der Beseitigung des Rivalen streben, bis endlich der Reorganisator 
Diokletian den Staat als orientalische Despotic neu aufrichtet. 

In der Staatsverwaltung spielen die Provinzen eine immer 
mehr hervortretende Rolle. Und da ist aus Inschriften und 
neuerdings aus den Papyri ein Erkenntnismaterial geboten, wie es 

24 L. Wenger [in 

lange den antiken Rechtshistorikern vorenthalten geblieben war. 
Wir haben aus den Papyri Einzelheiten einer romischen Provinzial- 
verwaltung kennen gelernt, nach denen fruher kein Einsichtiger 
zu fragen gewagt hatte. Wir lernten dabei aber auch das Mass 
dessen richtiger einschatzen, was die Romer neu eingefiihrt, und 
dessen, was sie von ihren Vorgangern in der Macht iibernommen 
hatten. Und das war auf verwaltungsrechtlichem Gebiete gewiss 
nicht wenig. Freilich Agypten, wo wir diese Dinge an den Papyri 
am besten studieren konnen, ist nicht der Typus einer normalen 
Provinz. In diesem richtiger als kaiserliche Domane bezeichneten 
Erbe der Ptolemaer ist der Prinzeps von je das gewesen, was 'er 
erst nach und nach in den anderen Reichsgebieten wurde : der 
gottliche Konig oder auch der konigliche Gott. Aber je mehr 
eben die Gewalt des Prinzeps steigt, umsomehr darf Agypten als 
Typus des romischen Provinziallands genommen werden. In 
Agypten lernen wir, wie die Regierung Gesetze und Verordnungen 
durch eingehende Publikationshandlungen zur allgemeinenKenntnis 
brachte, wie Beamte und deren Stellvertreter amtierten, wie sie 
mit den Parteien, wie mit den vor- und nachgeordneten Behorden 
verkehrten, wie und welche Steuern und Abgaben erhoben wurden, 
aber auch wie der grosse und der kleine Grundbesitz verwaltet 

Aber die Papyri zeigen noch mehr. Aus ihnen lernen wir das 
Leben des kleinen Mannes mit all seinen Freuden und Leiden, mit 
seinen hasslichen und schonen Ziigen kennen : wir lernen ihn als 
Glaubiger und Schuldner, als Hausherrn und Mieter kennen, als 
Ubeltater und Beleidigten, als Klager und Verklagten, wir sehen 
ihn in der Familie als Eheherrn und Hausvater, wir finden ihn 
als Arbeiter und Arbeitgeber, als Gutsherrn und Verwalter, als 
Schiffer und Soldaten. Schubarts eben erschienene Sammlung 
verdeutschter Briefe aus dem Altertum 1 sagt auch dem Rechts- 
historiker sehr viel. Antike Seelen, die fur immer verschollen 
schienen, werden wieder lebendig " : ein Wort, das ich Deissmann 2 
nachspreche. Die Prosopographie der ersten drei Jahrhunderte 
der Kaiserzeit hat nur die der antiken aristokratischen Geschichts- 
betrachtung bedeutsam erscheinende Oberschicht beriicksichtigt, 

1 Ein Jahrtausend am Nil (1912). 

2 Licht vom Osten^ 2. u. 3. Aufl. (1909), S. 217. Vgl. zum Folgenden 
Deissman 217 f. 

in] Romische Rechtsgeschichte 25 

sed hominum plebeiorum infinita ilia turba qua scripta ecclesiastica 
et auctorum iuris referta sunt procul semota est. 1 Fur Verwaltungs-, 
Prozess- und Privatrecht sind;aber diese die in Betracht kommenden 

Aber noch fur etwas anderes : unter diesen Kleinen, unter den 
Armen und Demiitigen ist die Saat des Christentums aufgegangen, 
unter der ,, grossen Schar, die niemand zahlen konnte/ aus alien 
Volkern und Stammen, und Nationen und Sprachen " (OfFenb. 
Job. vii. 9). Wie das grosse Problem des Verhaltnisses des Staats 
zu seinen Nationen, tritt jetzt auch das weltbewegende Problem 
Staat und Kirche " in die Rechtsgeschichte ein. Der heidnische 
Staat kennt das Problem nicht, er kann es nicht kennen, da der 
Gotterkult ein durchaus nationaler ist, und als solcher der staatlichen, 
nicht irgendwelcher vom Staate unabhangigen Macht, eigen ist. 
Die Stellung des Staats zum Christentum verdient eine eingehende 
Betrachtung. Auch hiezu, insbesondere zu den Christenverfol- 
gungen unter Decius haben die Papyri viel Material beigesteuert. 2 
Um sich vom Verdachte mangelnder Gotterverehrung zu reinigen, 
reichen die in diesen Verdacht gekommenen libelli ein, dass sie 
mit Weib und Kind immer und so auch jetzt vor der Opferkom- 
mission geopfert und vom Opferfleisch genossen haben, und die 
Kommission bestatigt diese libelli durch einen Bescheinigungs- 

Fiir Privatrecht und Prozess mochte ich auch nur dessen in 
wenigen Worten Erwahnung tun, was wir aus den Papyri zulernen 
konnen und miissen. Nach antiker AufTassung lebt jeder nach 
seinem Personalrecht. So natiirlich vor allem der Grieche in der 
griechischen Reichshalfte. Als nun Caracalla das Burgerrecht in 
weitem Ausmasse austeilte, waren demgemass alle damit Begliickten 
zur romischen Rechtsordnung verpflichtet. Das Volksrecht aber 
lebte nichtsdestoweniger fort: das hat L. Mitteis 3 schon vor mehr 
als zwei Dezennien festgestellt und das hat die rechtshistorische 
Papyrusforschung seither durchaus bestatigt. Nicht anders als in 
Agypten war es aber in den anderen Diadochenstaaten : eine Tat- 

1 Klebs, Praefatio zur Pros. \. p. viii. 

2 P. M. Meyer, Die Libelli aus der decianischen Christenverfolgung 

3 Reichsrecht und Volksrecht in den bstlichcn Provinzen des romischen 
Kaiserreichs (1891). 

26 L. IVenger [in 

sache, die uns am besten im syrisch - romischen Rechtsbuche 
entgegentritt. Jetzt erst konnen wir eine Reihe kaiserlicher 
Konstitutionen bewerten, die anscheinend fur den Kenner bloss 
des romischen Rechts Selbstverstandliches mit Emphase einschar- 
fen : es ist da stets die Annahme berechtigt, dass irgend ein 
volksrechtlicher Brauch sich der romischen Ordnung zum Trotz 
hartnackig erhielt. Doch ich darf bei diesen Dingen, iiber die sich 
sovieles sagen liesse, nicht langer verweilen, so schwer es hier wird, 
auch nur Schlagworte dariiber zuruckzudrangen, wie uns diese 
wunderbaren Quellen die romische Rechtsgeschichte der Wirklich- 
keit, nicht der, wenn auch antiken, Theorie, naher gebracht 

IV. Der absolute Staat. 'Ev ovoynart TOV Kvpiov /cat SecrTroTOv 
X|OMrrov TOV Beov KOI (rwnj/oos ^yawv /?a<rtAetas rov Of.iOTO.rov KOL 
TTaTov i^uicov SecrTrorov *$*XavLOV NLavptKLov Ti^Septov TOV alwvtov A.V- 
yovcrrov AvroKpdropos erovs SwSeKarov KOL VTrareias T^S avrutv yaX-^vor^TOS 
GTOVS zvSeKOiTov f Me^etp Ka r^s L/3 tvStKTiovos tv ^vrjvr) f. So beginnt 

eine Dialysisurkunde, die am 15. Februar 594 n. Chr. zwischen 
Schwagern abgeschlossen wird, nachdem ein Presbyter den Frieden 
vermittelt hat. Die Urkunde, der Miinchener Papyrus Inv. Nr. 
IO2, 1 ist typisch fiir das Ende der Entwickelung des Absolutismus. 
Wohl ist der Staat christlich, aber das hindert nicht, Christus 
Seo-TTorqs zu nennen und in einem Atem damit auch dem Kaiser 
dasselbe Beiwort zu geben ; bei Gott dem Allmachtigen, bei der hi. 
und wesensgleichen Dreieinigkeit zu schworen und zugleich VLK^V /cat 
Sta/Aoiojv, ja selbst rrjv ddav KOI ovpdviov rvx^v des Kaiserpaars im Eide 
anzurufen, 2 der Herrscher der Welt, der ewigen Erlauchten und 
Selbstherrscher. Nirgends, in keiner offiziellen Rechtsquelle, in 
keinem Schriftstellertext spiegelt sich der Wandel der Zeiten so 
sehr wieder, wie in unseren Papyrusurkunden. Ihre Formalien sind 
keine Zufalligkeit, sie zeigen den Wandel der Zeiten und den 
Wandel der Menschen. Was den Orientalen gewohnt sein mochte, 
ist jetzt auch den Romern gelaufig geworden, denn unter den 
Parteien und Zeugen der Grenzgarnison in Syene, die uns in den 
genannten Miinchenerurkunden begegnen, zu denen die erganzenden 

1 Nr. 14 in der im Druck befindlichen, von Heisenberg und mir heraus- 
gegebenen Sammlung byzantinischer Papyri in der K. Hof- und Staats- 
bibliothek zu Miinchen. 

2 So P. Mon. Inv. Nr. 104 Z. 46-48 ; Nr. 12 der Ausgabe. 

in] Romische Rechtsgeschichte 27 

Paralleltexte das British Museum birgt; 1 finden wir Kopten, Griechen 
und Romer in buntem Gemisch, alle aber dem Staatsblirgerrecht 
nach romische Burger. 

Die Theorie der Staatsverfassung ist die einfachste der Welt : 
alles ist der Kaiser, Gesetzgeber, Regent und Richter ; alles, was 
geschieht, geschieht in seinem Namen. Die Juristen, die in der 
fruheren Epoche selbstandig redend aufgetreten sind und das 
grossartige romische Privatrecht geschaffen haben, sie sprechen 
jetzt nur mehr im geheimen kaiserlichen Konsistorium und das 
Ergebnis ihrer Arbeit ist formell ein Wort aus des Kaisers Munde. 
Sie sind aufgegangen in der namenlosen Schar der Untertanen, 
deren hochstes Gliick es sein muss, dem kaiserlichen Herren zu 

Aber auch der 0eioTaros CUJTOK/HXTW/O kann die Welt nicht ohne 
Organe verwalten. Wiederum zeigen uns die Papyri die Staats- 
verwaltung dieser neuen Epoche. Jetzt gibt das agyptische Bild 
noch getreuer die Lage im ganzen Reiche wieder. Denn die 
Romer selbst sind uberall Untertanen geworden und die Zeiten, 
da der Kaiser nur princeps civium gewesen, sind langst dahin. 

Die Verkleinerung der Provinzen, die Zerschlagung historisch 
gewordener Individualitaten und all die sonstigen Mittel zentrali- 
stischer Verwaltungsversuche konnen doch nicht den Zerfall des 
Reiches in das Westreich und Ostreich verhindern, und sie konnen 
im Innern des Reichs den Feudalisierungsprozess, das unverkenn- 
bare Zeichen schwacher Zentralgewalt, nicht aufhalten. Die 
dunkle Zeit des vierten und fiinften Jahrhunderts ist auch durch 
die Papyri noch nicht geniigend erhellt worden. Aber die Grund- 
ziige der Entwickelung konnen wir sehen. Von entscheidender 
Bedeutung sind die Agrarverhaltnisse. Dem Kolonat muss in 
einer romischen Rechtsgeschichte ein besonders eingehendes 
Kapitel gewidmet werden. Wir sind jetzt dank Rostowzews 
Studien 2 liber die weit in die hellenistische Zeit hineinragenden 
Wurzeln dieses Instituts und iiber seine Entwickelung, insbesondere 
in Afrika, aufgeklart. Wir sehen eine auch sonst wiederkehrende 
Erscheinung. Der Latifundienbesitz miisste brach liegen, gelange 
es nicht, Bauern in halber, stets wachsender Abhangigkeit zur 
Bewirtschaftung heranzuziehen. Neben der Ausnutzung wirtschaft- 

1 Vgl. Bell, A'/wxiii. 160-174. 

2 Studien zur Geschichte des romischen Kolonates (1910). 

28 L. IVenger [m 

licher Abhangigkeit kam es dabei wohl auch oft genug zu brutaler 
Gewaltanwendung, die den freien Nachbarn in den Gutsleibeigenen 
verwandelte. Die Bindung an die Scholle lasst sich deutlich 
verfolgen, bis sie zur Rechtsinstitution wird und nur mehr als 
natiirliche Folge der Erblichkeit der Berufe erscheint. Aber der 
staatliche Steuerzwang hat nicht minder der Feudalisierung indirekt 
Vorschub geleistet. Um der Steuererpressung zu entgehen, ver- 
kauft manch ein Freier sein bischen Freiheit und wird Klient 
eines Patrons. Diese Patroziniumsbewegung, die, unter schliess- 
licher staatlicher Sanktion, eine Reihe von Freien zu Halbfreien 
und zu Horigen macht, haben in neuester Zeit Gelzer 1 und de 
Zulueta 2 genau untersucht. 3 

Von den traurigen Verwaltungszustanden des 6. Jahrhunderts 
geben uns jetzt die Papyri aus dem Museum zu Cairo, die Jean 
Maspero in dankenswert rascher Folge publiziert, 4 Auskunft. Sie 
haben bei den Historikern und Juristen berechtigtes Aufsehen erregt, 
sie zeigen uns Dinge, welche die Rechtsbiicher verbieten, in vielfach 
praktischer Anwendung, zeigen uns die Gewaltigen, die das Recht 
wohl prinzipiell als Macht werten, und die Kleinen, die um Haus 
und Hof kommen, die im Schuldturm sitzen und Peinigungen aller 
Art erdulden miissen, deren Leben nicht sicher ist, wenn nicht ein 
Patronus den Schutz bietet, den der Staat nicht mehr bieten kann, 
und den seine pflichtvergessenen und geldgierigen Beamten nicht 
bieten wollen. Auch die Mlinchener Papyri werden dazu einen 
Beitrag bringen, den ich fiir so unwahrscheinlich hielt, dass ich 
lange nach anderer Erklarung suchte. In einem Prozesse Inv. Nr. 
103 5 kommt zum Vorschein, dass der mit seiner Mutter in einen 
Erbstreit verwickelte Sohn dem einen Richter eine Nachlassquote 
angeboten hat, wenn dieser der Mutter die strittigen Objekte durch 

1 M. Gelzer, Studien zur byzantin. Verwaltung Agyptens (1909). 

2 F. de Zulueta, De patrociniis vicorum, in Vinogradoff, Oxford Studies 
in Social and Legal History, vol. i. (1909). 

3 Vgl. zur ganzen Frage die Ausfiihrungen Wilckens, Grundzuge d. 
Papyruskunde, 314-326. 

4 Catalogue general des antiquites tgyptiennes du Musee du Caire, i. 
(1910-11), ii. (1911-13). 

5 P. Mon. 6 der Ausgabe. Ein Stuck der Urkunde befmdet sich als Lond. 
Inv. Nr. 1807 im British Museum. Danach ist die Datierung auf das Jahr 
583 moglich. Ich darf schon hier den Herren Kenyon und Bell fiir freund- 
liche Mitteilungen und Gestattung der Einsichtnahme in die Londoner Gruppe 
der Syene-Papyri herzlichst danken. 

in] Romische Rechtsgeschichte 29 

einen Exekutor kurzerhand wegnehmen lasse, der Richter aber ist 
dazu bereit gewesen ; und der andere Richter, vor den die Frage zur 
neuerlichen Entscheidung kommt, hat das mit dem milden Tadel 
zugegeben, die Richter sollten nicht x^fyv vorgehen. 

Auch die Militarverwaltung wird erst durch diese Papyri in 
rechtes Licht gestellt. Eine vor Kurzem erschienene Arbeit 
Masperos 1 hat denn auch ausser den Kairenern schon die 
Miinchenertexte ausfiihrlich herangezogen. 

Fur die Heeresverwaltung ist entsprechend dem Streben nach 
zentralistischer Einheit die starke Verwendung lateinischer termini 
nur natiirlich. Eine Auslese aus den Miinchenertexten bringt den 

dSiovriop, aKTOvdpios, avyowraAios, /^t/capios, /3iKa/uavos, Sov, SpaKovdpios, 
Ka(3a\\dpLo<s, Kcvrvpiwv, opSivdpcos, Trpcu'^eKTOs, Tr/ai/xi/ce^ios, die Trpiopes, den 

reiptov und rpi(3ovvo<$. Neben dem fypovpiov steht das Kacrr/ooi/, neben 
dem apifyios die Aeyewv. Auf Grund der Tcpo^ar^pia wird der Rekrut 
(vcoo-T/aaTos, TCI/MOV) in die /xar/nf eingetragen und am Ende schreibt 
man ihm auf die Bescheinigung in woKl griechischen Lettern /?eve 
/3aAea9. In der Prozesssprache begegnen die Ocia dSvovranw, die 
divina adnotatio, und die Beta ftp/la des Kaisers. 2 

Neben dem Verwaltungsrecht haben die byzantinischen Papyri 
aber auch das Privat- und Prozessrecht ungemein bereichert. Hier 
ist die herkommliche Darstellung noch durchaus ruckstandig. Das 
hat schon bald nach dem Erscheinen des ersten Heftes der Kairo- 
Papyri Mitteis konstatiert und eine zusammenfassende Betrachtung 
des justinianischen Rechts nicht als Endpunkt von Untersuchungen 
iiber friihere Zeiten, sondern als eines selbstandigen Erkenntnis- 
gegenstandes als dringendes Bediirfnis bezeichnet. 3 Partsch 4 hat 
aus diesen Urkunden wertvolle neue Resultate zum justinianischen 
Reskriptenprozess gewonnen, und Collinet 6 hat kiirzlich einem 
beginnenden Werke uber das justinianische Recht den Untertitel 
gegeben : Le caractere oriental de Pauvre legislative de Justinien 
et les destinies des institutions classiques en Occident. In der 
Betrachtung der justinianischen Gesetzgebung droht uber der Inter - 

1 Organisation militaire de vAgypte Byzantine (1912). 

2 Zu alledem vervveise ich auf die alsbald erscheinende Ausgabe der 
Miinchener Papyri und einstweilen auf meinen Vorbericht in den Sitz. Ber. 
Bayer. Akad. (1911), 8. Abh. 

3 Zeitschr. Sa-uigny Stiff, f. Rechtsgesch., Rom, Abt. xxxi. S. 393. 

4 Gott. Nachrichten, phil.-hist. Kl. (1911), 201 ff. 

5 tudes historiques sur le Droit de Justinien^ i. (1912). 

30 L. IVenger [in 

polationenjagd die Wertung der interpolierten Texte, das eigentlich 
Justinianische am ganzen Werk, zu kurz zu kommen. 

Diese Justinianische Gesetzgebung darf aber nicht bloss nicht 
als Endpunkt vorhergehender Rechtsentwickelung, sondern auch 
nicht bloss als Anfangspunkt der spateren nationalen Privatrechts- 
geschichte in den Landern der Rezeption aufgefasst werden. 
Flir sich, als selbstandige Grosse gehort sie in die Darstellung der 
vierten Periode der romischen Rechtsgeschichte. 

Ich habe endlich des Strafrechts nur ganz zu Anfang Erwah- 
nung getan. Es muss natiirlich in seiner Entwickelung durch 
alle Perioden verfolgt werden. Mommsens Romisches Strafrecht 
erleichtert uns diese Aufgabe ganz besonders. Auch dieses Werk 
des Meisters darf nicht ungeniitzt verstauben. Und wenn jiingst, 
von der Kritik Mommsens ausgehend, James Leigh Strachan- 
Davidson 1 einzelne Fragen des romischen Kriminalrechts in 
ausfuhrlicher Behandlung gesammelt hat, so hat er gewiss in 
Mommsens Sinne gehandelt, der nichts weniger wollte, als dass auch 
mit seiner Arbeit ein Arbeitsgebiet als ausgeschopft verlassen werde. 

Kaum irgendwo sehen wir so wie im Strafrechte eine Wellen- 
bewegung in der romischen Kulturentwickelung : die Frage nach 
dem, was Straftat sein konne und die Frage nach dem Ubel, nach 
der Strafe, welche die Tat vergelten oder den Tater bessern oder 
andere von gleicher Tat abschrecken soil, und was an Strafrechts- 
theorien es sonst noch geben mag, all diese Fragen beantworten die 
Jahrhunderte auch der romischen Geschichte verschieden. Wie hat 
sich, um nur eines zu nennen, Begriff und Ahndung des Staats- 
verbrechens und des crimen laesae maiestatis im Laufe der Zeiten 
gewandelt ! Hier auch zeigen uns jetzt die Urkunden Menschen, 
die fehlen und biissen, Richter, die verurteilen und strafen. Ich 
erinnere etwa nur an den Papyruskodex, Berliner Griechische 
Urkunden IV. Nr. 1024, worin uns Prozesse vor dem Statthalter 
aus dem 4. Jhd. n. Chr. iiberliefert sind. Immer resiimiert der 
Statthalter den Tatbestand und schliesst daran das Urteil : einmal 
handelt es sich um Ermordung der mit dem Ehebrecher ertappten 
Frau durch den beleidigten Gatten, hier ist das Urteil verloren ; in 
einem anderen Falle hat der Tater sich Grabschandung zu Schulden 
kommen lassen : da sagt der Richter in rhetorisch gehobener 
Sprache : 

1 Problems of the Roman Criminal Law ',,2 Bde., 1912. 

in] Romische Rechtsgeschichte 31 

Du hast den Toten ausgegraben, den die Stadt auf Volks- 
beschluss beerdigt und betrauert hat. Du scheinst mir das Herz 
eines Tieres zu haben und nicht eines Menschen, oder eigentlich 
auch nicht einmal das eines Tieres. Denn auch die Tiere 
greifen zwar die Menschen an, sie schonen aber die Toten. Du 
aber hast dich an einem Leichnam vergriffen, der schon ausge- 
schieden war aus dem Geschlechte der Menschen. Wo nahmst du 
den Mut her, den schon zur Ruhe Gelegten auch noch der letzten 
Hoffnung zu berauben? Fiirwahr beim Zeus es war der letzte 
Schmuck, den die Gesetze gewahren, es waren Geschenke der 
Stadt an den Toten, es waren Siihngaben. So wirst du denn fur 
deine Tat mit deinem Haupte biissen." 

Nicht weniger wirken schon rein menschlich die folgenden Falle, 
die in der genannten Urkunde beisammen stehen. 1 

Doch ich muss mit Einzelheiten abbrechen. 

Wie im Strafrecht, so in der Geschichte der Latifundien, 
wie in der Schutzvorschrift fur den Schuldner gegen den 
wuchernden Glaubiger, so in der Norm der freien Beweiswiirdigung 
und der entgegenstehenden Festlegung bestimmter Beweisregeln, 
wie in der Regelung des Erbrechts, so in der Frage, wer im Heere 
dienen soil, jeder Burger oder der fremde Soldling, wie in den 
Problemen der Steuergesetzgebung, so in denen des Verhaltnisses 
des Staats zu seinen Nationen' und Konfessionen, und wie die 
Fragen alle heissen mogen, die der Rechtshistoriker stellt und 
beantwortet zu sehen wiinschte Uberall sind es nicht bloss Probleme, 
die den Juristen interessieren, sondern Probleme der Geschichte der 

Das alles aber wir diirfen mit einem Schlagwort sagen : 
Mommsens Lebensarbeit soil in einer romischen Rechtsgeschichte 
verarbeitet sein. Sie wird dann allerdings an Umfang zunehmen 
miissen, aber es lasst sich vielleicht auch hier ein Mass finden, das 
dem Studierenden und Gebildeten doch mehr bietet, als eine Auf- 
zahlung von Leges und Senatuskonsulten, als eine trockene Anein- 
anderreihung der Namen der Juristen, die das romische Recht 
geschaffen haben, und der Titel ihrer Werke. Nie darf der 
Ausblick auf die antike Rechtsgeschichte uberhaupt versaumt 
werden. Nie sollte aber auch der Rechtshistoriker an dem vor- 

1 Besprochen von Wenger in Gross' Archiv fur Kriminal- Anthro- 
pologie^ xvi. 304-323. 

32 L. JVenger [m 

iibergehen, was auf anderen Gebieten der antiken Geschichts- 
forschung und der Philologie zu Tage kommt. Die Zeit der 
splendid isolation der romischen Rechtswissenschaft ist auch fur 
Deutschland voriiber und soil, so wollen wir hoffen, nicht wieder 

Mag es unerfullbarer Optimismus sein, dass ein einzelner, dessen 
eigene Arbeit nur auf kleinem Gebiete sich bewegt, das weite 
Arbeitsfeld auch nur ganz zu ubersehen vermochte, dass es ihm, 
auch wo er bescheiden nur sichten und sammeln wollte, gelange, 
iiberall die Spreu vom Weizen zu sondern aber welche Arbeit ist 
je ohne frischen Optimismus begonnen worden ? Freilich, mehr 
denn bisher bedarf das neu zustromende Quellenmaterial der 
Bearbeitung in entsagender Einzelforschung und hier darf vielleicht 
der Jurist an die Universalhistoriker die Bitte richten, mehr noch 
als bisher den juristischen Quellen, den Rechtsurkunden vor allem, 
ihr Augenmerk zuzuwenden. Viel gemeinsame Arbeit ist noch zu 
tun, um auch auf dem Gebiete der Rechtserkenntnis vorwarts- 
zukommen, um auch hier aus der Geschichte die Lehre furs Leben 
zu ziehen, zu sehen, welche kulturellen Voraussetzungen diese oder 
jene Folgen zeitigen, das Ideal zu verwirklichen, soweit Menschen- 
kraft es vermag, das, wie jedem Geschichtsforscher, so auch dem 
Rechtshistoriker vorschwebt : 

Rerum cognoscere causas. 




1. LA comproprieta osservata negli scritti dei giureconsulti 
romani ha la proporzione di una figura geometrica, in cui P insieme 
dei punti e delle linee concorrono a formare una superficie com- 
passata con precisione e che percio costituisce ancora la base di 
tutte le trattazioni moderne ; cioe a partire dal sec. xvi fino ai 
nostri giorni. Ma nondimeno e vero che hel Corpus Juris Civilis, 
lungo quelle linee regolari, tratto tratto appariscono delle curve che 
sono delle incognite nella scienza ; e siccome esse premono sui 
punti fondamentali dell' istituto, ne turbano d' un tratto P armonia e 
conducono gli scrittori a formule indecise, complicate e tortuose. 

La presente trattazione e dedicata a svelare la natura di quelle 
deviazioni ed il loro valore, che e veramente altissimo ; perche 
quelle linee divergenti nella figura della communio romana costi- 
tuiscono in realta i fondamenti della comproprieta moderna. 

Ma e imprescindibile che anche qui P impostatura dello istituto 
classico sia designata come quella che costituisce il punto di par- 
tenza da cui si muove la formazione dell' opera futura. 



2. La comproprieta romana vive e si esplica in tutto secondo i 
principii fondamentali del dominio quiritario, che e essenzialmente 
esclusivo ed abbraccia la cosa intera in tutti i suoi rapporti. 

Di conseguenza e impossibile che il dominio su di una cosa 
possa appartenere in solidum a piu persone. E possibile invece che 
diritti molteplici di dominio coesistano sulla cosa medesima in 

33 D 

34 S- Riccobono [iv 

maniera da limitarsi a vicenda. La limitazione e di natura 
meccanica ; nel senso che il diritto di ciascuno dei titolari incontra 
un ostacolo nel concorrente diritto di altri ; e perci6 esso deve di 
necessita arrestarsi entro un limite insuperabile. E la limitazione e 
di natura meccanica ancora nel senso che essa non porta tra i 
diritti molteplici alcun coordinamento ; e quindi nessuna distri- 
buzione delle facolta di dominio e nessuna dipendenza tra i titolari 
del medesimo. I quali sono tutti domini?- ed hanno tutti rispetto 
alia cosa una posizione pari. Tale posizione si manifesta in tutta la 
sua efficienza nelle conseguenze. 

(a) Ciascuno dei titolari esercita il suo potere di dominio colla 
massima indipendenza dagli altri ; puo disporre del suo diritto come 
e quando vuole, presupposto che con ci6 non offenda il diritto pari 
degli altri. Tale carattere hanno, di regola, tutti gli atti di disposi- 
zione giuridica della cosa. E pertanto guardata da questo punto di 
vista la comproprieta romana ha nulla di particolare ; essa si esplica 
in tutto nel modo consueto, secondo i principii e le norme che valgono 
per il dominio solitario. 

(b) All' opposto qualsiasi disposizione che si realizza con atti 
materiali sulla cosa, ovvero quella disposizione giuridica che per 
sua natura investe la cosa intera, non sono consentite ad uno dei 
condomini singolarmente ; infatti 1' agire in quel modo di un socio 
verrebbe a costituire una menomazione del diritto, una invadenza 
della sfera giuridica degli altri : 

quodammodo sibi alienum quoque ius praeripit, si quasi solus 
dominus ad suum arbitrium uti iure commune velit. 2 

Atti di questa sorta possono effettuarsi sulla cosa comune soltanto 
col consenso di tutti i titolari, nessuno eccettuato. Se la volonta 
di un solo manca, abbia pur questi nella comunione una parte 
minima, 1* atto e illegittimo. E perci6, quando le volonta dei singoli 
condomini sono in disaccordo rispetto a quella data categoria di 
disposizioni della cosa ne deriva un conflitto di diritti, e 1' effetto 
che segue deve di necessita essere negative : colui che nega e 
poziore. Ci6 e inevitabile. 

Onde il principio potior est causa prohibentis forma precisa- 

1 D. x. i, 4, 5, Paul, xxiii. ad ed. plures dominos \ D. viii. 2, 26 ; 10 ; 3, 
28, nemo dominorum. 

2 D. viii. 5, 1 1. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 35 

mente P asse dell' istituto della communio ; in quanto 1' istituto 
assurge, per aspetti determinati, ad una figura particolare di diritto. 
Ed il principio entra in azione, come s' e detto, tutte le volte 
che i titolari dei dominii non si accordano circa 1* uso, il godimento, 
la conservazione, la destinazione della cosa, o rispetto ad atti di dis- 
posizione giuridica che colpiscono necessariamente la cosa intera. 
fe appena necessario poi notare che quel principio stesso rappre- 
senta pure la manifestazione piu vivace ed estrema della indipen- 
denza assoluta dei singoli condomini. Ed invero, nel disaccordo il 
potere dei singoli si paralizza e P azione deve arrestarsi, perche la 
risultante di piu forze eguali applicate in senso contrario sullo stesso 
corpo non pu6 essere che negativa : I'immobilita. 

3. Tale effetto fu constatato dai giuristi piu antichi. Labeone 

10 applica come di evidenza intuitiva ; percio nega tra condomini 
la denuncia di nuova opera : et putat Labeo non posse nuntiare, 
quia possum eum alia ratione prohibere aedificare.' 1 

E Proculo, citato da Paolo, asseriva gia non posse prohiberi 
vicinum, quo minus balineum habeat secundum parietem com- 
munem. 2 II giurista contemplava in questo luogo casi in cui uno 
dei condomini del muro avesse operate qualcosa entro i confini 
della sua proprieta attigua in suo y in maniera da non invadere la 
cosa comune. Per contrario si deduce che posse prohiberi quando 
1' opera o qualsiasi disposizione materiale si realizzino^ sulla cosa 

4. Ma la dottrina dello ius prohibendi va particolarmente sotto 

11 nome di Sabino, il quale la formu!6 in una massima celeberrima, 
che costituisce appunto il cardine dello istituto della comproprieta. 

fr. 28 D. x. 3, Pap. vii. qu. Sabinus ait in re communi neminem 
dominorum iure facere quicquam invito altero posse. Unde mani- 
festum est prohibendi ius esse ; in re enim pari potiorem causam esse 
prohibentis constat. 

La massima propria di Sabino e riferita da Papiniano integral- 
mente, e si contiene nel primo periodo : Sabinus . . . posse, come 
e palese per la costruzione indiretta e dai confronti che vedremo 

Nei periodi che seguono Papiniano enuncia : dapprima la con- 
seguenza immediata che scaturisce da quel principio di diritto, cioe 
1 D. xxxix. i, 3, 2. 2 D. viii. 2, 19 pr. 

36 S. Riccobono [iv 

10 ius prohibendi \ ingiunge poi la ragione intrinseca di tal diritto 
in modo positive, vale a dire : perche essendo pari la condizione 
dei titolari dei dominii il diritto di veto e necessariamente poziore. 

11 testo contiene cosl tutta la dottrina della communio romana : il 
principio di fondo, la conseguenza piu diretta ed operativa, ed infine 
la ragione dommatica che rivela la intima essenza di tutte le norme 
e degli effetti specifici del condominio, e li coordina. 

II testo merita per cio di essere annoverato tra i piu cospicui 
usciti dalla penna del grande giurista. Papiniano vi e tutto 
presente, con la visione completa dell' istituto, con la sua logica 
temprata, che sa concatenare in modo rapido e saldo i fatti, i 
principii di diritto ed insieme gli effetti. 1 

5. Ora sappiamo dunque che lo ius prohibendi aveva costituito 
gia il punto di partenza nella formazione della dottrina della com- 
proprieta, e che e veramente il cardine su cui 1' istituto si muove. 
Per ci6 si riscontra in applicazioni varie negli scritti dei giurecon- 
sulti, che vanno qui considerate. 

fr. ii D. viii. 5, Marcell. vi. dig. . . . prohibendi potius quam 
faciendi esse ius socio, quia magis ille, qui facere conatur, ut dixi, 
quodammodo sibi alienum quoque ius praeripit, si quasi solus 
dominus ad suum arbitrium uti iure 2 communi velit. 

II fondamento che Marcello attribuisce qui allo ius prohibendi 
ha una direzione particolare, che verra posta in luce piu oltre ; per 
ora dico solo che quell' elemento approssimativo espresso dal 
quodammodo non diminuisce, in confronto, la ratio iuris espressa 
da Papiniano ; ma anzi la esalta, perche Marcello giunge a con- 
siderare, in certo modo, il socio che opera senza il consenso del- 
T altro sulla cosa comune, come un estraneo che affronti il diritto di 
proprieta altrui. L' analogia e di grande rilievo, come T effetto che 
ne deriva, che vedremo ben tosto. 

fr. 27 D. viii. 2, Pomp, xxxiii. ad Sab. . . . socius prohibendi 
ius habet . . . quia invito socio in iure* communi non habeas 
ius aedificandi. 

Qui la massima di Sabino serve di base alia decisione, ed ha la 
forza di una regola di diritto da cui quella conseguenza promana. 

1 Si noti per altro che la parita della posizione giuridica dei condomini e 
messa in evidenza da Giuliano : fr. 27 D. viii. 3 ... quia par utriusque 
domini ius in utroque fundo esse incipit. 

2 re Mo. 3 re leg. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 37 

Ed infine Paolo ne fa un' applicazione particolarissima in materia 
di servitu : 

fr. 26 D. viii. 2, Paul. xv. ad Sab. In re communi nemo 
dominorum \iure servitutis\ neque facere quicquam invito altero 
potest neque prohibere quo minus alter faciat ; nulli enim res sua 

Nella prima parte la formula di Paolo combacia perfettamente 
con quella di Papiniano ; essa e dunque tratta alia lettera dal- 
F opera di Sabino. Ma vi e tuttavia una differenza rimarchevole che 
si manifesta subitamente per la parola servitutis incuneata nella 
formulazione di Sabino, e che viene a limitare inaspettatamente 
ed in maniera essenziale la forza e la estensione della regola 

Secondo Sabino il socio pu6 nulla fare sulla cosa comune senza 
il consenso degli altri ; e ci6 iure = per diritto, e non gia iure 

Tra T una cosa e F altra, come ognun vede, la distanza e enorme. 
Non si tratta di semplice proporzione, come di cose che stanno fra 
loro nel rapporto del generale al particolare, ma di enunciazioni 
sostanzialmente diverse. Quella che si legge nel testo di Paolo e 
falsa ; perche il socio puo mai operare sul fondo comune iure 
servitutis, nemmeno col consenso delF altro. Infatti F ostacolo 
alia servitu e nel potere di dominio che egli ha sulla cosa comune, 
e non gia nel divieto del socio. 

Questo principio, che peraltro discende dalla struttura del 
condominio romano, e messo in evidenza da Giavoleno, il quale 
nega tra socii la possibilita dell' actio negatoria, appunto perch& 
quel che e comune appartiene a ciascuno dei compartecipi di pieno 
diritto : nam quod communiter socius habet et. in iure l eum habere 

Per la stessa ragione non e possibile la costituzione di servitu 
tra due fondi, dei quali uno sia comune e F altro di proprieta 
esclusiva di uno dei socii. 2 

1 fr. 4 D. xxxiii. 3, Jav. ix. ep. La preposizione in e nel brano riferito 
sicuramente inopportuna ; Mommsen corregge : item iure me habere, ma 
1' emendazione e arbitraria e nel risultato banale ; io proporrei : pleno iure 
\domini iure?} eum habere ; cfr. D. x. i, 4, 7 ; xi. 3, 14, 2 . . . perinde 
atque si proprius meus servus cet ; D. xlvii. io, 15, 36 . . . cum iure domini 

2 Cfr. 32 D. viii. 3, Afric. vi. quaest. 

38 S. Riccobono [iv 

E nelle stesse condizioni di fatto e esclusa 1' actio finium re- 
gundorum perche ego et socius meus . . . unius loco habemurl 

E perci6 la frase invito socio> che e essenziale nella formula 
di Sabino, respinge con fermezza qualsiasi riferimento alia servitus. 
E tuttavia non bisogna supporre una grave alterazione del testo, 
dacche io credo si possa rimettere in ordine con un semplice 
spostamento della parola servitutis^ che deve avere piuttosto 
la sua collocazione nel secondo membro del periodo, come segue : 

In re communi nemo dominorum neque facere [iure'] quicquam 
invito altero potest neque prohibere [iure servitutis~\ quo minus alter 
facial : nulli enim res sua servit. 

Paolo, dunque, metteva in relazione la massima di Sabino con 
la dottrina delle servitu, e cio in modo veramente opportuno, 
perche egli trattava in quel luogo de servitutibus? ed intendeva 
precipuamente far notare che il socio nemmeno ha facolta di 
proibire iure servitutis quo minus alter faciat. 

La ragione e manifesta ; che avendo ciascuno dei condomini 
un pieno diritto sulla cosa, tra i medesimi non vi e possibilita di 
esercizio o pretesa di servitu, e di conseguenza e preclusa la via 
allo esperimento dell' actio negatoria : nulli res sua servit. Questo 
punto di diritto, per altro, ci e noto dal passo di Giavoleno sopra 
riferito, e da altri testi classici che verranno subito in esame ; esso 
fu posto in grande evidenza da Cuiacio, che interpreto rettamente 
il fr. in esame, senza proporne 1' emendamento. 3 

I moderni hanno avvertito le difficolta del passo, ma non le 
hanno superate. Se poi la dislocazione della frase iure servitutis 
debba attribuirsi a svista di amanuensi ovvero all' opera dei com- 
pilatori e cosa che non posso giudicare. 

Certo molti argomenti rendono piu verisimile la seconda ipotesi ; 
infatti il lettore trovera piu oltre prove sufficienti per convincersi che 
Giustiniano si adopr6 deliberatamente a stremare in tutti i modi 
la regola di Sabino, che affermava nella maniera piu recisa la 
indipendenza dei singoli condomini rispetto alia cosa comune, e che 
inoltre egli trasformo lo ius prohibendi in un' azione giudiziaria. 

6. E lo ius prohibendi si determina ora con precisione. Esso 

1 D. x. i, 4, 7. 

2 Cfr. Lenel, Pal \. c. 1289. 

3 Cfr. Opp. vol. vii. p. 676 ad 1. 27 (8-2) ; ibid. p. 674 ad 1. 26 eod. ; 
ibid. p. 737 ad 1. n (8-5); ibid. p. 945 e, p. 2223 ad 1. 4, D. xxxiii. 3. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 39 

scaturisce, come conseguenza ineluttabile, dalla posizione pari dei 
condomini. E un effetto naturale del dominio posto in quella 
particolare situazione ; e perci6 e enunciate come un diritto fonda- 
mentale e caratteristico, che entra in azione tutte le volte che 
T accordo tra i condomini si rompe. 

Prohibere non s' intende nel senso che al socio competa 1* actio 
negatoria o prohibitoria contro T altro. Ma significa, invece, che 
ciascuno dei socii pu6 direttamente impedire con la forza, di sua 
autorita, T opera o qualsiasi azione sulla cosa intrapresa dall' altro. 
Tale significato e fuori dubbio. Marcello contrappone prohibere 
& facere, ed i due termini si rapportano sicuramente all' ingerenza 
materiale, che e positivamente (facere) inibita a ciascuno dei socii 
ove manchi il consenso degli altri ; ed e invece negativamente 
(prohibere) permessa a ciascuno per impedire qualsiasi uso della 
cosa contro la sua volonta. Ma il passo di Marcello subl una grave 
mutilazione ed e nei Digesti del seguente tenore : 

fr. 1 1 D. viii. 5, Marc. vi. dig. An unus ex sociis in communi loco 
invitis ceteris iure aedificare possit, id est an, si prohibeatur a sociis, 
possit cum his ita experiri ius sibi esse aedificare, et an socii cum eo 
ita agere possint ius sibi prohibendi esse vel illi ius aedificandi non 
esse : et si aedificatum iam sit, num possint l cum eo ita experiri 
ius tibi non esse ita aedificatum habere, quaeritur \et magis did 
potesf\ 2 prohibendi potius quam faciendi esse ius socio, quia magis 
ille, qui facere conatur, ut dixi, quodammodo. sibi alienum quoque 

1 num possint Hal. ; non possit F. 

2 La frase et magis did potest e interpolatizia, inserita dai compilatori 
per sopprimere la piu estesa dimostrazione di Marcello. Sospetta e la frase 
per se stessa, che ritorna in molti testi rimaneggiati da Triboniano (magis 
infinite volte ; potest did qualche volta ; cfr. D. xlvii. 2, 9, i ; D. ix. 4, 19 pr.) 
inoltre, a breve distanza, s' incontra di nuovo magis che era nel testo genuine, 
e 1' espressione ut dixi non ha piu riscontro nel passo dei Digesti, mentre 
Marcello ricollegava cosi la decisione alia argomentazione piu ampia (quaeritur) 
che precedeva. 

Anche il Lenel (ZSS. vol. xii. p. 12) osservo con il solito acume la di- 
minuzione del testo operata dai compilatori, ma non la precisa, e percio nel- 
1' interpretazione tien conto degli elementi che vi si leggono, concludendo che 
Marcello ammetteva 1' actio prohibitoria e non la negatoria. Di cio piu oltre. 

Non ha invece fondamento il sospetto da Beseler (Beitrage, i. p. 79, i) 
manifestato sul periodo : id est . . . habere ; perche, in verita, il giurista aveva 
posto quesiti fondamentali che si presentavano naturalmente in una trattazione 
larga della dottrina. 

Ed & ovvio che tutte quelle formule rassegnate da Marcello rappresentavano 

40 S. Riccobono [iv 

ius praeripit, si quasi solus dominus ad suum arbitrium uti iure 1 
communi velit. 

Marcello aveva dovuto negare recisamente la possibilita di 
qualsiasi azione tra i socii a titolo di servitu, come 1' aveva negate 
Giavoleno ; ed aveva dovuto invece ammettere il diritto del socio 
ad impedire 1' opera comechesia, nel senso che ho dichiarato di 
sopra. La motivazione di Marcello, sopravvissuta nel testo, acquista 
cosl il suo giusto valore e perfetta proporzione ; perche essa e 
indirizzata a giustificare la violenza privata contro il socio che 
disponendo della cosa a suo arbitrio : sibi alienum quoque ius 
praeripit. Ne pu6 sorprendere in questo luogo la legittimazione 
della privata difesa ; avvegnache il diritto di ciascuno dei socii 
d' impedire con la forza qualsiasi ingerenza o di distruggere 1' opera 
eseguita sulla cosa comune, senza preventivo accordo, deriva dal 
potere essenziale di dominio che ciascuno ha sulla medesima. II 
proprietario non e tenuto a tollerare che altri faccia in suo 
alcunche contro il suo volere ; piuttosto egli puo distruggere 
P opera di sua autorita : iure suo posse eum intercidere, et merito^ . . . 
quod hie in suo protexit? 

Questo principio non soffre restrizione nel condominio ; pre- 
cisamente per il motive che i condomini sono tutti in pari causa 
ed indipendenti P uno dalP altro. E siffatta conseguenza era pro- 
babilmente affermata da Pomponio nel fr. 27 D. viii. 2, con la frase 
rent perdere, ove le si attribuisca il valore che le diedero gl' inter- 
preti fin dalla Glossa, cioe che il socio possa opus sua auctoritate 
destruere quando il condomino agisca senza il suo consenso ; la 
quale frase perci6 deve essere genuina, nel testo rifatto largamente 
dai compilatori. 3 

7. Onde i Romani, considerando lo stato di anarchia in cui i 
socii si trovavano rispetto all' uso ed al godimento della cosa, 
poterono dire che la communio e mater rixarum, e constatare, di 

varii attegiamenti dell' a. negatoria secondo le diverse ipotesi. Ne la parola 
prohibere inclusa in quelle formule ha un valore speciale : 

cfr. D. viii. 5, 8, 5 : prohiberi posse fumum immittere . . . agique sic posse 
. . . ius ei non esse fumum immittere. 

1 re scr. 

2 fr. 29 i D. ix. 2. 

3 Per T esame di questo passo v. cap. ii. n. 29, p. 61. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 41 

conseguenza, ogni giorno che propter immensas contentiones 
plerumque res ad divisionem pervenitl 

E questa affermazione & vera nella sua interezza, per la stessa 
struttura del condominio e per le attestazioni concordi degli antichi; 2 
comunque, per altro, il periodo che la contiene possa essere stato 
rimosso o ricollegato dai compilatori. 

8. Affermato cosl il punto centrale della dottrina del con- 
dominio e agevole ora procedere all 1 esame di tutte le conseguenze 
giuridiche che ne derivano, che debbono per cio stesso manifestarsi 
chiare ed incontestabili. 

La posizione dei socii nella comunione e, come s' e visto, de- 
terminata sempre dai principii fondamentali del dominio, senza 
attenuazione o modificazione di sorta. Nei particolari cio si 
dimostra mirabilmente con un rapido esame degli effetti giuridici 
che scaturiscono dallo stato di comproprieta, sotto T aspetto positive 
e negative ; e cioe : 

(a) in ordine alia disposizione giuridica della cosa comune, che 
compete a ciascuno dei socii. 

() in ordine agli atti di disposizione materiale della cosa, che 
non possono attuarsi senza il concorso di tutti i compartecipi. In 
questa categoria va pure annoverata qualsiasi disposizione giuridica 
che investe di necessita la cosa intera, come avviene per le servitu 
attive o passive. 

9. Rispetto al primo punto e certo che ognuno dei compro- 
prietarii puo esercitare tutte le facolta di disposizione giuridica del 
dominio con lamassima indipendenza. Ciascuno quindi puovendere, 8 
donare, sottoporre ad ipoteca, 4 costituire usufrutto, dare in dote, 5 
disporre per testamento o altrimenti alienare la cosa, in proporzione 
della parte che gli spetta, senza attendere il consenso dei socii, e 
senza che una qualsiasi ingerenza di essi sia ammessa. 6 L' atto 
dispositive dell' alienante ha naturalmente efficacia reale solo nel 
limite del diritto che effettivamente gli compete sulla cosa comune. 

1 fr. 26 D. viii. 2. 

2 fr. 77 20 D. xxxi. . . . cum discordiis propinquorum sedandis pro- 
spexei it, quas materia communionis solet excitare. 

3 Cod. iv. 52, 3 (DiocL et Max.} ; c. 4 e 5 eod. ; D. x. 2, 44, 2. 

4 D. x. 3, 6, 9 ; xx. 4, 3, 2 ; xx. 6, 7, 4. 

5 Cod. v. 12, 1 6 (DiocL et Max.). 

6 D. 1. 17, 26; cfr. Lenel, Pal. Ulp. n. 2748 ; Cod. iv. 52, 3. 

42 5. Riccobono [iv 

Tale conseguenza e affermata da Papiniano per la vendita come per 
T ipoteca disposta dal condomino. 

II passo che si riferisce alia vendita e alquanto oscuro rispetto 
agli element! di fatto, che furono certamente ridotti dai compilatori ; 
ma per quel che concerne il punto in esame il testo e sicuro e di 
grande significazione. 

Nei Digesti & cosi riferito : 

fr. 64 4 D. xxi. 2, Pap. vii. 9. Qui unum iugerum pro 
indiviso solum habuit, tradidit : secundum omnium sententias non 
totum dominium transtulit, sed partem dimidiam iugeri, quemad- 
modum si locum cerium aut fundum similiter tradidisset^ 

L' alienazione per cio ha efficacia solo per la parte che il socio ha 
nella comunione. 2 E lo stesso vale per 1' ipoteca ; onde Papiniano 
con una fine argomentazione ne deduce che si possono avere su di 
una parte d' un fondo ipoteche non concorrenti ; cioe T una costituita 
durante la comunione, che gravera, dopo la divisione, sulle parti pro 
diviso, in ragione di meta : e P altra costituita per garanzia in favore 
del socio, nell' atto divisorio, che investe 1' altra meta : sed priorem 

1 Nel passo la traditio fu sostituita alia mancipatio (Lenel, Pal. ad h. 1.) ; 
ma i compilatori soppressero inoltre molti element! nella relazione del fatto, 
che era certamente piu complicato. Cosl il solum, aggettivo o avverbio che 
sia, resto nel passo senza alcun significato ; ed invero che importa cio nel 
trasferimento per mane, di cosa determinata ? Ma il similiter tradid., 
poi, rivela che il giureconsulto aveva riferito avanti una speciale clausola della 

lo suppongo che in un fondo di Tizio era stato legato un solo iugero a due 
conliberti senza designazione della regione, e che uno dei legatarii mancipo 
1' intero ingero che era/r<? indiviso nel fondo di Tizio. 

Papin. pot& scrivere : 

Qui unum iugerum pro indiviso solum \in fundo Titii commune cum 
Simplici conliberto habuit mancipio dedit Seio hac formula : unum iugerum 
quod est in praedio Titii pro indiviso\ cet. 

Si spiegherebbe allora 1' aw. similiter che presuppone un' analogia di specie 
che Papiniano usa altre volte, ed inoltre il confronto con il locus certus Q/undus. 
Nel caso esaminato da Papiniano si doveva trattare di locus indeterminate : 

cfr. D. 1. 1 6, 60 : locus est . . . portio aliqua fundi ... 2 ... locus 
vero latere potest quatenus determine tur et definiatur. La mancipatio di pars 
pro indiviso doveva del resto essere frequente nella comunicazione di fondi 
societatis causa, cfr. Riccobono, Traditio ficta, c. iii. 

E quindi errava Cuiacio (Opp. iv. p. 795 ad h. 1.) supponendo che la traditio 
fosse avvenuta nel testo in esame mediante la semplice consegna dei titoli di 
proprieta, in base all' erroneo concetto che non fosse possibile tradizione cor- 
porale di pars pro indiviso. 

2 fr. 68 D. xvii. 2. 

iv] Communio e Compropritfa 43 

secundo non esse potiorem, quoniam secundum pignus ad earn partem 
directum videbatur, quam ultra partem suam f rater non consentiente 
socio non potuit obligare. 1 

E parimenti i frutti del fondo spettano a ciascuno dei soci 
iure soli, in proporzione della parte di dominio che risulta dalla 
concorrenza dei diritti degli altri : ita qui communem fundum 
posszdet, nonfaciet suos fructus pro ea parte > qua fundus ad socium 
eius pertinebit? La stessa attribuzione vien fatta per gli increment! 
del fondo. 3 

II quale principle assume poi una grande importanza nella 
comunione di schiavi, dacche conduce alia regola generale che 
gli acquisti dello schiavo comune, anche se fatti ex re alterius 
dominorum, vanno attribuiti, per lo meno quanto alia forma, a 
tutti i socii pro parte dominiit Effetti cotesti ben congrui e 
proporzionati alia struttura del condominio, e per cio sotto ogni 
riguardo necessarii ed inderogabili ; avvegnache, se, come si esprime 
Papiniano, 5 i condomini hanno sulla cosa una posizione pari, ne 
deriva per necessita imprescindibile che ciascuno dei titolari non 
puo avere una facolta di disposizione al di la della sua parte, e 
ciascuno non puo far suoi i frutti, o pretendere dagli acquisti a 
mezzo di schiavi, che una parte corrispondente a quella ex qua 
dominus est. Ne vi e ragione per cio di concepire il con- 
dominio romano come un concorso di proprieta parziali sulla 
cosa medesima ; perche cotali effetti si coordinano con perfetta 
misura al concetto della comproprieta integrate ; in cui ciascuno 
dei titolari incontra un limite insuperabile nel diritto concorrente 
degli altri. Onde necessariamente tutte le facolta del dominio si 
riducono entro quel limite in cui esso e in realta ristretto, a causa 
del concorso degli altri diritti. 

II che vuol dire, che la posizione pari dei condomini rispetto 
al diritto sulla cosa, e poi immanente in tutti gli effetti giuridici 
proprii del dominio. E cosl deve essere. Un' affermazione 

1 fr. 3 2 D. xx. 4, Pap. xi. resp. ; cfr. Gai in D. xx. 6, 7, 4 : ... dimsione 
facta cum socio non utique earn partem creditori obligatam esse, quae ei optingit, 
qui pignori dedit^ sed utriusque pars pro indiviso pro parte dimidia manebit 
obligata. 2 f n 25 pr. D. xxii. i Jul. vii. dig. 

3 fr. 4 5 D. x. i unusquisque portionem habebit quam in fundo habet et 
pro indiviso. 

4 D. xli. i, 45, Gai vii. ad ed. pr. ; D. x. 3, 24, pr. Jul. viii. dig. 

5 D. x. 3, 28. 

44 -S 1 - Riccobono [iv 

diversa non avrebbe che un valore metafisico, contrario alia natura 
ed alia forza del diritto. 

10. E per altro se la struttura del condominio si manifesta cosl 
limpida, osservata dal lato positive, cioe rispetto alle facolta che 
ciascuno dei titolari pu6 esercitare in modcx indipendente dagli 
altri, e che dai giureconsulti romani sono ammesse con tutta 
naturalezza ; essa deve poi mostrarsi in maggior rilievo, esplorata 
nelle sue manifestazioni negative, che rivelano appunto la im- 
possibilita di qualsiasi regolamento obbiettivo della comunione, in 
ordine agli atti dispositivi sulla cosa. I quali, come la natura della 
proprieta esige, in qualsiasi contingenza, dipendono unicamente 
dalla volonta unanime dei compartecipi. In contrapposto agli 
atti di disposizione giuridica compiuti dal condomino, che mai 
possono ledere il diritto degli altri, sotto il secondo aspetto si con- 
templano, in primo luogo, gli atti materiali sulla cosa comune, 
i quali per la loro natura, necessariamente, invadono in una volta 
il diritto dei socii. Per ci6 essi sono inibiti ai singoli compartecipi 
in modo assoluto. Onde qui entra in azione e spiega la sua forza 
la regola di Sabino : in re communi neminem dominorum iure facere 
quicquam invito alter o posset II verbo facere si riferisce appunto 
a tutti gli atti materiali. E da cio segue, che nessuno dei socii pu6 
di propria iniziativa usare la cosa, coltivare il fondo o eseguirvi 
miglioramenti, costruzioni o in generale opere nuove, nemmeno 
semplicemente conservative, senza il consenso di tutti i condomini. 

Ne giova distinguere qui tra gli atti che sono rivolti ad un uso 
normale della cosa, conforme alia sua destinazione, e gli atti che 
esorbitano da questo limite e che importano un utilizzamento 
difforme o contrario alia destinazione della medesima. 

La distinzione non puo aver luogo ; perche il divieto del 
facere, qualunque esso sia, deriva dalla forza del diritto degli altri, 
e per cio e assoluto, ed ha nulla che vedere con la natura dell' uso 
e la specie degli atti. 

E pertanto, come la volonta unanime dei socii e necessaria per 
abbattere o riedificare un muro o parte di un edificio, cosi pure le 
riparazioni necessarie ai muri ed agli edificii comuni esigono il volere 
concorde di tutti. 2 A nessuno quindi e consentito fare uso del 
muro comune o utilizzarlo in qualsiasi modo, come appoggiandovi 
fabbriche o scale o tubi per la condotta delle acque. 

1 fr. 26 D. viii. 2 ; fr. 28 D. x. 3. 2 D. viii. 2, 8, Gai vii. ad ed. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 45 

II. Su questo punto per6 e bene fermarsi ; perche fin dalla 
Glossa si asserisce il contrario, particolarmente rispetto a determinati 
utilizzamenti della parete comune, non che per le opere riparative 
degli edificii. La quale affermazione e esatta ove si abbia 
riguardo al diritto giustinianeo, come vedremo piu oltre ; ma per 
il diritto classico, invece, e sicuramente falsa. 

Infatti se in frammenti notissimi dei giuristi romani si permette 
al condomino di tenere il bagno dappresso la parete comune, o di 
costruire una camera o una scala addossata alia stessa, in tutte 
quelle decisioni e presupposto che egli deve eseguire le opere entro 
i limiti della sua proprieta esclusiva ; e non solo che il bagno, la 
camera o la scala non debbono recar danno al muro, ma che 
debbono inoltre stare del tutto indipendenti da esso. I testi cui 
alludevo sono lucidissimi in questo senso, e si esprimono nel modo 
seguente : 

fr. 19 D. viii. 2, Paul. vii. ad Sab. Fistulam iunctam parieti 
communi, quae aut ex castello aut ex coelo aquam capit, non 
iure haberi Proculus ait ; sed non posse prohiberi vicinum, quo 
minus balineum habeat secundum parietem communem, quamvis 
humorem capiat paries ; non magis quam si vel in triclinio suo vel 
in cubiculo aquam effunderet. Sed Neratius ait, si talis sit usus 
tepidarii ut assiduum humorem habeat, et id noceat vicino, posse 
prohiberi eum. 

i. luxta communem parietem cameram ex figlino opere factam, 
si ita retineatur, ut etiam sublato pariete maneat [si modo non 
impediat refectionem communis parietis\, iure habere licet. 

2. Scalas posse me ad parietem communem habere, Sabinus 
recte scribit, quia removeri hae possunt. 

Tutti i giuristi, come si vede, sono concordi nell' enunciare 
condizioni di fatto tali che escludono 1' uso del muro comune a 
sostegno di quelle opere o impianti ; che son fatti bensi tuxta, 
secundum parietem^ cioe addossati al muro ma non sostenuti da 
esso. II muro comune e dunque fuori quistione ; tan to e vero che 
si esige pure che la costruzione etiam sublato pariete maneat?- 

Nello stesso senso e diretta la argomentazione di Proculo rispetto 
al bagno : egli dice, giustamente, che non e sufficiente motivo 

1 E per ci6 1' inciso * si modo non impediat refectionem communis parietis ' 
e evidentemente interpolatizio ; perche la condizione enunciata dal giurista 
e gia assorbente. Indizii della interpolazione : si modo la superflua 
ripetizione del sostantivo : communis parietis, che precede immediatamente. 
La ragione dell' inciso verra in evidenza nel c. ii. n. 47. 

46 5. Riccobono [iv 

d' impedire al socio di tenere il bagno addossato alia parete il fatto 
che vi si comunica 1' umidita ; perche cio avviene pure nel lavare il 
pavimento del triclinio o del cubiculo versandovi 1' acqua a getto. 

Da ci6 si desume che in tutti quei casi presi in esame la parete 
comune non e adibita a sostegno delle opere. II presupposto 
essenziale e questo appunto. Se ci6 non e, in fatto, interviene il 
divieto. Cosl nel caso di tubi infissi al muro per lo scarico delle 
acque piovane o dal castello, o di appoggio di una fabbrica. 1 

Ma il divieto poi di tenere un forno applicato alia parete 
comune 2 o caloriferi ha un' altra ragione piu generale, il danno cioe 
che ne viene alia fabbrica dal continue calore o dalla fiamma. E 
Proculo fa notare precisamente la distinzione tra i due casi, con le 
parole : de tubulis eo amplius hoc iuris est y quod per eos fiamma 
torretur paries? 

E evidente, dunque, che il richiamo di quei passi e erroneo ; 
e che in essi non pu6 trovar appoggio quell' antica dottrina che 
consente al socio P uso normale della cosa comune, secondo la sua 
destinazione. 4 E soggiungo che tale dottrina nemmeno si giustifica, 
per quanto attiene al diritto classico, invocando la facolta che ha il 
condomino di abbellire con pitture o stucchi la parete comune ; 
perche se e lo stesso Proculo 5 che ammette ci6, egli non poteva 
contradirsi ; mentre a togliere qualsiasi valore alia decisione per la 
dottrina in esame della destinazione, basta osservare che le pareti 
non si costruiscono per le pitture o per gli stucchi, ne quando vi si 
eseguano pu6 dirsi che si faccia un uso normale della cosa. La 
permissione deve avere percio altri motivi ; e cioe in primo luogo 
quello che le pitture e gli stucchi non toccano e non ledono la 
sostanza della cosa comune ; ed inoltre poi la considerazione che le 
esigenze del diritto non vengono mai a porsi in contrasto col buon 
senso, come verrebbero a trovarsi vietando al condomino di tenere 
la parete decorosa o di spazzar via i ragnateli dalla medesima, 
senza il consenso degli altri. 6 

12. Dopo tutto resta la sola quistione delle riparazioni agli 

1 Z>. viii. 2, 13 pr. 2 D. ix. 2, 27, 10. 

3 D. viii. 2, 13 pr. 

4 Cfr. p. es. Ferrini, Pand. p. 450. 

5 D. viii. 2, 13, i. 

6 Ma pur troppo il diritto e trascinato spesso non solo in contrasto col 
buon senso ma pure in situazioni ridicole, come avviene oggi presso di noi con 
la ormai famosa iscririone d' ufficio del Re nelle liste elettorali politiche. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 47 

edificii e muri comuni, che e in realta assai intricata. Ma 1' esame 
piu largo di essa deve essere rimandato al c. ii., appunto perche le 
interpolazioni giustinianee sono in questa materia emergenti nel 
Corpus luris. 

Or per quel che concerne il diritto classico abbiamo due dati 
certi per ritenere anche in questo punto di diritto il vigore della 
regola di Sabino. 

In primo luogo il passo di Gaio, piu volte richiamato, che 
attesta nella maniera piu esplicita per il muro comune alterutri 
. . . reficiendi ius non esse. 1 E poi il Senato consulto provocato 
da M. Aurelio, che concedette ai singoli condomini, che avessero 
eseguite le riparazioni necessarie agli edificii, il diritto di esigere in 
proporzione la spesa erogata entro 4 mesi con gl' interessi, e, nel 
caso di mora dei socii al pagamento o di rifiuto, 1* acquisto della 
proprieta delle parti dell' edificio loro spettanti. Soltanto queste 
disposizioni attribuiscono le fonti 2 alia Oratio di M. Aurelio ; ma 
essa doveva contenere certamente, come premessa, I 1 obbligo rivolto 
ai singoli condomini di tenere in ordine gli edificii, ai fini principal- 
mente della loro stabilita. 

L J occasione a tali provvedimenti pote essere apprestata dalla 
inondazione del Tevere, che, giusto in quel tempo, fu spaventevole 
e che a dire di Capitolino 3 multa urbis aedificia vexavit et pluri- 
mum animalium inter emit et famem gravissimam peperit. 

Del resto e nota la cura somma degli Imperatori e del Senate 4 
per il decoro edilizio della Citta, che diede luogo a disposizioni 
gravissime limitatrici della proprieta, che furono estese pure alle 
Provincie 5 e severamente custodite. E pertanto il provvedimento 
legislative di carattere eccezionale conferma, come a me sembra, la 
regola dello ius civile, quale e riferita da Gaio ; nel senso che ai 

1 D. viii. 2, 8. 

2 D. xvii. 2, 52, 10 (Ulp.-Papin.) ; Cod. viii. 10, 4 (Philipp. a. 245); 
Harmenopulo, Exab. x. 3, 27. Male Cuiacio, Opp. iv. p. 785 ad 1. 28 D. x. 
3 spiega pure con la Oratio dim Marti la 1. 32 D. xxxix. 2. Cf. c. ii. n. 
Nelle Leges saeculares (L. 98 ed. Ferrini) le disposizioni del SC. sono applicate 
pure ai proprietarii dei diversi piani di una casa, essendo, come ora sappiamo, 
nelle provincie orientali ammessa la proprieta divisa dei piani di un edificio ; 
cfr. Wenger, ZSS. v. 32, p. 334 ; ma v. Partsch, Archiv Pap. v. p. 496. 

3 Hist. M. Ant. Philoph. 8. 

4 Cfr. Riccobono, Fontes, p. 233. 

5 Cfr. Epistula Hadriani ad Stralonicenses Hadrianopolitas (Riccobono, 
Fontes, p. 325 ed ivi citati). 

48 S. Riccobono [iv 

singoli condomini non e data facolta di provvedere alle riparazioni 
necessarie agli edificii, senza il concorso della volonta degli altri. 
Mentre, d' altro lato, pu6 ben dirsi che la disposizione del Senate 
non venne qui ad alterare nessun principio fondamentale del- 
1' istituto della comproprieta ; avvegnache il singolo condomino, se 
pu6 e deve ora eseguire le riparazioni agli edificii cadenti, ci6 
facendo non esercita una facolta di dominio, ma adempie piuttosto 
un precetto d' indole amministrativa, munito perci6 di speciale 

13. Onde per quel che riguarda il facere possiamo con- 
ch iudere che le applicazioni della regola di Sabino sono tutte 
concordanti nello stesso senso, come dovevano essere ; perche la 
materia non poteva qui offrire occasione a dubbii e controversie, 
trattandosi di deduzioni semplici ed incontrovertibili dei principii 
fondamentali del dominio. 1 

Infatti, se la condizione dei singoli compartecipi e pari in diritto, 
qualsiasi atto compiuto nella cosa da uno o dai piu contro la 
volonta di altri costituisce certamente una menomazione del diritto 
di questi ultimi, un' invadenza della loro sfera giuridica. Ma, 
d' altro lato, non vi e ragione ne posto per ammettere la prevalenza 
della volonta di uno sull' altro, o anche dei piu contro uno. Perche, 
essendo tutti domini, ciascuno puo disporre della cosa come vuole ; 
e qualunque cosa voglia non puo essere soggetta a contraddizione. 

E percio 1' effetto deve essere negative ; colui che nega e 
poziore, nel senso che qualsiasi disposizione materiale della cosa 
comune viene ad essere impedita. E cosl e vero, negativamente, 
che nessuno pu6 disporre di fatto della cosa a suo talento, per 
1' energia del diritto pari degli altri ; come e pur vero, in senso 
positivo, che ciascuno ha il potere d' impedire con la forza il 
tentative del socio che voglia far prevalere la sua volonta operando 
sulla cosa ; perche questi allora quodammodo sibi alienum quoque 
ius praeripit) si quasi solus dominus ad suum arbitrium uti \re\ 
communi velit. 

1 Nella presente trattazione non sono considerati i casi di comunione di 
sepolcri e le facolta di seppellire nel luogo puro comune ; perche in questa 
materia le innovazioni di Giustiniano sono ancora piu profonde e determinate 
da 1' idea prettamente religiosa. Onde mi parve necessario dedicare all' ar- 
gomento un lavoro speciale. E per altro, per quel che qui interessa, e fuori 
dubbio che nel diritto classico il condomino non ha facolta di far religiose il 
luogo puro introducendovi il cadavere ; cfr. D. xi. 7, 41, che del resto e inter- 
polate nella seconda parte : cum extranei . . sepeliretur ; e D. x. 3, 6, 6. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 49 

14. E la posizione e identica e quindi identico lo effetto, quando 
per via di atti giuridici la disposizione di uno dei socii investe di 
necessita la cosa intera ; perche anche in questo caso si determina 
un conflitto tra i molteplici dominii come in seguito al facere ; e 
perci6 il potere del singolo socio deve arrestarsi. 

Nessuno dei socii pu6 quindi acquistare al fondo una servitu, per 
quanto ne sia evidente il vantaggio o la necessita ; l e nessuno pu6 
singolarmente gravare il fondo di servitu. 2 

Nell' uno e neir altro caso si richiede il consensus omnium, o, 
per meglio dire, quell' atto dispositive congruo a costituire la servitu, 
che puo essere simultaneo ovvero successive da parte dei singoli. 3 

La denunzia di nuova opera rispetto al fondo comune puo essere 
attiva o passiva ; e cioe da parte dei condomini a causa di opera 
eseguita in alieno e che invade il fondo o ne minaccia in modo 
qualsiasi la liberta o la consistenza fisica ; ovvero, dal lato passivo, 
contro i condomini per opera che s' inizia sul fondo comune. 

Ma in ambo i casi gli effetti giuridici si riflettono su tutti i 
condomini solo quando vi sia il consenso di tutti. 4 Ove tale 
consenso non vi sia per la denunzia, o nel caso inverso per F opera, 
la responsabilita incombe solo all' autore della denunzia ; nel 
secondo caso a chi inizio F opera sul fondo. 5 E pari & la decisione 
intorno alia cautio damni in/ecti, nei casi in cui ha luogo. 6 

Abbiamo qui dunque esempii perspicui per dimostrare che il 
principio della indipendenza dei socii & inalterable nella comunione, 
e che il diritto romano in nessun caso pervenne a riconoscere la 
facolta di un socio di rappresentare gli altri, per garentire F interesse 
comune o per la responsabilita di fronte ai terzi. Ne questa afferma- 
zione resta infirmata dal fatto che ciascuno dei condomini ha potere 
di rivendicare in solidum la servitu dovuta al fondo 7 o di assicurare 
con F esercizio F esistenza della medesima, 8 perche cotali effetti, 

1 D. viii. 3, 19. 

2 D. xxxix. 3, i o pr. omnium voluntatem esse sequendam ; D. viii. 1,2; 
D. xxi. 2, 10. 

3 D. viii. 3, n, per altro interpolate. 

4 D. xxxix. I, 18, Pap. 3 qu. si . . . ex voluntate omnium opus fiat. 
5 6 D. eod. 

5 fr. 1 8 D. xxxix. i in solidum obligabitur. 

6 D. x. 3, 6, 7 necesse tibi non fuerit in solidum cavere, sed sufficere 
pro parte tua. 

7 D. viii. 5, 4, 3 \itaque . . . posstt\ Trib. conf. Eisele, ZSS. xxx. p. 120. 

8 D. viii. 6, 1 6. 


50 S. Riccobono [iv 

come e ovvio, dipendono unicamente dalla natura della servitu, che 
e per se stessa indivisibile, e quindi non si puo ne acquistare ne 
rivendicare ne perdere pro parted 

15. Sono disegnati cosi i lineamenti essenziali, cioe quelli che 
appariscono i soli necessarii a rappresentare la struttura piu rilevata 
e caratteristica dell' istituto del condominio, secondo i classici. 
Essi ci hanno rivelato che i singoli hanno sulla cosa comune un vero 
e pieno diritto di proprieta, e che questo diritto si comporta del 
tutto con la stessa forza e la stessa energia come nella proprieta 
unica, secondo i principii del diritto quiritario ; per cui il domino 
ovvero i condomini hanno sulla cosa un potere assoluto che 
esercitano con la massima indipendenza in qualsiasi momento e 
situazione. Le conseguenze di questa posizione sono evidenti e 
note. Le facolta di disposizione giuridica restano illimitate nei 
singoli condomini. Ma 1' uso ed il godimento della cosa non pu6 
aver luogo che mediante F accordo di tutti, per ogni singolo atto 
ed in ogni momento. 

Quando quest' accordo non si raggiunga la comunione si 
paralizza subitamente. Si tratta pertanto di un rapporto senza 
disciplina e senza regolamento di sorta, ed in questo senso 
addirittura anarchico ; in cui il sistema individualistico romano si 
manifesta in tutta la sua potenza. 

II risultato e sicuramente antieconomico ed antisociale, ma non 
in modo diverse che tutto F ordinamento della proprieta. E percio 
non e a pensare che i Romani abbiano avvertito le durezze del loro 
sistema di comproprieta ; di certo non tentarono mai di apportarvi 
alcuna mitigazione, che, come s' e visto, applicarono sempre il 
principio di fondo con tutte le conseguenze sopra rilevate, con la 
logica piu perfetta ed inesorabile. 

1 6. Quando il disaccordo si manifesta tra i socii, in ordine al- 
F esercizio delle facolta di dominio sulla cosa, vuoi per la maniera 
o la distribuzione del godimento, vuoi per la condotta di uno 
pregiudizievole agli interessi degli altri o semplicemente alia 
volonta degli altri, non vi ha nessun mezzo e nessuna azione che 
intervenga a comporre il dissidio, che rimetta F ordine, che costringa 
F uno o gli altri a consentire od agire in modo ragionevole e vantag- 
gioso per F interesse comune ; ovvero che possa impedire F abuso o il 
danneggiamento della cosa. Preminente, sempre, resta il principio : 

1 D. viii. i, ii. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 51 

potior est condicio prohibentis, lo stato cioe d' inazione, di paralisi. 
E potior s' intende iure ; per cio in qualsiasi evenienza, al di sopra 
di qualsiasi interesse, vantaggio o danno dei singoli cointeressati. 

17. E la paralisi pu6 risolversi soltanto con un mezzo energico 
e definitive, cioe con lo scioglimento della comunione. 

Per ci6 ciascuno dei socii puo chiedere la divisione mediante 
T actio communi dividundo in qualsiasi momenta. 1 Ed a questo 
diritto non si ammette rinunzia. Ma di piu i giureconsulti con 
esitanza, come pare, riconobbero la validita del pactum ne intra 
cerium tempus dividatur? II motive ne era evidente. Dacche il 
patto di non dividere, anche limitato nel tempo, non poteva avere 
efficacia reale, e se in un modo qualsiasi si fosse potuto consentire 
siffatto valore, esso avrebbe arrecato una limitazione essenziale al 
diritto assoluto ed alia indipendenza dei condomini. 

Giustiniano, s' intende, superc- la barriera facilmente accordando 
alia convenzione efficacia reale. 3 

In questo punto pero, giova rilevarlo, anche la giurisprudenza 
classica aveva ammesso un' eccezione al principio dell' assoluta 
liberta dello scioglimento della comunione in qualsiasi momento e 
per volonta di un solo ; cio& rispetto al vestibolo comune, che non 
puo essere dedotto nel giudizio divisorio invito altero : 

fr. 19 I D. x. 3, Paul. vi. ad Sab. De vestibule communi 
binarum aedium arbiter communi dividundo invito utrolibet dari non 
debet, quia qui de vestibule liceri cogatur, necesse habeat interdum 
totarum aedium pretium facere, si alias aditum non habeat. 

Come si vede il motive e di quelli che rompono qualsiasi teoria, 
sia pure costruita su basi di granito, quale era quella romana della 
comproprieta. 4 

1 8. Raccogliamo ora i fili sparsi in questo breve saggio. E la 
prima constatazione che emerge spontanea dall' insieme ci mostra 
F istituto del condominio rigorosamente costruito sui principii della 
proprieta solitaria, senza alcuna attenuazione. Cosl gli effetti 
giuridici di sopra descritti sono tutti normali, e dipendenti dalla 

1 D. x. 3, 8 pr. ; x. 2, 43 ; viii. 2, 26, nella parte genuina. 

2 D. xvii. 2, 14, pr., vedi la nota appresso. 

3 D. xvii. 2, 1 6, i, fortemente interpolate; 17 pr. eod. aut c. div. Trib.\ 
x. 3, 14, 2: Trib.\ 3 eod. rimaneggiato da Triboniano : quare emptor 
\quoque\ communi dividundo agenda eadem exceptione \non Paul] summo- 
vebitur, qua actor eius summoveretur. 

4 Cfr. Harmenopuli Exab. ill. x. 30 ; Bos. xii. 2, 1 9 e scolii. 

52 >S. Riccobono [iv 

teoria del dominio quiritario, che esiste illeso in ciascuno dei 
compartecipi. Per ci6 e manifesto che quelle dottrine che vedono 
nella communio una proprieta unica, attribuita ad una molte- 
plicita di subbietti ovvero all' insieme dei titolari considerate come 
un gruppo collettivo, con o senza personalita giuridica, sono 
certamente erronee e lontane dall' ordinamento della comproprieta 
classica. E vero, per altro, che esse hanno nelle fonti un qualche 
fondamento, ma lo hanno precisamente in passi interpolati da 
Giustiniano, e percio saranno a suo luogo prese in considerazione. 1 

19. La comproprieta classica, invece, quale ci si e manifestata 
nelle trattazioni dei giureconsulti si determina nettamente come 
una pluralita di dominii su di una cosa medesima, coesistenti in 
maniera che il singolo diritto rimane compresso dalla forza del- 
1' altro ; e per ci6 ciascuno dei titolari ha, per effetto del concorso 
di diritti molteplici di pari forza, un dominio sulla cosa intera pro 
indiviso pro parte. E questa appunto la designazione molto 
precisa che Celso attribuisce al condominio in D. xiii. 6, 5, 15 sed 
totius corporis pro indiviso pro parte dominium habere\ dove i 
due caratteri salienti della figura del condominio sono perfetta- 
mente messi in evidenza ; e cioe in primo luogo la proprieta 
integrate di ciascuno, e poi la forzata riduzione di essa quanto 
agli effetti dinamici entro un limite insuperabile, a causa del 
concorso degli altri dominii. 

Nello stesso senso si esprime Ulpiano, di cui il pensiero come 
di solito assume una forma piu trasparente : 

D. xxxix. 2, 15, 1 8 : equaliter omnes quasi in totum missi con- 
cursu partes habebunt. 

II testo si riferisce alia missio in possessionem damni infecti 
nomine ', ex primo decreto, che non attribuisce in vero il dominio. 

Ma alia missio puo seguire in un secondo momento la proprieta, 
e non si vede davvero ragione per sospettare che la posizione 
giuridica dei missi debba, per questo rispetto, vale a dire quanto 
alia struttura dei rapporti tra i concorrenti, mutarsi col sopravve- 
nire del dominio. Si pu6 dire anzi il contrario ; che cioe il giure- 
consulto si sforza di attribuire ai missi non proprietarii quella tale 
relazione giuridica che & nota dal condominio. 

Nella comproprieta quindi il rapporto tra i condomini e per- 

1 Cfr. c. iv. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 53 

fettamente identico a quello dei coeredi nella hereditas. I coeredi 
sono tutti chiamati alia eredita intera, e solo per effetto del concorso 
ciascuno consegue una parte proporzionale al numero dei con- 
correnti, o quella parte che la legge o il testatore gli conferisce. 
Anche qui il diritto di ciascuno sull' asse ereditario si determina 
precisamente pro indiviso pro parte. Di conseguenza, se uno 
dei chiamati rinuncia o non pu6 acquistare la parte che gli era 
designata, essa si accresce, di regola, agli altri coeredi, in pro- 
porzione della quota di ciascuno. 

20. Cosi avviene nella communio. Se uno dei condomini, in 
un modo qualsiasi, rinuncia al suo dominio, per manomissione del 
servo o per derelizione etcc., la parte si accresce ipso iure agli 
altri socii. Ci6 e attestato rispetto allo schiavo. 1 

Ma sicuramente non vi e ragione di negare lo stesso effetto per 
la derelizione di altri oggetti della proprieta, come si suol fare. 2 
Perche in nessun caso il diritto romano ammise una differenza 
qualsiasi tra il dominium su schiavi e quello su altre res mancipi, 
ne per il contenuto ne per 1' intensita ne per le forme di trasferi- 
mento. Una differenza si nota bensi, ma solo riguardo al possesso, 
perche e res facti ; e quindi il possesso si configura diversamente 
secondo la natura dell' obbietto. 3 In materia di diritto, al- 
T opposto, tale distinzione non ha senso. 

E per altro P applicazione dello ius adcrescendi tra condomini 
si evince in generale da un testo di Modestino, annoverato sempre 
tra i loci conclamati^ e che realmente e oscuro, per il fatto che la 
conclusione vi fu soppressa. II testo dice : 

fr. 3 D. xli. 7, Mod. vi. differ. An pars pro derelicto haberi 
possit, quaeri solet et quidem si in re communi socius partem 
suam reliquerit, eius esse desinit, ut hoc sit in parte, quod in toto : 
at quin totius rei dominus efficere non potest, ut partem retineat, 
partem pro derelicto habeat [verius est partem pro derelicto haberi 
non posse, nam socius rei communis, si alter partem suam reliquerit, 
totius rei solus dominus efficitur]. 

1 Dosithei, fr. 10; Ulp. Reg. i. 18 ; Paul. S. iv. 12, i ; cfr. 7. ii. 7, 4. 

2 V. Pernice, ZSS. xix. p. 177 n. i. Lo ius adcrescendi rispetto allo 
schiavo sarebbe per il P. un effetto della potestas ; e non si accorge che la 
sua opinione s' infrange dinanzi alia dottrina di Proculo [testi cit.] che 
ammetteva appunto lo ius adcrescendi anche in seguito a man. inter amicos, 
per ci6, necessariamente, sul fondamente della derelizione, compiuta da uno 
dei condomini. 

3 Cfr. D. xli. 2, 3, 13; fr. 47 eod. 

54 S- Riccobono L IV 

II completamento del passo, cosl come io 1' ho tentato ai fini 
della dimostrazione, mi sembra necessario, perche la incompiutezza 
ne e evidente. 

II testo ha un indirizzo teorico, conforme all' indole dell' opera 
da cui fu ricavato, 1 e vuol risolvere una quistione sorta tra i giuristi 
intorno alia possibilita della derelictio partis. La conclusione 
manca. Ma se noi indaghiamo la ragione dei dubbii elevati dai 
giuristi, e certo che non pu6 rinvenirsi dal lato soggettivo, cioe 
rispetto alia perdita della proprieta di colui che non vuole esser 
domino della parte, dacche negarlo sarebbe assurdo : ut hoc sit in 
parte quod in toto. Ma il contrast poteva bensi pronunziarsi dal 
lato obbiettivo, cio& se la parte ora relitta dal socio poteva conside- 
rarsi come derelitta in senso giuridico, e quindi acquistarsi dall' altro 
socio o da qualunque terzo come res nullius ; ovvero, data la 
natura del condominio, in cui ciascuno : totius rei pro indiviso pro 
parte dominium habet y non si dovesse piuttosto ritenere la cosa 
comune soggetta interamente al dominio di ciascuno, e quindi in 
nessun momento priva in parte di domino, per effetto dell' abban- 
dono di uno dei titolari. L' argomentazione di Modestino si 
appunta verso quest' ultima conclusione, che e ben fondata. 
E pertanto lo ius adcrescendi tra condomini appare sicuramente 
discusso tra i giuristi, ed ammesso in generale, con argomenti tratti 
dalla struttura stessa dell' istituto. 

21. Ed il riconoscimento di tale effetto e d' una importanza 
decisiva ; che esso rivela nella maniera piu sfolgorante 1' intima 
essenza della comproprieta, quando la si valuti, come si deve, alia 
stregua di quella regola enunciata da Celso che suona : totiens ius 
adcrescendi esse, quotiens in duobus, qui solidum habuerunt, concursu 
divisus est? 

II principio invero e applicato qui al concorso nell' usufrutto ; 
ma esso e del pari efficace ed incontrovertibile in tutti i casi in cui 
un diritto e attribuito per intero a piu persone ; quindi ha vigore 
nella hereditas^ nel legato, come nel condominio, qualunque sia la 
causa che lo determina. 

22. Ed accertato questo punto, quella dottrina che vede nel 
condominio romano una comproprieta plurima parziale diviene 

1 Cfr. fr. 1 1 D. viii. i : estratto dallo stesso libro e che concerne 1' acquisto 
o la perdita della servitu pro parte [Lenel, Pal. i. c. 704]. 

2 V. F. 79. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 55 

esanime. Perche un diritto parziale, in se, non pu6 aver forza in 
nessun caso di espandersi al di la del suo limite, come non ha forza 
di dilatarsi P obbligazione parziaria, che in realta cade su piu oggetti 
varii, unificati casualmente in un oggetto complessivo. E 1' errore 
per altro nella dottrina del condominio e visibile, determinato dal- 
1' osservazione che tutti gli atti dispositivi del socio hanno valore, 
e gli emolumenti che provengono dalla cosa comune si dividono, 
sempre pro parted Ma tali effetti, fu gia avvertito, dipendono dalla 
resistenza opposta dagli altri diritti di pari forza, che per cio 
formano un limite insuperabile. 

23. Ed ora che da un nucleo centrale compatto e forte abbiamo 
visto irradiarsi in linee ben precise, quanto in direzioni necessaria- 
mente varie, tutti gli effetti del condominio romano, fatti ormai 
chiari nella loro essenza, possiamo e dobbiamo intendere che tra il 
condominio del diritto private e la collegialita dei magistrati non 
vi e nessun punto di contatto. Tra 1* esercizio della potestas, 
infatti, dei magistrati e P esercizio del potere dei condomini la 
differenza e essenziale. Perche 1' attribuzione della potestas ai 
colleghi nella magistratura e intera ed indipendente, nel senso che 
ciascuno di essi pu6 esercitarla in ogni momento senza la coopera- 
zione ed il concorso della volonta dell' altro. Nel condominio invece 
qualsiasi atto esecutivo sulla cosa deve essere necessariamente 
consentito da tutti, in modo positive, come afferm6 gia splendida- 
mente il piu grande interprete del diritto classico, Cuiacio, 2 il quale 
scrisse : invitum . . . accipere debemus non eum qui contradicit^ sed 
eum qui non consentit. 

II dubbio in questo punto non e lecito. 3 

E se nell' un ordine e neir altro puo intervenire lo ius prohibendi, 
si tratta di una coincidenza del tutto esteriore, diversa nel fonda- 
mento, nella forma e nell' efficacia e che non puo farci smarrire la 
esatta nozione delle cose. Vero e per altro che lo ius prohibendi, 
che ricorre nei due casi, se pote impressionare la mente del 

1 Cfr. avanti al n. 9. 

2 Opp. vol. iv. p. 944 : ma s' intende che Cuiacio attribuisce pure alia parola 
un altro significato secondo i testi che comentava. Cosl nel v. iv. p. 783 ad 1. 
28 D. x. 3 scrive : invitus est proprie quiprohibet alteri . . . invitus est etiam ius 
qui abest et per absentiam prohibere non pot est. Ma il Cuiacio si trovava qui di 
fronte ad un testo interpolato, come vedremo piu oltre. Varii significati ammette 
Fadda, Studii Brugi, p. 145. 

3 Cfr. Perozzi, MM. Girard, ii. p. 371. 

56 5*. Riccobono [iv 

Mommsen e di cultori insigni del diritto private, quali il Fadda, 1 il 
Bonfante ed il Pacchioni, ci6 si deve, in buona parte, alia deforma- 
zione dello ius prohibendi tra condomini operata da Giustiniano, e 
che sara tosto messa in chiaro. 

24. Dalla struttura del condominio classico derivano altre 
conseguenze di maggior rilievo, di cui fu fatto cenno, e che si co- 
ordinano convenientemente al concetto fondamentale qui svolto. 

Tra condomini sono ammissibili ben poche azioni ; e cio& solo 
quelle che mirano a fare ottenere ad uno dei titolari il riconosci- 
mento del suo diritto o la partecipazione al possesso e godimento 
della cosa ; e percio e possibile la reivindicatio, la publiciana o la 
condictio furtiva. L' esperimento di queste azioni non puo trovare 
ostacolo di sorta in qualsiasi contingenza ; cio e intuitive, perche si 
tratta in definitive dell' attivazione del diritto di proprieta, che e 
essenzialmente leso per la perdita del possesso. 

Ma le altre azioni, che di solito competono al domino, non sono 
ammesse tra socii. Cosi se uno di essi abusa della cosa comune o 
la danneggia o tenta di stabilire uno stato di cose che agguagli 1' onere 
di una servitu o delle opere, di suo arbitrio, non vi e un mezzo 
giudiziario per reprimere 1' abuso, ottenere il risarcimento del danno 
o una penale, ovvero per impedire o far rimuovere le opere. 

Quindi tra socii non si puo esperire 1' actio legis Aquiliaef non la 
negator ia? non 1' a. finium regundorumf nemmeno 1' a. de servo 
corrupto 5 o iniuriarumf o T actio noxalis per delitto del servo 
comune. 7 

Anche il rimedio della cautio damni infecti fu oggetto di 
discussione tra le scuole dei giuristi. 8 E tutto cio e ben intelligibile. 

1 Studii Brugi, p. 142 ed ivi citati. 

2 D. ix. 2, 27, i : \ne sit in potestate servi ut tibi soli serviaf\ Trib.\ 
10 eod. \et ideo aequius puto . . . cautionem~\ Trib.\ cfr. 26 D. x. 3, Alfen. 

3 D. xxxiii. 3, 4 ; cfr. avanti n. 5. 

4 D. x. 1,4, 6, 7, Paul, xxiii. ad ed. : quia ego et socius meus (in hac 
actione ? glossa) adversarii esse non possumus, sed unius loco habemur. 

5 D. xi. 3, 14, 2, Paul. xix. ad ed.: Sabinus non posse agi cum soa'o, 
perinde atque si proprius meus serwts corrupisset conservum. II fr. 9 pr. 
eod. e interpolate. 

6 D. xlvii. 10, 15, 36, Ulp. 77 ad ed. : cum iure domini id fecerit. 
Cfr. 17 9 eod. 

7 D. ix. 4, 8, Ulp. 37 ad ed.: dominus enim pro parte factus non potest 
cum socio noxali experiri ; quel che segue contiene element! giustinianei. 

8 Cfr. D. xxxix. 2, 32, Gai xxviii. ad ed. pr. ; D. viii. 2, 13, i ; D. ix. 2, 
27, 10. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 57 

L' ostacolo insuperabile per tutte quelle azioni sta nella posizione 
giuridica che hanno i socii tra loro. Se ciascuno & dominus, ed ha 
un diritto sulla cosa pari a quello dell' altro, ne deriva che qualunque 
sia 1' agire del socio e qualunque cosa faccia, egli opera in suo e 
non in alieno. E quindi nessuna delle formule di quelle azioni 
potrebbe dirigersi contro di lui, che esse competono al proprietario 
avverso chi tale diritto non puo vantare sulla cosa. Manca quindi 
la condizione precipua per la legittimita e 1' efficacia di quelle azioni, 
come e dichiarato espressamente dai giureconsulti nei passi rimasti 
illesi nella Compilazione di Giustiniano. 1 

Ne da cio deriva che T agire inconsulto,arbitrario o pregiudizievole 
di un socio sia, in tutti quei casi, senza alcun rimedio ; che ciascuno 
ha contro 1' altro lo ius prohibendi\ di propria autorita, suis 
manibus, in forza del suo diritto che e pari a quello dell' altro, che 
tenta di sopraffare il suo. Prohibere, come sappiamo, significa 
vietare, impedire in qualsiasi modo. 

Ed in ultima analisi se la cooperazione e T accordo si rendono 
impossibili, chi desidera la pace puo chiedere lo scioglimento della 
comunione con 1' actio c. dividundo ; nella quale inoltre vengono 
dedotte tutte le ragioni personali per danni, spese ed utili, suscitate 
dalla comunione. 



25. Tutta la struttura della communio appare profondamente 
alterata nella compilazione di Giustiniano, dove i passi relativi alia 
materia sono folti di interpolazioni, sparse nei diversi volumi a 
guisa di temperamenti e correzioni, nella forma consueta, come per 
smorzare la durezza delle decisioni classiche. E la critica moderna 
ha potuto facilmente scovrire molte delle aggiunte inserte dal 
legislatore del vi sec. nei testi classici, ma nessuna attenzione ha 
rivolto ai passi mutilati, e sopratutto poi non si e curata di abbrac- 

1 Non e possibile affrontare in questo luogo tutto il problema delle azioni 
che competono tra condomini, perche esso richiede un esame analitico di un 
numero considerevole di passi, che di regola furono alterati da Giustiniano 
nelle forme piu varie. La dimostrazione per ci6 sara data a parte. Ma per 
quel che urge qui credo si debbano ritenere sufficient! i motivi resi dai giurist 
per escludere tra condomini 1' ammissibilita delle azioni piu gravi ; motivi che 
ho riportati nelle note che precedono. 

58 S. Riccobono [iv 

ciare in una sintesi complessiva 1' insieme di quelle riforme, onde 
non ha potuto giudicare se effettivamente 1' istituto classico sia uscito 
dalle mani di Giustiniano solo attenuate o non piuttosto svelto 
dalle sue basi. 

In realta il nucleo centrale, e quindi le linee piu rilevate del- 
1' istituto, ne furono spezzati, come mi accingo a dimostrare. 

(a) La prohibitio tra condomini 

26. La regola di Sabino e ancora riportata nei Digesti, come 
sappiamo : ma effettivamente essa ha ora un campo di applicazione 
piu ristretto e quindi un valore diverse. La conseguenza piu 
immediata ed energica di essa, a dire di Papiniano, si manifestava 
nello ius prohibendi ; per cui ciascuno dei socii poteva proibire con 
tutti i mezzi, di propria autorita, qualsiasi azione iniziata dagli altri 
sulla cosa e distruggere P opera compiuta senza il suo consenso. 
Questo diritto essenziale aveva fondamento nel potere di dominio 
assoluto ed indipendente che ciascuno dei titolari conserva nella 

Nel diritto giustinianeo, invece, lo ius prohibendi ha un contenuto 
diverse ed una nuova direzione ; fu trasformato in un mezzo giu- 
diziario, che si pu6 sperimentare per via di actiones varie ed inter- 
dicta. La riforma legislativa determin6 in primo luogo la mutilazione 
del fr. 1 1 D. viii. 5 di Marcello, esaminato di sopra, 1 e che pertanto 
assunse altro significato. E questo, dunque, un caso insigne in cui 
ha luogo la duplex interpretatio. 

Soppressa 2 dai compilatori, come fu notato, la dimostrazione 
di Marcello, diretta ad escludere nella specie l f applicability della 
negatoria, la frase \et magis did potesf\ prohibendi potius esse ius 
si riallaccia nel nuovo testo, immediatamente, alle varie formule di 
azioni proposte nella introduzione della quaestio, delle quali una per 
lo meno figura ammessa. 

Dubbia pu6 essere solo la scelta. E la designazione di essa e 
stata per piu di mezzo secolo oggetto di sapienti discussioni. Gli 
antichi si attennero di preferenza all' actio c. div., per evitare la 

1 Cfr. n. 5. 

2 Anche il Lenel, ZSS. xii. p. 12, sospetto nel testo, come dissi, una 
mutilazione; cfr. ora Segre, Mel. Girard, ii. p. 528. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieth 59 

contraddizione con altri testi ; ma si affermo pure 1' applicability 
della negatoria 1 o, piu recentemente, della prohibitoria, rivelata 
giusto dallo Zacharia, 2 o dell' una e dell' altra insieme. 3 N& in 
contrario c' e nulla da dire ; perchk come afferm6 il Lenel, cui 
dobbiamo 1' analisi piu profonda del passo, da quel che di esso 
sopravanza si desume con certezza che il socio pu6 impedire 1' opera 
iniziata dalP altro sulla cosa comune per via di una azione. Se 
per6 questa norma, come io dico, e di Giustiniano, la quistione 
della specie dell' actio svanisce ; diviene cosa di secondaria impor- 
tanza. I compilatori infatti poterono bene riferirsi alia negatoria o 
alia prohibitoria od al indicium c. d., come vedremo piu oltre. 

27. Per ora urge radunare i testi nei quali si tratta dello ius pro- 
hibendi, onde vedere come si esplica nel diritto di Giustiniano. E 
sul proposito e ovvio pensare che la ricerca deve dirigersi su quei 
passi che nelle trattazioni dei giureconsulti riportavano giusto i 
fondamenti dell' istituto della comproprieta ; perch& se la trasfor- 
mazione dello ius prohibendi & vera, come io la suppongo, quei 
passi dovevano tutti esser rifatti da Triboniano, per togliere per 
sempre dalla vista degli interpreti il significato classico del pro- 
hibere in questo luogo. 

E cosl e di fatto. 

La riforma fu applicata immediatamente nei due frammenti piu 
cospicui della materia che tramandavano la dottrina di Sabino, cioe 
in quello di Paolo : D. viii. 2, 26 ed in quello di Papiniano : D. 
x. 3, 28. 

Nel passo di Paolo la massima di Sabino era ricondotta alia 
materia della servitu, e vi si affermava, convenientemente, che il 
socio nulla pu6 facere sulla cosa comune invito altero, ne pro- 
hibere iure servitutis. Cosi il giureconsulto escludeva direttamente 
la possibility della negatoria tra socii ; e doveva nel seguito, come 

1 Per gli antichi v. Zacharia, Zeit. f. g. RW. vol. xii. p. 277 (a. 1845). 

2 L. c. p. 259 seg. 

3 Cosl Ferrini, Per /' viii cent. delF Universitcl di Bologna, p. 96, che 
riporta p. 99 n. 5 1' opinione posteriore dello Zacharia, che avrebbe in seguito 
riconosciuto le due formule egualmente applicabili, mentre sagacemente nel- 
1' art. cit. aveva escluso la negatoria, come fa tuttora il Lenel, ZSS. vol. xii. /. c. ; 
Segre, /. c. p. 525 segue il Ferrini. Secondo una opinione particolare di 
Beseler, Beitrage, i. p. 79, Marcellus meint in Wirklichkeit die a pro socio ; 
uno svarione certamente, generato dalla critica a turbina ; che s' indulge 
volentieri, per altro, per il prezioso contribute di nuove osservazioni che 
P illustre scrittore ha saputo portare allo studio del Digesto. 

6o S. Riccobono [iv 

io ritengo, far menzione della proibizione privata che il socio 
dissenziente poteva adoperare. II tratto pero fu dai compilatori 
eliminate e sostituito dal seguente periodo : 

[Sed per communi dividundo actionem consequitur socius, quo 
minus opus fiat aut ut id opus quod fecit tollat, si modo toti 
societati prodest opus tolli.] 

L' a. c. d. serve, dunque, ora a regolare i rapporti tra i socii 
durante la comunione, e serve qui particolarmente ad impedire 
P opera che uno dei socii voglia eseguire sulla cosa invito altero, 
ovvero quando sia compiuta a farla rimuovere. E pertanto la 
interpolazione di questo passo combacia perfettamente, quanto al 
risultato sostanziale, con quella osservata di sopra nel testo di 

E la sovrapposizione e piu visibile nelP altro di Papiniano, gia 
noto, e che cosl continua : 

[fr. 28 D. x. 3. Sed etsi in communi prohiberi socius a socio ne 
quid faciat potest, ut tamen factum opus tollat, cogi non potest, si 
cum prohibere poterat, hoc praetermisit : et ideo per communi 
dividundo actionem damnum sarciri poterit ; sin autem facienti 
consensit, nee pro damno habet actionem, quod si quid absente 
socio ad laesionem eius fecit, tune etiam toliere cogitur.] 

Lo ius prohibendi y nel senso a noi chiaro, che Papiniano riportava 
all' uguaglianza dei diritti dei socii, subl qui un' illustrazione 
sovversiva, da parte di Triboniano, mediante varie distinzioni di 
cui ci occuperemo in luogo opportune, ma che son dirette pure a 
render palese che il mezzo con cui esso si esplica e appunto P a. c. 
d.> resa ora necessaria per chiedere risarcimento del danno o per far 
rimuovere P opera, e quindi anche per ostacolarne P inizio. 

Anche questo testo, cosl, si riannoda a quelli di Marcello e di 
Paolo, in quanto concerne la forma giudiziaria del prohibere. 

28. In altri due testi accanto al indicium c. d. si fa pure 
menzione del pretore che pu6 essere adito per attuare P impedi- 
mento alP opera iniziata da uno dei socii. I passi sono consecutivi 
e del seguente tenore : 

fr. 3, i, D. xxxix. i, Ulp. 52 ad ed. Si in loco communi 
quid fiat, nuntiatio locum habebit adversus vicinum, plane si unus 
nostrum in communi loco faciat, non possum ego socius opus novum 
ei nuntiare, sed eum prohibebo [communi dividundo iudicio vel per 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 61 

2. Quod si socius meus in communi insula opus novum faciat 
et ego propriam habeam, cui nocetur, an opus novum nuntiare ei 
possim ? et putat Labeo non posse nuntiare, quia possum eiim alia 
ratione prohibere aedificare, \hoc est vel per praetorem vel per 
arbitrum communi dividundo :] quae sententia vera est. 

Le aggiunte tribonianee sono evidentissime : J e mirano appunto 
a dare all' indicium c. d. quella funzione a noi nota di regolare 
i rapporti dei socii, in qualsiasi evenienza. 

I giureconsulti negavano 1' applicabilita tra socii della o. n. n. y 
per la natura stessa del condominio, perche, essendo ciascuno di 
essi domino, poteva, secondo la frase di Labeone : alia ratione 
prohibere^ cioe di propria mano. fe possibile anzi che Ulpiano 
avesse in questo luogo dichiarata la forma della proibizione, cui 
poteva ricorrere il socio, ma i compilatori si affrettarono a sostituirvi 
quella legale ; o per mezzo del iudicium c. d. ovvero per praetorem. 
In quest' ultimo caso con quale formula ? Non certamente con 
T Uti possidetiS) come si ritiene, perche tra due possessor! T interdetto 
resterebbe inefficace. 2 E se la domanda ed il dubbio restano qui 
senza una congrua risposta, noi vedremo che in questa materia il 
caso si ripetera assai di frequente. Tenga pertanto il lettore 
memoria, per ora, della frase per praetorem ripetuta nei due testi, 
e che incontreremo in altri passi. 

29. Anche Pomponio, che escludeva, come sappiamo, 3 tra 
condomini il iudicium finium regundorum, appare in altro luogo 
fermo nell' ammettere tra essi un' azione per impedire immissioni 
da parte di uno nell' edificio comune : 

27 D. viii. 2 Pomp, xxxiii. ad Sab. Sed si inter te et me 
communes sunt Titianae aedes, et ex his aliquid non iure in alias 
aedes meas proprias immissum sit, nempe tecum mihi agere licet 
aut rem perdere. Idem fiet si ex tuis propriis aedibus in communes 
meas et tuas aedes quid similiter esset proiectum : mihi enim soli 
tecum est actio. 

L' azione accordata con una certa baldanza non e poi determi- 
nata, nemmeno qui. Intanto la negatoria non puo essere, che 
Giavoleno 1' esclude recisamente, 4 tanto meno il iudicium c. d. che 
non aveva siffatta funzione. 

1 Cfr. Berger, TeilungskL p. 235 ; ivi per la letteratura. 

2 D. xliii. 17, 3 pr. 

3 Cfr. D. x. i, 4, 7, e sopra n. 24. 4 D. xxxiii. 3, 4. 

62 S. Riccobono [iv 

Dunque e un mezzo nuovo introdotto dai compilatori, e che 
si ricongiunge al fr. 26 di Paolo, che precede nel titolo, dove la 
proibizione del socio si esplica mediante il indicium c. d. ; o che si 
puo riconnettere al fr. 1 1 D. viii. 5 di Marcello, vale a dire ad una di 
quelle formule della negatoria o della cosl detta prohibitoria, che gia 
conosciamo. E di fatto le due interpretazioni sono rappresentate. 1 

Ma per il diritto classico la cosa e ben diversa. Pomponio 
doveva ivi contemplare la negatoria, escludendola appunto, come 
1' aveva esclusa Paolo, nella maniera che sappiamo, nel luogo 
corrispondente dell' opera ad Sabinum ; e Pomponio doveva pure 
ricordare in quel tratto che il socio ha sovratutto lo ius prohibendi, 
in forza del quale pu6 distruggere di sua autorita 1' opera fatta nel- 
T edificio comune : aut rem perdere. 

Se questa frase, come e stato sempre ritenuto, 2 ha un tal 
significato, noi abbiamo qui una traccia ben marcata dell' indirizzo 
che aveva il passo di Pomponio, e delle alterazioni compiutevi dai 
compilatori. 3 Tentarne la restituzione non e possibile, perche gli 
elementi sono scarsi ; ma la dimostrazione esauriente che ne ho data, 
e sopratutto la confluenza di tutte le interpolazioni verso lo stesso 
punto non possono lasciare dubbio di sorta. 4 

E cosi e provato che 1' attuazione dello ius prohibendi a mezzo 
del magistrate, con una formula qualsiasi spesso neppure designata, 
e un' innovazione di Giustiniano. 

1 Ferrini (Per F viii centenario della Univ. di Bologna, pp. 97, 99 ; Pand. 
p. 449 n. i) riferisce la decisione alia negatoria, e vi si richiama per spiegare 
altri passi ; cosi ora Segre, MM. Girard, ii. p. 525 nota. 

2 Cf. Glossa e Gotofredo ad h. L, che danno della frase una doppia 
spiegazione ; (a) perdam ius prohibendi \ (b) id est destruere opus. Cuiacio ac- 
colse la prima (Opp. v. p. 550) : si non egero rent perdidero ; ed in altro luogo 
spiega : libertatem praedii amittere. Ma la maggioranza degli interpret! e 
Gliick stesso che ne riferisce (Erldut. v. x. p. 76) abbraccib la seconda 
spiegazione, cioe : opus factum propria auctoritate destruere, con richiamo al 
fr. 29 i D. ix. 2. 

3 Un altro passo di Pomponio alterato nello stesso senso si ha in D. viii. 5, 
1 4, pr. . . \irno etiam agere tecum potero, ut ea, quae nova immiseris to lias] 
mentre il giurista ammetteva sola la proibizione : prohiberi a me potes. E 
cosl nel i, . . . potero tecum agere : Pomp, avrk scritto : non potero t. a. 
L' interpolazione e visibile nel pr. del testo, dacche la prohibitio vi appare in 
contrasto (immo) con 1' agere. 

4 Come semplice chiarimento della dimostrazione fatta, si puo supporre 
che Pomp, avesse scritto nella parte centrale cosl : nempe tecum mihi agere 
\nori\ licet ; [ius tibi non esse it a immissum habere ; sed possuin\ rem perdere. 
[Quod si] . . . 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 63 

(b) Formula prohibitoria 

30. E dalla dimostrazione che precede fluisce un' altra conse- 
guenza di singolare rilievo, che riflette la formula prohibitoria messa 
in luce dallo Zacharia 1 da uno scolio di Stefano al fr. 5, I, D. vii. 
6, e che ha avuto un' esistenza travagliata. 2 Ma in ultimo essa 
ebbe posto onorevole nell 1 Editto, per F adesione manifestata dal 
Lenel, che ne era state 1* avversario piu formidabile ed autorevole. 3 
Tra i casi di applicazione della prohibitoria quello offerto dal fr. 1 1 
D. viii. 5 di Marcello era certamente il piu insigne, sovratutto il piu 
verisimile, perche gia lo Zacharia e poi il Lenel avevano notato la 
inamissibilita della negatoria tra condomini. Si disse, per ci6, che 

10 ius prohibendi consentito da Marcello doveva riportarsi alia 
formula prohibitoria. 

II risultato qui raggiunto intorno al significato del prohibere tra 
condomini, ed in particolare nel passo genuine di Marcello, toglie 
ogni base a quelle interpretazioni, e di conseguenza a questa 
applicazione precipua della formula prohibitoria. 

E cosi e chiusa la breve storia della nuova formula rivelata da 
Stefano ; avvegnache tolto di mezzo il testo di Marcello, quell' altro 
concernente 1' usufrutto, cui il maestro bizantino direttamente si 
riferisce nella sua parafrasi, e meno che mai idoneo a giustificare 
F esistenza nell' editto d' una speciale azione proibitoria. Ne per cio 
abbiamo noi bisogno di svalutare le notizie dei giuristi bizantini e 
delle fonti greche in generale. Perch& esse hanno importanza di 
prim' ordine sotto un doppio aspetto : (a) per il diritto classico, e 
quindi per ricostruire i testi antichi, quando lo scoliaste trae i suoi 
materiali dai lavori compiuti dagli ^/awes sulle fonti romane ; 4 (b) per 

11 diritto giustinianeo, negli altri casi in cui F interprete greco lavora 
direttamente sui libri di Giustiniano. 

Nel caso nostro non e dubbio che Stefano in quel punto inter- 
pretava e commentava il passo dei Digesti^ senza F aiuto di esemplari 

1 Zeitschrift f. g. RW. v. xii. (1844), p. 259 seg. Bas. Suppl. p. 112, 
scol. 6. 

2 Contro specialmente, Lenel, ZSS. ii. p. 72 seg. ; in favore Ferrini, Per 
F viii centencuio della Univ. di Bologna^ p. 92 seg. 

3 ZSS. v. 12, p. i seg. ; Ed. Perp. 2 a ed. p. 186. Per la letteratura cfr. 
Audibert, Studii per Fadda, v. 5, p. 363 seg. ; Segre, Mil. Girard,\\. p. 525 

4 Molti esempii nei miei scritti : cfr. ZSS. v. 33, p. 288, e citazioni ivi, 
n. i. 

64 S. Riccobono [iv 

antichi. La parafrasi in discorso e sotto molti aspetti miserabile, 
tra i prodotti piu scadenti del maestro coevo di Giustiniano. Ma 
della notizia che egli da non si puo ne si deve dubitare. 1 La formula 
prohibitoria e riportata dal comentatore, particolareggiata, in con- 
trapposto alia negatoria : aAAoi/ TVTTOV Trpovifitropiov ; ed e poi 
confermata da altre testimonianze ; 2 ed e applicata ad un testo 
sicuramente 3 rimaneggiato dai compilatori, come io credo con 
1' aggiunta delle parole vel sibi ius esse prohibendi ; e per cio non 
abbiamo motivo per negar fede a Stefano, che riferisce appunto lo 
stato del diritto e della pratica del suo tempo. Se la formula in 
discussione sia poi da considerare come un mero prodotto della 
Compilazione, o piuttosto della pratica bizantina avanti Giustiniano, 
e un problema su cui d' ora innanzi potra 1' indagine indirizzarsi. 
Per ora e accertato questo : che nei Digesti e visibile la distinzione 
tra una formula negatoria e altra prohibitoria^ come Stefano 
insegna ; e poi, che i compilatori diedero sicuramente significato e 
valore processuale al prohibere y che era inteso dai classici in altro 
senso. 4 

(c) La difesa privata 

3 1. L' affermazione ultima fatta nella chiusa del paragrafo che pre- 
cede deve essere posta qui al sicuro da ogni dubbio, ed approfondita 
per via di una rapida indagine sul diritto alia difesa privata, che era 
ammesso in molti casi neir ordinamento giuridico del periodo 
classico ; ed appare, invece, con singolare perseveranza, soppresso 
da Giustiniano, surrogate dovunque con un mezzo processuale 

32. I casi sono di vario ordine : 

(a) II proprietario poteva impedire di propria autorita, anche 

1 Per Beseler, Beitrage, i. p. 79, e una leggenda . 

2 Cfr. Zacharia, /. c. ; Lenel, Ed. p. 186, n. i. 

8 Cos! gia Zacharia, Z. cit. p. 263, n. 4, che vi suppone etwas ausgefallen 
e poi Ferrini, /. c. p. 96, e Lenel, Z. cit. 12, p. 12 ; Beseler, Beitrdge, i. 78, 
dichiara interpolata tutta la parte centrale ; Segre, Mel. Girard, ii. p. 527, la 
frase vel . . . prohibendi. 

4 Per cio riprendono ora tutta la loro forza i relievi del Lenel fatti in ZSS. 
ii. loc. cit., e principalmente la constatazione che nei comentarii all 1 Ed. non vi 
e traccia di una tale formula. II Ferrini (/. c. p. 95), nei fervore per 1' actio 
prohibitoria, giunse a dire che essa dovette essere oscurata dai compilatori, 
che intendevano fonderla con la negatoria ; asserzione questa del tutto 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 65 

con la forza, qualsiasi costruzione o immissione nel fondo, senza 
ricorrere alia denuncia di nuova opera. Giustiniano ne ha fatto 
divieto, come si pu6 dimostrare con 1' esame del passo che segue : 

5 10 D. xxxix. I, Ulp. 52 Ulpianus. 

ad ed. Meminisse autem opor- Meminisse autem oportebit, 
tebit, quotiens quis in nostro quotiens.quis in nostro aedificare 
aedificare vel in nostrum im- vel in nostrum immittere vel 
mittere vel proicere vult \melius proicere vult [posse nos eum per 
esse eum per praetorem vel per manum] prohibere, quam operis 
manum id est lapilli ictum~\ novi nuntiatione cet. 
prohibere, quam operis novi 
nuntiatione. Ceterum operis 
novi nuntiatione possessorem 
eum faciemus, cui nuntiaverimus. 
At si in suo quid faciat, quod 
nobis noceat, tune operis novi 
denuntiatio erit necessaria. 

\_Et si forte in nostro aliquid 
facer e quis per s ever at > 'aequis si- 
mum erit interdicto adversus eum 
quod vi aut clam aut uti possidetis 

La ragione per cui Ulpiano sconsigliava il mezzo della denuncia 
e rimarchevole ; e qui va notata particolarmente, perche non se 
n' e fatto il conto che merita. Infatti e ovvio che il proprietario 
non deve esser messo nella condizione piu sfavorevole processual- 
mente, come lo sarebbe con la denuncia ; la quale costituisce 
P avversario possessore 1 e riversa gli oneri della prova, ed un pericolo 
maggiore per 1* esito della lite, a chi e gia nel possesso del fondo. 
Questi pertanto ha facolta momentaneamente di respingere il 
tentative fatto dal terzo, che menoma il sup diritto ; e lo pu6 
respingere con la forza, per manum^ come si esprimeva Ulpiano in 
maniera significativa ed appropriate Ma Giustiniano reprime il 
consiglio turbolento e, sconvolgendo il testo, addita la via migliore 
cioe per praetor em^ ovvero mediante P innocuo getto del lapillo, che 
qui diventa ridicolo. 2 II rinvio al pretore, con 1' identica frase e 
nella medesima situazione occorre, come sappiamo, due volte nel 
fr. 3 dello stesso titolo ; ed in tutti cotesti casi solo la credenza 

1 D. xxxix. i, i, 6. 

2 E percib la frase si e ritenuta una glossa : cfr. Windscheid, Pand. 465, 
n. 1 8 ; Lenel, Pal. ii. c. 745 n. 2 ; Audibert, I.e. p. 360, n. 2. 


66 5*. Riccobono [iv 

radicata nell' incontaminata riproduzione dei passi dei giuristi ha 
potuto intendervi T Uti possidetis y cosi designate da uno scrittore 
classico. Certo nella compilazione tale significato non solo e 
possibile ma e piano ; come lo dimostra gia la chiusa dello stesso 
frammento, che e pure evidentemente interpolatizia. 1 

33. (b) Colui che si trova nel godimento pacifico di una servitu 
pu6 impedire prontamente, di sua autorita, qualsiasi innovazione 
sul fondo servente, che verrebbe a ledere 1' esercizio del suo diritto. 

fr. 6 i D. viii. 5, Ulp. 17 ad ed. 

Sciendum tamen in his servitutibus possessorem esse eum 
\iuris et petitorem~\ ; et si forte non habeam aedificatum altius in 
meo adversarius meus possessor est : nam cum nihil sit innovatum, 
ille possidet et aedificantem me prohibere potest [et civili actione 
et inter dicto Quod vi aut clam : idem et si lapilli iactu impedieritJ] 
sed et si patiente eo aedificavero ego possessor ero effectus. 

Questo passo si agguaglia in tutto al precedente. Sullo stesso 
fondamento il giureconsulto insegnava che colui il quale gode il 
possesso della servitu non deve perdere tale vantaggio per T opera 
o il fatto arbitrario di chi 1* appresta ; ne deve egli per cio assumere 
le parti di attore ; ch& piuttosto puo prohibere con qualsiasi mezzo, 
1' inizio delle opere che modificherebbero lo stato delle cose. Ma se 
poi egli non si oppone alia edificazione e tollera le opere intraprese 
dair avversario, allora perde la qualita di possessore e deve assumere, 
quando voglia, le parti di attore. 

II testo di Ulpiano era, dunque, lucidissimo e cospicuo ; ma fu 
rovinato da Giustiniano per bandire ogni traccia della difesa 
privata. E pertanto egli ingiunge, che il possessore di siffatte 
servitu deve di necessita essere pure petitorem^ quando T avversario 
per via di opere o altrimenti menoma il suo diritto ; ed in luogo 
della prohibitio privata regala al possessore i mezzi piu varii : una 
civilis actio, un interdetto e, dopo tutto questo, con atroce ironia, 
il diritto del lapillo. 

S' intende che nessuno di cotali mezzi s' e potuto finora giusti- 
ficare o soltanto spiegare ; come ha mostrato di recente P Audibert 2 
in una speciale dissertazione, persuasiva e stringente nella parte 

1 Osserva : si forte . . . aequissimum erit . . . uti. Ma perche molto 
equo ? E vero per altro che quando la proibizione privata resta inefficace vi 
hanno tutte le condizioni per esperire 1' Int. Quod m aut clam. 

2 Studii per Fadda, vol. v. p. 341 seg. 

iv] Communio e Comproprietct 67 

critica o negativa che si voglia dire, ma che per il resto risuscita 
piu vivo lo sconforto per la soluzione del problema. 

Infatti I 1 Audibert ha voluto vedere nella civilis actio indicata 
nel testo nientemeno che la o. n. nuntiatio ; cioe giusto quel mezzo 
che Ulpiano escludeva nel fr. 5 10 D. xxxix. I, onde il posses- 
sore non avesse a perdere il vantaggio della sua posizione ed esser 
costretto a iniziare la lite da attore. Ed e questo rilievo e le 
ulteriori coincidenze tra i due passi che debbono attirare la nostra 
attenzione, senza per altro indugiare sulla strana terminologia che 
si attribuisce ad Ulpiano per designare la nuntiatio. lo affermo 
per cic- che i due testi coincidevano anche rispetto al mezzo di 
difesa additato da Ulpiano. 

34. Ma si dira che tra i due passi v' e un punto di differenza 
che non si pu6 colmare ; perche il fr. 5 ioZ>. xxxix. I, riguarda il 
proprietario, che al postutto puo essere autorizzato a distruggere le 
opere o impedire 1' invasione del proprio fondo, perche agisce in 
suo ; mentre nel caso del fr. in esame ammettere la proibizione 
privata contro colui che inizia le costruzioni entro i confini della 
sua proprieta sarebbe cosa gravissima ed inaudita. 

La osservazione e impressionante a prima vista ; ma non nella 
sostanza. Perche giusto 1' elemento del possesso attuale, nell' uno 
e neir altro testo, e messo in rilievo dal giureconsulto ai fini pro- 
cessuali ; e su quell' elemento e fondata la decisione, eguale nei 
due casi, perche pari e la posizione. Chi e nel godimento di una 
servitu, che presuppone uno stato di cose permanente, e considerate 
possessore, ed ha diritto di fronte all' avversario di veder mantenuto 
quello stato, fino a tanto che non intervenga un pronunziato del 
giudice che dichiari la liberta del fondo servente. E percic- il 
tentative di alterare, arbitrariamente, la faccia dei luoghi, in modo 
lesivo per 1' esercizio della servitu, pu6 essere represso con la forza ; 
nella stessa misura che il proprietario pu6 respingere con la forza 
1' invasione di altri nel proprio fondo. La differenza tra chi opera 
in alieno ovvero in suo esiste certamente ai fini della liceita o 
meno della difesa privata ; ma essa viene in considerazione solo 
quando colui che opera in suo non lede uno stato di diritto che 
altri gode. 1 Quando cio avvenga, invece, anche colui che opera 
in suo secondo la felice espressione di Marcello : quodammodo 

1 E il caso del fr. 29 i D. ix. 2 : nullo iure habebam. 

68 S. Riccobono [iv 

sibi alienum quoque ius praeripit. E per ci6 la proibizione im- 
mediata e legittima. 1 

35. E del resto nelle fonti vi hanno tracce evident! di tale 
diritto, in materia di servitti precipuamente. Cosl Africano in 
D. xxxix. i, 15 dice : che quando il possessore della servitus altius 
non tollendi ed e proprio il caso del fr. 6 I in esame non si 
difende, vien punito ut iure suo probare necesse haberet ; e per 
cio deve prestar cauzione nee opus novum se nuntiaturum nee 
aedificanti vim facturum. Or io chiedo, perche deve egli garentire 
che non opporra violenza air opera che sara per fare il proprietario 
del fondo servente ? La risposta e semplice : perche ha il diritto 
di servitu ed il godimento attuale. 2 E pertanto solo ai fini pro- 
cessuali, per pena, gli e inibito di proibire con la forza P alterazione 
dello stato dei luoghi che il proprietario del fondo servente potra 
con nuove opere arrecare. Se ha ragioni da far valere : iure suo 
probare necesse habet. Nel fr. 15 D. viii. 2, Ulpiano, a proposito 
di opere fatte che impediscono la servitus luminis pone, in primo 
luogo, il diritto del titolare della medesima a prohibere e cosl si 
esprime : quodcunque igitur faciat ad luminis impedimentum, pro- 
hiberi potest, si servitus debeatur ; \ppusque ei novum nuntiari potest, 

1 La riforma di Giustiniano in questo punto di diritto ha per ci6 una grande 
importanza, che essa venne a stabilire una eccezione gravissima al principio 
che spetta all' attore, cioe a colui che non ha il possesso della cosa o il godi- 
mento del diritto, 1' onere della prova. Qui per reprimere la difesa privata si 
rovescio quella massima, e si disse : possessorem eum esse iuris et petitorem. 
Io ritengo ora fermamente che sia questo appunto 1' unus casus famoso delle 
Inst. iv. 6, 2. Infatti la riforma cosi grave attuata dai compilatori doveva 
bene aderire alia loro mente, e poteve inoltre essere accennata di sfuggita nel 
libro di scuola, come quella che nei latioribus digestorum libris era indicata 
apertis verbis. Cfr. per altro, da ultimo, Segre, Studii Brugi, p. 411 e seg. 

2 Che questo elemento sia decisivo emerge sotto altro aspetto dal fr. 7 
2 D. xliii. 24 : lulianus ait . . . licere enim debet aedificare ei, qui satis- 
dederit, cum possessor hoc ipso constituatur cet. Dunque, chi e in possesso 
pu6 edificare senza temere proibizione di sorta ; mentre la quistione di diritto 
rimane impregiudicata. Ma quando il possesso e dalla parte del titolare della 
servitu, questi puo impedire con la forza qualsiasi opera che muti Io stato dei 
luoghi. Si noti ancora nel testo di Giuliano la frase possessor . . . con- 
stituatur usata rispetto all' esercizio o meno di una servitu, nella specie per la 
liberta del fondo, e quindi ai fini unicamente processuali ; dal che emerge 
che Ulpiano nel fr. 6 i D. viii. 5, non poteva scrivere possessorem esse 
eum turisl La determinazione iuris fu aggiunta dai Compilatori certa- 
mente ; perche per 1' attribuzione delle parti di attore o convenuto in processo 
e decisivo solo possessorem esse cioe che sia nel godimento di un certo stato, 
di una posizione di fatto. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 69 

si modo sicfaciat, ut lumini noceaf\. La prohibitio ha luogo dtmque 
se la servitus & dovuta. La nuntiatio. forma nel passo un' appendice 
tribonianea, che si manifesta tale per la ripetizione del verbo 
(potesf) e del presupposto dell' impedimento alia servitu (si modo 
. . . noceaf). 

Per ci6 anche nel fr. 6 7 D. viii. 5. Ulpiano doveva am- 
mettere in primo luogo la proibizione privata contro il proprietario 
delF edificio che deteriora il muro gravato dalla servitus oneris, 
mentre Giustiniano vi sostituisce delle azioni : deteriorem si facit 
\aut per hanc actionem aut per operis novi nuntiationem\ prohibetur. 

36. E la proibizione privata la sorprendiamo viva in molti testi, 
nel momento della sua attuazione e del conflitto. 

i II D. xliii. 24: si te volentem ad prohibendum venire 
deterruerit aliquis. 

20 I eod. : Prohibitus autem intellegitur quolibet prohibentis 
actu, id est vel dicentis se prohibere vel manum opponentis 
lapillumve iactantis prohibendi gratia. 

5 I eod. : ut intra diem occurrere ad prohibendum non possit. 

4 7 D. viii. 5 : adversus dominum Seianarum volo experiri 
altius me tollere prohibentem. 

in D. xlv. I : si me non prohibeas, uxorem autem meam 
prohiberes, vel contra uxore mea stipulata me prohiberes, an 
committatur stipulatio? 

14 fr. D. viii. 5 : prohiberi a me potes. 

Ed in tutti questi casi il divieto si esplica in difesa della pro- 
prieta o della cosa comune, o del possesso di una servitu, per 
opere fatte in privato o in pubblico e con tutti i mezzi, fino alia 
distruzione dell' opera eseguita in alieno, come si vede dagli esempi 
che seguono. 

(c] fr. 7 3 D. xliii. 24, Ulp. 72 ad ed. Bellissime apud lulianum 
quaeritur, an haec exceptio noceat in hoc interdicto, ' quod non tu 
vi aut clam feceris ' ? ut puta utor adversus te interdicto quod vi 
aut clam, an possis obicere mihi eandem exceptionem quod non tu 
vi aut clam fecisti ? 

et ait lulianus aequissimum esse hanc exceptionem dare : nam 
si tu, inquit, aedificaveris vi aut clam, ego idem demolitus fuero 
vi aut clam et utaris adversus me interdicto, hanc exceptionem 
profuturam [quod non aliter procedere debet, nisi ex magna et satis 
necessaria causa : alioquin haec omnia officio iudicis celebrari oportet\ 

L' eccezione giova a colui che us6 violenza e che distrusse 
1' opera fatta in alieno, soltanto perche egli proteggeva in tal modo il 

70 S. Riccobono [iv 

possesso di un diritto, che 1* avversario, malgrado la proibizione, 
aveva leso con le nuove costruzioni. Da che si deduce, che se e 
ammissibile la difesa privata quando T opera e compiuta, a maggior 
ragione la si pu6 esplicare in tutti i modi per impedire 1' inizio 
della stessa. 

L' interpolazione dell' ultimo brano fu avvertita dal Fabro. 
E di fatto Giustiniano non poteva lasciar correre senza protesta 
un esempio cosl improbo. 

37. (d) fr. 2 33 D. xliii. 8 : Scio tractatum, an permittendum 
sit specus et pontem per viam publicam facere : \et plerique probant 
interdicto eum teneri\\ non enim oportere eum deteriorem viam 

II passo & stato di recente discusso 1 e denunziato per le mende 
formali evidentissime. Che il brano dovette essere compresso dai 
compilatori e rilevato dal Mitteis, che suppone sagacemente, al 
posto di plerique. Ulpiano avesse riportati nomi dei veteres. 
Certo il giureconsulto inizia con certa solennita la trattazione, che 
e poi ridotta a nulla. Ed io suppongo che anche qui Ulpiano 
faceva menzione della privata difesa, 2 come si legge, a proposito 
di un caso che ha una certa analogia con il presente, nel 

fr. 50 D. xli. I Pomp. vi. : ex Plautio : Quamvis quod in litore 
publico vel in mare exstruxerimus nostrum fiat, tamen decretum 
praetoris adhibendum 'est, ut id facere liceat : immo etiam manu 
prohibendus est, si cum incommodo ceterorum id faciat; nam 
civilem eum actionem de faciendo nullam habere non dubito. 

E questo 1' unico esempio, per quanto e a mia conoscenza, in 
cui e ammessa la legittimita della difesa privata, ed e veramente 
prezioso, come una sopravvivenza storica. 

Ma nella compilazione il testo genuino fu indubbiamente 
annullato in D. xxxix. I, cioe nel titolo in cui Triboniano us6 piu 
vigilanza nell' eliminare lo ius prohibendi nel senso classico, e 
percio noi leggiamo ora nel fr. I 18 {si quis igitur velit ibi 
aedificantem prohibere, nullo iure prohibet ; neque opus novum 
nuntiare ; nisi ex una causa potest si forte damni infecti velit sibi 

1 Cfr. Beseler, Beitrage, ii. p. 16 ; Mitteis, ZSS. vol. xxxiii. p. 193. 

2 Non affronto qui la quistione se 1' ed. de damno infecto avesse contenuto 
una clausola relativa a opus quod in via publica fiet, cio che io negherei. Ma 
v. Lenel, Ed. p. 360, n. i, che ha gia ben valutato le ragioni del dubbio. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 71 

caveri\. I contorcimenti del periodo e le forme bizantine consuete 
rivelano 1' alterazione del testo. 

38. (e) Nel caso di rilascio del possesso da parte dei mis si in 

fr. i 2 D. xxv. 5, Ulp. 34 ad ed. Necessario praetor adiecit, 
ut, qui per dolum venit in possessionem, cogatur decedere : coget 
autem eum decedere [non] praetoria potestate vel manu ministrorum 
[ sed melius et civilius faciet si eum per interdictum ad ius ordinarium 

Qui sembra che il giurista dia al pretore il consiglio di agire 
con piu correttezza e piu civilmente, costringendo il possessore 
doloso ad abbandonare il possesso per mezzo di un interdetto. 
Quale non si scorge ne si rinviene. 1 Ed e vero, invece, che la 
costrizione aveva luogo in simili casi praetoria potestate, ed 
occorrendo manu ministrorum. Ci6 vieta Giustiniano. 

00 fr- 5 2 D. xlii. 4, Ulp. 59 ad ed. Ait praetor : si is pupillus 
in suam tutelam venerit eave pupilla viripotens fuerit et recte 
defendetur : eos, qui bona possident, de possessione decedere 

3. ... ergo oblata defensione deici poterit \interdicto reddito\ 

Finita la causa che diede luogo alia missio in possessionem^ e 
nel caso in esame quando il pupillo e gia in grado di difendersi o 
e difeso da altri, il pretore ordina ai missi il rilascio del possesso. 
E venuta meno la iusta causa possidendi autorizzata dal magistrate, 
ove il detentore non ubbidisca air ordine di abbandonarlo, pu6 
esserne impunemente deietto per mano degli interessati. Infatti 
ora il suo possesso e vizioso. 

C' e bisogno per ci6 di un interdetto ? Ma dove mai si rinviene 
un interdetto che permetta la deiectio ? Non lo ritrova appunto il 
Lenel che noi veneriamo come il piu insigne conoscitore del- 
P Editto, dopo Salvio Giuliano. 

La interpolazione per altro e lampante ; z oltre il mistero del- 
1' interdetto, due ablativi assoluti riferiti a diversi agenti, nessuna 

1 Cfr. Lenel, M Jiang. Girard, ii. p. 82. 

2 Identica interpolazione in D. xxxvi. 3, u, Gai xiii. ad ed. . . . \mihi 
praetor accommodat interdictum quo'] ; quel che resta corrisponde al procedi- 
mento effetivo in tutti i casi di missio ; cf. D. xlii. 5, 33, I satisdatione 
interposita iudicium accipiatur et a possessione discedatur. Quindi, senz' altro 
rimedio processuale. 

72 5. Riccobono [iv 

traccia di soggetto del verbo poteritl Identica interpolazione 
si riscontra nel fr. 40 D. xlvi. 3 Marc. 3 Inst. . . . \alioquin nascitur 
heredi inter dictum, ut eos deicere possif\^ Qui la mano di Triboniano 
si manifesta nel nascitur che non mi sembra possa adoperarsi per 
un rimedio che presuppone ogni volta speciale formulazione. 3 
E finalmente nella chiusa del 

fr. i 9 D. xliii. 3 : . . . [ Tutius tamen erit dicendum hoc inter- 
dictum competere, maxime si satisdatum sit iam legatorum nomine 
nee recedat, tune enim etiam possidere videtur\. 

II rimedio che Ulpiano indicava in questo luogo e gia 
visibile nel Digesto dal fr. 5 2 D. xlii. 4, sopra richiamato, da 
cui risulta che T Editto provvedeva particolarmente perche i missi 
in possessionem si ritraessero dal possesso quando la causa della 
immissione era cessata. All' ordine del pretore poteva seguire la 
deiectio, come rilevai or ora. 

Direi anzi che cio e attestato direttamente da Ulpiano, a 
proposito della missio d. inf. nomine, in 

D. xxxix. 2, 4, 4 ; si forte duretur non caveri ut possideri liceat, 
quod causa cognita fieri solet, non duumviros sed Praetorem vel 
Praesidem permissuros, item ut ex causa decedatur de possessione. 

Che questo brano possa essere stato compresso dai compilatori, 
come dimostra la forma infelice, non importa ; 1' ultimo periodo, che 
qui interessa, e sicuramente genuino ; e vi si attesta che il pretore 
provvede, senz' altro, con decreti alle ulteriori fasi della missio ; cioe : 

(a) ut possidere liceat (cfr. Lenel, Ed. p. 53). 

(b) ut decedatur de possessione. 

E pertanto si manifesta in tutta la sua evidenza in tutti quei 
passi avanti esaminati il motivo delle interpolazioni, foggiate tutte 
su di uno stampo, con le frasi consuete : melius, civilius, tutius e 
che introducono un mezzo processuale qualsiasi, sostituito alia 
difesa privata. Nel brano ultimo, riferito i caratteri dello stile 
bizantino vi sono impress!*. 4 

1 II Lenel (/. c. p. 83) pensa a interdetti formulati per i singoli casi infactum. 

2 Lotmar (ZSS. vol. xxxi. p. 100) intende 1' Int. Quod legatorum ; contro 
Lenel, /. c. p. 81. 

3 Cfr. Lotmar, /. c. p. 101 ; ma vedi Lenel, /. c. p. 83, n. i. 

4 Per altri argomenti sostanziali v. Lenel, /. c. p. 84 ; ma essi hanno per 
me un valore ancora piu assoluto, da escludere nel caso fatto da Ulpiano 1' Int. 
Quod legatorum, o altro mezzo giudiziario. Diversamente Lotmar, /. c. p. 103. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 73 

39. (g) Una costituzione dell' a. 205 attesta, anche per il diritto 
dell' Impero, 1' uso e 1' efficacia del patto in forza di cui il creditore 
ipotecario era autorizzato ad immettersi di propria autorita nel 
possesso deir ipoteca, quando al termine stabilito il suo credito non 
fosse sodisfatto. Se tale convenzione era pure inclusa nella lex 
commissoria non possiamo giudicare. 1 Ma dal diritto dei papiri 
greco-egizii e documentata ora a dovizia 1' efficacia del titolo 
esecutivo munito della clausola Ka.Qa.Trep /c Sticks 2 in forza della 
quale, sembra, 3 che il creditore avesse diritto di pervenire senza 
alcun procedimento nel possesso e nel dominio del fondo. Ma nel 
diritto di Giustiniano, a parte il divieto della lex commissoria 
stabilito da Costantino, e inibito al creditore d' immettersi nel 
possesso senza 1' autorizzazione del magistrate, come risulta dalla c. 
seguente : 

3 C. viii. 14 (Impp. Sev. et Ant.) : Creditores qui non reddita 
sibi pecunia conventionis legem, ingressi possessionem exercent, 
vim \quidem\ facere non videntur \attamen auctoritate praesidis 
possessionem adipisci debent\. 

L' interpolazione delle parole segnate in corsivo e nota, 4 ed essa, 
come fu pure avvertito dal Naber determine inoltre la soppressione 
del non avanti al verbo potest nella c. 5 Cod. ix. 12, dell' a. 294. 5 

40. E Giustiniano a ricacciare da ogni angolo della sua opera 
qualsiasi vestigio di privata difesa attacca . pure le massime piu 
venerande, che secondo i Romani erano fondate sulla naturalis ratio. 
E cosi la legge decemvirale : Si nox furtum faxsit, si im occisit, 
iure caesus esto, fu ridotta nei Digesti nei termini seguenti : 6 

4 i D. ix. 2, Gai vii. ad ed. Lex XII. tab. furem noctu 
deprehensum occidere permittit \ut tamen id ipsum cum clamore testi- 

ficetur~\ : interdiu autem deprehensum ita permittit occidere, si is se 
telo defendat, \ut tamen aeque cum clamore testificetur\ 

1 Papin. V. F. 9. 

2 Per la letteratura v. Bertalan Schwarz, Hypothek und Hypallagma, p. 7 1 
n. 2 ; cfr. Mitteis, Grundzuge, ii. I, p. 94. 

3 Cfr. Bertalan, o. c. p. 94. 

4 Cfr. Naber, Mnemos. vol. xxiv. p. 171; Gradenwitz, ZSS. vol. xxvi. 
p. 348 n. i. 

5 Un altro caso di vis legittima punita da Giustiniano e in D. xlvii. 8, 2, 
1 8 : quidem . . . sed aliter multabitur. Ma sul proposito della violenza 
nelF esercizio del diritto abbiamo la nota legge di Valentiniano dell' a. 389 
riportata nel Cod. Just. viii. 4, 7, che commina la grave pena della perdita 
del dominio. 6 Cfr. Riccobono, Fontes, p. 47 n. B. 

74 S- Riccobono [iv 

II clamore deve qui togliere il dubbio che 1' uccisore non abbia 
agito in state di necessita, per la difesa della persona. 1 I vicini 
accorrenti ne potranno fare la verificazione. 

Ed il vivo senso di repulsione per qualsiasi atto di privata difesa 
manifesta con forza il legislatore in una delle solite motivazioni 
aggressive, che egli aggiunge alle decisioni pratiche : Cur enim, 
inquit lulianus, ad arma et rixam procedere patiatur praetor ', quos 
potest iurisdictione sua componere?^ L' interrogazione e tutto 
un programma legislative ; da cui scaturisce poi quella massima 
di diritto, una tra le piu cospicue e realmente universali nel 
sistema nuovo, cioe : 

fr. 176 pr. D. L. xvii. Paul. 13 ad Plaut. Non est singulis 
concedendum, quod per magistratum publice possit fieri : ne 
occasio sit maioris tumultus faciendi. 

La quale pel diritto elaborato dai giureconsulti non e vera. Se 
essa fu scritta effettivamente da Paolo, doveva avere una struttura 
piu limitata, e riferimento particolarissimo. 3 

41. Ed ora possiamo conchiudere ed affermare che la riforma di 
Giustiniano rispetto allo ius prohibendi trascende di molto i 
confini e I 1 importanza del tema in esame. Poiche essa ci ha 
rivelato un nuovo atteggiamento della legislazione di Giustiniano, 
rispetto al diritto classico, che appare per ci6 diffuse in tutta T opera 
ed attuato con fermezza, mediante amputazioni profonde di decisioni 
e motivi e principi classici, tanto da sconvolgere tutta la fine 
orditura delle actiones e dei mezzi di difesa giudiziaria del diritto 
antico. E 1* importanza della riforma non'va ricercata alia superficie, 
ma nell' intimo pensiero e nella forza da cui fu prodotta. Perche 
essa non e vicenda esteriore, quanto nuova luce, che rivela nel 
contrasto aspetti profondi delle due piu grandi civilta della storia. 

In quel nucleo di norme, infatti, che e venuto alia luce, rimettendo 
a posto nel libro immortale ogni parola della sapienza antica, vi 
e un grande movimento di vita e di forza, che si esplica con 
T affermazione energica della volonta individuale, e quindi con la 

1 Cfr. per altro fr. 5 pr. D. ix. 2 = Collatio vii. ii. iii. 3 : sin autem 
. . . tenebitur ; che contiene certe limitazioni in proposito, che non possono 
derivare dai giuristi classici. 

2 fr. 13 3 D. vii. i. Cfr. Beseler, Beitrage, ii. p. 88. 

3 Ma il nesso non e dato scorgerlo : cfr. Lenel, Pal. i. c. 1 167 n. 5 : haec 
adinterdicta multa posse referri palam est. Ed il campo ora e davvero ristretto. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 75 

potenza del diritto dei singoli, che non soffre menomazione alcuna, 
neanche momentanea. E di sopra a questo punto centrale e 
incardinato e si muove tutto il sistema del diritto private, elaborate 
con saggezza profonda. 

Ma quella base si corrodeva ogni giorno, e la forza del diritto 
individuale si svigoriva nell' ultima fase dell' Impero fino a 
Giustiniano ; in quel periodo in cui i piu grandi rivolgimenti sociali 
e politici e spirituali si maturarono. Ora la prepotenza 1 piu 
facilmente usurpava il posto del diritto, e nell' esquilibrio delle 
forze sociali lo Stato doveva assumere a se un potere maggiore, 
che si estrinseca nella organizzazione amministrativa dioclezianea, 
salda, ordinata nei piu minuti particolari, e preveggente. 

Lo Stato ne esce rinvigorito, ed allarga ogni giorno piu le 
sue funzioni, assumendo un carattere pacificatore ; e per ci6 per 
ottenere 1' ordine, la disciplina, il vantaggio generale Esso esige 
qualsiasi restrizione della liberta dei singoli, ed in primo luogo dello 
assoluto diritto individuale. 

Questa evoluzione si compie nella legislazione del VI secolo ; 
essa ebbe nel suo cammino la cooperazione di una grande forza, 
quale era quella della dottrina cristiana, 2 che deprime e annulla 
i sentimenti egoistici ed inculca, come primi doveri, la pace e 
T amore fra tutti gli uomini, anc.he per conseguire i fini della vita 
terrena ; sentimenti che ebbero in realta una potente penetrazione 
in tutti gli atti della vita. 3 

1 Cfr. Mitteis, Melang. Girard, ii. p. 226. 

2 In questo senso Leonhard, Inst. p. 531 n. 2 ed. ivi cit.; cfr. ora anche 
Lenel, Holttendorff" s Enc. 7 ed. p. 375 63. Quanto poi al problema 
generale dell' influenza cristiana sul diritto private potremo volutarla via via 
con la conoscenza dei principi direttivi della Compilazione del sec. VI, che, 
come si vede, sono per noi tutti ancora un mistero ; cfr. piu oltre, nota 
ultima del presente cap. 

8 E percio il motivo della tolleranza, della pace, della consideraziorie del 
prossimo s' insinua pure nella legislazione, come si osserva in una decisione 
cospicua che si ricollega alia difesa privata e quindi all' argomento in esame. 
Nessun dubbio, come diceva Q. Mucio, che il proprietario puo cacciar via dal 
fondo gli animali penetrativi, con tutti i mezzi idonei allo scopo, e che non 
puo rispondere con la lex Aquilia qualora un danno ne derivi alle bestie ; fr. 
39 D. ix. 2, Pomp. 7 ad Q. M. Ma Giustiniano soggiunge subito ; Pomponius : 
quamvis alienum pecus in agro suo quis deprehendit, sic illud expellere 
debet quomodo si suum deprehendisset, quoniam si quid ex ea re damnum cepit, 
habet proprias actiones. itaque qui pecus alienum in agro suo deprehenderit, 
non hire id includit, nee agere illud aliter debet, quam ut supra diximus 

76 5. Riccobono [iv 

Nel diritto giustinianeo si manifesta per cio un mondo tutto 
nuovo, in cui la difesa privata del diritto era inconcepibile. Ed essa 
e surrogata dal piu svariato campionario di actiones, interdicta, 
provvedimenti e mezzi giudiziari ; perche ciascuno deve in ogni 
evenienza invocare 1' aiuto del magistrate, che e il solo tutore dei 
diritti dei singoli. 

Tra i nuovi mezzi escogitati dal legislatore o dalla pratica 
bizantina si annovera la irpovifiiTopia, 


42. Ma 1' azione che puo dirsi propria e generale per il regola- 
mento dei rapporti tra condomini e 1' a. c. div., che da Giustiniano 
fu adibita insietne agli altri mezzi processuali nei casi piu svariati. 
E per ci6 pu6 affermarsi che all' azione divisoria venne conferita 
nella Compilazione una nuova funzione, cio& quella di dirimere 
tutti i conflitti tra i socii e regolare la vita della comunione, senza 
per altro condurre allo scioglimento della medesima. Nei passi 
dianzi esaminati si hanno le testimonianze piu cospicue del nuovo 
carattere assunto dal indicium c, d. 

E ci e noto pure che in tal modo Giustiniano ne altero in 

quasi suum : sed vel abigere debet sine damno vel admonere dominum ut 
suum recipiat. E qui, come si vede, la mansuetudire evangelica si scioglie 
in precetti e consigli che suonano duri anzi sovrumani al fiero agricoltore : 
quod tibi non vis alteri ne feceris. E percio il proprietario deve trattare gli 
animali altrui come i proprii, non deve loro far male, non deve includerli, 
perch del resto ha per il danno ricevuto proprias actiones. Deve piuttosto 
avvertire I 3 interessato (!). Indizii della mano di Triboniano : quamvis . . . 
deprehendit, in agro, proptias actiones, quasi, ut suum recipiat, e poi la 
ripetizione del concetto fondamentale e sovratutto lo spirito. Sospetti gia 
in Di Marzo, Libri ad Q. Mucium, p. 89. 

E lo stesso motive opera nella chiusa del celebre frammento di Alfeno II. 
dig. che tratta del bettoliere che rincorre in semita noctu colui che gli 
aveva rapita la lucerna : fr. 52 i D. ix. 2. . . . \sed si ab eo non prior 
vapulasset, sed cum ei lucernam eripere vellet, rixatus essel, tabernarii culpa 
factum videri\. Giustiniano, dunque, ammonisce, che chi esercita la difesa 
del proprio diritto e rincorre il rapitore delle cose proprie, deve usare 
moderazione e pacatezza ; cerchera di strappare al malvivente le cose sottratte, 
ma non deve attaccare la persona ; deve prima lasciarsi battere, e poi magari 
non avra colpa del danno che nella reazione apportera all' altro. Per la critica 
del brano, vedi le osservazioni finissime di Huvelin, MM. Girard, i. p. 259 seg., 
il quale per altro non attribuisce le addizioni ai Compilatori. lo ritengo 
decisive il confronto con le aggiunte al testo di Q. Mucio, avanti riportato. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 77 

maniera essenziale la natura; poiche nel diritto classico ogni azione 
divisoria mirava in via principale ad effettuare lo scioglimento della 
comunione, con 1* attribuzione della parte spettante a ciascuno dei 
socii ; ed in secondo luogo poi a definire in una volta tutti i rapporti 
personali sorti per causa della comunione. 

Cosl si spiega che un profondo conoscitore delle fonti romane 
quale era Cuiacio * pote vigorosamente negare 1' ammissibilita del 
indicium c. d. durante la comunione ; perche in realta la Compi- 
lazione di Giustiniano contiene tutti gli elementi proprii delP uno 
e dell' altro sistema, in linee rilevate ; ma al grande interprete si 
manifestava solo quello arcaico, perche egli accostava il Corpus luris 
con spirito d' umanista, che gP impediva di scorgere e comprendere 
1' opera di Giustiniano. E P influenza del Cuiacio fu somma, come 
si sa, ed anche qui perniciosa ; e valse a velare la verita per lungo 
tempo, tanto che il Windscheid 2 giustamente lamentava, che 
P actio c. d. era stata trascurata nella dottrina rispetto alia sua 
funzione regolatrice dei rapporti tra socii, e riporta pure decisioni 
giudiziarie che fino agli ultimi tempi si ostinavano a negarla. 

Ma i Greci e la Glossa avevano ben conosciuto P indole delP a. 
c. div. giustinianea, senza ombra di dubbio. E la critica piu recente 
ha definitivamente 3 stabilito i confini tra il vecchio ed il nuovo in 
questa materia, come e tramandato alia rinfusa nel Corpus luris. 

43. E pertanto in questo luogo non interessa prendere in esame 
tutti i singoli testi che provano la nuova funzione delP a. c. d., 
quanto piuttosto adunare i precipui tra essi, o quelli che offrono 
maggiori difficolta d' interpretazione, e presentarli ordinati in V 
categoric, alle quali si aggregano i passi adibiti : 

(a) per attuare lo ius prohibendi, nei casi e nei limiti in cui esso 
ha luogo nella Compilazione ; 

() per la partizione ed il conseguimento delle spese fatte da 
uno dei socii ; 

(c) per il danneggiamento apportato dal socio alia cosa comune ; 

(d} per la esecuzione di opere conservative sulla cosa, ed in 
particolare per le opere relative ad edifici e muri comuni ; 

1 Opp. vol. vii. p. 575 ad 1. 3 D. Com. div. 

2 Pand. 449 n. 4, ed ivi citati. 

3 Accenni gia in Pernice, ZSS. vol. xix. p. 173 n. 4; ma ora in modo 
esauriente Berger, Teilungsklagen, p. 221 seg., che tuttavia lascia insoluti 
molti punti, del resto secondari. 

78 5. Riccobono [iv 

(e) per applicazioni varie del iud. c. d. e fam. ere., anche per 
conferire efficacia giuridica a rapporti che non 1' avevano nel diritto 

44. (a) Prohibitio. 

E per quanto concerne il primo gruppo non occorre indugiare 
oltre sul tema dello ius prohibendi, che e stato discusso sotto ogni 
aspetto nelle pagine che precedono ; onde e sufficiente qui referirci 
all' esame compiuto sui fr. 26 D. viii. 2 ; 28 D. x. 3 ; 3 2, 3 D. 
xxxix. i. 

45. (b) Impensae. 

II indicium c. d. adibito, durante la comunione, per il consegui- 
mento di spese fatte da uno dei socii e piu direttamente attestato 
dai seguenti passi. 

fr. 14 I D. x. 3, Paul. 3 ad Plaut. quae cum ita sint, rectissime 
dicitur etiam impendiorum nomine utile iudicium dari debere mihi 
in socium [etiam manente rei communione] . . . igitur et si abalie- 
navero praedium quia in ea causa fuit, ut mihi actio dari deberet, 
danda mihi erit, ut lulianus quoque scribit \negotiorum gestorum 

Questo frammento collocato in sede materiae contiene delle 
riforme gravissime, ed e interpolate in vari luoghi. Ma qui non e 
il caso di prendere in esame il testo intero, tanto piu che la rico- 
struzione di esso, fatta gia or sono parecchi anni nel mio Seminario, 
sara pubblicata fra breve. 1 

Ma i due punti che qui occorre rilevare possono ora dirsi lievi. 
Nel passo si accorda il iud. c. d. utile per le spese fatte da un socio 
sulla cosa comune, che deve pur aver luogo etiam manente rei 
communione. In secondo luogo si da 1' actio negotiorum gestorum 
al socio che abbia alienato il fondo. E sono appunto coteste azioni 
che furono in ogni tempo causa di dubbii e discussioni. 

Infatti 1' ammissibilita di quelle azioni nei termini presupposti 
perturba nel modo piu strano tutte le nostre conoscenze. E per 
cio, rispetto al primo punto, si voile ristabilire una concordanza 
artificiale con T inserzione 2 di un non dopo la parola etiam 

1 V. per ora Berger, o. c. p. 2 1 o e seg. ed ivi citati ; per altro i punti 
essenziali in cui dissento dal Berger e dagli altri scrittori, circa 1' interpre- 
tazione del passo giustinianeo, si mostreranno da s stessi. 

2 Cuiacio, Opp. vol. v. p. 907, e cosi ancora 1' opinione dominante. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 79 

della prima frase sopra trascritta ; e si attribui facilmente poi ad 
una glossa maldestra la menzione dell' actio negotiorum gestorum}- 

Rimedii vani ed arbitrari, consueti per altro e suggeriti soltanto 
dalla imperfetta conoscenza che si e avuta del dritto giustinianeo, 
che e restate fin dal sec. xvi, in grazia degli studi piii profondi, 
come offuscato dallo splendore dei passi classici, serrati, tersi e 
coordinati sempre in una suprema armonia. 

Ma oggi quei -dibattiti hanno termine. Si sa che il indicium 
c. d. fu ammesso dai Compilatori in realta etiam manente rei 
communione, e si dirige appunto per costringere il socio a non 
impedire un' opera sulla cosa comune, ovvero a pagare gli oneri 
che gli incombono, o la parte delle spese, e cosi via. E parimenti 
dovrebbe esser noto che Giustiniano accordc- pure al socio, accanto 
all' actio c. d.> anche la negot. gest. per rendergli possibile il con- 
seguimento delle spese fatte. E 1' actio neg. gest. ritorna, precisa- 
mente congiunta ai indicia divisoria, nelle costituzioni, 18 C. iii. 
36 ; 20 C. eod., inserita nei rescritti con le parole vel negotiorum 

La stessa interpolazione che abbiamo riscontrata nel fr. 14 I 
in esame si riaffaccia poi, in una forma piu larvata, nel fr. 29 D. 
x. 3, Paul. 2 quaest. e che tratta una delle ipotesi contenute in quel 
testo ; cioe di spese fatte da un socio sulla cosa comune nella 
credenza che il compartecipe fosse Tizio invece di Gaio. Ebbene 
nel fr. 29 si legge : 

recte dicitur etiam communi dividundo indicium ei sufficere. 

Paolo aveva scritto assai probabilmente recte dicitur in com- 
muni dividundo indicium ea quae impendisset venire. 

Nel testo rifatto da Giustiniano e la congiunzione etiam ed il 
verbo sufficere' 1 stanno ad indicare che il socio a conseguire dal- 
1' altro la parte delle spese puo adoperare vari mezzi, anche T actio 
c. d. laddove il giureconsulto non poteva ammettere qui che il 
giudizio divisorio, e mai altra azione personale. Infatti la spesa 
sulla cosa comune, non essendo eseguita in considerazione della 

1 Cosl gia Cuiacio, /. c,; Scialoja ad h. 1. nella nostra edizione del Digesto ; 
Berger, Teilungskl. p. 217, ma v. Kriiger ad h. 1. (ed. 1 2 a ). 

2 Verbo frequente nei brani interpolati : D. vi. 2, 7, 17 : Nee quisquam 
putet hoc nos existimare, sufficere ; D. xv. i, 19, 2: Idem etiam contra 
eveniet quamvis in duobus dominis sufficiat pro socio vel communi dividundo 
actio : Ulp. aveva scritto presso a poco : contra eveniet in duobus dominis, 
nam inter eos est c. d. iudicium. 

8o S. Riccobono [iv 

persona, non pu6 mai dar luogo all' actio negot. gest. La quale e 
esclusa dal giureconsulto nella stessa dimostrazione, esplicitamente : 
neque enim negotia socii gero, sed propriam rem tueor, et magis ex re, 
in quam impenditur quam ex persona socii actio nasciturl Ho 
ragione per ci6 di ritenere che il sufficere fu inserto dai Com- 
pilatori al posto della proposizione in cui Paolo escludeva nel caso 
in esame 1 J a. negot. gest. 

46. (c) damnum. 

II danno arrecato da uno dei socii alia cosa comune puo ora 
immediatamente essere perseguito in giudizio per mezzo del c. d. 

II principio e appunto codificato nel celebre passo di Papiniano, 
che giova qui riportare per intero : 

fr. 28 D. x. 3 Sabinus ait in re communi neminem dominorum 
iure facere quicquam invito altero posse, unde manifestum esse 
prohibendi ius esse : in re enim pari potiorem causam esse pro- 
hibentis constat [sed etsi in communi prohiberi socius a socio ne 
quidfaciat potest, ut tamen factum opus tollat, cogi non potest si cum 
prohibere poterat, hoc praetermisit : et ideo per communi dividundo 
actionem damnum sarciri poterit sin autem facienti consensit, nee pro 
damno habet actionem. quod si quid absenti socio ad laesionem eius 
fecit) tune etiam t oiler e cogitur\. 

L' interpolazione e variamente indicata. 2 Ma io ritengo che in 
realta essa comprenda tutta la seconda parte dello squarcio. 3 Nel 
periodo sed etsi . . . praetermisit, si dispone che il socio non ha 
diritto di ottenere la rimozione dell' opera fatta dair altro, qualora 
egli abbia omesso, potendolo, di opporre il suo divieto. Questo e 
sicuramente un concetto nuovo, che e in vivo contrasto, come 
sappiamo, con la natura del condominio classico, in cui ciascuno 
dei socii conserva una signoria piena ed indipendente, pro indiviso^ 
sulla cosa comune ; e che perci6 non pu6 soffrire menomazione 

1 Si sa che 1' a. negot. gest. puo aver luogo tra condomini, ma solo 
quando si verifichino le condizioni espresse appunto da Paolo nel testo ; cfr. 
D. iii. 5, 39, Paul. x. ad Sab. quia potui partem meant ita defender e, ut 
socii partem defendere non cogerer. D. x. 3, 6, 2 Ulp. 19 ad ed. ceterum 
non alias c. d. iudicio^ locus erit, ut et Papinianus scribit, nisi id demum gessit, 
sine quo partem suam recte administrare non potuit : alioquin si potuit^ habet 
negotiorum gestorum actionem eaque tenetur. 

2 Cfr. Lenel, ZSS. xii. p. 1 4 n. 3 [si cum prohibere . . . praetermisit] ; 
Fadda in Studii Brugi, p. 144 n. 2 [sin autem . . . cogitur^. 

3 Cosl gik Segre, Rivista it. per le scienze giur. vol. viii. p. 373 ; Berger, 
Teilungskl. p. 233 ; Paozzi, Melanges Girard, ii. /. c. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 81 

per un semplice atto di negligenza. Ma di piu la forma del tratto 
ha vari indizii rivelatori della mano di Triboniano ; e cioe il 
mutamento del soggetto a cominciare dalla proposizione cum 
prohibere poterat ; 1' imperfetto indicative poterat ; la frase ut tamen 
dummodo, adoperata con vera prodigalita dai compilatori, per 
introdurre limitazioni e nuovi presupposti alle massime riferite dai 
classici. 1 

Nella continuazione poi 1' aggiunta interpolatizia e manifesta 
per i riscontri ormai noti : e qui appunto si rinviene I 1 actio c. d. 
diretta unicamente al risarcimento del danno. Ed inoltre, nella 
chiusa, emerge quel concetto tutto giustinianeo : che 1' opera fatta 
nell j assenza del socio deve esser rimossa, si . . . ad laesionem eius 
fecit. Significa questo che P elemento della lesione dell' interesse 
del socio e essenziale, onde sia autorizzata dalla legge la rimozione 
della opera ? Ma se cosl e, si deve certamente riconoscere che il 
socio in assenza dell' altro, o quando questi non contraddica, pu6 
fare sulla medesima tutte le opere che siano di vantaggio, senza 
timore ne dello ius prohibendi? ne dello ius tollendi e nemmeno 
del risarcimento del danno. 3 La questione e molto grave, e sara 
esaminata piu oltre. Qui interessava solo accertare, che per il 
danno dato da uno dei socii si pu6 provocare il iud. c. div.^ senza 
chiedere lo scioglimento della cormmione, e che questo principio e 
d' origine giustinianea. 

47. (d) refectiones aedificiorum. 

II condomino secondo il diritto classico non poteva fare 
nemmeno le riparazioni necessarie all' edificio o muro comune senza 
il consenso degli altri. E non e dubbio che questa norma e 
schietta applicazione di un principio fondamentale. Ma tosto essa 
e abbandonata da Giustiniano : 

fr. 12 D. x. 3, Ulp. 71 ad ed. Si aedes communes sint aut 
paries communis et eum reficere vel demolire \vel in eum immittere 
quid opus sit> communi dividundo iudicio erit agendum , aut interdicto 
uti possidetis experimur\. 

II significato di questo passo e molto piano, e la interpretazione 
ferma fin dalla Glossa. Vi si dice che ciascuno dei condomini di 

1 Cfr. D. vi. i, 21 (due volte); D. ix. 2, 4 (due volte); D. xli. i, 54, 
2-3 (due volte) ; D. xlvii. 8, i. 2 Cfr. fr. 26 D. viii. 2. 

3 In questo senso giustamente il Fadda, Studii Brugi, p. 144 ; e cosi gli 
antichi, cfr. Baldo ad h. 1. 


82 S. Riccobono [iv 

un edificio o di un muro puo costringere gli altri socii a riparare o 
demolire P edificio, ed anche a consentire una immissione nel muro. 
La coazione cui il testo si riferisce e giudiziaria. II socio ha a sua 
disposizione vari mezzi, e cioe P actio c. d. o P int. Uti possidetis, coi 
quali puo costringere P altro a non impedire la riparazione o 
demolizione delP edificio, ovvero qualsiasi opera necessaria. 

E P int. Uti possidetis serviva in realta al possessore solitario 
allo scopo indicate, cioe per respingere la violenza dei terzi : 

fr. 3 2 D. xliii. 17, Ulp. 69 ad ed. Hoc interdictum sufficit ei, 
qui aedificare in suo prohibetur : etenim videris mihi possessionis 
controversiam facere, qui prohibes me uti mea possessione. 

Ma nuova e P applicazione che Giustiniano voile fare di questo 
mezzo nei rapporti fra i condomini ; perche nel dritto classico 
P interdetto non poteva avere effetto alcuno tra due possessori. Lo 
stesso Ulpiano nel fr. 3 pr. eod. scrive : neuter nostrum vincetur nam 
et tu possides et ego. E se vi e caso in cui si deve applicare questa 
massima, quello qui considerato della comproprieta e il piu sicuro. 

Non occorre quindi di cercare altre spiegazioni del testo in 
esame, perche certamente Giustiniano voile concedere anche 
P interdetto possessorio tra comproprietari. E P actio c. d. e pur qui 
rivolta al fine di comprimere il divieto del socio, che impedisce le 
riparazioni, o le nuove opere sulP edificio comune, la quale funzione 
del indicium c. d. sappiamo che e giustinianea. 

L' interpolazione del testo e nota, per altro ; l ma io ritengo che 
salvo le parole paries communis et eum reficere vel demolire tutto 
il resto e opera di Triboniano. E credo che il testo dicesse sempli- 
cemente che mediante P actio c. d. il socio puo ottenere nel caso di 
disaccordo la divisione del muro comune. I compilatori lo amplia- 
rono, come di solito, con altri esempii, perche in esso avevano 
consacrato un nuovo ordinamento che giovava mettere in evidenza. 

48. Piu fine e perci6 difficile a dimostrare e P alterazione intro- 
dotta in un altro passo di Gaio, che ha un significato di grande 
rilievo : 

fr. 32 D. xxxix. 2, Gai. 28 ad ed. prov. Si aedibus meis proximae 
sint aedes meae et tuae, quaeritur, an, si hae vitium mihi faciant, 
cavere mihi debeas pro damno propriarum mearum aedium, scilicet 

1 Pernice, ZSS. xix. p. 173 n. 3 ; ed ora piu pienamente Berger, 
TeilungskL p. 237. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 83 

pro qua parte dorninus existes. et hoc plerisque l placet : sed 
movet me, quod ipse meas 2 aedes reficere possim et impensas pro 
socio aut communi dividundo iudicio pro parte consequi. nam et si 
unas aedes communes tecum habui eaeque vitium faciant et circa 
refectionem earum cessare videaris, nostri praeceptores negant 
cavere te debere [quia ipse reficere possim recepturus pro parte, quod 
impenderim iudicio societatis auf\ communi dividundo : ideo et 
interpositam cautionem minus utilem futuram, quia alia ratione 
damnum mihi posset sarciri. [et est plane nostrorum praeceptorum 
haec sententia, ut credamus inutilem esse damni infecti stipulationem, 
quo casu damnum alia actione sarciri possit : quod et in superiore 
casu intelligendum est.~] 

II passo di Gaio a prima giunta appare perfetto nella struttura 
ed illibato nella forma; percio e bene qui procedere con ogni 

Quello che si enuncia nei punti segnati in corsivo e sicuramente 
prodotto di alterazioni giustinianee. Di piu il caso esaminato nel- 
1' inizio del passo fu male compreso dal Mommsen, che, seguendo la 
Glossa, propose la correzione meas in eas, per significare che il 
socio ha facolta di riparare liberamente la cosa comune. Questo 
senso del passo e arbitrario, e svisa i presupposti di fatto e turba la 
limpidezza delle norme giuridiche vigenti in questa materia. Infatti 
Gaio suppone il caso di chi abbia comune un edificio con altri, e 
contiguo allo stesso uno di sua 'esclusiva proprieta. L' edificio 
comune ha cagionato danno a quello proprio del socio, e si cerca 
il mezzo per il risarcimento. La maggioranza degli autori, dice il 
testo, accordavano tra socii la cautio damni infecti ; 3 Gaio invece 
oppone : che nella specie il proprietario danneggiato puo riparare 
il suo edificio, meas aedes, e chiedere poi dal socio la quota delle 
spese coll' actio c. d. ovvero con 1' actio pro socio* Gaio rafforza la 
decisione supponendo un altro caso piu tipico, in cui il danno sia 
avvenuto nell' unico edificio comune ai due condomini ; nel qual 
caso, se il socio indugia o vien meno a provvedere alle riparazioni 
necessarie all' edificio, secondo la sentenza dei Sabiniani, non si puo 
ricorrere alia cautio damni infecti. Quale la ragione ? Qui appunto 

1 Cassio ? cfr. apud Ulp. fr. 28 D. xxxix. 2. 

2 Eas Mo., e certamente male. 

3 Cfr. fr. 35, 37 D. xxxix. 2; D. ix. 2, 27, io = Collatio xii. 7, 8 ; D. 
xxxix. 2, 39, Pomp. 21 ad Sab. 

4 Cfr. D. xxxix. 2, 28, Ulp. 81 ad ed. : propter vitium communis parietis 
. . . aedificia suafulsit. 

84 S. Riccobono [iv 

si nasconde il vizio del testo, poiche vi si dice cosa del tutto con- 
traria alia essenza della communio^ affermandosi che il socio dili- 
gente possa, malgrado la negligenza o il diniego dell' altro, eseguire 
le riparazioni ed ottenere poi coll' actio c. d. la quota di spese dal 
socio. Ma noi sappiamo, e per fortuna da Gaio stesso e dalla 
medesima opera, che il socio non pu6 senza il consenso degli altri 
riparare il muro comune : 

fr. 8 D. 8, 2, Gaio 7 ad ed. prov. Parietem qui naturali ratione 
communis est, alterutri vicinorum demoliendi eum et reficiendi ius 
non est, quia non solus dominus est. 1 

E questa decisione ha un fondamento certissimo nella essenza 
della comunione classica, e nelP insegnamento di Sabino, maestro 
ed autore del nostro Gaio. II quale non poteva non applicare in 
proposito la celebre massima : Sabinus, in re communi neminem 
dominorum iure facer e quicquam invito altero posse. 

La contraddizione quindi e patente. E come tale non poteva 
sfuggire alia Glossa, perche il testo in esame di Gaio [fr. 32] dice : 
ipse reficere possim^ cioe in ogni caso, senza alcuna considerazione 
del consenso degli altri. E percio la Glossa us6 qui il consueto 
espediente, distinguendo : le riparazioni dalle opere nuove ; Glossa 
possim ; sed hie de reficiendo, ibi de novo opere faciendo? 

Ma per sostenere siffatta distinzione la Glossa richiamava in con- 
fronto il fr. 12 D. x. 3 ; giusto quello in cui 1* alterazione giustinia- 
nea e oggi accertata. Non resta pertanto alcuna via di scampo per 
mantenere il testo di Gaio come ci e tramandato, e per ci6 deve 
ritenersi dimostrata 1* origine emblematica del periodo : quia ipse 
reficere possim recepturus pro parte quod impenderim. E T inter- 
polazione consente, in modo ben preciso, che ciascuno dei socii 
possa, in ogni caso, eseguire nell' edificio comune le opere necessarie, 
e costringere poi gli altri a contribuire la loro quota mediante il 
iudicium c. d. 

Ed a chiarire 1* interpolazione, altri argomenti balzano ora 
fuori ; invero il bel periodo di stile gaiano, uscito dalle mani dei 
compilatori, non e in realta che una riproduzione di quello redatto da 
Gaio nel caso esposto avanti, e che si riferiva, come sappiamo, ad 
una specie ben diversa : quod ipse meas aedes reficere possim et im- 
pensas pro socio aut communi dividundo iudicio pro parte consequi. 

1 Cfr. D. viii. 2, 40 : nullo iure fenestras immisisse. 

2 Vedremo nel c. iv. che questa opinione e ancora dominante. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 85 

I due brani coincidono appieno nella sostanza, e"'parzialmente 
anche nelle parole. Per i compilatori una decisione unica per i 
due casi, che ritennero assai vicini nei presupposti di fatto, esercitava 
sempre una grande attrattiva. La semplificazione del diritto, e 
particolarmente dei mezzi di attuazione, era obbiettivo precipuo che 
Giustiniano si propose e con tutte le forze si sforz6 di conseguire. 
Sappiamo altresl che 1' abuso dei mezzi gener6 equivoci, contrad- 
dizioni e quindi dibattiti senza fine. 

L' interpolazione inoltre risulta dalla designazione giustinianea 
dell' actio pro socio comunemente indicata : iud. societatis, e poi 
dal confronto con la motivazione classica che segue nel testo : ideo 
et interpositam cautionem minus utilem futuram, quia alia ratione 
damnum mihi posset sarciri. 

Dove e facile notare come Gaio nella seconda ipotesi 
contemplava unicamente il mezzo per il risarcimento del damnum, e 
non per il compenso delle impensae. Puo mai il termine damnum 
includere anche le impensae fatte appunto per evitarlo ? Non credo 
che ci6 sia conforme alle consuetudini dei giuristi, che possedevano 
un linguaggio tecnico meraviglioso, per cui potevano sempre 
esprimere i loro concetti con grande rilievo, precisione e simmetria. 

Anche la chiusa del testo e sospetta ; avvegnache essa non 
contiene nulla di nuovo, ma riassume parafrasandola la motivazione 
che precede : inoltre alia actione e troppo determinate in una 
formula di carattere generale, e Gaio poco avanti aveva bene 
scritto alia ratione ; e cosl Labeone in una specie analoga riferita 
da Ulpiano in D. xxxix. I, 3, 2. 

II plane & ora segnalato come indizio per scorgere la mano di 
Triboniano. 1 E nel riepilogo del testo vi e per altro un pensiero 
legislative ben intellegibile ; che avendo Giustiniano ammesso tra 
socii il iud. c. d. per regolamento di tutti i rapporti, la cautio d. 
infecti perdeva qualsiasi funzione. 2 

1 Cfr. Peters, ZSS. vol. xxxii. p. 254. 

2 E il disfavore per la cautio d. inf. si manifesta in altri passi interpolati, 
cosl in D. xxxix. 2, 39, Pomp. 2 1 ad Sab. : Inter quos paries communis est, 
aedificiorum nomine, quae quisque propria habet stipulari d. inf. \solet. sed 
tune ea cautio necessaria est, cum aut alter solus aedificat et vitium ex opere 

futurum est, aut alter pretiosiora aedificia habet et plus damni sensurus sit 
decidente pariete ; alioquin si aequale periculum est, quantum quis vicino 
praestat tantum ab eo consequitur.~\ 

Distinzioni tutte balorde queste, che provano soltanto la inutilita della 
cautio. Per 1' interpolazione del verbo solet vedi piu oltre p. 101, n. i. 

86 S. Riccobono [iv 

Dunque, in conclusione, abbiamo qui un testo fondamentale, che 
fu alterato dai compilatori, 1 e che rende una precisa testimonianza 
del mutamento del diritto in questa materia. Poiche i Sabiniani 
reputavano inutile la cautio damni infecti tra socii, adducendo che 
ciascuno potesse far valere le proprie ragioni nelF indicium c. </., 
nel momento della divisione ; Giustiniano invece dispone che 
ciascuno dei socii puo riparare la casa senza attendere il consenso 
e la cooperazione degli altri, e che mediante F actio c. d. egli puo 
ottenere, in qualsiasi momento, da ciascuno la parte di spese che 
gli spetta. A togliere ogni dubbiezza in questa materia o ragione 
di equivoco, e bene ricordare che nelle fonti e frequentissimo il caso 
di ripetizione di spese fatte sulla cosa comune da uno dei socii nel 
giudizio divisorio. Ma appunto nei testi genuini si intende sempre 
che il giudizio e ordinato per la divisione, ed inoltre che le spese 
furono fatte o da chi aveva la amministrazione della cosa comune, 
e quindi col consenso dei socii, ovvero in casi in cui il condomino 
e ignoto ; mai per6 in seguito ad un dissenso come pu6 intendersi 
il testo di Gaio che abbiamo esaminato ; in cui il contrasto tra i 
condomini e per lo meno possibile, e la decisione e formulata in un 
modo assoluto. La cosa dunque e ben diversa. I passi piu 
notevoli, nei quali si accenna alia valutazione di spese fatte in re 
communi nell' indicium c. </., sono riportati in nota. 2 

La opinione infine di Cuiacio, 3 che spiegava la decisione gaiana 
con 1' Oratio divi Marci non ha bisogno di confutazione, perche 
F opera ad ed. da cui il fr. deriva fu compiuta avanti di Marco 
Aurelio ; 4 ma poi, e questo e decisivo, la coazione dei socii a pagare 
le spese di riparazioni agli edificii non si attuava secondo il SC. 
mediante il iud. 'c. d.> sibbene con la minaccia della perdita della 
proprieta. 5 

Probabilmente Pomponio riferiva la dottrina contraria di Sabino, i compilatori, 
per cio, soppressero tutta la trattazione. 

1 Diversamente Berger, Teilungsklagen, p. 230. 

2 fr. 4 4 e 5 D. x. 3 (vi si discute dell' actio, non dei presupposti) ; 6 12 
D. x. 3 (pena) ; 6 pr. D. x. 3 (socio ignoto) ; 1 1 pr. D. x. 3 (presupposto 
accordo) ; 38 i D. xvii. 2 (accordo); 65 13 D. xvii. 2 (si discute solo 
delP actio); 15 19 D. xxxix. 2 (come il precedente) ; 46 D. xliv. 7 (cosa 
comune col pupillo amministrata dal socio ? ). 

3 Opp. v. iv. p. 785 ; cfr. c. i. n. 12, p. 47. 

4 Cfr. Fitting, Alter und Folge, p. 54 ; Lenel, Pal. i. p. 189 n. i. 

5 I compilatori non fecero ricorso mai nei Dig. all' Oratio divi Mara, 
perche le riforme da loro introdotte in questa materia erano piu profonde. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 87 

49. Ed ora possiano valutare un passo di Paolo riferito dai 
Visigoti e che e sorprendente : 

Paul. Sent. v. 10, 2 : De communi pariete utilitatis causa hoc 
coepit observari, ut aedificet quidem cuius aedificare interest^ cogatur 
vero socius portionis suae impensas agnoscere 

II testo e veramente strano, e non ha riscontro alcuno nemmeno 
nei libri di Giustiniano. Ma e davvero un' inezia, quando si con- 
sideri che la credibilita di quest' altra fonte scade ogni giorno 
sempre piu. 

II senso della sentenza e piano. Vi si afferma che il condomino 
del muro comune pu6 edificare senza il consenso del socio, e che 
questi pu6 esser costretto a pagare la sua quota di spese. E qui 
non e dubbio che vi si supponga un socio dissenziente, come lo 
prova la coazione cui si ricorre per obbligarlo al contributo. Di 
piu, la frase utilitatis causa indica gia che vi si enuncia una 
nor ma eccezionale ; e 1' altra cuius aedificare interest presuppone 
e designa un interesse particolare o piu immediate di uno dei socii. 
Ma e cio possibile? Come poteva affermarlo un giureconsulto, 
quando tutti i testi classici negano ad uno dei socii anche la 
semplice facolta di reficere il muro comune, anche nell' interesse 
di tutti ? II nostro testo invece ammette pure la aedificatio. Ma 
1' origine spuria del testo si mostra per vari indizi : non e indicata 
P azione con la quale il socio pu6 costringere 1' altro a contribuire 
per P opera fatta ; manca il soggetto di aedificet^ e la frase coepit 
observari e indeterminata ed insolita ai giuristi. Tutto ci6 induce 
a ritenere che i compilatori visigoti ebbero a mutare profondamente 
il passo di Paolo, riferendosi alia pratica del loro tempo. Certo 
ad una pratica male appresa ; perche in nessun diritto e tanto meno 
nella vita pratica, puo esser mai consentito ad uno dei socii, che ha 
un interesse esclusivo (sic) ad innalzare il muro comune, che egli 
possa costringere il male avventurato condomino a pagare una 
parte della spesa. La norma di diritto in tali casi e ben diversa, 
come appare dalle legislazioni moderne. 1 

Ed e rimarchevole che la interpretatio visigota riconduce quella 

Ma i Compilatori del Codice accolsero un rescritto di Filippo : c. 4 Cod. viii, 10, 
che vi si riferiva, e, come sembra, lo ampliarono pure ; infatti il brano : etenim 
. . . constiterit e fortemente sospetto \aedificaveris ?] e certamente spuria la 
frase mndicare vel. 

1 Cod. civ. italianO) art. 555. 

88 5. Riccobono [iv 

sentenza cosi sbalestrata alia sua giusta misura, e cosl spiega : 
sed si ab uno ex his communis paries propter metum ruinae fuerit 
reparatus expensas fabricae socius illi pro portione sua praestare 
cogendus est. 

Cosl per lo meno si ritorna all' ipotesi delle riparazioni. E la 
interpretatio inoltre premette al periodo ora riferito una nozione 
esatta della cautio damni infecti, che sicuramente e tratta da buone 

50. E cosl tutta questa materia del paries communis, giustamente 
malfamata in ogni tempo per le sfrontate contraddizioni con cui fu 
presentata nei Digestif riprende la sua figura semplice e dignitosa ; 
separando precisamente le norme del diritto classico dal nuovo 
assetto che Giustiniano le diede. Onde non solo essa ebbe un' im- 
pronta che 'puo servire di modello al diritto moderno' come gia 
osserv6 il Brugi, 2 ma costituisce nelle sue linee essenziali il diritto 

51. (e) Applicazioni varie. 

In questo gruppo ho raccolti casi varii che dimostrano 1' applica- 
zione costante del c. d. iudicium per definire subito, in tutte le 
evenienze, i rapporti obbligatori sorti per causa della res communis. 

fr. 15 D. x. 3, Paul. 5 ad Plaut. Si socius servi communis 
nomine conventus et condemnatus sit \aget c. d. et antequam praestet\ ; 
nam et si noxali iudicio cum uno actum sit \statim aget cum socio ut 
ei pars trader etur, cautionibus interpositis, ut, si non dederit, reddat\. 

Che il c. d. serve qui al socio per ottenere immediatamente la 
prestazione dalF altro e detto nel testo : statim . . . ut ; percic- il 
testo e giustinianeo ; come inoltre si dimostra dalla forma aget, che 
nel secondo periodo manca poi del soggetto, invece di agere potest. 
Ed invero il verbo agere al futuro o al congiuntivo concessivo agas 
e indizio certo d' interpolazioni. 8 

1 Cfr. Zacharia, Zeitschr. f. g. RW. vol. xii. p. 271 in nota, che la designa 
come una delle materie piu aggrovigliate ; Berger, Teilungskl. p. 238 ed ivi cit. 

2 Rivista ital. per le s. gtur. vol. iv. p. 405. 

3 Cotali forme sono soltanto giustificate nelle Epistulae o nei brani da esse 
derivati, cosi p. es. in D. xii. 5, 15 ; d' ordinario hanno impronta legislativa in 
quanto esprimono la facolta concessa dal legislature, e non quella che viene 
all' individuo dal proprio diritto. Esempii : 30 I D. xxxiii. 2 (Riccobono, in 
BIDR. vi. p. 139); fr. 20 D. xliii. 16 (forse un sunto dell' originale) ; fr. 
60 2 D. xix. 2 (cfr. Gradenwitz, Interpol. p. 29 ; ma 1' interpolazione s' inizia 
con la parola agis ; fr. 1 8 2 D. x. 3 (cfr. piu oltre in questo lavoro) ; fr. 2 1 D. 
xvii. 2 (il brano e indicate da Eisele e Kriiger come glossa; certamente male). 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 89 

La trattazione di questa materia nelle opere dei giuristi era ben 
piu complicata, come e ancora visibile dal fr. 8 D. ix. 4 di Ulpiano, 
che peraltro e fortemente interpolate. Ma I 1 argomento potra essere 
esaminato nel capitolo relativo alle azioni tra condomini. 1 

52. fr. 23 D. x. 3, Ulp. 32 ad Ed. Si convenerit inter te et 
socium tuum, ut alternis annis fructum perciperetis, et non patiatur 
te socius tui anni fructum percipere, videndum, utrum ex conducto 
sit actio an vero communi dividundo. Eadem quaestio est et si 
socius, qui convenerat ut alternis annis frueretur, pecus immisit et 
effecit, ut futuri anni fructus quos socius percipere oportuit, corrum- 
perentur. [et puto magis communi dividundo iudicium quam ex 
conducto locum habere (quae enim locatio est cum merces non inter- 
cesserit ?) aut certe actionem incerti civilem reddendamJ] 

La frase locum habere si riporta al iud. c. d. nella sua nuova 
funzione regolatrice della comunione, ed e perci6 giustinianea. 
La soluzione e sostanzialmente di Ulpiano ; il puto magis avverte 
per6 che i compilatori hanno eliminato la trattazione piu ampia 
del giurista, condensandone il risultato e aggiungendovi la famosa 
civilis incerti a. 2 

fr. 17 D. xvii. 2, Paul. 6 ad Sab. Sed et si socius alienaverit 
contra pactionem accipit committit et tenetur \societatis aut communi 
dividundo\ iudicio. 3 

Paolo aveva scritto : iudicio pro socio. 

fr. 19 2 D. xv. I ; cfr. supra, p. 79, n. 2. 

fr. 4 D. xxxiii. 3. lavol. 9 rp. \itaque de ea re arbiter com- 
muni div. sumendus est^~\ 

53. E la riforma attuata con perfetta vigilanza si propaga quasi 
natural men te al iudicium familiae erciscundae, in cui fu applicata 
pure per munire di coazione rapporti che nel diritto classico non 
avevano sanzione giuridica. Un esempio insigne si rinviene 
appunto nel 

fr. 1 8 2 D. x. 2, Ulp. 19 ad ed. Idem quaerit, si quis testa- 
mento caverit, ut servus exportandus veneat, officio familiae ere. 
iudicis contineri, ut voluntas defuncti non intercidat. sed et cum 

1 Diversamente Berger, Teilungskl. p. 227. 

2 Cfr. Pernice, ZSS. xix. p. 174 nota. 

8 La denominazione iudicium societatis deve considerarsi sospetta. 

4 Pernice, ZSS. xix. p. 174, considera qui il iud. come ein letztes Aus- 
kunftsmittel e cosl Berger, Teilungskl. p. 239. Ma Giavoleno discuteva 
solo il diritto o meno del socio di fare immissioni nel paries communis, e 
percio la quistione della divisione non gli si poteva presentare alia mente. 

90 S. Riccobono [iv 

monumentum iussit testator fieri, familiae erciscundae [agent, ut 
fiat], idem tamen temptat, quia heredum interest, quos ius 
monumenti sequitur, praescriptis verbis posse eos experiri, ut 
monumentum fiat. 

Nel che precede Pomponio negava, ed Ulpiano plaudiva 
vivamente (rectissime], che si potessero dedurre nel indicium f. 
ere. indagini circa la morte del testatore ecc., poiche : haec ad 
divisionem rerum hereditariarum non pertinere. L' introduzione 
del sopra trascritto : idem quaerit e dell' amanuense (F 1 ), ma nel 
ms. si legge pure 1' emendazione del correttore (F 2 ) : idemque erit, che 
rappresentava la dizione originaria del testo. Infatti i casi che 
seguono dovevano avere entrambi 1 la stessa soluzione negativa, 
approvata avanti da Ulpiano. L' interpolazione e evidentissima 
nella frase : agent, ut fiat\ di cui invano si cercherebbe il soggetto. 
Anche il seguito e mal connesso col precedente, perche i Com- 
pilatori, nel mutare e condensare la trattazione, vi eliminarono i 
nuovi presupposti considerati dal giurista (cfr. quia heredum interest, 
quos ius m. sequitur]. 

L' alterazione del testo e dunque, anche in questo luogo, di 
grande rilievo ; perche il iud. f. ere. e adoperato come il c. div. 
(26 D. viii. 2) per costringere il coerede a fare qualche cosa, e quindi 
per regolare singoli rapporti dei coeredi. 2 

54. II motivo per altro dell' interpolazione e dichiarato, per il 
caso concernente il monumento, dal legislatore in altro luogo ed in 
una formula generale, che si legge a guisa di riepilogo nel testo 
che segue : 

fr. 7 D. xxxiii. i, Pomp. 8 ad Q.M. Pomponius. In testamentis 
quaedam scribuntur, quae ad auctoritatem dumtaxat scribentis 
referuntur nee obligationem pariunt. haec tamen talia sunt. si te 
heredem solum instituam et scribam, uti monumentum mihi certa 
pecunia facias : \nullam enim obligationem ea scriptura recipit, sed\ 
ad auctoritatem meam conservandam poteris, si velis, facere \aliter 
atque'] 3 si coherede tibi dato idem scripsero : nam sive te solum 

1 II primo esempio relative all' ordine dato dal testatore : vendita del 
servo con la condizione che sia esportato, e contemplato dalla c. 5 Cod. iii. 36 
di Aless. Severe, e la decisione e conforme a quella che si legge ora nei 
Digesti. Ma la struttura del rescritto e quanto mai strana, perche nella 
decisione, contenuta nella seconda parte : proinde . . . sequetur spunta una 
folia di nuovi presupposti del tutto inaspettati. Per cio dovette pure essere 
modificata 1' introduzione : in ipsius . . . mutare. 

2 V. in senso contrario : Ulp. in D. x. 2, 2 pr. 3 item. Pomp. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 91 

damnavero, uti monumentum facias, coheres tuus 1 agere tecum 
poterit familiae herciscundae, uti facias, quoniam 2 interest illius : 
qui etiam si utrique iussi estis hoc facere, invicem actionem 3 habebitis. 
ad auctoritatem scribentis hoc quoque pertinet, cum quis iussit in 
municipio imagines poni : ' nam si non honoris municipii gratia id 
fecisset, sed sua, actio eo nomine nulli competit' itaque haec 
Quinti Mucii scriptura : * liberi mei ibi sunto, ubi eos mater sua esse 
volet' nullam obligationem parit, sed ad auctoritatem defuncti 
conservandam id pertinebit, ut ubi iusserit ibi sint. nee tamen 
semper voluntas eius aut iussum conservari debet, veluti si praetor 
doctus sit non expedire pupillum eo morari ubi pater iusserit 
' propter vitium, quod pater forte ignoravit in eis personis esse, apud 
quas morari iussit.' si autem pro cibariis eorum in annos singulos 
aurei decem relicti sint, sive hoc sermone significantur, apud quos 
morari mater pupillos voluerit, sive ita acceperinus hunc sermonem, 
ut ipsis filiis id legatum debeatur, utile erit : et magis enim est, ut 
providentia filiorum suorum hoc fecisse videatur. [et in omnibus 
ubi auctoritas sola testatoris est, neque omnimodo spernenda neque 
omnimodo observanda est. sed interventu iudicis haec omnia debent> 
si non ad turpem causam feruntur, ad effectum perduci^\ 

La trattazione di Pomponio riprende il suo carattere perspicuo 
e quindi la sua forza riponendo a posto, come ho fatto nelle note, 
le negazioni eliminate dai Compilatori, per ridurre la decisione di 
alcuni casi nel senso affermativo. E malgrado le inversioni 
giustinianee il ragionamento di' Pomponio e ancora trasparente. 
Vi hanno disposizioni del testatore, egli dice, che non sono 
coercibili, ma riescono tuttavia efficaci, perche la loro effettuazione 
e assicurata dalla sua autorita morale, come avviene nel caso che 
egli imponga all' erede di fargli un monumento ; ne il valore 
giuridico dell' ordine si muta se gli eredi sono due o piu ; perche 
in ogni caso per la disposizione concernente la statua o il monu- 
mento, se mira ad onorare la memoria del testatore : actio eo nomine 
nulli competit. 

E quel che Pomponio insegnava e accertato per ogni rispetto. 
Sappiamo che i Romani custodivano religiosamente la volonta 
espressa del testatore, anche se non munita di efficacia giuridica ; 
gli scrittori, a cominciare da Cicerone, attestano con orgoglio ed 
esaltano questo tratto del costume romano. Cosi Plinio 4 scrive ad 
un coerede : Confido accessurum te sententiae meae^ cum religiosissime 
soleas custodire defunctorum voluntatem, quam bonis heredibus 

1 non. Pomp. 2 non. Pomp. 8 non. Pomp. 4 Epist. iv. 10. 

92 S. Riccobono [iv 

intellexisse pro iure est. Neque enim minus apud nos honestas quam 
apud alios necessitas valet. Nella specie contemplata da Plinio si 
trattava di una manomissione e d' un legato allo stesso servo 

Ma sovratutto poi si deve considerare che il coerede non pu6 
avere un' azione contro 1' altro se non ha un interesse ; e nel caso 
della statua in memoria del testatore la posizione dei coeredi e pari, 
nel senso che ne I 1 uno ne 1' altro vi ha interesse. Onde a conseguire 
tali fini il legato con un modus era di consueto ordinato in favore 
d' un terzo ovvero d' un Ente, ed in particolare di Municipt. 1 

La riforma di Giustiniano, pertanto, in questa materia mirava 
a dar forza giuridica, per lo meno nel caso che vi fossero piu eredi, 
alle disposizioni testamentarie che avevano lo scopo di onorare 
la memoria del defunto ; ed allora il legislatore attribul un' azione 
all' uno degli eredi contro 1' altro. Nella chiusa del testo anzi la 
formulazione e piu larga ; perche vi si dice che in tutti i casi, la 
volonta del testatore che sia onesta e meritevole di protezione, deve 
essere osservata merce 1' opera del giudice. Ma qui evidentemente 
intervenne Triboniano, 2 che con due tratti di penna condense nella 
chiusa tutto il pensiero legislative. 

55. Ed un altra applicazione immediata e cospicua della stessa 
norma si rinviene appunto in sede materiae, cioe nel 

fr. 44 8 D. x. 2, Paul. 6 ad Sab. Si duo coheredes damnati 
sint statuam ponere et altero cessante alter earn fecerit, non 
\esse iniquum\ lulianus ait familiae erciscundae iudicium \dare\ ut 
pars impendiorum boni viri arbitratu praestetur. 

II termine damnati era pure di frequente usato nei testamenti 
con riferimento a disposizioni incoercibili ; 8 come nella specie in 
esame. Ma la decisione affermativa ora non sorprende ; e si rivela 
come opera di Giustiniano per il nudo richiamo all' equita ; laddove, 
come sappiamo, 1' elemento decisive era 1' esistenza dell' interesse 
giuridico di uno degli eredi a fare, che solo poteva generare 
1' azione. 4 E 1' alterazione del testo si manifesta poi nella forma 

1 Cfr. D, xxxiii. i, 21, 3, Scaev. 22 digest. ; Testamentum Postumii luliani 
in Bruns-Gradenwitz, Forties, n. 121 p. 316. 

2 Cfr. Pernice, Labeo, iii. p. 39 ed ivi cit. Di Marzo : Libri di Pomp, ad 
Q. M. p. 67. 

3 Pernice, /. c. p. 32. 

4 Cfr. D. x. 2, 1 8, 2 quiaheredum interest, quos ius monumenti sequitur. 
Cfr. avanti al n. 53. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 93 

impersonale della seconda parte (praestetur) in disaccordo con i 
presupposti riferiti ; ed inoltre nella frase : iud. dare, che mette in 
evidenza la nuova funzione dei iud. divisoria. Forse il testo diceva : l 
non posse eum lulianus ait, familiae erciscundae iudicio consequi, ut 
pars impendiorum sibi praestetur? 

Ma qui bisogna interrompere la revisione critica dei testi che 
provano il nuovo ufficio delle azioni divisorie nel diritto di Giu- 
stiniano, perche gli esempii recati dimostrano a dovizia come i 
compilatori, con sovrapposizioni pazienti e continue, tendevano a 
coprire i tratti che ricordavano la funzione determinata dei indicia 
divisoria^ e che invece seppero rivolgere agli scopi piu varJ, per 
disciplinare la vita dell' istituto della comunione. 


56. Azioni, interdetti e mezzi vari, per lo piu innominati ed a volte 
maldestri ed anche contradditori, accordati da Giustiniano ai condo- 
mini sono tutti convergenti verso un segno ben determinate. E lo 
scopo, come ho avuto occasione di rilevare piu fiate, era quello di re- 
golare la vita della comunione, disciplinarla, onde potesse durare ed 
esplicarsi in perfetta pace, con la cooperazione di tutti per il vantaggio 
comune. Per conseguire un tale effetto il legislatore doveva in 
primo luogo annullare il principio della indipendenza assoluta dei 
singoli condomini, che costituiva il punto centrale della comunione 
classica. E quel principio fu annullato. Infatti ciascuno socio ha 
ora potere e mezzi di costringere gli altri ad eseguire riparazioni sulla 
cosa comune, a consentire una particolare opera o qualsiasi altra 
cosa ; e viceversa ciascuno pu6 impedire il socio dal fare un' opera 
o immissioni ecc., sempre mediante prohibitio giudiziaria. Tutto 
ci6 e stato dimostrato nelle pagine che precedono. 

Ora, per ci6, bisogna vedere il risultato del nuovo ordinamento 
stabilito da Giustiniano. Dacche e evidente che tutte quelle azioni 
concesse ai condomini presuppongono una serie di diritti e facolta, 
che ciascuno di essi ha ormai sulla cosa comune, e che pu6 eserci- 

1 II modello per la restituzione del passo si ha in D. x. 3, 4, 4 : scribit 
lulianus . . . sumptum istum c. d. itidido conseqiti me non posse. 

2 Cfr. c. 5, Cod. iii. 44 dell' a. 224, dove appunto la incoercibilita di tale 
disposizione anche nel testamento militare e presupposta. E per ci6 erronea- 
mente il Pernice, ZSS. xix. p. 173 n. 4, attribuisce quelle decision! ad un 
progresso della giurisprudenza, per opera di Giuliano. 

94 S. Riccobono [iv 

tare mediante opere e disposizioni, anche senza il consenso degli 
altri. Nel caso di opposizione ha mezzi coercitivi legali. Ed allora 
e certo, in primo luogo, che se ciascuno dei condomini ha ora, posi- 
tivamente, facolta di agire sulla cosa in contraddizione agli altri : 
La regola di Sabino fu sostanzialmente abolita ; perche essa 
negava che il socio quicquam facere posse invito altero. 

Ma fino a qual punto fu quel principio messo da parte ? E nella 
ricerca della risposta a questa domanda, si deve pure necessaria- 
mente porre in evidenza il principio che fu collocate al posto di 
quello classico ; perche senza un nuovo regolamento, senza una 
vera organizzazione dei compartecipi, le facolta dei singoli avrebbero 
condotto ora ad un' anarchia ancora piu grave di quella che avevano 
sperimentato i giureconsulti classici. Tutto questo sara messo in 
luce nella trattazione che segue. 

57. Cominciamo dall' osservare il 

fr. 6 12 D. x. 3, Ulp. 19 ad ed. Urseius ait, cum in communi 
aedificio vicinus nuntiavit, ne quid operis fieret, si unus ex sociis ex 
hac causa damnatus fuisset, posse earn poenam a socio pro parte 
servare. lulianus autem recte notat ita demum hoc verum esse, si 
[interfuit aedium hoc fieri]. 

II testo e piano. Vi si dice che uno dei condomini che aveva 
fatta una nuova opera nell' edificio comune fu condannato in seguito 
alia denuncia del vicino. Debbono i socii contribuire al pagamento 
della pena? Urseio lo affermava. Giuliano appose al response 
una delle solite note esplicative, che pero fu modificata dai compi- 
latori. La frase finale si interfuit aedium hoc fieri e sicuramente 
interpolata ; lo si desume dalla personificazione delle aedes, che e 
di stile bizantino, in luogo della utilitas rei\ e poi, perche aedium 
e non aedificiorum, cioe il termine piu generico che era nell' ipotesi 
proposta? Di piu hoc si riferisce a damnatus fuisset^ mentre 
evidentemente 1' interpolatore voleva significare hoc = opus fieri. 

E per altro la nota di Giuliano si ricostruisce sicuramente col 
sussidio di un passo di Papiniano che tratta lo stesso caso : 

fr. 1 8 D. xxxix. I, Pap. 3 quaest. Aedibus communibus, si ob 
opus novum nuntiatio uni fiat, si quidem ex voluntate omnium opus 
fiat, omnes nuntiatio tenebit, si vero quidem ignorent, in solidum 
obligabitur, qui contra edictum praetoris fecerit. 

La decisione qui e correttissima e proporzionata in ogni sua 
parte ai principii fondamentali della comunione. 

1V J Communio e Comproprieta 95 

E perci6 la nota di Giuliano doveva dire : 

lulianus autem recte notat : ita demum hoc verum esse si ex 
voluntate omnium opus fieret, quod si quidam ignorent in solidum 
obligabitur qui contra edictum praetoris fecerit. 

La ragione, che indusse i compilatori a sopprimere una dis- 
tinzione cosi equilibrata, non puo essere ora occulta ; quel che 
dispiacque appunto fu il consenso omnium, come fondamento e 
norma dei rapporti tra condomini ; cui si sostitul un elemento 
obbiettivo, il vantaggio della cosa comune, che pertanto e in- 
dipendente dall' arbitrio dei singoli e dal concorso della volonta di 

Lo spostamento dei concetti e qui essenziale, dunque. E 
percio 1' interpolazione in questo punto ha investito il principio 
centrale dell' istituto del condominio. 

58. Ed ora si scorge tutto il significato di una frase adoperata 
da Giustiniano dove egli ammette tra condomini 1' efficacia del 
patto ne intra certum tempus dividatur. Perche il legislatore pone 
ivi in risalto questo nuovo elemento del vantaggio collettivo, 
dichiarando valido il patto : quod etiam ipsius rei qualitati prodest 1 , 
cosl non la volonta unanime dei socii ne determina la validita, ma 
bensl T utilita per se stessa, il vantaggio della cosa comune. 

59. Or, se un siffatto principio, che aveva in se la potenza di 
travolgere d' un tratto tutta la struttura della communio, era in 
realta nella mente del legislatore, egli doveva di necessita metterlo 
in evidenza immediata la dove i giureconsulti avean posti i 
fondamenti incrollabili del nostro istituto, e doveva precisamente 
sovrapporlo all' altro di Sabino, che esigeva essenzialmente, in 
ogni momento e per qualsiasi disposizione materiale della cosa, 
il concorso di tutti i socii. E cio era imprescindibile, perche la 
comunione classica, come sappiamo, era tutta improntata come in 
un conio nella formulazione di Sabino, in cui lo schema di mirabile 
perfezione, dai tratti vigorosi ed indelebili, si mostrava tutto. Per 
ci6 la regola di Sabino precludeva la via a qualsiasi riforma o 
deviazione nella materia della comunione. Anche la semplice 
vicinanza era fatale. E Giustiniano quindi senti la necessita di 
stremarla la sul posto, con sovrapposizioni ponderose, che dovevano 

i D. x. 3, 14, 2. 

96 S. Riccobono [iv 

I passi che riportavano la massima di Sabino erano due, e 
furono entrambi, come sappiamo, transfigurati. 

60. Al fr. di Paolo fu aggiunto il periodo che segue : 

26 D. viii. 2 sed per communi dividundo actionem consequitur 
socius, quo minus opus fiat aut ut id opus quod fecit tollat, si modo 
toti societati prodest opus tolli. 

Quest' interpolazione si determina soltanto ora nei suoi par- 
ticolari, ed illumina 1* istituto giustinianeo. Essa rende tutta la 
nuova struttura del la comproprieta. Lo ius prohibendi vi e 
rinnovellato ; e T actio c. d. serve ormai a regolare tutti gl' interessi 
dei socii. Mediante essa si impedisce T opera che uno voglia 
eseguire sulla cosa ; ovvero quando 1' opera sia compiuta se ne 
ottiene la rimozione. La quale non deve aver luogo in ogni caso, 
bensl quando giovi alia comunione, o meglio alia societa, come 
Giustiniano vuole si dica : si modo toti societati prodest opus tolli. 

La volonta dei singoli socii anche qui e interclusa, di fronte al 
vantaggio della collettivita. Ne occorre avvertire che tra le due 
cose non v' e coincidenza. La voluntas omnium da una parte ed 
il prodesse societati dall' altra sono quantita eterogenee. Anzi 
nella formula sovrapposta da Giustiniano, e prospettato un caso 
in cui si giunge alia distruzione dell' opera eseguita da uno dei 
socii, perche torna di vantaggio alia collettivita. E quindi il 
proposito di uno e frustrate. Naturalmente ; perche il criterio 
della utilitas rei e obbiettivo, quello della voluntas e soggettivo ; 
e per ci6 1' uno e indipendente dall' altro. 

E cosl siamo ritornati allo stesso principio che ci si rive!6 
avanti, in altri testi, quasi di soppiatto. Vale a dire, mentre nel 
diritto classico solo la volonta di tutti i socii ha efficacia rispetto al 
facere sulla cosa comune, e la volonta di un solo, per conseguenza, 
puo impedire qualsiasi atto od opera sulla medesima, in forza della 
prohibitio ; al contrario, nella compilazione, alia volonta dei singoli 
si surroga la utilitas rei, la quale ora determina e regola i poteri 
dei socii sulla cosa. Lo ius prohibendi e non solo trasformato, 
ma in molti casi pure escluso. Fino a qual punto ? 

61. La risposta la ricaviamo dal celebre testo di Papiniano, la 
dove egli enunciava precisamente la massima di Sabino, ed in cui 
la violenza usata da Giustiniano all' antica dottrina si manifesta 
nella maniera piu aperta. 

iv] Communio e Coniproprieta 97 

II testo ben noto continua cosl : 

fr. 28 D. x. 3 . . . sed etsi in communi prohiberi socius a socio 
ne quid faciat potest, ut tamen factum opus tollat, cogi non potest, 
sz, cum prohibere poterat, hoc praetermisit : et ideo per communi 
^dividundo actionem damnum sarciri poterit^ sin autem facienti 
consensit, nee pro damno habet actionem. quod si quid absente socio 
ad laesionem eius fecit ', tune etiam toller e cogitur. 

Dunque, lo ius prohibendi c' e ancora, ma solo per impedire 
P inizio dell' opera. Che se questa fu compiuta senza proibizione di 
alcuno, allora, chi omise di intervenire a tempo non pu6 altro 
pretendere che il risarcimento del danno, mediante I 1 actio c. d. 
E se poi, per un motivo giustificato, egli non pote interporre divieto 
in tempo opportune, allora P opera dev 1 essere rimossa da chi la 
esegul, solo quando risulti che ridonda a danno del socio ; anzi, il 
testo dice : quando risulti che fu fatta a danno del socio :".., 
ad laesionem eius fecit. 

Ed anche qui P aggiunta, con le molteplici distinzioni, rivela 
in tutta la sua comprensione il nuovo principio regolatore della 

Lasciamo da parte la questione che e secondaria, se nella frase 
ad laesionem eius fecit non si rifletta pure un raggio della nota 
dottrina giustinianea del divieto di atti emulativi, ma qui preme 
sopratutto trarre da quest* ultimo inciso le conseguenze piu certe 
ed immediate. E cioe, che secondo quel dettato, I 1 opera fatta da 
uno dei condomini senza la volonta dell' altro non si puo rimuovere, 
per disposto di legge, quando non leda 1' interesse del socio che 
nega. fe il lato positive della nuova formula. E perci6 quando 
la disposizione di uno dei socii, o 1' opera eseguita, tornano di 
vantaggio alia comunione, e non ledono gli interessi dell' altro, 
allora la volonta di colui che ha ordinato 1' opera prevale; o meglio, 
in realta, prevale 1' interesse sociale. 

Coincidenza dunque perfetta di parole, di concetti e di norme 
in tutte le correzioni ed aggiunte fatte da Giustiniano nella materia 
in esame. 

62. Ne P attivita di Giustiniano s' arresta a paralizzare solo la 
forza dei principi astratti ; ch& le riforme in quella nuova direzione 
investono, di necessita, tutti i punti della teoria della communio, e 
tutte le conseguenze ; e dimostrano che il nuovo regolamento di 
essa ebbe nella compilazione pieno e decisive sviluppo. 


98 S. Riccobono [iv 

Cosl circa la costituzione di servitu sul fondo comune 
leggiamo nel 

fr. 10 D. xxxix. 3, Ulp. 53 ad ed. Si autem plures sint 
eiusdem loci domini, unde aqua ducitur, omnium voluntatem esse 
sequendam non ambigitur : \iniquum enim visum est voluntatem 
unius ex modica forte portiuncula domini praeiudicium sociis facere 1 ^. 
An tamen subsequi voluntas possit, videamus. [et placet nihil 
interesse utrum praecedat voluntas aquae ductionem an subsequatur, 
quia et posteriorem voluntatem praetor tueri debet^\ 

Ulpiano esigeva la voluntas omnium. E non si poteva dubi- 
tarne : non ambigitur. Ma Giustiniano nota essere iniquo che la 
volonta di uno che abbia nella comunione una piccola porziuncola 
possa pregiudicare gli altri. 

Sarebbe errore intendere quell' inciso che e nel pr. del testo, 
come giustificazione o comento alia parola omnium ; perche se 
si esige la volonta unanime dei socii il plus o il minus delle quote 
non conta. Per ci6 la Glossa con semplicita spontanea disse : idem 
et si maximam partem habet. E cio e vero. Ma allora, nemmeno 
e giusto attribuire ai compilatori un comento cosl stupido. Ed in 
verita il periodo aggiunto ha valore per se stesso, per quel che dice. 
Esso ha non il valore di una chiosa alia decisione che precede, ma 
quello piuttosto di una limitazione, e cioe per significare che in ogni 
caso la volonta di uno che ha nella comunione un interesse minimo 
non deve pregiudicare agli altri. 

Ecco di nuovo T interesse collettivo posto in risalto da 
Giustiniano, in confronto della volonta dei singoli. E per ci6 e 
sicuro che anche il testo in esame rappresenta un punto di vista che 
si coordina perfettamente al nuovo principio qui posto in evidenza, 
e fatto palese dai frammenti piu cospicui della materia. Se poi la 
decisione del comune vantaggio spetti alia maggioranza numerica 
dei socii, ovvero a coloro che hanno la prevalenza degli interessi, e 
cosa che vedremo piu oltre. 

L' applicazione del nuovo principio in materia di servitu sul fondo 
comune deve valere, a fortiori^ per 1' acquisto, precisamente il 
contrario di quello che insegnavano i classici. 2 

Ma ritornando al testo in esame osservo che la interpolazione 
contenuta nel I ha un significato ancora piu sovversivo ; perche 
essa ammette la validita di concessione di servitu fatta da un gruppo 

1 Eisele, ZSS. vol. xxx. pp. 133, 135. 2 D. viii. 3, 19, si omnes stipulentur. 

iv] Communio e Comproprietct 99 

di socii, cui piii tardi potranno accedere gli altri quando sia 
costituita. II senso del periodo non pu6 essere equivoco. Non si 
vuol dire certamente che la servitu viene ad esistere coir atto di 
concessione fatto dall' ultimo, perche invece vi si suppone, espressa- 
mente, che altri possano accedere alia concessione della servitu 
costituita : et placet nihil interesse, utrum praecedat voluntas aquae 
ductionem an subsequatur. Ed allora se non si vuole attribuire a 
Giustiniano, oltre che un' eresia giuridica pure un' incongruenza, e 
d' uopo sottintendere anche qui ripetuta la condizione posta avanti, 
nel principio del testo ; cioe che la concessione deve aver luogo con 
P effettivo vantaggio della collettivita, e che non pu6 esser posta nel 
nulla da coloro che hanno nella comunione un minimo interesse. 

Ed allo stesso risultato, per quanto concerne la possibilita della 
cessione della servitu da una parte dei socii, conduce il 

fr. 1 1 D. viii. 3, Celsus 27 dig. Per fundum, qui plurium est, ius 
mihi esse eundi agendi potest separatim cedi. ergo \subtili ratione~\ 
non aliter meum fiet ius, quam si omnes cedant et novissima demum 
cessione superiores omnes confirmabuntur : \benignius tamen dicetur^ 
et antequam novissimus cesserit, eos, qui antea cesserunt, vetari uti 
cesso iure non posse]. 

Le superstrutture giustinianee sono qui evidenti e notissime. 1 
II legislatore dispone la efficacia giuridica della cessione fatta da 
una parte dei condomini, che e irrevocabile, e per ci6 produttiva 
degli effetti propri ad essa, anche prima che avvenga la disposizione 
dell' ultimo. Proprio il contrario di quel che insegnava Celso nel 
testo originale, e che era inevitabile per la natura del dritto che 
compete ai singoli titolari della cosa comune, che dava a ciascuno 
una posizione pari ed indipendente sulla cosa, per cui : non aliter 
meum fiet tus, quam si omnes cedant ', et novissima demum cessione 
superiores omnes confirmabuntur. * 

Cosi sono anche questi testi coordinati attorno al nuovo 
principio, e lo determinano e lo confermano in tutte le conseguenze. 

63. Ma un altro punto, che riguarda lo scioglimento della 
comunione di cose, inita per contratto, dev' essere qui con- 
siderate ; non solo per il motivo che gl' interpreti antichi lo col- 
legarono al fr. 26 D. viii. 2, ma perche in realta il nuovo ordina- 
mento di Giustiniano vi si manifesta con grande rilievo. II passo 
cui alludo e il 

1 Kruger ad h. 1. 2 Cfr. D. viii. 4, 6, 2. 

ioo S. Riccobono [iv 

fr. 65 5 D. xvii. 2, Ulp. 32 ad ed. Labeo autem posteriorum 
libris scripsit, si renuntiaverit societati unus ex sociis eo tempore, 
quo interfuit socii non dirimi societatem, committere eum in pro 
socio actione : nam si emimus mancipia inita societate, deinde 
renunties mihi eo tempore, quo vendere mancipia non expedit, hoc 
casu. quia deteriorem causam meam facis, teneri te pro socio 
iudicio. Proculus hoc ita verum esse ait, [si societatis non intersit 
dirimi societatem: semper enim non id y quod privatim interest 
unius ex sociis, servari solet, sed quod societati expedit. haec ita 
accipienda sunt,'] si nihil de hoc in coeunda societate convenit. 

La decisione di Labeone era indubbiamente per ogni rispetto 
giusta, come quella che discendeva dai principi piu fermi, che 
regolano la societa. La quale al pari della comunione non era 
riguardata dai giureconsulti classici come un ente organizzato, con 
interessi distinti da quelli dei singoli, bensi come una semplice 
aggregazione d' individui per conseguire determinati scopi ; e per 
ci6, quando la societa fosse convenuta senza termine, ciascun socio 
poteva rinunziarvi, in qualsiasi momento, salvo la responsabilita che 
gli incombeva per la rinunzia fatta in tempo inopportune pregiu- 
dizievole ai singoli come tali : interfuit socii non dirimi societatem. 
II che vuol dire che il fondamento dell' actio pro socio si deve 
ricercare nella lesione dell' interesse dei singoli, e non gia nel 
pregiudizio che uno possa arrecare all' interesse collettivo. 

Proculo consentiva certamente in cio : verum esse. Ma a rimuovere 
qualsiasi ragione di equivoco notava : Proculus hoc ita verum esse 
[...] si nihil de hoc in coeunda societate convenit'^ perche allora il 
socio e legato dai contratto, che limita la sua liberta di rinunzia. 
Tutto il resto che si legge nel passo e opera dei compilatori. Nella 
F manca la frase ait si e cotali omissioni sono di frequente una 
conseguenza delle saldature delle interpolazioni. 2 Nella frase 
servari solet si manifesta la incertezza di un principio direttivo, 
la quale non puo essere nemmeno tolta di mezzo dai semper 
che precede. E solet e verbo frequentissimo nelle correzioni 

1 L' identica chiusa in 7. iii. 25, 5. 

? Non sappiamo ancora il procedimento pratico adottato dai compilatori 
nel correggere i passi ; ma indizii di vario ordine fanno ritenere che le 
modificazioni erano apposte sui mss., tra le righe o nel margine con richiami. 
Nel punto in esame sono visibili direi come due note sovrapposte : hoc ita 
verum esse . . . haec ita accipienda sunt che non possono derivare dalla 
stessa mano. E perche il plurale : accipienda sunt in luogo del singolare 
accipiendum ? L' uso del plurale in questi casi e indizio d 3 interpolazione ; 
cfr. D. xli. 3, xliv. 3 ; Riccobono, ZSS. vol. xxxi. p. 359. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 101 

giustinianee ai testi classici, adoperato sia nelle aggiunte che 
portano una modificazione ai principii fondamentali, sia per 
attenuare le decisioni ferme della giurisprudenza classica, ovvero 
per limitare una sentenza avulsa dai suoi presupposti. 1 Nel nostro 
caso il verbo in parola e incongruo ed impressionante ; poiche tra 
1' interesse della societas considerata come unita e quello dei singoli 
socii come tali la distanza e enorme. Se Proculo mirava veramente 
a contraddire il maestro, in un punto cosl essenziale, avrebbe scritto 
con fermezza servatur. Di piu se Proculo, contrastando, riusciva 
a colpire cosl in pieno la decisione di Labeone, egli non avrebbe 
potuto iniziare la nota con la frase : hoc ita verum esse. II dissenso 
su di un principio fondamentale non ammette concessioni. Or 
alia stregua della dottrina esposta nella nota la decisione di 
Labeone cade tutta, irremissibilmente, perche non e piu vero che 
contro il socio rinunziante possa accordarsi un' azione, si interfuit 
socii non dirimi societatem. Questo motive non ha piu valore ; e 
per conseguenza nulla conta che a causa della rinunzia intempestiva, 
come si esprimeva Labeone, deteriorem causam meam facts, 

Ecco pertanto come la nota di Proculo investe a fondo la 
decisione che precede ; appunto perche quella muove da un 
principio diverse, secondo cui e 1' interesse sociale .<non quello dei 
singoli che va tenuto in considerazione. 2 

E se guardiamo i termini del dissenso tra Labeone e Proculo 
da un altro punto di vista la contraddizione diviene ancora piu 
stridente ; avvegnache Labeone ammetteva 1' actio pro socio in 
seguito alia rinunzia intempestiva fatta da uno dei coobbligati, e 
ci6 in quanto derivasse una lesione all' interesse dell' attore : 
interfuit socii non dirimi societatem ; Proculo invece avrebbe detta 
questa decisione vera, ma solo nel caso si societatis non intersit 
dirimi societatem ; cioe giusto enunciando un presupposto di fatto 
contrario a quello indicate da Labeone, e che induce per se la 
inammissibilita dell' actio , e di conseguenza la decisione contraria a 
quella data dal suo maestro. 

1 Cfr. Cod. viii. 53, 7 ; Riccobono, ZSS. vol. xxxiii. p. 292 ; D. iv. 4, 7 
2 ; D. xxvii. 10, I pr. ; D. 1. 17, in, in confronto col fr. 23 8 D. ix. 2 ; 
e specialmente nel titolo de R. I. ha una funzione limitatrice come fere, 
Praesertim, maxime^ plerumque^ saepe, onde contenere entro certi limiti la 
massima che avulsa dai suoi presupposti assumeva una portata generale : 
cfr. fr. 19, 58, 86, 94, 114 D. 1. 17. Pel fr. 39 pr. D. xxxix. 2 di Pomponio 
cfr. p. 85, sotto il n. 48. 2 Cfr. B. xii. I, 62 scol. 8 (Heimb. i, p. 774). 

IO2 S. Riccobono [iv 

Si puo immaginare incongruenza piu manifesta tra due termini, 
cosl discordanti sia nei presupposti, nel fondamento, nella decisione 
e tuttavia congiunti P uno all' altro con la frase : ita verum esse ? 
Si sarebbe dovuto perlomeno aspettare nella nota : si societatis 
intersit non dirimi societatem, come corresse Aloandro, e gia il 
glossatore Giovanni, ed ora i moderni contro la F. 1 

II lettore ha ora tutti gli elementi per decidere. E dira che 
la correzione del testo e necessaria ; ma che insieme il brano 
esaminato e tutto dei compilatori ; il quale giudizio, a mio modo 
di vedere, s' impone in questo luogo per le considerazioni di vario 
ordine esposte avanti, ma sopratutto poi per il riflesso che la nota 
attribuita a Proculo s' inquadra perfettamente nell' ordine di idee 
di Giustiniano. 

64. Fu infatti Giustiniano che, come sappiamo, sostitui ogni 
volta nella comunione alia volonta dei singoli P interesse sociale ; e 
cosi Egli giunse pure a considerare la societa come un gruppo 
collettivo, che ha volonta ed interessi distinti da quelli dei singoli 
socii. E perci6 i compilatori ritoccando i testi, con tutta sponta- 
neita, rappresentavano la societas come una unita, e scrivevano : 

fr. 49 D. xvii. 2, Ulp. 31 ad ed. \Si hoc facto societatem laesit^ 
si verbi gratia negotiatorem servum vulneraverit vel occiderit. 

In questo passo il primo periodo e emblematico ; i giuristi 
esprimono il concetto con le frasi damnum in re communi socius 
dedit fr. 47 I eod. ; rei communi socius nocuit fr. 52 2 eod. 

Nello stesso ordine di confronti e caratteristico il 

fr. 58 I D. xvii. 2, Ulp. 31 ad ed. 

Item Celsus tractat, si pecuniam contulissemus ad mercem 
emendam et mea pecunia perisset, cui perierit ea. et ait, si post 
collationem evenit, ut pecunia periret, quod non fieret, nisi societas 
coita esset, utrique perire, ut puta si pecunia, cum peregre 
portaretur ad mercem emendam, periit ; \si vero ante collationem, 
posteaquam earn destinasses, tune perierit, nihil eo nomine 
consequeris, inquit, quia non societati periit\. 

L' interpolazione della parte riprodotta in corsivo e manifesta 

1 La correzione e gia nella Glossa (Giovanni), seguita da Aloandro, dagli 
edd. italiani, ed ha un appoggio nei B. xii. i, 62 (Heimb. v. i, p. 775), dove 
Stefano nella paragrafe (scol. 10) scrive : et p) rfj Koivcoviy Sia</>e/oei TO 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 103 

principalmente per la inversione dei soggetti l ; poiche 1' ipotesi 
fondamentale, esaminata dal giurista era : et mea pecunia periisset, 
la quale si capovolge nel seguito del testo: si vero . . . destinasses 
. . . quia non societati periit? E pertanto nella parte prima si 
dice utrique perire, nella seconda invece non societati periit. fe 
vero che qui la frase e senza conseguenze. 

Tutta la dottrina della societas merita per ci6 una revisione da 
questo punto di vista ; perche come s' e constatato il fr. 65 5, 
nella parte interpolata coincide precisamente con quelle riforme 
introdotte da Giustiniano nella comunione. In questo luogo 
interessava porre in relievo il confronto, che da forza alia nostra 


65. L' autonomia dei singoli nella comunione e nella societa fu 
certamente soppressa nella Compilazione di Giustiniano, in cui, 
come s' e visto, la considerazione dell' interesse collettivo prende il 
posto del vantaggio e del volere dei singoli compartecipi. Ed in 
rispondenza perfetta con questo nuovo principio si rinviene pure 
surrogata alia unanimita del consenso di tutti, per qualsiasi 
disposizione materiale della cosa, la volonta della maggioranza, la 

1 Essa aveva soltanto lo scope di completare 1' esame del caso, invertendo 
i presupposti enunciati avanti. Indizii : si vero. . . . tune perierit . . . 
periit. Cfr. Harmenopuli Exab. iii. 10, 21. 

2 Nei fr. genuini dei giureconsulti e costante la terminologia conferre in 
societatem, imputare societati, omnibus, ceteris, le quali frasi sono per- 
fettamente equivalent!, e si riferiscono sempre all' interesse dei singoli socii 
considerato in complesso solo per il lato economico, ma non giuridicamente. 
Infatti per quel che concerne le conseguenze giuridiche soltanto 1' interesse e 
la persona dei singoli vengono posti in azione ; cosl in D. xvii. 2, fr. 60 Pomp. 
13 ad Lab. . . . usuras quoque eum praestare debere Labeo ait . . . sed 
quod socii intersit moram eum non adhibuisse. fr. 73 eod. Ulp. I resp. . . . 
ea quoque, quae in honorem alterius liberorum erogata sunt, utrisque 
imputanda. 2-3 pr. eod. . . . sociis praestet. 

E piu rimarchevole ancora e vedere che nello stesso fr. 65 D. xvii. 2, 
richiamato sopra, Cassio e Paolo usano gli stessi termini adoperati da 
Labeone nel decidere i singoli casi : 3 (Cassius) . . . se autem ab tilts non 
liber are. 4 ... teneberis qiianti interest mea. 5 (Labeo) . . . interfuit 
socii non dirimi societatem . . . deteriorem causam meam fads. 6. (Paulus) 
. . . socium a se, non se a socio liberat\ cfr. 21 D. eod. (Ulpjanus) . . . 
nos cum eo non communicabimus. Cfr. Cuq, Inst. ii. p. 442. E vero, per 
altro, che le alterazioni tribonianee sono continue nel senso inverso accennato 
in questo scritto. 

IO4 S. Riccobono [iv 

quale ora ha il potere di deliberare intorno al godimento, alia 
conservazione o destinazione della cosa comune. 

Come di solito le interpolazioni giustinianee sono anche in 
questo proposito saltuarie, e non rendono a prima giunta una norma 
ben precisa e determinata ; ma la cosa tuttavia e certissima, come 
si scorge dalla dimostrazione che precede, e come deve emergere 
con evidenza osservando i testi fondamentali che si riferiscono 
alia comunione, e che riunisco qui per coordinarli in una sintesi : 

fr. ii D. viii. 3 ... benignius tamen dicetur et antequam 
novissimus cesserit, eos, qui antea cesserunt, vetare uti cesso iure 
non posse. 

fr. 10 D. xxxix. 3. ... iniquum enim visum est voluntatem 
unius ex modica forte portiuricula dominii praeiudicium sociis facere. 

fr. 26 D. viii. 2. ... si modo toti societati prodest opus tolli. 

fr. 65 5 D. xvii. 2. si societatis intersit non dirimi societatem. 

Nei quali passi al consenso unanime dei socii e costantemente 
sostituita la volonta o la disposizione di una parte di essi, che, a 
volte espressamente, e autorizzata ad agire in opposizione ad uno 
dei socii, che ha nella communio un interesse minore. 

Ed allo stesso risultato si giunge quando si tenga conto di 
quelle altre frasi in cui Giustiniano non si riporta alia volonta dei 
socii, ma si bene all' interesse della cosa medesima ; perche, come 
s' & detto, 1' interesse obbiettivo non coincide per s& stesso con la 
volonta dei singoli socii : 

fr. 6 12 D. x. 3. si interfuit aedium hoc fieri, 
fr. 14 2 D. x. 3. quod etiam ipsius rei qualitati prodest. 
fr. 28 D. x. 3. ut tamen factum opus tollat cogi non potest [in 
confronto con 26 D. viii. 2]. 

66. E del resto su questo proposito vi e un passo di grande 
importanza che pu6 essere ora esaminato con ben altra perspicacia : 

fr. 14 D. xvi. 3, Gai. ix. ad ed. Si plures heredes exstiterint 
ei qui deposuerit, [dicitur, si maior pars adierit, restituendam rent 
praesentibus : maiorem autem partem non ex numero utique 
personarum, sed ex magnitudine portionum hereditariarum in- 
telligendam : cautela idonea reddendd}. 

Questa decisione e nuova, 1 ed ha un' importanza di prim' ordine 
neir argomento in esame. 

1 L' interpolazione si manifesta per varii indizii : 1' ablative assoluto finale 
fu rilevato dagli antichi, dal Brissonio e dal Fabro : Coniect. xii. 1 6, 6 ; il quale 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 105 

E dico avanti tutto che non c' e modo di aggregate una siffatta 
decisione ai principii piu certi seguiti dai giureconsulti. Infatti, 
ove si supponga che i coeredi siano condomini della cosa depositata 
e che vogliano agire con la ret vindicatio non e dubbio che ciascuno 
deve agire pro parte ; e parimenti se esperiscono P actio depositi 
deve ciascuno agire pro parte, sul fondamento del titolo di eredita. 
Tutto ci6 e sicuro. II dubbio ha ragion d' essere solo nella 
compilazione di Giustiniano, e particolarmente rispetto al deposito 
di cose indivisibili ; perche anche questa materia fu profondamente 
rimescolata da Giustiniano. Ma secondo il diritto classico ne uno 
degli eredi ne la maggioranza di essi hanno diritto a richiedere la 
restituzione dell' intero, che li esporrebbe alia plus petitio. Cia- 
scuno deve invece chiedere sempre la parte che gli spetta per il 
titolo di erede. Soltanto questo e vero, che il depositario puo 
evitare la condanna dichiarandosi pronto a restituere rem anche 
ad un solo, quando gli si offra cauzione per le possibili molestie da 
parte degli altri coeredi. Tale procedimento e attestato dallo stesso 
Giustiniano, che lo accolse in passi interpolati (cfr. fr. I 36/7. xvi. 
3) in confronto con quello in esame, ed e per altro il rimedio 
consueto in qualsiasi evenienza. 

Esso e applicato da Giuliano nella specie che segue : 

fr. i 37 D. xvi. 3 Ulp. 30 aded. Apud Julianum libro tertio 
decimo digestorum talis species relata est : ait enim, si depositor 
decesserit et duo existant, qui inter se contendant unusquisque solum 
se heredem dicens, ei tradendam rem, qui paratus est adversus alterum 

raccolse altre identiche aggiunte di Triboniano ; cfr. De Ruggiero, Studii 
Fadda, ii. p. 217 nota ; appare inoltre dalle molteplici ellissi che si riscontrano 
nello squarcio ; e cioe dopo deposuerit si richiederebbe rem, il genitive 
eorum dopo maior pars ; ed infine vanno notati i due gerundii : restituen- 
dam, intellegendam privi del verbo ausiliare. Ma piu di tutti cotesti indizii 
ha peso quel disgraziato adierit non determinate nell 3 oggetto, e che perci6 
ha fatto difficolta di interpretazione. L' opinione dominante presso gli antichi 
voile intendere : adierit hereditatem [cfr. Gliick, Erldut. vol. xv. p. 231], ed 
essa ha il conforto dei B. xiii. 2, 14, scolio i di Stefano (Heimb. v. ii. p. 47). 
La Glossa piti. accorta spiego : ad repetundum depositum. A. Fabro, /. c., 
corresse il testo in modo arbitrario ; ma la sua argomentazione nella parte 
negativa e ineccepibile. Egli scriveva : legendumque aderit, nam priora ilia 
' si plures heredes exstiterint ' ostendunt ab omnibus heredibus aditam fuisse 
hereditatem^ quia nee testamentarii nee legitimi heredes nee alii denique 
quam sui prius exstiterunt heredes quam adierint. sequentia vero ' restituen- 
dam rem praesentibus ' demonstrant eum casum tractari quo pars tantum 
heredum adsit petatque depositum. 

io6 S. Riccobono [iv 

reum defendere, [hoc est eum qui depositum suscepit] : 1 quod si 
neuter hoc onus suscipiat commodissime dici ait non esse cogendum 
a praetore iudicium suscipere : \pportere igitur rent deponi in aede 
aliqua, donee de her edit ate iudicetur\? 

E per altro P azione di deposito si da pro parte quando due o piu 
sono i deponenti : 

fr. 17 pr. D. xvi. 3 ... quod aliter est [scilicet non in solidum], 
cum rem communem plures deponunt ; fr. I 3 1 D. eod. . . . 
unicuique dominorum in partem competit depositi. 

Dunque la soluzione del quesito proposto da Gaio nel fr. in esame 
era pronta ; perche i coeredi debbono esperire P actio depositi pro parte. 
E se la cosa e indivisibile P attore deve offrire cauzione al convenuto 
per la parte degli altri coeredi, dai quali il depositario deve essere 
garentito e protetto da ogni possibile molestia. La cautio mette in 
evidenza che ciascuno dei coeredi ha diritto di esercitare le azioni 
del defunto solo per la quota di eredita a lui pervenuta ; non potendo 
il dritto degli altri essere in modo alcuno leso o solo menomato 
dalP azione di uno o di una maggioranza qualsiasi degli eredi. 

E percio possiamo ritenere sicura in questo punto la innovazione 
legislativa di Giustiniano, il quale all' accordo di tutti i coeredi 
all' azione dei singoli pro parte sostitul P azione concessa ad un 
gruppo, costituito da coloro che nelP eredita rappresentano la 
maggioranza degli interessi. Si noti che nel passo non e fatta 
distinzione di obbietto divisibile o indivisibile ; quale rilievo e 
gravissimo, perche induce un' evidente contraddizione tra il passo 
in esame e gli altri citati piu sopra. Giustiniano per altro tratto con 
vera predilezione e cura la materia del deposito, e voile particolar- 
mente porre riparo a quel sistema delP actio pro parte, specie in se- 
guito ad eredita, che a suo modo d' intendere era complicata ; e che 
poteva dar luogo a tergiversazioni da parte di uno o dei pochi, 
che avendo nella eredita una modica portiuncula, potevano facilmente 
assumere un atteggiamento astioso, pregiudizievole agli altri. 3 

1 Glossa, cf. Lenel, Pal. ii. c. 

2 Triboniano. Infatti la conseguenza (igitur) non si ricava dalle premesse 
contenute nel testo e riguarda per nulla la lite tra i pretendenti della eredita. 
La depositio in aede, del resto, e rimedio consueto adoperato da Giustiniano, 
come si vedrk subito. 

3 Le riforme di Giustiniano in questa materia indicate sommariamente 
furono le seguenti : 

(a) Egli stabili che ove la cosa depositata sia indivisibile la restituzione 
deve essere in solidum a ciascuno dei titolari ; 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 107 

La riforma, dunque, anche in questo luogo e determinata da 

fr. 22 D. xvi. 3 : [ et nisi pro solido res non potest restitui. nee tamen 
absurde sentiet, qui hoc putaverit, plane nisi integrae ret restitutione eum, cum 
quo actum fuerit, liberari non posse, condemnandum tamen, si res non resti- 
tuetur, pro qua parte heres extitit.] II giureconsulto trattava solo de!la 
responsabilita solidale del coeredi per la contrettazione dolosa del deposito, 
e Giustiniano rivolge la decisione alia restituzione della res. Per la interpola- 
zione del brano : Nee tamen . . . extitit cfr. Eisele, ZSS. xxx. p. 1 20. 

Altra interpolazione, che in alcuni punti coincide con quella or indicata, 
nel fr. i 44 eod. Sed si duo deposuerint et ambo agant, [si quidem sic 
deposuerunt; ut vel unus tollat totum, poterit in solidum agere ; sin vero pro 
parte, pro quae eorum interest, tune dicendum est in partem condemnationem 
faciendam\ La conclusione e banale, e la forma del testo pessima, d' im- 
pronta bizantina. 

(ft) Ammise 1' intervento del magistrato per la consegna ai coeredi della 
loro parte ; ed ove la cosa fosse indivisibile anche il deposito in aede : cfr. I 
36 D. eod. interamente interpolate, come vide gia Fabro, Con. xii. 16, 8. 
II rimedio del deposito si riscontra pure nel fr. 5 in f. eod. nisi . . . deponi. 
E cosl in materia di pagamenti da fare al minore nel fr. 7 2 D. iv. 4. . . . 
[Sed hodie solet pecunia in aedem deponi], ut Pomponius 1. xxviii scribit, ne 
vel debitor ultra usuris oneretur, vel creditor minor perdat pecuniam, \aut 
curatoribus solvi, si sunt~\. La citazione di Pomp, si riferiva appunto alia 
necessita di nominare un curator al minore, di cui si tratta nel seguito del 

(c) In armonia col fr. 14 D. xvi. 3, esaminato sopra, ammise che la cosa 
depositata indivisibile si restituisse alia pars heredum ma in seguito a iussus 
praetoris ; fr. 8 1 i D. xlvi. 3 : Si lancem deposuerit apud me Titius et pluribus 
heredibus relictis decesserit : [si pars heredum me interpellet optimum quidem 
esse, si praetor aditus iussisset me parti heredum earn lancem tradere, quo casu 
depositi me reliqtds coheredibus non teneri. sed et si sine praetore sine dolo 
malo hoc fecero liberabor aut (quod verius est) non incidam in obligationem. 
optimum autem est id per magistratum facere\. 

La struttura del passo, a cominciare dalla frase : si pars heredum me 
interpellet da luogo a gravi sospetti per le ripetizioni : si lancem . . . earn 
lancem . . . pars heredum . . . parti heredum . . . reliquis . . . Per i 
tempi dei verbi etcc. cfr. anche Di Marzo, Libri 'di Pomp, ad Q. M. p. 52 ; 
1' interpolazione del periodo finale sed etsi . . . facere fu notata dal Pernice 
(Berliner Sitzungsber. a. 1886 p. 1 180 n. 5); ed ora sappiamo meglio che tutti 
questi espedienti per effettuare la restituzione del deposito a parte degli eredi 
sono giustinianei. Solo che qui, richiedendosi 1' intervento del magistrato, non 
si esige la consegna ne sia fatta alia maior pars heredum. E per ci6 tutta la 
materia e folta d' interpolazioni che suscitarono in ogni tempo controversie ; 
Accursio da come opinione dominante fra i glossatori quella che ammetteva 
sempre 1' actio pro parte, salvo patto in contrario : fr. i 44 D. xvi. 3 ; altri 
per6 distinguevano 1' oggetto divisibile da quello indivisibile, accordando in 
quest' ultimo caso la petizione in solido : cosi Baldo ad 1. 14 D. xvi. 3 ; 
Duareno, Opp..\\\. p. 500; e gia gl' interpret! greci : Stefano : B. xiii. 2, 14 
(Heimbach, ii. p. 47). 

io8 5. Riccobono [iv 

quello stesso ordine di idee e da quel medesimo spirito, che indussero 
un cosi profondo mutamento in tutto il diritto di comproprieta. 

67. Ma qui conviene indugiare un memento per gettare uno 
sguardo su altri rapporti regolati ex novo nella compilazione, e dai 
quali potremo apprendere, che in realta il diritto di disposizione 
della cosa comune, conferito da Giustiniano alia maggioranza dei 
socii, risponde ad un principle generale applicato dal legislatore 
tutte le volte che piu persone si trovano in una medesima situazione, 
collegate da un comune interesse. Lo rinveniamo, pertanto, adottato 
tra coeredi e condomini, nella cessione dei beni come nel concorso 
dei creditori, sempre negli stessi termini, cioe con la prevalenza 
accordata, in primo luogo, a coloro che hanno la parte o 1* interesse 

In ordine alia cessione dei beni la innovazione e annunziata da 
Giustiniano direttamente nella c. 8 Cod. vii. 71, diretta a Giovanni, 
emanata durante la formazione dei Digesti. 

II legislatore dice : Et sancimus ut vel ex cumulo debiti vel ex 
numero creditorum causa iudicetur. I creditori che hanno il maggiore 
interesse, sia uno o piu, hanno il diritto di decidere : ipsius sententia 
optineat amplior debiti cumulus minori summae praeferatur Part 
autem quantitate debiti inventa . . . tune amplior pars creditorum 
optineat) ut quod pluribus placeat statuatur. Sin vero undique 
aequalitas emergat tune eos anteponi qui ad humaniorem declinant 
sententiam, non cessionem exigentes sed inducias. 

Le stesse statuizioni si riscontrano applicate nei Digesti con 
grande coerenza, quantunque saltuariamente. 

In primo luogo nel 

fr. 7 19 D. ii. 14 Ulp. 4 ad ed. Hodie tamen ita demum pactio 
huiusmodi creditoribus obest, si convenerint in unum et communi 
consensu declaraverint quota parte debiti contenti sint : si vero dis- 
sentiant) tune praetoris paries necessariae sunt, qui decreto suo sequetur 
maioris partis voluntatem. 

L' interpolazione in questo punto 1 fu inserita per dare ai 
creditori, che siano d' accordo, un potere dispositive, nel senso che 
la loro deliberazione e munita per se stessa d' efficacia giuridica. 
L' intervento del pretore si esige soltanto nel disaccordo degli 
stessi, e solo in questa ipotesi il magistrate con decreto dara 
esecuzione alia volonta della maggioranza. Tale ordinamento e 
1 Beseler, Beitrdge^ ii. 97. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 109 

nuovo. Perche nel diritto classico ove e fatta menzione del- 
1' assemblea del creditor! e della maggioranza di essi, per la creazione 
del magister? per la nomina del curator bonorum? per la lex bono- 
rum vendundorum* si richiede sempre la proposta o il consenso 
degli interessati, della maggioranza di essi, essendo per altro la 
creazione del magister o la nomina del curator o le condizioni della 
vendita poste in essere da un decreto del pretore. La differenza 
dunque risalta : nel diritto classico i creditori cooperano col magi- 
strate e sono adunati per far proposte ; nel diritto di Giustiniano 
hanno entro certi limiti facolta di disporre direttamente. 

II passo che segue nei Digesti contiene applicazioni di altre 
norme sancite nella c. 8 cit, ed e cosl riportato : 

fr. 8 eod. Pap. 10 resp. Maiorem esse partem pro modo debiti, 
non pro numero personarum placuit [quod si aequales sint in cumulo 
debiti) tune plurium numerus creditorum praeferendus est ; in numero 
autem pari creditorum auctoritatem eius sequetur praetor \ qui dignitate 
inter eos praecellit. sin autem omnia undique in unam aequalitatem 
concurrant) humanior sententia a praetor e eligenda esi\ hoc enim ex 
divi Marci rescripto colligi potest. 

L' interpolazione della parte centrale del testo fu accertata dal 
Gradenwitz ; 4 il quale, con la consueta perspicacia, rinvenne pure 
di recente, nella cosl detta legge delle citazioni di Teodosio e 
Valentiniano il modello di cui si servirono i compilatori. 5 

Lo schema di quella celebre legge e davvero interessante e val 
la pena di riprodurlo qui per un altro riscontro che ci occorrera 

c. 3 Th. i. 4 : Ubi autem diversae sententiae proferuntur, potior 
numerus vincat auctorum, vel si numerus aequalis sit eius partis 
praecedat auctoritas, in qua excellentis ingenii vir Papinianus 
emineat. . . . Ubi autem pares eorum sententiae recitantur, quorum 
par censetur auctoritas, quod sequi debeat eligat moderatio iudi- 

68. Or e degno di nota che cotesto criterio della maggioranza e 

1 Gai iii. 79 (creari) ; Theoph. iii. 12 (7iy>o/:?aAAr#ai); su questi passi v. 
Kniep (MM. Girard^ i. p. 630 e seg. ; Cic. ad Att. vi. i, 15). 

2 fr. 2 pr. i D. xlii. 7 ; Lenel Ed. p. 419. 

3 fr. 58 i D. xvii. i ; Paul. 4 quaest. maiore parte creditorum consen- 
tiente a praetore decretum est. 

4 Interpoldtionen, pp. 62, 63 ; Lenel, Pal. Pap. 650. 

5 ZSS. vol. xxxii. p. 383. 

no S. Riccobono [iv 

della parita di voti si rinviene adottato, negli stessi termini come 
nei passi avanti riferiti, pure in un' opera occidentale contemporanea, 
cioe in un passo di Paolo Visigoto a proposito del servo comune : 

Paul. S. iv. 12, 5. Communem servum unus ex sociis vinciendo 
futurae libertati non nocebit. \Inter pares enim sententia clementior 
severiori praefertur : et certe humanae rationis estfavere miserioribus, 
prope et innocentes dicere quos absolute nocentes pronuntiare non 
possunt J] 

Nella parita dei voti dei compartecipi si dice anche qui che deve 
prevalere sententia clementior ; come nella c. 8 Cod. si antepon- 
gono : qui ad humaniorem declinant sententiam, e nel fr. 8 D* ii. 14, 
humanior sententia . . . eligenda est. Ma in qual momento pote 
introdursi tale principio per il diritto private ? lo dico che il passo 
or riferito non pu6 essere di Paolo. La frase inter pares priva di 
un sostantivo ha fatto difficolta. Huschke ridusse all' accusative la 
parola sententia che segue, senza accorgersi che allora il compara- 
tive clementior resta in aria. Ma tutto cio importa poco. II 
senso del passo e chiaro e si determina nella continuazione, dove si 
dice certamente che nella parita dei voti deve prevalere la disposi- 
zione piu clemente in favore della liberta ; e dove la massima si 
costruisce pure con un argomento che e proprio per i corpi delibe- 
ranti di diritto pubblico, cioe che nella parita non vi pu6 essere 
condanna, perche il giudizio sfavorevole e annullato dai voti con- 
trarii : quos absolute nocentes pronuntiare non possunt. II lettore 
vede gia che il verbo possunt spunta come un fungo, e attesta in 
maniera irrefutabile che tutto il brano e d' origine postclassica. 
Genuine e solo il primo periodo : communem . . . non nocebit^ che 
contiene precisamente 1' applicazione del principio classico del condo- 
minio, per cui uno dei socii non puo menomamente pregiudicare la 
facolta di disposizione dell' altro rispetto alia cosa comune ; x e non 
puo, pertanto, ne dare la liberta al servo ne impedirla in mode 
assoluto. Piu tardi, e vero, anche nel periodo della giurisprudenza 
classica, furono adottate disposizioni di favore per la liberta dei 
servi, svolte poi largamente da Giustiniano. 2 

69. Tutti cotesti elementi, dunque, raccolti da fonti tarde 3 e 

1 Cfr. Paul. S. iv. 12, i. 

2 Const, un. Cod. 7, 7 ; Riccobono, BIDR. vol. vii. p. 244 ; Mitteis, 
Archiv f. Pap. iii. p. 252 seg. 

3 Per quel che concerne il diritto private si trova menzione della facolta 
di disposizione della maior pars in una lex mandpio dicta, aggiunta alia 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta in 

varie rendono piu chiara la visione del nostro problema ; perche in 
realta noi rinveniamo applicati nella Compilazione di Giustiniano 
gli stessi principii al condominio ; in primo luogo il diritto della 
maggioranza di disporre della cosa comune. 

E per ci6 la posizione indipendente che i singoli avevano nelJa 
comproprieta, secondo la struttura classica dell' istituto, resta, nel 
nuovo sistema inaugurate da Giustiniano, essenzialmente annullata. 
Ora, invece, la comunione puo dirsi organizzata in una certa 
forma ; ha una volonta complessiva, la quale custodisce, regola ed 
esplica 1' interesse collettivo sotto tutti gli aspetti. Di con- 
seguenza, al consenso di tutti i socii, che era necessario per 
qualsiasi disposizione materiale della cosa comune, si sostitul la 
facolta di disposizione della maggioranza. 

70. E pertanto le aggiunte giustinianee ai passi dei giuristi 
classici acquistano ora un significato preciso e grande rilievo, che 
esse si aggregano tutte perfettamente attorno al nuovo ordinamento, 
che ha un deciso carattere sociale. Si puo negare forse un tale 
significato a quella norma legislativa che permette la rimozione 
dell' opera fatta da un socio solo nel caso che giovi alia colletti- 
vita ? : si toti societati prodest opus tolli> 26 D. viii. 2. E la stessa 
formula, come sappiamo, ritorna nel fr. 65 5 D. xvii. 2 : si intersit 
societati non dirimi societatem. E piu vivamente ancora quel con- 
cetto e accentuate nel fr. 10 pr. D. xxxix. 3.: iniquum enim visum 
est voluntatem unius ex modica forte portiuncula dominii prae- 
iudicium sociis facer e. Che eresia giuridica e mai questa? Colui 
che ha parte nella comunione, e sia una minima parte, ha diritto 
di far valere la sua volonta come gli altri, perche la sua posizione 
giuridica e pari a quella degli altri. Cosl ragionava la giuri- 
sprudenza aurea. Ma nell' inciso giustinianeo si da un gran rilievo 

donatio Flavii Syntrophi del II o in sec. p. C. (Bruns-Gradenwitz, n. 1 39, p. 
337) : e t & quis ibi inhabitare voluerit ex communi omnium consensu 
maiorisve partis eorum qui vivent^ id ei liceat. Naturalmente il potere con- 
ferito alia maggioranza non ha qui un valore speciale, perche si tratta di una 
condizione espressa dal disponente, e nulla si oppone, inoltre, alia validita di 
una tale convenzione tra condomini che sia diretta a regolare il godimento o 
P amministrazione della cosa comune. Nel documento citato si tratta in 
realta di condominio ; perch& se la mancipatio degli orti fu fatta ad un liberto, 
egli deve comunicarli a tutti i conliberti, e tutti insieme devono godere del 
reddito dei beni, che sara impiegato per il culto della tomba del disponente, 
nei giorni designati. 

112 S. Riccobono [iv 

alia utilita ed alia considerazione dei maggiori interessati, e quindi 
la prevalenza a coloro che rappresentano la parte maggiore ; il quale 
interesse non deve essere paralizzato, si dice, da colui che ha nella 
comunione una modica porzioncella. Nella frase stessa usata dal 
legislatore, P interesse del singolo, e per giunta minore al confronto, 
scade fino al dispregio. Naturalmente. Perche nella Compilazione 
di Giustiniano P idea dell' interesse sociale, del vantaggio dei piu, 
considerate sempre in modo obbiettivo, irrompe su ogni angolo, e 
si diffonde come un getto di sole vivo. E per cio nella comunione 
e nella societa alia volonta ed agli interessi dei singoli debbono 
sempre prevalere la volonta della maggioranza, e P utilita sociale. 
Cosl nelP eredita : la maior pars degli eredi ha diritto di chiedere 
il deposito fatto dal loro autore, qualunque esso sia ; e la maggio- 
ranza si determina ex magnitudine portionum hereditariarum} 

E la maggioranza che in caso di conflitto sceglie, per votazione, 
il depositario delle cautiones hereditariae : fr. 5 D. x. 2 \yel 
suffragio\? E, cosa veramente sorprendente, alia maggioranza dei 
coeredi si attribuisce la facolta di alienare validamente P intera cosa 
ereditaria : 

fr. 44 2 D. x. 2. Si coheredes absente uno coherede rem ven- 
diderunt et in ea re dolo malo fecerunt, quo plus ad eos perveniret 
[vel familiae erciscundae iudicio praestabunt ei qui abfuit vel heredi- 
tatis petitione]. 

L' interpolazione si manifesta nel praestare senza oggetto ; 
dacche la correzione del Mo. e arbitraria. Or se P assente, come 
dice il testo, ha soltanto le azioni contro i coeredi, ci6 significa che 
P alienazione e considerata efficace per la cosa intera. Vedi contro 
fr. 64 4 D. xxi. 2, esaminato piu sopra a p. 42, e principalmente 
poi il fr. 54 D. x. 2 di Nerazio, che esclude il iud. fam. ere. rispetto 
al fondo venduto da parte di alcuni eredi. 


71. La ricostruzione dommatica di un istituto di dritto pre- 
suppone ferma conoscenza dei principii di fondo del medesimo e 

1 fr. 14 pr. D. xvi. 3. 

2 L 3 interpolazione nel testo e forse piu estesa. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 113 

delle norme particolari ; e quindi la determinazione precisa del loro 

Nella legislazione di Giustiniano esistono, come si e visto, due 
ordini di principii riguardo alia comunione ; e di conseguenza 
molte disposiztoni particolari sono in perfetta opposizione tra loro. 

Qui dunque bisogna intendersi preliminarmente sui criterii che 
T interprete deve seguire nella ricostruzione dello istituto. Ed io 
suppongo che per questo rispetto P accordo non dovrebbe incon- 
trare ostacolo di sorta ; avvegnache tutti debbono consentire in 
ci6 : che ove la compilazione di Giustiniano si voglia considerare 
come un Codice, per ricavarne i principii fondamentali dei singoli 
istituti, per 1* applicazione pratica o per la trattazione scientifica, e 
sempre necessario procedere ad un confronto tra i testi contrad- 
dittorii, dar la prevalenza ai concetti affermati dal legislatore nella 
sua opera, lasciando cadere poi quegl' altri che nel corpo della 
Compilazione figurano come una sopravvivenza storica, e perci6 
come punti morti nell' organismo del nuovo diritto. 

Siffatto metodo e imposto dalla natura stessa dell' opera 
legislativa, formata in una maniera cosl singolare. 

La Glossa adoper6, se guardiamo i risultati, un processo identico. 
Essa, come e noto, mise alia luce tutto il contenuto del Corpus 
Juris, e lo doto di nuova forza, ma secondo 1' indole dei tempi giunse 
a quel risultato mediante distinzioni, conciliazioni ed artifici molti, 
considerati nei singoli casi come idonei a superare le difficolta dei 
testi contraddittori. Oggi noi arriviamo piu direttamente e con 
maggior sicurezza alia meta, merce la critica storica. 

II metodo e quindi diverso, ma i risultamenti debbono pareg- 
giarsi, come vedremo tosto nel c. iii. della presente trattazione. 

72. Or applicando cotali criterii nello studio della communio, 
noi siamo costretti a tagliar fuori avanti tutto il principio di fondo, 
quale era rappresentato dai giuristi classici, e che appare in tutta 
la sua energia nella formulazione di Sabino, che e stata gia larga- 
mente discussa. 

Secondo i giuristi ciascuno dei socii ha pieno il diritto di pro- 
prieta sulla cosa comune. E perci6 i singoli hanno una posizione 
di dritto perfettamente uguale ; sono liberi ed indipendenti ; e per 
consequenza la volonta di ciascuno deve valere quanto la volonta 
degli altri. Da'cic- deriva necessariamente la regola : che colui che 
vieta e poziore ; effetto inevitabile per il concorso di dritti che 


ii4 S. Riccobono [iv 

hanno forza pari. La comunione pertanto e un istituto senza di- 
sciplina, che non sopporta norme regolatrici, le quali sarebbero in 
contrasto col dritto assoluto dei titolari della proprieta. Quando 
il disaccordo si manifesta non v' e altro rimedio che la divisione. 

Or e certo che tutta questa struttura della communio fu distrutta 
da Giustiniano, perche i testi che contenevano appunto i principii e 
le conseguenze or esposti furono annullati direttamente dalle nuove 
aggiunte legislative, applicate giusto in tutti i passi fondamentali 
dei diversi titoli del Digesto. E sono queste aggiunte e quelle 
riforme che debbono apprestare all' interprete gli elementi precipui 
per la ricostruzione del nuovo istituto ; perche, come bene osservo 
il Lenel, 1 una interpolazione, ed a maggior ragione una serie di 
interpolazioni, costituiscono sempre un deliberate atto legislative 
ed il risultato als bewusster Gesetzgebungsakt lega 1' interprete 
con la forza di un ordine. 

Ed abbracciando per cio in una volta, in una sintesi generale, 
tutte quelle riforme dianzi discusse, la struttura della communio 
risulta nella legislazione di Giustiniano come segue. 

73. La comunione del diritto giustinianeo e disciplinata da 
norme generali, le quali elisero in primo luogo quella indipendenza 
che i socii avevano in virtu della loro posizione pari, secondo il 
diritto quiritario del dominio. 

Ed accertata questa nozione fondamentale e generalissima, il 
nuovo schema dell' istituto si disegna come appresso. 

(1) La regola centrale di tutto 1' istituto classico formulata da 
Sabino, che vietava a ciascun socio qualsiasi disposizione materiale 
della cosa, fu essenzialmente abolita. 

(2) Ogni condomino pu6 ora, positivamente, compiere atti dis- 
positivi che si esplicano sulla cosa, anche contro la volonta degli 
altri ; esigendosi soltanto che gli atti di disposizione o le opere siano 
di vantaggio alia collettivita. 

(3) Di conseguenza, lo ius prohibendi, rinnegato come privata 
difesa, fu ammesso in via giudiziaria entro certi limiti soltanto ; e 
cioe prima dell' inizio delle opere o per rimuovere quelle che fossero 
riconosciute pregiudizievoli all' interesse della comunione. 

(4) I condomini hanno rispetto alia cosa una posizione pari, come 
prima ; ma essi nori sono piu indipendenti e sciolti, sibbene collegati 
tra loro ed organizzati in un gruppo collettivo. 

1 Archil) f. civ. Praxis^ vol. Ixxviii. p. 362. 

iv] Communio e Comproprietct 115 

(5) L' organizzazione dei socii si manifesta nel diritto che spetta 
alia maggioranza di essi di decidere intorno al godimento, alia con- 
servazione ed alia destinazione della cosa. La maggioranza si 
determina anche qui mediante il compute del maggior valore delle 
quote rappresentate dai singoli socii. 

(6) A tutelare le facolta attribuite ai singoli compartecipi servono 
ora tutte le azioni che di norma competono al domino solitario, e 
che possono esperirsi tra socii vicendevolmente ; e ci6 sia per 
costringere gli altri a prestare il loro consenso per 1' esecuzione di 
un' opera o 1* attuazione di qualsiasi atto dispositivo, sia per im- 
pedire nuove opere ovvero ottenere la rimozione di quelle fatte, sia 
per conseguire indennizzo per il danno arrecato da uno alia cosa 
comune ; ed infine per la partizione di spese e utili. 

(7) II iud. communi dividundo pu6 esperirsi durante la comu- 
nione, per far valere tutte le ragioni di sopra indicate. Come tale 
il indicium c. d. pu6 designarsi quale un mezzo generale e proprio 
a tutela dei diritti dei condomini ; F azione per antonomasia che 
regola la vita ed il buon andamento della comunione in qualsiasi 
evenienza. Ma tutte le altre azioni speciali, di cui si disse (6), con- 
corrono, a scelta dell' interessato, per ovviare o reprimere abusi, 
danni, immissioni, etcc. a seconda i particolari presupposti richiesti 
per F esercizio delle medesime. 

Tutte queste proposizioni nel loro insieme costituiscono la 
nuova struttura della communio del diritto giustinianeo ; esse non 
esigono alcuna illustrazione e nemmeno citazioni di testi ; perche si 
appoggiano, in tutti i particolari, sulla dimostrazione che precede. 

74. Ma se le aggiunte e gF incisi giustinianei piu sbalestrati e 
finora deserti acquistano nella presente trattazione un carattere di 
unita cosl saldo, io chiedo, mi siano consentite, nel chiudere questo 
capitolo, alcune riflessioni d' indole piu generale. 

La dimostrazione fornita ha accertato nel modo piu sicuro che 
la comunione ebbe nel diritto giustinianeo una disciplina, nel senso 
piu particolare che i socii sono ormai reciprocamente legati da un 
ordinamento che viene dalla legge, e che deve in ogni caso attuarsi, 
anche contro la volonta dei compartecipi. Ma caratteristico e 
nel contempo insigne e il pensiero centrale che anima tutta quella 
nuova disciplina, e che e costituito dalla utilita collettiva che deve 
attuarsi in ogni caso, senza considerazione degli interessi dei singoli. 

ii6 S. Riccobono [iv 

E questo pensiero, inciso fortemente in tutte le norme, ebbe la 
potenza di soppiantare tutte le regole del diritto classico in materia 
di comunione : colpl anzitutto >la concezione stessa del dominio 
nella sua radice piu vigorosa, ed annient6 cosl la indipendenza dei 
singoli socii ; e per conseguenza F arbitrio, la onnipotenza della 
volonta, e lo ius prohibendi, affermazione virile sempre pronta del 
diritto individuale. Ora, invece, F interesse sociale deve in ogni 
caso prevalere. La volonta della maggioranza annulla quella dei 
singoli socii. In caso di dissenso o di opposizione materiale ha 
luogo la coazione giudiziaria ; qualunque ne sia la causa ; si mani- 
festi cio6 per il godimento della cosa, per le opere conservative 
ovvero per innovazioni sulla cosa comune. In proposito non vi ha 
limite alcuno nei testi, come pretese la Glossa, 1 e non occorre per 
ci6 distinguere tra atti dispositivi riguardanti F uso normale della 
cosa e altri che importerebbero innovazioni. 

E cosi, io dico, nel diritto giustinianeo la comunione dei beni, 
comunque derivata, ebbe un assetto del tutto nuovo e diametral- 
mente opposto a quello che aveva nelle opere dei giureconsulti. 
E pertanto su questo punto abbiamo elementi nuovi che ci inducono 
a modificare le idee e le conoscenze ritenute finora come verita 
infallibili. E cio va bene. 

75. Ma lo scopo piu essenziale di questo risultato andrebbe per- 
duto, in gran parte, se noi si tralasciasse una ulteriore indagine, onde 
porre in evidenza le forze che hanno determinato trasformazioni 
cosl essenziali, che appaiono d' un tratto nelF opera legislativa, 
travolgendo tutto un sistema di diritto, che aveva radici profonde e, 
sovratutto, una grande perfezione e proporzione in tutti i particolari, 
e lo splendore e la dignita che i giureconsulti avevano saputo 
conferirgli nella trattazione. Quelle forze dissolventi di un' opera 
cotanto insigne dovevano per ci6 essere irresistibili ; energie vive e 
possenti nel tempo in cui la legislazione fu compiuta. 

76. E F indagine si rende piu attraente ed ansiosa quando subito ci 
accorgiamo che un ricollegamento delle riforme giustinianee al 
diritto greco, considerato pure nella sua ultima fase del periodo 
bizantino, non e possibile in questo punto. Infatti il condominio, 
quale ci si rivela nei documenti greco-egizii, ha la struttura ferma 
di una proprieta divisa tra i titolari, 2 che si manifesta in ogni 

1 Cfr. c. iii. 

2 Cfr. Weiss, Archiv f. Papyr. iv. p. 353 e seg. 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 117 

direzione ; e cioe nell' assenza del t'us adcrescendi tra condomini, 1 
nella facolta di disposizione giuridica che compete ad ognuno senza 
il concorso degli altri 2 ; nelle singole denunzie catastali e nei libri 
catastali, dove ciascun comproprietario figura iscritto per la sua 
parte anche infinitesimale ; nella obbligazione parziale e nori 
solidale di ognuno per 1' imposta. 3 

Un condominio che ha tutte queste linee diritte e semplici 
si raffigura, perci6, come una comproprieta parziale su di una 
stessa cosa, che non ammette legami di sorta e reciproca 

E se nessuna traccia si rinviene nel diritto greco degli ordina- 
menti giustinianei in questa materia ; e nessun possibile nesso pu6 
esistere tra quelle riforme ed i diritti provinciali che avevano subita 
influenza ellenica, bisogna rivolgersi altrove. Dal nulla, nulla pu6 

77. Ma e sufficiente il semplice confronto dei due sistemi, il classico 
ed il giustinianeo, per stabilire nella maniera piu semplice il nesso 
storico, ed insieme la energia che apport6 un cosl profondo muta- 
mento in questa materia. 

L' istituto romano, come sappiamo, traeva la sua struttura dal- 
F ordinamento prettamente individualistico della proprieta. Per ci6 
F autonomia individuate nel sistema del diritto privato non si piega 
e non si arresta ne davanti alia posizione pari o alia liberta degli altri, 
ne davanti agli interessi collettivi ; perche il principio fondamentale 
e F individuo, F affermazione della propria volonta, della propria 
indipendenza, che contiene in se F anarchia. In contrasto F istituto 
giustinianeo e regolato in conformita della piu viva considerazione 
degli interessi sociali ; e tutto compenetrato dal principio etico, che 
ove gli uomini s' incontrino in un comune interesse, la non vi e 
ragione di lotta, ma ragione permanente di cooperazione. 4 Le 
conseguenze sono immediate : F interesse individuale, F arbitrio, la 
indipendenza dei singoli sono annullati, irremissibilmente. 

E questo principio di socialita rinvigorito e diffuso soltanto 
dalla dottrina cristiana, divenne coscienza popolare e si tradusse 
in norme giuridiche nella prima codificazione dell' epoca cristiana. 

1 Cfr. Mitteis, Archiv f. Papyr. iii. p. 253 ; e Reichsrecht, p. 386. 

2 Cfr. Wenger, Gott. g. Anz. 1907, p. 291 ; e Weiss, /. c. p. 358. 
8 Weiss, L c. p. 356. 

4 Riccobono, Rivista di diritto civile^ vol. iii. p. 52. 

u8 S. Riccobono [iv 

78. Cosl il divenire del diritto si rende visibile ed appare 
naturale, come il prodotto di quella specie d' atmosfera in cui la 
legislazione fu compiuta, e si ricollega a tutte quelle forze vive del 
tempo. Ne le riforme poste qui in luce possono essere isolate. 
Perche, in realta, la penetrazione di quell' idea fondamentale della 
solidarieta umana si manifesta in tutto il campo del diritto privato, 
e piu energicamente nell' istituto della proprieta, che ne esce svigorito 
nella sua complessione, per via di limitazioni infinite, d' ogni ordine, 
dirette sempre a soddisfare esigenze sociali, ad attuare il principle 
che la proprieta deve per quanto e possibile essere utile ai piu, 
e contribuire nella maggiore misura al benessere sociale. 1 Nel 
condominio 1' applicazione di questi nuovi ideali era soltanto piu 
ovvia edjmmediata. E nel condominio, come fu ordinato da 
Giustiniano, si mostra gagliardo quel vivo e comune sentimento di 
cooperazione e di fratellanza, che doveva prontamente trasformare 
T istituto nella sua struttura e nelle norme particolari. Alia 
volonta libera ed indipendente dei singoli fu, per cio, sostituita 
1' utilita sociale che e ora il centre attivo che da vita a questa figura 
di diritto e la disciplina in ogni sua parte. 

La spiegazione ed il nesso sono quindi semplici, piu che si 
possa richiedere ; non potendosi mettere in dubbio che quel 
principio della utilita generale, quei sentimenti di solidarieta 
umana furono diffusi e resi attivi nel mondo dalla dottrina 
cristiana ; e che soltanto essi poterono via via travolgere tutto il 
sistema individualistico romano, e fin da principio comprimerlo 
nell' opera legislativa, quanto alle sue manifestazioni piu spietate. 

Chi non sa vedere tale ricollegamento nella materia che ci 
occupa, dovrebbe mostrare, positivamente, che sul cadere del 
mondo antico altre forze operarono un rivolgimento, cosl essenziale 
nella concezione della vita e negli ordinamenti giuridici. 

Certo le difficolta piu gravi si riscontrano quando noi ci facciamo 
a valutare i fattori morali della civilta, perche non si possono 
misurare n& pesare, non hanno corpo, sono niente ; e pur sono 
tutto. Fattori prodigiosi, invisibili che giorno per giorno creano 
situazioni nuove, portano argomentazioni definitive, insinuano negli 
uomini sentimenti che divengono forze vive nel campo dell' azione, 
per cui visibilmente ne appare spostato il corso della civilta. 2 

1 Riccobono, Rivista di dir. civ. iii. p. 54. 

2 Per cio non posso consentire nella spiegazione che in deffinitivo da il 

iv] Communio e Comproprieta 119 

Ed ora potremo meglio valutare e stabilire in quale misura 
la legislazione di Giustiniano influl sulla formazione del, diritto 
comune, ed in particolare dell' istituto della comunione, che e 
argomento della trattazione. 1 


Lenel (Holtzendorff J s Enc. p. 375) di quelle tendenze filantropiche che si 
mostrano nella legislazione da Costantino in poi, e particolarmente in quella 
di Giustiniano. II Maestro e disposto ad ammettere I 3 influenza cristiana, 
particolarmente rispetto alia protezione dei deboli, in largo senso, al divieto 
della difesa privata, al favore per la beneficenza. E tutto ci6 non sarebbe 
poco ; perche se si ammette 1' influsso di quelle idee cosi generali nel- 
P opera legislativa, esse dovevano agire come un fermento in tutta la materia 
del diritto privato. Ma qui non importa discutere i limiti ; dacche il Lenel 
poi inclina a ricondurre tutte le manifestazioni accennate a quella tendenza 
propria al despotismo di mostrarsi generoso con la borsa di altri . Or questa 
spiegazione, dico, mi sembra esteriore. Perch in verita nel corso del diritto 
possono in dati momenti manifestarsi direzioni o deviazioni speciali, determinate 
da forze e tendenze precarie ; ma che necessariamente si irrigidiscono e 
si annullano col cessare della causa. Se gli effetti, invece, sono permanent], 
e sempre piu rigogliosi, come e nel nostro caso, tutte quelle riforme debbono 
aver radici piu profonde e vive, nel sentimento comune degli uomini. E si 
sa che quell' idea cristiana della fratellanza, che viene qui particolarmente in 
considerazione, costitul appunto il fulcro di tutta la civilta nuova, in contrasto 
aperto per questo riguardo, con quella del mondo antico. 

1 La trattazione ha preso uno sviluppo cosi esteso quale io non supponevo 
da principio, e che non pu6 essere oltre tollerato in questo luogo. Mi riserbo 
percio di pubblicare a parte la continuazione (c. iii. Dalla Glossa alle legis- 
lazioni moderne e c. iv. La dottrina dal sec. xvi al sec. xx) che sara esposta 
oralmente al Congresso. 



UBER das Wesen der romischen Erbfolge und folgeweise auch der 
romischen Erbeinsetzung herrscht bekanntlich Streit. Der rein 
vermogensrechtlichen Auffassung beider steht eine familienrecht- 
liche gegeniiber, die in dem heres der Urzeit einen Nachfolger in 
der Hausherrschaft erblickt 1 und sich in Bezug auf die heredis 
institutio bei manchen Schriftstellern zu der bestimmten Hypothese 
verdichtet, dass diese aus einer urspriinglichen Adoption hervor- 
gegangen sei, 2 ja in ihrer altesten Gestalt noch selbst als eine 
von der Arrogation verschiedene adoptio in hereditatem gedacht 
werden miisse. 3 Dabei besteht wieder Meinungsverschiedenheit 
dariiber, ob die Loslosung der Erbeinsetzung von der Adoption 
im Recht der zwolf Tafeln bereits vollzogen sei oder nicht. 4 

In diesem Widerstreit der Meinungen ist eine Vorfrage nicht 
geniigend erwogen worden, die m. E. der Erorterung recht 
sehr bedarf : die Frage nach dem Alter der testamentarischen 
Erbeinsetzung iiberhaupt. Man halt es eben sehr allgemein fur 
selbstverstandlich, dass die heredis institutio bereits dem Rechte 

1 Scialoja, Bullett. iii. 176 f. ; Bonfante, Bullett. iv. 97 f., Istitt 511 f . ; 
Costa, Storia del dir. rom. priv. 462 f. Auch Mitteis, rom. Privatr. i. 93 f., 
und v. Mayr, rom. R. Gesch. i. 2 91 f., betonen die familienrechtliche Grundlage 
der romischen Universalsukzession. 

2 Cans, das Erbrecht in weltgeschichtl. Entivicklung (1825) ii. 49 f., 
Schulin, d. griech. Testament -vergl. mit dem rom. (1882) 50 f., Lehrb. d. 
Gesch. d. r. R. 458 ; Lambert, La Tradition rom. sur la succession des formes 
du testament (1901) ; Appleton, Le Test. rom. (1903) 61 f. ; Sohm, Institute 
721 ; Perozzi, Istit. ii. 359 f. 

8 So bestimmt Lambert, a. a. O. 

4 In ersterem Sinn Appleton, in letzterem Lambert, a. a. O. 


v] Romisches Testament 121 

der zwolf Tafeln angehore, dass der Satz heredis institutio est 
caput et fundamentum testamenti so alt sei wie das romische 
Testament selber. 1 Ganz unbestritten ist freilich diese Meinung 
schon bisher nicht geblieben. In einer 1886 veroffentlichten 
Abhandlung spricht Cuq dem altromischen Testament die Erbein- 
setzung zwar nicht geradezu ab, aber er lehrt doch, dass der heres 
extraneus ne diffe"rait alors du le"gataire que par l'e"tendue de ses 
droits." 2 Weiter ging Ehrlich in einem 1903 vor dem historischen 
Kongress in Rom gehaltenen Vortrag. 3 Das alteste Testament 
war nach ihm ein reines Legatentestament. Allerdings nimmt er 
an, dass es in Rom schon in sehr friiher Zeit bei der testamenta- 
rischen Erbfolge neben Legataren auch heredes gegeben habe "; 
diese heredes waren aber nach ihm die gesetzlichen Erben, nicht 
beliebige heredes institute Ebenso findet sich bei Binder 
(die Plebs, 1909, S. 353) die Ausserung, dass erst das jiingere 
Manzipationstestament ein letztwilliges Erbeinsetzungsgeschaft 
im Sinne des klassischen romischen Rechts gewesen sein kann." 
Im folgenden soil die Frage nach dem Inhalt des altromischen 
Testaments einer erneuten Priifung unterzogen werden : hat das 
Recht der zwolf Tafeln eine heredis institutio gekannt ? war 
nicht der einzige Weg, auf dem sich damals ein Erblasser klinstlich 
einen Universalsukzessor zu scha.ffen vermochte, der allbekannte 
der Arrogation ? 

Bei dieser Untersuchung nehme ich zwei Thesen als feststehend 
an, die, obwohl bestritten, doch immer noch der herrschenden 
Meinung entsprechen. Erstens: dass die Zwolftafelgesetzgebung 
im 5. Jahrhundert v. Chr. entstanden ist, meine Griinde dafiir 

1 Dieser herrschenden Meinung gibt Appleton, a. a. O. 86, scharfen 
Ausdruck, wenn er die heredis institutio fur 1'essence meme du testament 
k Rome " erklart. 

2 NRH. x. 542. Wendungen, die Cuq 537 f. gebraucht ( en presence 
de sui le testament . . . ne devait contenir que des dispositions particulieres, 
comme un legs," en Pabsence d'heritiers siens, on pouvait le"guer tous 
ses biens k une personne etrangere k la famille "), legen den Gedanken nahe, 
dass- er fur das alte Testament die Erbeinsetzung auch formell leugne ; doch 
ist dies nach dem obigen Zitat wohl nicht seine Meinung gewesen. Ganz 
ausdriicklich spricht er sich fur das Vorhandensein der Erbeinsetzung schon 
vor den zwolf Tafeln in seinen Instit. jurid.' 2 ' i. 124 aus; nur beschrankt er 
ihre Mbglichkeit auch hier auf den Fall, dass keine sui vorhanden sind. 

8 Z. f. vgl. Rechtswiss. xvii. 99 f. 
4 a. a. O. 101 f. 

122 O. Lenel [v 

habe ich anderwarts ausgefiihrt. 1 Zweitens: dass das Testament 
der zwolf Tafeln noch das Komitialtestament war ; 2 daflir ist mir 
schon entscheidend der Umstand, dass den Romern schwerlich 
eine Erinnerung an das Komitialtestament geblieben sein wiirde, 
wenn es bereits in so grauer Vorzeit aus der Anwendung 
verschwunden ware. Ein naheres Eingehen auf diese Thesen ist 
im Zusammenhang dieses Vortrags nicht moglich, wohl auch 
nicht notig. 

Wer eine Frage, wie die vorliegende, zu beantworten versucht, 
wird gut tun, nicht von den Erorterungen der klassischen Juristen 
auszugehen, die durch eine vielhundertjahrige Entwicklung von 
den zwolf Tafeln geschieden sind, sondern ohne auf der anderen 
Seite diese Erorterungen zu ignorieren von dem liberlieferten 
Texte des Gesetzes selbst. Jedem aufmerksamen Leser dieses 
Textes muss es auffallen, dass das Gesetz das Wort heres nur in 
Bezug auf den suus heres verwendet zu haben scheint, und dass in 
eben dem Satze, wo dies geschieht, der proximus adgnatus nicht 
durch ein heres esto, sondern mit den Worten familiam habeto 
berufen wird. Man hat daraus schliessen wollen, dass der Name 
heres damals nur fur den suus heres gebraucht und auf den 
sukzedierenden Agnaten nicht angewendet worden sei. 3 Es wird 
eine Zeit gegeben haben, fur die dies zutrifft ; fur die zwolf Tafeln 
ist mir der Schluss bedenklich. Umgekehrt : wenn es keine 
anderen heredes gab, als die sui heredes^ wozu dann die Wendung 
cut suus heres nee escif* Mir scheint die Beifiigung des Wortes 
suus an dieser Stelle kaum anders zu erklaren, als durch die 
Annahme, dass es eben schon damals auch extranet heredes gab. 
Aber allerdings verlangt die beriihrte Terminologie eine Erklarung. 
Sollte man befiirchtet haben, durch ein gesetzliches heres esto 
den Agnaten zum Zwangserben gleich dem suus zu machen? 
Aber dem ware ja durch Hinzufiigen eines si volet > wie es die 
zwolf Tafeln anderwarts zu ahnlichem Zwecke verwenden, leicht 
vorzubeugen gewesen. Die richtige Erklarung liegt anderswo. 
Uns Modernen ist der Ausspruch Papinians in D. v. 3,. 50 
pr. hereditas etiam sine ullo corpore iuris intellectum habet in 

1 ZRG. xxxix. 498 f., Holtzendorff-Kohlers Enzyclop? 1. 324 f. 

2 Vgl. dazu noch Mitteis, rom. Privatr. i. 82 n. 24, und die dort Angeff. 
8 Perozzi, Istit. ii. 362 (vgl. 356) ,, il nome di heres esprimeva non il 

solo fatto della successione, ma anche la qualita di figlio. " S. auch Cuq 
Instit. jurid? i. 123. 

v] Romisches Testament 123 

Fleisch und Blut ubergegangen. Aber diirfen wir eine solche 
Abstraction schon dem fiinften Jahrhundert V. Chr. zutrauen? 
Ich meine, fiir die naiv-sinnliche Vorstellungsweise, die wir in 
dieser friihen Zeit voraussetzen miissen, konnte die hereditas kein 
blosses Gedankending sein ; den Romern der zwolf Tafeln war sie 
etwas korperlich greifbares : l Haus und Hof, Sklaven und Vieh. 
So darf man denn auch die klassischen Begriffe von Delation und 
Acquisition der Erbschaft nicht in das Zwolftafelrecht versetzen. 
Diese Begriffe beruhen auf der Vorstellung, dass die hereditas eine 
blosse Rechtsstellung sei, die dem extraneus vom Gesetz angeboten 
und dann von ihm durch einfachen Willensakt erworben werde. 1st 
aber die hereditas etwas korperliches, so kann sie, so wenig wie 
sonst eine herrenlose Sache, durch eine blosse Willenserklarung 
erworben werden. Wer vielmehr nicht schon wie der suus als 
Hausherr im Hause sitzt, wird heres nur dadurch, dass er sich der 
familia tatsachlich bemachtigt, und eben darum erblickt das 
Gesetz seine Aufgabe lediglich darin, denjenigen zu bezeichnen, 
der sich in Ermangelung eines suus heres der familia bemachtigen 
diirfe, familiam habeto ; heres wird er dann durch die wirkliche 
Inbesitznahme. 2 Dass dies in der Tat die alte Auffassung war, 
lasst sich, wie ich glaube, mit grosser Sicherheit erweisen. Der 
Beweis liegt in dem Mangel einer. zivilen Form fiir den Antritt der 
Intestaterbschaft. Erwagt man, eine wie ausnahmslose Herrschaft 
die Form sonst im alten Zivilrecht iibt, so erscheint es unbegreif- 
lich, dass sich fiir ein so ungemein wichtiges Geschaft wie den 
Erbschaftsantritt keine Form ausgebildet hatte, wenn man darin 
iiberhaupt ein Geschaft erblickt hatte. Nun glaubt ja freilich 
eine heute weitverbreitete Ansicht eine solche Form wirklich 
entdeckt zu haben, in der cretio namlich.? Aber diese Ansicht 

1 Das empfand schon ganz richtig Kuntze in seinem Programm Vber die 
Erbeinsetzung auf bestimmte Nachlassstucke (1875) 9 f -> nur dass die Art > wie 
er dieser Empfindung Ausdruck gibt, durch die Hereinziehung der Begriffe 
Tauschwert und Gebrauchswert Anstoss erregen muss. Ganz im Sinne des 
Texts Cuq, NRH. x. 542 f. 

2 Wie aber, wenn er vielleicht von einem anderen Pratendenten an 
dieser Inbesitznahme gehindert wird ? Man beachte, dass die legis actio 
der hereditatis petitio immer mit einem symbolischen Besitzakt, dem vindicare, 
verbunden ist, und dass der Gegner gezwungen wird, die Vornahme dieses 
Besitzaktes zu dulden. 

3 Vgl. u. a. -Karlowa, RG. ii. 896 und die dort Angeff. ; Girard, Manuel* 
871 n. 7 ; Sohm, Institute 698 n. 7 ; Czyhlarz, Institut. 124; Bonfante, 

124 O. Lend [v 

steht nicht nur mit der klassischen Uberlieferung im Widerspruch, 
die nur von testamentarischer Festsetzung, nichts von gesetzlicher 
Geltung der cretio weiss, sondern sie tmterstellt auch eine sachlich 
unmogliche Entwicklung. Wenn man in Testamenten die cretio 
festzusetzen pflegte solet cretio dari, wie Gaius ii. 164 sagt , so 
kann das doch nur geschehen sein, weil man eine solche Form fur 
den Erbschaftsantritt zweckmassig fand. Wie vertragt sich damit 
die Annahme, dass man diese selbe zweckmassig befundene Form 
da, wo sie kraft rechtens gefordert war, soil haben fallen lassen? 
Nein : dies Formalgeschaft ist dem alten Rechte fremd ; es ist fur 
die testamentarische Erbfolge, einerlei einstweilen wann, erfunden 
worden ; der Erwerb der Intestaterbschaft aber fand von jeher 
nicht durch cretio^ sondern durch korperliche Inbesitznahme statt. 1 
Das adire ist in seinem ursprunglichen Sinn ganz wortlich zu 
nehmen als ein Betreten der Erbschaftsgrundstiicke, wie das 
griechische l/z/JaTeveti/ ets T^V ovo-tav und das germanische ,,zu dem 
Erbe gehen." 2 Und das familiam habeto der zwolf Tafeln hat 
genau den gleichen Sinn, wie ursprlinglich das do lego des Vin- 
dikationslegats, dem ja in der Tat spaterhin ein sumito oder 
sibi habeto oder capito gleichgeachtet wurde : 3 es will eben jene 
Inbesitznahme gestatten. 

Habe ich in obigem das familiam habeto des Gesetzes richtig 
gedeutet, so ergeben sich daraus wichtige Folgerungen. fur das 
altromische Testament. Denn wenn das Gesetz die Wendung 
heres esto deshalb nicht gebrauchte, weil man Herr der korperlich 
gedachten Erbschaft nicht durch ein blosses Wort des Gesetzes 
werden kann, sondern nur durch die Tat, so scheint es undenkbar, 
dass im Testament gerade jene Wendung auch nur liblich, 
geschweige denn, dass sie fur die Giltigkeit des Testaments 
geradezu vorgeschrieben gewesen sein sollte. Auch der Testator 
verfiigte nicht iiber das Gedankending der Erbschaft, sondern iiber 

Istit.* 488 n. i ; Costa, Storia del dir. pr. rom. 520. Anders Perozzi, Istit. 
ii. 505. 

1 Damit diirfte auch zusammenhangen, dass die usucapio p. h. nach Gai. 
ii. 5 2 nur zugelassen war in Bezug auf eine res hereditaria, cuius possessionem 
heres nondum nactus est. Die Inbesitznahme war der Erwerbsakt. In dieser 
Beziehung iibereinstimmend : Perozzi, Istit. ii. 505. 

2 Grimm, Rechtsaltertiimerf \. 659. 

3 Man beachte, dass es auch fur den Erwerb des Vindikationslegats 
keine Form gab. 

v] Romisches Testament 125 

sein Haus, seinen Hof, seine Sachen iiberhaupt, indem er den 
Bedachten ermachtigte, sie nach seinem Tode an sich zu nehmen. 
Dafiir aber war die gegebene Form nicht die Erbeinsetzung, sondern 
die alteste l Form des Legats, das Vindikationslegat : das Komitial- 
testament war ein reines Legatentestament. Dafiir, dass dem so 
war, haben wir sichere Anhaltspunkte. Vor allem : die einzige 
Bestimmung, die die zwolf Tafeln liber Testamente enthielten, 
handelt nur vom Legat, unter welchen BegrirT nach dem alten 
Sprachgebrauch allerdings auch die tutoris datio gefallen sein 
muss : 2 uti legassit (super pecunia tutelave) 3 suae ra', ita ius esto. 
Pomponius in einer allbekannten Stelle 4 findet in diesem Satze 
freilich auch die Ermachtigung zur Erbeinsetzung ausgesprochen : 
latissima potestas tributa videtur et heredis instituendi u.s.w. 
Die Stelle, mag sie nun lediglich Ausserung des Pomponius sein 
oder auf den von ihm kommentierten Q. Mucius zuriickgehen, ist 
als historisches Zeugnis wichtig, nicht um ihres positiven Inhalts 
willen, sie belehrt uns nicht liber den ursprlinglichen Sinn des 
Satzes, sondern liber den Sinn, den eine weit spatere interpretatio 
ihm beilegte , wohl aber deshalb, weil sie beweist, dass die zwolf 
Tafeln eine die heredis institutio zulassende Bestimmung nicht 
enthielten. Ausgeschlossen scheint mir, dass das Gesetz, wenn 
ihm neben dem Legat auch die Erbeinsetzung bekannt war, das 
fur ersteres formelmassig technische Wort auch fur die letztere 
verwendet hatte. 5 Ausgeschlossen aber nicht minder auch der 
schon mehrfach laut gewordene Gedanke, jener Satz habe fur 
Legate, nur fur Legate (oder auch nur fur Legate von res nee 
mancipi) die von der Zustimmung der Komitien unabhangige 
Autonomie des Erblassers proklamieren wollen, wahrend fur 
Erbeinsetzungen (oder wenigstens fur die von Nichtintestaterben) 
jene Zustimmung noch immer erforderlich sein sollte. 6 Ich unter- 
suche hier nicht, ob das Testament Iiberhaupt jemals eine der 

1 Vgl. hierzu die iiberzeugenden Ausfiihrungen Wlassaks, ZRG. xliv. 
198 f. 

2 Holder, ZRG. xliii. 72. 

3 Die Authentizitat der eingeklammerten Worte kann hier dahin gestellt 
bleiben. Vgl. dazu und dagegen besonders Appleton, Le Test. rom. 59 n. i. 

4 D. 1. 16, 120; vgl. auch Gai. ii. 224. 

6 Vgl. Mitteis, rom. Privatr. i. 82 n. 24 ; Wlassak, ZRG. xli. 70 n. i, 
auch Holder, Beitrage, 65. 

6 Sohm, Instit.^ 722, Cuq, Instit. i. 2 130 f., und in anderer Formulierung 
Mitteis, a. a. O., Wlassak, ZRG. xliv. 2 1 8. 

126 O. Lenel [v 

Zustimmung des Volkes bedurftige lex gewesen ist; undenkbar 
scheint mir, dass, wenn es dies war, die Zustimmung zu irgend 
einer Zeit fur etwas anderes gefordert gewesen sein kann, als fur 
die Totalitat des letzten Willens. Es ist ja doch klar, dass es fur 
die Genehmigung der Erbeinsetzung, wenn eine solche erforderlich 
war, nicht hatte gleichgiltig sein konnen, ob und welche Legate 
der Erblasser z. B. enterbten oder ubergangenen Verwandten 
hinterliess ; dass es eine Farce gewesen ware, wenn man fur die 
Erbeinsetzung Zustimmung der Komitien verlangt, den Erblassern 
aber gestattet hatte, die institutio durch Legate mehr oder weniger 
ihres Inhalts zu berauben. 1 Der ganze Testamentsinhalt bildet 
vielmehr eine untrennbare Einheit, die nur in ihrer Gesamtheit 
einer Genehmigung des Volkes hatte unterliegen konnen. 

Fiir die Auffassung des Komitialtestaments als Legatentestament 
spricht nun aber noch eine zweite ganz sichere historische Tatsache, 
die Fassung der Nunkupationsformel des testamentum per aes 
et libram, die allein auf Legate und zwar Vindikationslegate 2 
zugeschnitten war, ita do ita lego ita tester itaque vos Quirites 
testimonium mihi perhibetote. Dass diese Formel zu einem 
Erbeinsetzungstestament nicht passt, wird heute sehr allgemein 
anerkannt. 3 Man erklart aber den Mangel einer Bezugnahme auf 
die heredis institutio daraus, dass im alteren testamentum per aes 
et libram derfamzlzae emptor selbst heredis loco gewesen sei, sodass 
sich die Beschrankung der Formel auf die Bestatigung von Legaten 
von selbst ergeben habe. Gewiss ! Nur bleibt dabei unerklart, 
warum man, als auch die heredis institutio im Manzipationstesta- 
mentUnterkommen fand, nicht jetzt zuriickgriff auf die umfassendere 
Formel, die die herrschende Meinung notwendig dem Komitial- 
testament zuschreiben muss. War die Erbeinsetzung selbst trotz 
Aufkommens des alteren Manzipationstestaments [nicht in Ver- 
gessenheit geraten, dann, so miisste man annehmen, kann man 
auch den auf sie beziiglichen Teil der alten Bestatigungsformel 
nicht vergessen haben. Die Erbeinsetzung, wenn sie dem Komitial- 
testament eigen war, hatte aber niemals in Vergessenheit geraten 

1 Dies gilt, wenn gleich in gemindertem Masse, auch dann, wenn man fiir 
die zwolf Tafeln nicht voile Legierfreiheit, sondern, was ich freilich fiir unbe- 
griindet halte, solche nur hinsichtlich der res nee mancipi annimmt. Auch 
diese konnten ein recht betrachtlicher Bestandteil des Vermogens sein. 

2 Wlassak, a. a. O. 206. 

3 Vgl. etwa Sohm, Instit. 725, Wlassak, a. a. O. 

v] Romisches Testament 127 

konnen, aus dem einfachen Grunde nicht, well das Komitialtesta- 
ment als Testament mit Erbeinsetzung vor dem blossen Legaten- 
testament die wesentlichsten Vorziige besessen und sich daher ohne 
Zweifel so lange erhalten haben wiirde, bis die Erbeinsetzung in 
das Manzipationstestament Aufnahme fand. 1 Als dieser letzte 
bedeutsame Schritt geschah, ware also die umfassendere Formel 
nicht nur noch bekannt, sondern in haufigem praktischem Gebrauch 
gewesen ; alles hatte darauf hingewiesen, sie nunmehr auch fur das 
Manzipationstestament zu verwerten, und gleichwohl hatte man 
dies unbegreiflicherweise unterlassen ! Glatt und einfach erklart 
sich dagegen das iiberlieferte ita do ita lego> wenn man mit der 
hier vertretenen Anschauung annimmt, dass auch das Komitial- 
testament selbst ein blosses Legatentestament war und gerade in 
der iiberlieferten Formel seine zutreffende Bestatigung fand. Dann 
hat eben hier wie so oft eine uralte Formel trotz Wechsels des 
durch sie zu deckenden Inhalts sich unverandert durch die Jahr- 
hunderte erhalten, ein redendes Zeugnis des alteren Rechtszustands. 
Wer mit uns glaubt, das Komitialtestament sei ein reines 
Legatentestament gewesen, steht nun freilich vor gewissen Fragen, 
die der Antwort harren. 

Wir sind vom klassischen Testament her gewohnt, uns als 
unentbehrliche Basis fiir die Legate eine heredis institutio zu 
denken. Wenn nun das alte Testament keihe solche enthielt, wer 
figurierte dann als heres ? wer haftete fiir die Erbschaftsschulden ? 
etwa der heres legitimus ? Der Wortlaut der zwolf Tafeln fiihrt 
zur Verneinung der letzteren Frage. Der heres legitimus ist 
nur berufen, si intestate moritur, d. h. in Ermangelung eines 
Testaments ; der Satz, dass niemand ex parte testatus, ex parte 
intestatus sterben konne, ist allem Anscheiri nach schon Bestand- 
teil des altesten Rechts. 2 Dieser Satz nun gilt immer noch als das 
grosse Ratsel des romischen Erbrechts, und man macht immer neue 
Versuche, ihm eine oft mehr oder weniger mystische Erklarung 
zu geben. Gerade fiir ein Legatentestament aber war jener 
Grundsatz das natiirlichste von der Welt. Man muss sich hier 
folgendes klar machen. Ein Testament, zu dem man die Komitien 
bemiihte, war sicherlich nicht gedacht als ein Mittel, dem oder 

1 Vgl. hierzu auch Wlassak, a. a. O. 214. 

2 A. M. Ehrlich, Z. f. vgl. Rswiss. xvii. 102. Vgl. fiir das testa- 
mentum per aes et libram auch Schulin, Lehrb. d. Gesch. d. r. R. 460. 

128 O. Lenel [v 

jenem ein kleines Andenken zu hinterlassen ; dazu hatten sich die 
Komitien sicher auch als Zeuge nicht gebrauchen lassen. Es muss 
vielmehr gedacht und auch geiibt gewesen sein als planmassige 
Verteilung des ganzen Verrnogens, als divisio bonorum^ bei der 
normalerweise nur durch ein Versehen irgend ein Stuck unverteilt 
bleiben konnte. 1 Wenn nun der Testator bei Aufstellung eines 
solchen Verteilungsplanes den Intestaterben,der ohne das Testament 
alles erhalten hatte, ubergangen oder mit irgend einem einzelnen 
Stiick bedacht hatte, so war damit auf das klarste zu erkennen 
gegeben, dass er ihn von der Erbschaft sei es ganz und gar sei es 
im ubrigen habe ausschliessen wollen, und alles musste daher den 
alten Juristen naher liegen, als dennoch gerade dem Intestaterben 
auf die etwa versehentlich unverteilt gebliebenen Sachen ein 
Vorrecht zuzugestehen. 2 Jeder beliebige stand fur sie diesen 
Sachen mindestens ebenso nahe oder naher als der Intestaterbe. 
Diese Sachen waren vakant, und ihr rechtliches Schicksal wird 
bestimmt worden sein durch jenes Rechtsinstitut, das als ein 
Rudiment uralten Rechtes noch bis in die klassische Zeit hereinragt : 
die usucapio pro herede. Tatsachlich wird diese wohl in der 
Regel hauptsachlich den Legataren von Haus und Hof zugute 

1 Ahnlich schon Jhering, Geist des r. R. iv. 147, der aber ein Erbein- 
setzungstestament annimmt, wo die Sache minder klar liegt. Aus jenem 
Charakter des alten Testaments erklart sich auch, dass ein neues Testament 
notwendig das alte aufhebt. Man kann nicht zwei Verteilungsplane fur 
dieselbe Erbschaft aufstellen. 

2 Es scheint mir nicht iiberfliissig, darauf hinzuweisen, dass auch unser 
modernes Recht die Intestaterben neben einem Testament im Grunde nur 
beruft, well wir annehmen, dass dies dem vermutlichen Willen des Erblassers 
entspreche, und von ihrer Berufung absieht, wo diese Vermutung offenbar 
nicht zutrifft. Wenn z. B. ein Vater von seinen drei Kindern das alteste auf 
die Halfte einsetzt, so wird es niemandem einfallen, auf die andere unvergebene 
Halfte die Intestaterbfolge zu eroffnen, wo das alteste wieder zu 1/3 partizipieren 
wiirde, sondern diese Halfte erhalten die beiden jiingeren allein. Hat ferner 
jemand in einem Testament unter Ubergehung der Intestaterben den A. 
zum Alleinerben und dann in einem zweiten den B. auf die Halfte eingesetzt, 
so wird man die in dem zweiten Testament nicht vergebene Halfte dem A. 
und nicht etwa den Intestaterben iiberweisen. Man konnte mit gutem Fug 
behaupten, auch das moderne Recht kenne keine wirkliche Konkurrenz von 
Testaments- und Intestaterbfolge ; der Unterschied vom altromischen liege 
vielmehr allein darin, dass es was in dem vom Formalismus beherrschten 
altromischen Recht freilich unmoglich war neben dem erklarten Willen auch 
den unausgesprochenen, aber aus den Umstanden erkennbaren Willen des 
Testators beriicksichtige, moge dieser nun auf Berufung der Intestaterben 
oder anderer Personen gehen. 

v] R&misches Testament 129 

gekommen sein, die meist am ehesten in der Lage sein mussten, 
sich auch der unvergebenen Sachen zu bemachtigen. 

Die Erwahnung der usucapio pro herede fiihrt uns sofort zu der 
anderen oben aufgeworfenen Frage : wer haftet auf Grund des 
Legatentestaments fur die Erbschaftsschulden? Wir miissen uns 
hiiten, die Ideen, nach denen sich in klassischer Zeit die Haftung 
fur die Erbschaftsschulden regelte, in die Zeit der zwolf Tafeln zu 
iibertragen ; Uber die Anschauung der alten Zeit gibt uns, wie ich 
glaube, die usucapio pro herede, deren rohe Struktur hochstes 
Alter verrat, ganz sicheren Aufschluss, vorausgesetzt nur, dass 
man sich an das halt, was liber dieses Institut authentisch iiber- 
liefert ist, und darauf verzichtet, eine durch nichts beglaubigte 
Urgeschichte desselben zu erfinden. 1 Jeder Beliebige, so berichtet 
uns Gaius ii. 52 f., konnte sich der Sachen einer nicht in Besitz 
genommenen (und so sicher auch der einer vollig vakanten) 
Erbschaft bemachtigen und sie durch einjahrigen Besitz usukapieren. 
Dadurch aber erwarb er nach der alten (olim) Anschauung nicht 
etwa bloss diese Sachen, sondern ipsam hereditatem und wurde 
fur die Erbschaftsschulden haftbar. Dieser Bericht lasst freilich 
mancherlei Zweifel ubrig. Zunachst : was bedeutet das velut 
ipsae hereditates usucapi credebantur bei Gaius? Soil das etwa 
heissen,dass jeder Usukapient einer beliebigen Erbschaftssache nach 
vollendeter Usukapion als successor in universum ius defuncti 
behandelt wurde? Man braucht sich diese Frage nur vorzulegen, 
um zu sehen, dass man auf diesem Wege zu Unmoglichkeiten 
gelangt. 2 Dann wlirde ja die Vollendung der ersten Usukapion 
sei es auch an dem geringwertigsten Gegenstand, da nunmehr 
die Erbschaft einen Herrn gehabt hatte, jede weitere Usukapion 
ausgeschlossen haben, und der Usukapient etwa eines Schafes 

1 Dahin gehort insbesondere die Hypothese, die usucapio p. h. sei ihrer 
urspriinglichen Idee nach dazu bestimmt gewesen, den Mangel der zum 
Erbschaftserwerb eigentlich erforderlich gewesenen cretio zu decken. So 
Karlowa, RG. ii. 897 f., ihm folgend Sohm, Instit.^ 694. Wir haben 
gesehen, dass das alte Recht die cretio noch gar nicht kennt. Ebenso 
willkiirlich scheint mir die Annahme Perozzis, die usucapio p. h. sei urspriing- 
lich nur z. G. des familiae emptor zugelassen worden und habe lediglich die 
Unwirksamkeit fax familiae mancipatio gedeckt (Istit. ii. 383 f.). 

2 Dagegen auch Holder, Beitrage 129 f. und Karlowa, RG. ii. 899, der 
aber (so auch Scheurl, Krit. Vjschr. xxiv. 219) willkiirlich annimmt, in alter 
Zeit habe der Besitz der maior pars pecuniae geniigt, um zur Ersitzung der 
ganzen Erbschaft zu fiihren. 

130 O. Lenel [v 

wiirde dem von Haus und Hof, wenn dieser vielleicht einen Tag 
spater als er den Besitz ergriffen hatte, Haus und Hof haben 
abfordern konnen. Oder, wenn man dies nicht annehmen will, 
nach welchem Massstab sollten die verschiedenen Usukapienten die 
Gesamterbschaft untereinander teilen ? Vielmehr scheint mir klar 
und sicher, dass der Usukapient pro herede an Aktiven niemals 
mehr erwarb als er sich angeeignet hatte, 1 und mit der bei 
Gaius liber lieferten Wendung wird nicht auf eine Gesamtnachfolge 
in die Aktiva, sondern nur auf die mit dem Erwerb verbundene 
Schuldenhaftung hingedeutet. Wer nun diese Schuldenhaftung 
jemandes, der nicht Universalsukzessor ist, von dem Vorstellungs- 
kreis des klassischen Rechts aus betrachtet, dem muss sie freilich 
als unbegreifliche Anomalie erscheinen. Ganz anders aber, wenn 
man sie unter das Licht stellt, das von der Rechtsvergleichung 
ausgeht. Dann erscheint die Haftung des Usukapienten nur als 
eine allerdings eigentiimliche Anwendung eines Prinzips, das auch 
das germanische und, wie kaum zu bezweifeln, auch das griechische 
Recht beherrscht: 2 die Schuldenhaftung ruht auf der Erb- 
schaft. Ein Recht aber, das, wie das romische, in Ermangelung 
von heredes die Usukapion der Erbschaftssachen gestattete, musste 
notwendig dazu kommen, die Erbenhaftung an jede einzelne 
Erbschaftssache zu kniipfen und also jeden haften zu lassen, der 
etwas aus der Erbschaft sich aneignete. Gait aber dies Prinzip 
bei der usucapio pro herede^ so ist es sehr unwahrscheinlich, dass 
seine Geltung sich auf diesen einen Fall beschrankt habe, und 
wer mit uns uberzeugt ist, dass das Komitialtestament ein reines 
Legatentestament war, darf nicht zogern, neben die Schulden- 
haftung des Usukapienten die des Legatars zu stellen, der sich 
der ihm legierten Sache bemachtigt hat. Vielleicht erscheint 
manchen eine solche Annahme als unerhorte Ketzerei. Aber man 
beachte wohl : die Schuldenhaftung der Legatare war im alten 
Recht praktisch gar nicht zu entbehren, selbst dann nicht zu 

1 Dass dem z. Zt. des Q. Mucius so war, diirfte daraus hervorgehen, 
dass er die Haftung fiir die sacra in Ermangelung von heredes demjenigen 
auferlegte, qui de bonis . . . usu ceperit plurimum possidendo (Cic. de leg. 
ii. 48). Aber auch schon in der alteren Ordnung (Cic. eod. ii. 49) war bei 
dem si maiorem par tern pecuniae capiat der Usukapient gewiss mitverstanden 
und nicht als Universalsukzessor gedacht. A. M. Karlowa, RG. ii. 901. 

2 Wegen des germanischen Rechts bedarf es wohl keiner Nachweisungen ; 
wegen des griechischen vgl. Partsch, Burgschaftsrecht, i. 232 f. 


R&misches Testament 

entbehren, wenn die heredis institutio entgegen unserer Ansicht 
ein Urbestandteil des romischen Testaments gewesen ware. Man 
setze den Fall, ein mittelloser oder iiberschuldeter Erbe habe die 
Erbschaft angetreten. Im klassischen Recht gewahrt hier das 
beneficium separationis den Erbschaftsglaubigern die Moglichkeit, 
im Weg des Separatkonkurses die ganze Erbschaft zu ihrer 
Befriedigung heranzuziehen und sich so vor Schaden zu schiitzen. 
In die Zeit der zwolf Tafeln wird niemand dies Benefiz zuriick- 
riicken wollen. Sollten damals die Glaubiger kein Mittel gehabt 
haben, auf die per vindicationem legierten Sachen zu greifen ? 
Sollten sie darauf beschrankt gewesen sein, sich an den heres 
institutus zu halten, und leer ausgegangen sein, indes die lachenden 
Legatare die Erbschaftssachen okkupierten ? 1 Und zu diesem 
Argument tritt eine sichere historische Tatsache, die beweist, dass 
den alten Romern eine Schuldenhaftung der Legatare durchaus 
nicht so fremdartig vorgekommen sein kann, wie man glaubt. 
Ich denke an die bekannte Ordnung der Haftung fiir die sacra 
hereditaria, wie sie uns bei Cicero (de legib. ii. 48 ff.) uberliefert ist. 
Zu Ciceros Zeit hafteten fur die sacra in Ermangelung von heredes 
freilich nicht mehr alle Legatare, sondern nur der Partitionslegatar 
qui tantundem capit quantum omnes heredes. Aber Cicero selbst 
berichtet von einer alteren Ordnung, wonach die Haftung auf drei 
Weisen begriindet werden konnte : hereditate aut si maiorem 
partem pecuniae capiat aut [si maior pars pecuniae legata esf\ 
si inde quidpiam ceperit. Die beiden letzten Haftungsgriinde 
beziehen sich selbstverstandlich nicht bloss auf Usukapienten, 2 
sondern auch auf Legatare, und streicht man, wie man m. E. muss, 
die eingeklammerten Worte als in den Text geratenes Glossem, 3 
so ist hier fiir die sacra sogar die Haftung jedes einzelnen Legatars 
bezeugt, die wir auch fiir die Schulden behaupten. Der Gedanke 

1 Keinen Gegenbeweis kann C. iv. 16, 7 liefern. Der Schluss von der in 
den zwolf Tafeln sanktionierten Haftung der Erben, worunter im Sinne des 
Gesetzes m. E. nur die Intestaterben zu verstehen waren, auf die Nichthaftung 
der Legatare ist keineswegs zwingend. 

2 Andere (z. B. Scheurl, Krit. Vjschr. xxiv. 220) nehmen an, dass der 
Usukapient schon von dem Haftungsgrund hereditate mitgetroffen wurde. 

3 Das Glossem sollte den zweiten Haftungsgrund erlautern. Es verrat 
sich schon durch den Indikativ est statt des in der indirekten Rede zu 
erwartenden sit.. Sachlich erscheint es mir unverstandlich, warum haftbar 
erwartden Erwerb irgend eines Stiicks nur der werden soil, dem die maior 
durch ecuniae vermacht ist. A. M. freilich Holder, Beitrdge^ 140 f., 

132 O. Lenel [v 

liegt nahe, dass der zwischen der Haftung des Erben und 
des einzelnen Legatars eingeschobene zweite Haftungsgrund qui 
maiorem partem pecuniae capiat bereits eine Abwandlung des 
noch alteren nur zweigliedrigen Haftungssystems enthalte. Sei 
dem wie ihm wolle, der Schluss von der Sacrahaftung der Legatare 
auf die Schuldenhaftung drangt sich geradezu zwingend auf: 
warum sollte man den Glaubigern verweigert haben, was den 
Gottern recht war? Aller Wahrscheinlichkeit nach handelt es 
sich hier um eine Erscheinung, die wir auch sonst sowohl im 
griechischen wie im romischen Recht beobachten konnen : dass 
namlich eine ursprlinglich allgemeine Haftungsform im Laufe der 
Zeiten auf solche Anspriiche beschrankt wird, bei denen ein 
offentliches oder religioses Interesse obwaltet. 1 

Die Haftung der Legatare wir diirfen dieser Frage nicht aus- 
weichen kann nur als beschrankte gedacht werden. Niemand 
wird annehmen wollen, dass die Aneignung des geringfiigigsten 
Legats unbeschrankte Schuldenhaftung mit sich brachte. Wir 
sind vom klassischen Rechte her so sehr daran gewohnt, in der 
unbeschrankten Schuldenhaftung des Erben ein Grundprinzip des 
romischen Rechts zu erblicken, dass es fast verwegen aussieht, 
dem altromischen Recht eine beschrankte Schuldenhaftung zu- 
zuschreiben. In der Tat glaube auch ich, dass die unbeschrankte 
Schuldenhaftung schon dem altesten romischen Rechte bekannt 
war, namlich als Haftung des suus heres. In alter Zeit wird sich 
das Zugriffsrecht der Glaubiger auch auf die Gewaltunterworfenen 
des Schuldners erstreckt haben, und diese personliche Haftung 
erlosch sehr natiirlich nicht mit dem Tode des Schuldners. 2 Dem 
suus heres mag dann aus Griinden praktischer Zweckmassigkeit, 

Karlowa, a. a. O. 902. Von den Editoren streichen den Passus Christ und 
Baiter, wahrend Vahlen ihn beibehalt, mit der unzureichenden Begriindung, 
dass sonst das folgende si inde quidpiam in der Luft schwebe. Inde, d. h. 
ex ca pecunia. 

1 Ich erinnere aus dem romischen Recht an die Beschrankung der 
urspriinglich gewiss allgemein zulassigen Privatpfandung auf die wenigen bei 
Gaius erwahnten Falle der legis actio per pignoris capionem. Ganz anders 
freilich Mitteis, rom. Privatr. i. 98 n. 12: das die sacra betreffende Pon- 
tifikaledikt habe mit der Schuldenhaftung nichts zu tun. Diese Behauptung 
erklart sich nur daraus, dass Mitteis Vorstellungen, die aus dem Gedankenkreis 
des klassischen Rechtes stammen, ohne weiteres in das alteste Recht versetzt. 

2 Lenel, krit. Vjschr. xxviii. 175. So auch Cuq, NRH. x. 547, freilich 
mit Beschrankung auf das problematische nexum. 

v] Romisches Testament 133 

auf die ich noch komme, im Laufe der Zeit der proximus adgnatus 
angeglichen worden sein ; die Legatare aber werden fiir die sacra 
wie fiir die Schulden personlich nur dann gehaftet haben, wenn sie 
die Sache, an der die Haftung hing, dem Glaubiger nicht iiber- 
liessen. 1 Ebenso kann ich mir auch die Haftung des Usukapienten 
pro herede nur als beschrankte vorstellen. Das Gegenteil ist ja 
herrschende Meinung, die besonders drastisch in der bekannten 
scherzhaften Darstellung Jherings 2 hervortritt, wo die usucapio 
pro herede als die Mausefalle des alien Erbrechts " figuriert. Ich 
halte diese Auffassung fiir kaum moglich. Man konnte sie sich 
allenfalls zurechtlegen, wenn die alte Zeit in der usucapio pro 
herede ein Delikt erblickt hatte, das durch die Schuldenhaftung 
hatte gewissermassen bestraft werden sollen. Aber von diesem 
Standpunkt aus bliebe die Zulassung dieser Art Usukapion ein 
Ratsel, und die Schuldenhaftung hatte man dann wohl nicht 
an die vollendete Usukapion, sondern an die blosse Aneignung 
gekniipft. Der alten Zeit war die usucapio p. h. m. E. nichts als 
eine Erganzung des engbegrenzten Intestaterbrechts, die wohl 
meist den Nachststehenden zugute gekommen sein wird. Und 
gab es nicht eine auch im modernen Sinn durchaus redliche 
usucapio p. h. y seitens dessen namlich, der sich bona fide fiir den 
Erben hielt? Ist es glaublich, dass man diesen, der alles, was er 
nicht bereits usukapiert hatte, dem wahren Erben herausgeben 
musste, unbeschrankt fiir die Schulden haften Hess ? Dass wir bei 
Gaius von der Beschrankung der Haftung 3 nichts mehr erfahren, 
darf nicht wundernehmen. Fiir ihn war ja die ganze Haftung des 
Usukapienten eine verschollene Antiquitat, auf deren Details 
einzugehen er keinerlei Veranlassung hatte, vorausgesetzt, dass er 
davon iiberhaupt noch etwas wusste. 

1 Wie aber, wenn ein Legatar aus Besorgnis vor dem Angriff von 
Erbschaftsglaubigern den Erwerb seines Legates ganz unterliess ? Dann 
muss es den Erbschaftsglaubigern freigestanden haben, sich zu ihrer Befriedi- 
gung der so freigewordenen Erbschaftssachen zu bemachtigen, und dies wird 
nicht als usucapio p. h. gegolten haben. 

2 Scherz und Ernst in der Jurisprudens^ 127 f., 384 f. 

3 Dagegen wird die Haftung dessen qui usu cepeiit plurimum possi- 
dendo fiir die sacra (Cic. I.e.] allerdings als unbeschrankte zu denken sein. 
Den Gottern soil ihre Befriedigung erleichtert werden ; darum konnen sie 
sich fiir ihre ganze Forderung an jenen einen halten. Solange aber jeder 
einzelne Usukapient haftete, scheint mir die unbeschrankte Haftung kaum 

134 O. Lend [v 

Ich habe im bisherigen versucht, ein Bild des Rechtszustandes 
zur Zeit des alten Legatentestaments zu geben. Je welter nun dies 
Bild von verbreiteten Vorstellungen abweicht, um so unerlasslicher 
ist es, darzulegen, wie sich von hier aus der ganz andere Rechts- 
zustand entwickeln konnte, der uns im klassischen Recht vor 
Augen steht. Wie ist die heredis institutio aufgekommen ? Es 
versteht sich, dass wir, bei dem Mangel jeder zuverlassigen Uber- 
lieferung iiber die auf die zwolf Tafeln folgenden Jahrhunderte, auf 
Hypothesen angewiesen sind ; aber diese Hypothesen diirften sich 
zu einem hohen Grade der Wahrscheinlichkeit fiihren lassen. Es 
war, wie ich glaube, die Sach- und Rechtslage beim alteren Manzi- 
pationstestamente, was die romischen Juristen auf den Gedanken 
der heredis institutio brachte. Gaius berichtet bekanntlich, der 
familiae emptor bei diesem Testament sei heredis loco gewesen 
(heredis locum optinebaf}. Was Gaius sich bei dieser Charak- 
terisierung dachte, ob er damit eine vollkommene Gleichheit oder nur 
eine weitgehende Ahnlichkeit mit der Erbenstellung ausdriicken 
wollte, kann hier dahingestellt bleiben. Denn auch im zweiten 
Fall bleibt die von mir vermutete Entwicklung verstandlich, 
und dass eine solche Ahnlichkeit vorlag, kann auch der nicht 
bezweifeln, der, wie auch ich es fur richtig halte, in dem familiae 
emptor wesentlich nur einen Treuhander oder Testamentsvoll- 
strecker sieht. 1 Zunachst war die Giltigkeit aller von dem 
Erblasser getroffenen Verfiigungen, wie spaterhin von der der 
heredis institutio^ so in alter Zeit von der der familiae manci- 
patio abhangig. Der familiae emptor muss ferner in der Lage 
gewesen sein, seine Rechtsstellung, mit der das Testament stand und 
fiel, gegen den drohenden Angriffder Intestaterben zu verteidigen, es 
muss ihm eine legis actio nach Art der hereditatis petitio zuge- 
standen haben ; die Gefahr eines solchen Angriffs mag bei dem im 
Angesicht des ganzen Volks errichteten Komitialtestament gering 
gewesen sein, musste sich aber notwendig einstellen, als man den 
Versuch machte, die alte Form durch den Kunstbau des Manzi- 
pationstestaments zu ersetzen, und wer hatte sonst die Verteidigung 
des Testaments iibernehmen sollen ? Der familiae emptor wird 
weiter wahrscheinlich beschrankt und neben den Legataren fiir 
die Erbschaftsschulden gehaftet haben. Eine solche Haftung des 

1 Vgl. u. a. Sohm, Institut. 722 f . ; Cuq, Instit. jurid. i. 128, und be- 
sonders Lambert, a. a. O. 52 f. 

v] Romisches Testament 135 

Treuhanders oder Testamentsvollstreckers findet sich bekanntlich 
auch in anderen Rechten ; l bei der Sachlage, wie sie sich aus der 
familiae mancipatio ergab, war sie kaum zu entbehren. Nimmt 
man, was ich fur sehr wahrscheinlich halte, an, dass das uns 
uberlieferte Formular der familiae mancipatio nicht das urspriing- 
liche ist, dass urspriinglich der familiae emptor nicht bloss die 
custodela, sondern das Vermogen des Erblassers selbst erwarb 
und zur Ausfiihrung der Anordnungen des Erblassers damals gar 
nicht juristisch, sondern nur moralisch verpflichtet war, 2 so zwang 
sich seine Haftung geradezu auf. Aber auch in der Zeit, wo der 
familiae emptor nunmehr die custodela am Vermogen fur sich in 
Anspruch nahm, und man das Eigentum an den vermachten 
Sachen vermoge der nuncupatio unmittelbar den Vindikations- 
legataren zufallen Hess, war nichts natiirlicher, als dass man die 
Erbschaftsglaubiger gleichwohl nicht bloss auf letztere, sondern 
auch auf den familiae emptor verwies ; blieb doch immer die 
Moglichkeit, dass Legatare vor dem Erblasser starben oder das 
ihnen Hinterlassene nicht an sich nehmen wollten, oder die 
Annahme sich verzogerte, oder dass nach Entrichtung samtlicher 
Legate noch ein unvergebener Rest der Erbschaft sich herausstellte, 
der doch ebenfalls den Glaubigern haften musste. Ein solcher 
Rest diirfte, solange die familiae mancipatio in irgend einem Sinne 
ernst genommen wurde, dem familiae emptor verblieben sein und 
so seine Haftung begriindet haben. Ja, es darf angenommen 
werden, dass die Testatoren in der Regel die Erbschaft durch 
Legate nicht erschopft, sondern mindestens soviel davon freigelassen 
haben werden, als zur Befriedigung der (irdischen und himm- 
lischen) Erbschaftsglaubiger erforderlich war ; musste ihnen doch 
daran gelegen sein, dass die Legatare das ihnen Hinterlassene 
unverkiirzt und ohne Besorgnis vor dem Angriff durch Glaubiger 
erhalten konnten. In alledem also war die Stellung des familiae 
emptor der des Erben verwandt. Aber daneben bestanden er- 

1 Fur die germanische Treuhand vgl. A. Schultze, die langobardische 
Treuhand, 50 n. 15, 112 n. 24, 178; ferner Caillemer, Orig. et dtvel. de 
rexfr. test. 74 f., 429 f., 431 f. 

2 So Cuq, NRH. x. 755 ; Lambert, a. a. O. 79. Auf Gaius, ii. 103, 
mochte ich mich freilich hiefiir nicht berufen. Gaius hat von dieser Stufe 
der Entwicklung des Testaments schwerlich mehr irgend eine Kenntnis, und 
mit den ungeriauen Worten ob id ei mandabat wird er nicht auf formlose 
Auftrage, sondern auf die nuncupatio haben hinweisen wollen. 

136 O. Lend [v 

hebliche Verschiedenheiten, und gerade in diesen werden wir die 
Motive zu suchen haben, die die Juristen dahin fiihrten, die familiae 
emptio zu einem blossen Scheinakt zu degradieren und an Stelle 
des familiae emptor einen kiinstlichen im Testamente selbst zu 
ernennenden heres zu setzen. Vor allem war, solange diefamttiae 
mancipatio ernst genommen wurde, ein Widerruf des Testaments 
nur mittels remancipatio familiae moglich, die die Mitwirkung des 
familiae emptor erforderte, so dass der Testator von dessen gutem 
Willen abhangig war. Weiter : der familiae emptor konnte vor 
dem Testator sterben ; dann konnte schwerlich das Testament 
bestehen bleiben, eine Substitution in die Rolle des familiae 
emptor war ausgeschlossen. Endlich : die Schuldenhaftung des 
familiae emptor ist kaum anders denn als beschrankte zu denken ; 
diese beschrankte Haftung aber, neben der die der Legatare 
unentbehrlich blieb, musste zu grossen Schwierigkeiten fiihren. 
Denn haftete den Erbschaftsglaubigern in seiner Hand nur das, 
was nach Befriedigung samtlicher Legatare iibrig blieb, so wird 
dessen Belauf, in Ermangelung der Vorsorgemassregeln, die das 
moderne Recht trifft, unendlich oft sehr schwer festzustellen 
gewesen sein ; hafteten aber, was ich fur viel wahrscheinlicher 
halte, solange die Legatare die vermachten Sachen nicht an sich 
genommen hatten, diese den Glaubigern auch in der Hand des 
familiae emptor^ so litten die Interessen der Legatare not. Sollten 
diese Ubelstande die Juristen nicht beschaftigt haben? Such ten 
sie aber nach Mitteln der Abhilfe, so wurden sie notwendig auf 
den Weg gewiesen, den sie auch eingeschlagen haben : namlich 
einerseits die familiae emptio^ in der die Wurzel jener Ubelstande 
lag, der ernstlichen Bedeutung zu entkleiden, andererseits dem im 
Testament zum Vorschein kommenden letzten Willen einen 
breiteren Spielraum zu gewahren. Fur letzteres gab der Zwolf- 
tafelsatz cum nexum faciet jederzeit den formalen Anhalt ; frei 
interpretiert, bot dieser Satz die Moglichkeit, die Wirksamkeit der 
nuncupatio soweit zu erstrecken, als man irgend zweckmassig fand. 
Wie sollte man aber vorgehen ? Es kam darauf an, die familiae 
mancipatio durch eine Form der Bedenkung zu ersetzen, die dem 
Bedachten den ganzen Nachlass uberwies, soweit nicht durch 
Legate dariiber verfiigt war, Substitution zuliess und zugleich die 
Schwierigkeiten beseitigte, die die beschrankte Haftung mit sich 
brachte. Durch ein Legat, wie man es auch formulieren mochte, 

v] Romisches Testament 137 

konnte man dies letztere niemals bewirken ; einen Legatar hin- 
sichtlich der Schuldenhaftung anderen Grundsatzen zu unterwerfen 
als die sonstigen Legatare, dazu wiirde es an jeder Handhabe 
gefehlt haben. Ein legatum familiae ferner worauf man durch 
die Erwagung hatte kommen konnen, dass es sich um einen Ersatz 
fiir den familiae emptor handelte wiirde ja die ganze familia 
umfasst haben, also auch die einzeln vermachten Sachen, und 
wiirde daher, der Absicht zuwider, die Einzellegatare eingeschrankt 
haben, indem sie samtlich dem Legatar der familia gegeniiber 
blosse collegatarii re coniuncti gewesen waren. Es gait also, eine 
neue Art letztwilliger Verfiigung zu erfinden, und dies wird auf 
den kiihnen Gedanken gefiihrt haben, den heres ^ der bis dahin nur 
im Intestaterbrecht eine Rolle gespielt hatte, in das Testament 
einzufiihren und mit den Legataren zu kombinieren. Ich vermute, 
dass man den heres scriptus nach dem Vorbild des suus heres, 
dem der heres legitimus wohl langst gleichgestellt worden war, 
von allem Anfang an unbeschrankt fiir die Schulden haften liess. 1 
Wie sehr man aber die ganze Neuerung der heredis institutio als 
kiinstliche empfand, auf wie unsicherem Boden man sich fiihlte, das 
konnen wir noch heute erkennen an der merkwurdigen, gewiss sehr 
alten Formel der cretio cum exheredatione, die urspriinglich jede 
heredis institutio begleitet haben wird. Quodni ita creveris, 
exheres esto ! Wie kam man dazu, jemanden, der doch nach der 
klassischen Auffassung noch gar nicht Erbe ist, ausdriicklich zu 
exheredieren, wie den suus heres ? Wer diese Formel verfasste, 
der wusste sicher noch nichts von hereditas delata und hereditas 
adquisita. Er stand vielmehr, wie mir scheint, unter der Vor- 
stellung, das heres esto des Testaments, in Verbindung mit dem 
uti lingua nuncupassit, ita ius esto der zwolf Tafeln wiirde den 
Ernannten, gleich einem suus heres y auch ohne und wider seinen 
Willen zum Erben machen, wenn ihm das Testament nicht selber 
die Moglichkeit eroffne, sich der Erbeneigenschaft zu entledigen ; 
darum wird ihm, fiir den Fall, dass er die Erbschaft haben will, die 

1 Daneben wird man die beschrankte Sachhaftung der Legatare gewiss 
nicht alsbald aufgegeben haben ; sie war, wie gezeigt, bis zur Einfuhrung des 
beneficiiim separationis gar nicht zu entbehren. Aber sie wird subsidiar 
geworden und damit praktisch in den Hintergrund getreten sein, sodass ihre 
spatere Beseitigung, als man sie nicht mehr brauchte, nicht als grundstiirzende 
Reform erschien. 

138 O. Lenel [v 

Beobachtung einer Form auferlegt, und wird er, wenn er diese 
Form nicht beobachtet, ausdriicklich exherediert. 

Den Satz heredis institutio est caput et fundamentum testa- 
menti halt die herrschende Meinung fiir einen Urbestandteil des 
romischen Testamentsrechts. 1 Wie ware dies moglich, da doch 
jedenfalls das altere Manzipationstestament die Erbeinsetzung 
gar nicht kannte ! M. E. gehort er erst der Zeit an, da sich 
die Umwandlung des Manzipationstestaments vollzog. Mehreres 
mag da ztisammengewirkt haben. Man hatte in dem familiae 
emptor einen Verteidiger und Vollstrecker des Testaments 
besessen und war der Vorteile einer solchen Einrichtung inne 
geworden : man wird diese Vorteile nicht haben aufgeben wollen, 
als man ihn durch den heres scriptus ersetzte. Vor allem aber : 
die Juristen miissen die Gefahren der beschrankten Schulden- 
haftung, die sich notwendig einstellen, wo nicht, wie im justinia- 
nischen und den neueren Rechten besondere Schutzmassregeln 
getroffen werden, durch vielfaltige Erfahrung kennen gelernt 
haben. War es da nicht ganz natiirlich, dass man die Giltigkeit 
des Testaments von dem Vorhandensein des unbeschrankt haften- 
den heres scriptus abhangig machte, der den Glaubigern die 
Notwendigkeit ersparte, ein Dutzend verschiedener Legatare 
angehen zu miissen? Fiir den Fall, dass der Eingesetzte nicht 
Erbe wurde, konnte der Testator durch Substitution Vorsorge 
treffen. Ausserlich wird die Abhangigkeit des Testaments von der 
Erbeinsetzung kaum sehr aufgefallen sein ; war man doch daran 
gewohnt, dass der Universalerwerb des familiae emptor die 
samtlichen Singularerwerbe bedingte. Uns ist die Regel nur 
deshalb ein Stein des Anstosses, weil wir es als das natiirliche 
ansehen, dass, was die letztwilligen Verfugungen iibrig lassen, 
den Intestaterben zufalle. Den Romern aber, die von altersher 
sowohl (wie ich oben zu zeigen versuchte) beim Komitialtestament 
wie beim Manzipationstestament daran gewohnt waren, das 
Testament als Verfiigung liber das ganze Vermogen anzusehen, 
wird das Gegenteil natiirlich erschienen sein ; sie werden von 
demjenigen, der seinen Intestaterben bedenken wollte, erwartet 
haben, dass er dies ausdriicklich tue. 

Dass die republikanische Jurisprudenz eine Neuerung von 
solcher Tragweite durchzusetzen vermochte, darf nicht wunder- 
1 Anders Cuq, NRH. x. 550, 568. 

v] Romisches Testament 139 

nehmen. Man erinnere sich, dass dieselbe Jurisprudenz Rechts- 
institute wie die Emanzipation und Adoption geschaffen, das 
gesetzliche Intestaterbrecht der Frauen eingeschrankt, 1 das Frauen- 
testament ermoglicht, das Pflichtteilsrecht erfunden hat u. a. m. 
Das waren Neuerungen von nicht geringerer Kiihnheit. Man 
kann die produktive Kraft und die Macht jener Jurisprudenz gar 
nicht hoch genug einschatzen. Was Pomponius von P. Mucius, 
Brutus und Manilius berichtet qui fundaverunt ius civile , darf 
nicht als leere Redensart angesehen werden ; an dieser Fundierungs- 
arbeit aber hatten sicherlich auch zahlreiche literarisch nicht 
hervorgetretene Vorganger ihren Anteil, und zu ihrem Werk 
gehort auch die Schopfung der heredis institutio. 

Das Datum der Neuerung entzieht sich, wie so vieles in den 
auf die zwolf Tafeln folgenden Jahrhunderten der Rechtsent- 
wicklung, unserer Kenntnis. Bei Plautus lasst sich, wie schon 
Lambert 2 gezeigt hat, die Erbeinsetzung nicht nachweisen. Wir 
begegnen allerdings wiederholt bei ihm der Wendung heredem 
facere, bald in Verbindung mit einer vorgangigen Adoption 3 bald 
ohne solche. 4 Man muss sich aber wohl hiiten, in diesen Worten 
einen sicheren Beweis der damaligen Existenz der Erbeinsetzung 
zu sehen. In den erstgenannten Stellen heisst es ubereinstimmend : 

adoptat (puerum) . . . 

eumque heredem fecit, quum ipse obiit diem. 

In diesem Zusammenhang aber diirfte heredem fecit nicht auf 
einen besonderen Einsetzungsakt hinweisen, sondern einfach als 
die rechtliche Folge des Adoptionsakt gedacht sein : der Erblasser 
adoptiert und macht demgemass den Adoptierten durch seinen 
Tod (quum ipse obiit diem} zum Erben. 5 Darum heisst es auch 
Poen. iv. 2, 82 von dem gleichen Falle schlechthin : 

1 Die Uberlieferung dariiber wird bekanntlich von manchen angezweifelt 
und die obige Beschrankung schon dem altromischen Rechte zugeschrieben, 
wie mir scheint, ohne Grund. Solange die Frauentutel in voller Kraft 
bestand, waren die Frauen in der Hand ihrer Agnaten, und ebendeshalb 
eine Einschrankung ihres Intestaterbrechts uberfliissig. 

2 a. a. O. 98 n. i. 

3 Menaechm. prol. 60-62, Poen. prol. 76, 77. 

4 Poen. prol'. 68-70, v. 2, 109, 10. Vgl. auch iv. 2, 17. 

5 Im griechischen Vorbild mag K\^pov6jjLov iroifurOat im Sinn von sich 
einen Erben schaffen " gestanden haben. 

140 O. Lend [v 

is in divitias homo adoptavit hunc, quum diem obiit suum. 1 

Damit verlieren aber auch die Stellen ihre Beweiskraft, wo das 
heredem facere ohne Adoption vorkommt. Es handelt sich da 
(Poen. prol. 68-70, v. 2, 109, no) um das Erbewerden ernes frater 
patruelis des Verstorbenen, und wenn es da von heisst et is me 
heredem fecit, quum suum obiit diem, so diirfte es auch hier viel 
naher liegen, diese Worte davon zu verstehen, dass der Verstorbene 
durch seinen Tod den anderen als nachsten Verwandten zum Erben 
machte", als von einer dem Tod vorausgehenden Erbeinsetzung. So 
bleibt nur die eine Stelle iibrig, in der liber einen Sklaven gesagt wird : 

omnia edepol mira sunt, nisi erus hunc heredem facit 

(Poen. iv. 2, 17). Gewiss geht daraus die Moglichkeit hervor, einen 
Sklaven kiinstlich zum Erben zu machen. Den Weg aber, auf 
dem dies geschah, lasst die Stelle im Dunkeln, und nichts zwingt 
dazu, hier eher an eine eigentliche heredis institutio als an eine 
Adoption wie in den ersterwahnten Fallen zu denken. 2 1st hie- 
nach das Rechtsinstitut der Erbeinsetzung in den Komodien des 
Plautus nicht nachzuweisen, so folgt freilich daraus keineswegs, 
dass es nicht damals schon bestand. Die folgende Erwagung aber 
macht es wahrscheinlich, dass es doch nicht sehr viel alter ist. 
Sobald das Erbeinsetzungstestament aufkam, brachte es die Gefahr 
mit sich, dass der heres scriptus infolge von Uberlastung mit 
Legaten die cretio unterliess und so das ganze Testament zum 
Scheitern brachte. Dieser Gefahr entgegenzutreten hatte man 
Ursache sowohl deshalb, weil man damals wohl bereits die Ordnung 
der Sukzession durch letzten Willen gegenuber der Intestaterbfolge 
begunstigte, als auch deshalb, weil bei der Enge des Kreises der 
heredes legitimi die Intestaterbfolge gewiss sehr oft versagte, ein 
insbesondere fiir die Erbschaftsglaubiger sehr unerwiinschter Fall. 
Die altesten Gesetze nun, die nach der Uberlieferung 3 jener 

1 Zu Grunde liegt natiirlich eine cunroirjcris im griechischen Vorbild. 

2 S. auch Lambert, a. a. O. 

3 Gaius ii. 225 f. Diese Uberlieferung scheint mir aus den im Text 
angefuhrten Griinden durchaus glaublich, und ich kann mich den Schrift- 
stellern, die dem iiberlieferten Zweck einen anderen substituieren wollen (vgl. 
besonders Lambert, a. a. O. 100, Ehrlich, Z. f. vgl. Rwiss. xvii. 104 f.), nicht 
anschliessen. Auch an eine Verwandtschaft der Tendenz der lex Furia mit 
der der lex Cintia glaube ich nicht. Die Gefahr, der diese entgegenwirken 
sollte, bestand bei den stets widerruflichen letztwilligen Verfiigungen nicht. 

v] Romisckes Testament 141 

Gefahr zu begegnen bestimmt waren, die leges Furia und Voconia^ 
liegen schwerlich sehr weit auseinander, und die lex Voconia 
datiert erst vom Jahre 169 v. Chr. Die Tatsache ist vom Stand- 
punkt der herrschenden Meinung, die von uraltersher Erbein- 
setzung und Legate nebeneinander stehen lasst, auffallend genug. 
Sie lasst sich nicht durch die Annahme erklaren, dass in alterer 
Zeit Uberlastungen des heres nicht oder nur selten vorgekommen 
seien. Bewusst wird freilich nicht leicht jemand die Erben iiber- 
lasten, wenn er weiss, dass von ihrem Antritt die Giltigkeit des 
ganzen Testamentes abhangt ; aber unabsichtliche Uberlastungen 
infolge von Uberschatzung des Vermogensbestands, nachtraglich 
eingetretener Vermogensverluste, neu erwachsener Schulden - 
sind bei dem Erbeinsetzungstestament immer eine sich leicht 
verwirklichende Moglichkeit. Sehr einfach lost sich das Ratsel, 
wenn man unserer Vermutung folgt, dass die Erbeinsetzung selber 
die lex Furia gar nicht so sehr an Alter iiberragt. 1 

Wenn der Entwicklungsgang des testamentarischen Erbrechts 
im obigen richtig gezeichnet sein sollte, so tritt das altromische 
Erbrecht aus der isolierten Stellung heraus, die es nach der 
herrschenden Ansicht gegeniiber alien anderen Rechten ahnlicher 
Entwicklungsstufe einnehmen wtirde. Eine Universalsukzession, 
die unabhangig ware von jeder sei es leiblichen sei es kiinstlichen 
Verwandtschaft, hat das altromische Recht ebensowenig gekannt 
wie das altgriechische und altdeutsche. Das altromische Legaten- 
testament stellt sich neben die Arrogation, wie das altgriechische 
neben die cunroirpris, wie die altdeutsche donatio post obitum neben 
die affatomie und die thingatio. Sicherlich bestehen zwischen 
diesen Rechtsinstituten sehr erhebliche Unterschiede ; aber das 

1 Ahnliche Folgerungen, freilich anders motiviert, zieht auch Lambert, 
nur nicht fur das Alter der Erbeinsetzung iiberhaupt, sondern fur den 
Zeitpunkt ihres Auftretens im Manzipationstestament. 

Wie kommt es, dass die lex Furia die Legate so mechanisch durch 
Festsetzung eines absoluten Maximums einschrankte ? Wenn die Romer von 
jeher daran gewohnt waren, iiber ihr ganzes Vermogen in Form von Legaten 
zu verfiigen, so begreift sich, dass infolge dieser Gewohnheit die Einfiihrung 
der Erbeinsetzung in die Praxis auf Schwierigkeiten stiess, und die Tendenz 
der lex Fuiia wird gewesen sein, die Testatoren im Interesse der Erbschafts- 
glaubiger zu notigen, die Hauptbedenkungen in die Form der Erbeinsetzung 
zu kleiden. Dass man mit dem absoluten Maximum zu weit gegangen war, 
wird man spater eingesehen haben, und so trat dann an seine Stelle das 
relative der lex Voconia. 

142 O. Lenel [v 

ist den drei Rechten gemeinsam, dass der Ausgangspunkt des 
testamentarischen Erbrechts die Einzelvergabung, nicht die Erb- 
einsetzung ist. Die Einfiihrung und Ausgestaltung dieser erscheint 
als eine Grosstat der romischen Jurisprudenz, ist aber auch 
nur als solche verstandlich, und nicht als Produkt primitiven 




I FEAR the title of my subject is somewhat misleading. Starting 
with a much wider plan, I find myself narrowed, by shortness of 
time for the making and the reading of my paper, to archaeological 
illustration by coins only, and that extending over a comparatively 
limited period. 

I do not propose to enter on the obscure early history of the 
subject, but will accept without remark what I think is still the 
general view, 1 that the beginning of any regular coinage at Rome 
cannot be admitted before that 'codification of customary law by 
the Decemviri, in which I still believe, and which is dated about 
450 B.C. I need not give specimens of its well-known devices. I 
incline to believe the head of Janus borrowed from Greek art. 2 
The ship's prow was persistently connected by the Romans them- 
selves with victories over the maritime power of Antium, by some 
referred to a time just before the Decemviri (468 B.C.), 3 by some 
to a considerably later date (338) at which C. Maenius is repre- 
sented as carrying the rostra of the Antiates to Rome. 4 We have 
an obvious reference to this family legend in a triens of P. Maenius 
AntiaticuSy a moneyer of no B.C. 5 

Of the political changes effected at this time, or later, by 
members of the Maenian gens I have no note to show you. 

1 Babelon, Monnaies de la rtpublique romaine, Introd. p. vi. 

2 Babelon, ib. x. 

3 Livy ii. 65 ; Babelon, ib. vii. 

4 Pliny xxxiv. 5. II ; Livy viii. 14. 

5 No. i on p. 145 ; Babelon ii. 164 (see, however, Introd. p. vii.). 

144 E. C. Clark [vi 

A silver coinage was, according to Pliny, introduced for the first 
time at Rome in 269 B.C., a date when the defeat of Pyrrhus and 
the conquest of Southern Italy had brought a supply of the more 
precious and portable metal into the Treasury. 1 Shortly after- 
wards the officers charged with the administration of the mint 
began to insert 2 on their coins both of bronze and silver symbols 
of high office held by some member of their family, or of canting 
heraldry on its name, or abbreviations of the name itself, with 
which I will not trouble you. But in the last two centuries B.C. 
the silver coinage came to bear artistic representations of family 
history or legend. It is in these so-called Consular coins that 
I have sought to find some record of the political movements 
or of the stages of development of which we read in Roman 
Law. I am afraid I must confess to having drawn almost a 

With but few exceptions these beautiful denarii refer to successes 
in war or treaty claimed for the moneyer's family, to its divine 
or heroic lineage, furnished probably by some Greek Burke or 
Debrett ; but very little to such ordinary human matters as the 
peaceful growth of law. 

The well-known reverse of the Dioscuri is now most frequently 
traced to a prevalent cult in maritime Magna Graecia, where a 
coasting commerce thoroughly appreciated a clear sky with the 
two great stars lucida sidera in the stormy nights of March. 
But their symbol was appropriated, in another light no doubt, by 
many an ancient family whose ancestors fought at the battle of 
the Regillus, as some of our own were at Hastings or at least 
came over with the Conqueror. There are, however, rather special 
presentations of Castor and Pollux washing or watering their 
horses ' at the well that springs by Vesta's fane ' on coins struck 
by members of the gens boasting among its ancestors the dictator 
of that day. 3 This reverse of the gens Postumia dates actually 
from 89 B.C. It is interesting to note that among the families 
which were, if we can place any reliance upon the Fasti, of com- 
paratively later 'arrival,' we find, as is perhaps not unusual in 
modern times, claims of the highest descent. A denarius, for 

1 Ridgeway, Origin of Currency and Weight-Standards^ p. 383. 

2 Babelon, Introd. p. xxxiv. 

3 No. 2 on p. 145 ; Babelon ii. 379. 

I. Coh. p. Iviii. Marcia 2. 

2. Coh. p. xxxv. Postumia 4. 

3. Coh. p. xxvi. Marcia 8. 

4. Coh. p. xxxiv. Pomponia 2. 

5. Coh. p. xxiii. Junia 12. 

6. Coh. xl. Valeria 5. 

146 E. C. Clark [vi 

instance, of the Marcian gens? of actual date about 60 B.C., 
besides indicating real achievements of alliance or conflict with the 
last kings of Macedonia, or of bringing the first great aqueduct, the 
Aqua Marcia, to Rome, will find a founder of the family in Ancus, 
the august doublet of Numa, fourth among the many questionable 
predecessors of the probably historical Tarquinii. Beyond this 
fabulous ancestry there is no indication of patrician rank in the 
Marcian gens, except the beautiful story, which one scarce has 
the heart to touch, about Caius of Corioli. Neither is there 
among the Pomponii, whose heraldic history goes back to Numa 
himself. 2 

To return, however, to quasi - historical times of the early 
Republic, I have sometimes hazarded the suggestion that a Junius 
in the first reported pair of Republican Consuls may possibly 
indicate some tradition of a brief union against a common tyranny, 
and some idea of representing both orders in the famous dual 
magistracy, which was not permanently realized till the Licinian 
Rogations. Anyhow the coin which was struck by the murderer 
of Caesar about 43 B.C. represents his supposed ancestor, Brutus 
the Ancient, simply in a dignified procession as Consul? It has 
nothing to do with the story of his sons' execution which Vergil 
skates over so dexterously in the 6th Aeneid (820-824). 

With regard to another hero of the same revolution, if there is 
in the coins of the historical Valerii any reference to the ancient 
Publicola, it is not to a limitation of the new magistracy by an 
alleged lex de provocatione, but solely to the overthrow of the old 
Royalty. 4 Of the convenient charge of conspiring for the restora- 
tion (regni affectandi) of kingly power we have a memorial in 
another Junian denarius of 43 B.C. Here we see, coupled with the 
Brutus of the early Republic, 5 that Servilius Ahala who is so 
warmly eulogized in Livy (iv. 14) for the butchery of Sp. Maelius 
439 B.C. And to the alleged informer against Maelius, on this 
occasion, I find an undoubted reference in a denarius of an old 
plebeian family. This informer was, we are told, one Lucius 

1 No. 3 on p. 145 ; Babelon ii. 187, 197. 

2 Ib. No. 4. 

8 Ib. No. 5 ; see Cohen, Texte, 174. 

* Ib. No. 6. 

5 No. 7 on p. 147. 

7. Coh. p. xxiii. Junia n. 

8. Coh. p. xxviii. Minucia 4. 

9. Coh. p. xviii. Flaminia 2. 

10. Coh. p. xli. Veturia. 

II. Coh. p. xxxiv. Porcia 3. 

148 E. C. Clark [vi 

Minucius, who gained a temporary popularity, and had a statue 
erected to him (Livy iv. 13, 16) for distributing at a low price the 
confiscated corn stores of the unfortunate Maelius. Here 1 we 
have the corn and the statue on the coin of a moneyer, Ti. 
Minucius, of whose cognomen I shall speak presently. Besides 
this Act of Attainder, if I may dignify it with that name, there is 
scarcely any numismatic notice, during the whole time occupied 
by the struggle between the two Orders, of aught but achievements 
in the field. 

Ap. Claudius, obviously the main author of the XII Tables, and 
probably the victim of an aristocratic reaction, has been so 
successfully blackened by family spite or sensational romancing 
that we are not surprised to find little record but lies of his 
legislation. When we pass on, however, to the influential and 
wealthy gens Licinia, in which the family of Stolones were still of 
high rank and importance under Augustus, we look naturally for 
some reference to the famous Rogations of 367 B.C. or their result. 
But we look in vain. 

Of the Q. Publilius Philo who comes in so abruptly in Livy's 
8th Book, 339 B.C., with his convenient dictatorship and his Junius 
Brutus for a magister equitum> and his laws anticipating the Hor- 
tensian settlement of fifty years later of all this the only numismatic 
record that I can find is on a Greek coin of Naples (of which I do 
not give a drawing, as it is not Roman), apparently referring to the 
dubious success gained by Publilius about this time, with the help 
of a traitor, over Palaepolis, henceforth Neapolis (Naples). 2 

To take up once again the strange story of the Claudian 
reformers, on whom Mommsen has shed the first true light. Claudii 
occur, as we know, still bearing the ancient name of Appius, quite to 
the close of the Republic. But there is no record on their denarii 
of the famous Censorship of Ap. Claudius Caecus in 312 no 
Censorinus to follow, though that achievement is common in at 
least two other gentes. One trace only can I find of the many 
consequences of Appius's reform, and that indirectly as a result of 
the lex Ogulnia^ which law, by the way, is entirely ignored in the 
denarii of the gens Ogulnia itself. 

The lex Ogulnia of 300 B.C., as we learn from Livy, 3 threw 

1 No. 8 on p. 147. 2 Livy viii. 26 ; see Babelon i. 15. 

3 Livy x. 6. 9. 

12. Coh. p. xxxviii. Silia. 

13. Coh. p. x. Calpurnia 24. 

14. Coh. p. xviii. Fufia. 

All the drawings, except the last, are from H. Cohen's Medailles Consulaires, 1857 (Planches). 

150 E. C. Clark [vi 

open the Pontificate and Augurate to the Plebeians, one of those 
elected to the latter office being a Minucius. It is clearly to the 
first attainment of this honour by one of the family that the 
cognomen Augurinus refers on the coin last cited. 1 The 
whole matter may seem unimportant, but students of Roman 
Private Law know how much of its development results from this 
primarily religious career becoming ouverte aux talents. 

Of the dictatorship of Quintus Hortensius or his law, which fills 
so important a place in our legal records, I can find no illustration, 
nor to my knowledge does a gens Hortensia appear at all on any 
known Republican coin. 

The introduction of a silver coinage in 269, of which I spoke 
just now, is by many good authorities connected with a reduction 
of the original heavy bronze (as libralis} to what was practically a 
token. 2 It is perhaps more probable that this was a depreciation 
of the coinage due to the troubles of the First Punic War, which was 
followed by a more serious one during those of the Second. 3 This 
last reduction is generally attributed to a lex Flaminia connected 
with the name of the unfortunate general who fell in the disastrous 
battle of Thrasimenus in 217, of which Livy and Polybius make him 
the scapegoat. 4 The history of this C. Flaminius is important, but 
obscure to a degree. He is undoubtedly the champion of the later 
plebs as against the senatorial party, and in the demoralization of 
the assemblies, attributed to him, we clearly recognize a principal 
turning-point in the history of Rome. Of all this we have no 
numismatic record. I hardly dare to suggest that in the much 
contested legend of a Flaminian denarius we may possibly recognize 
an exceptional attainment of the rigidly guarded office of Flamen 
by some ancestor of low birth, and even the formation of a quasi- 
gentile name. I refer to the Pri. Fla. of a Flaminian moneyer, 
struck 44 B.C., which has been interpreted Primus Flamen? though 
Mommsen, more in accordance, no doubt, with the rest of the legend, 
reads Primus Flavit. 

I wish briefly to mention here a reference not indeed directly to 
law, but to an early treaty between Rome and some Campanian or 
other Greek nationality, on a coin of the Veturii, the idea of which 

1 No. 8 on p. 147. 2 Babelon, Introd. p. xiii. 

3 Pliny xxiii. 44, 46. 4 Livy xxii. 4-6 ; Polybius iii. 82, 83. 

5 No. 9 on p. 147 ; Babelon i. 494, 496. 

iv] Numismatic Illustrations 1 5 1 

is supposed to have been furnished by the reduction of Capua in 
2ITB.C. 1 A Roman and a Greek lay their hands jointly on a pig 
held ready for sacrifice by a sacerdos fecialis. This is interesting as 
illustrating Livy's picturesque account (in i. 24) of the ancient 
ceremony foedus ferire. 

The obscurity surrounding the institution of a second Praetor, 
and the reform in Private Law which we vaguely describe as the 
lex Aebutia, derive no light from numismatics. 

The first undoubted direct reference to a historical enactment 
on a coin is to be found in the provoco of Publius Laeca, a moneyer 
of about no B.C. 2 It symbolizes that final narrowing of the 
imperium which was effected in the leges Porciae. This appeal 
against sentence of flogging was carried or first brought forward in 
199 B.C. 

A denarius of about the same minting date (no B.C.) by P. 
Licinius Nerva, gives an interesting representation of the ballot- 
voting introduced by his ancestor C. Licinius Crassus in 145 B.C. 3 
The voter, you see, steps up to the rogator, receives his ballot, and 
passes singly over the pans to deposit it in the urn. 

What was practically a beginning of the largesses of the later 
Republic and the Empire may be recognized in a coinage 
expressly issued to meet a scarcity of corn under the lexfrumen- 
taria of Saturninus, 100 B.C. 4 Note the quaestors ad fru\inentuin\ 
emu\ndum~\ (Piso, Caepio, Q.) and the head of Saturn with hisfa/x, 
for the Treasury, and probably a reference to the name Saturninus. 

The end of the formidable Social War, and the incorporation 
of the Italian allies with the Roman people, is indicated in a denarius 
of the genus Fufia? This striking coin of the moneyer Q. Fufius 
Calenus is dated by Babelon 82 B.C., when the pacification of Italy 
was completed. 

In the stormy close of the Republic there are not wanting 
occasional coins of legal or political significance, nor in the Julian 
and Augustan or in the first centuries of the Empire generally. 
These I am obliged to omit for lack of time. In one coin only I 

1 No. 10 on p. 147 ; Babelon ii. 534. 

2 Ib. No. 1 1 ; Babelon ii. 370. 

3 No. 12 on p. 149 ; Babelon ii. 129 ; see Varro, De re rustica, ii. 2. 

4 Ib. No. 13 ; Babelon i. 288. 

5 Ib. No. 14 ; Babelon i. 512. 

152 E. C. Clark [vi 

should like to bring to your notice what has been regarded as the 
numismatic record of a wider gift of Roman citizenship than that last 
mentioned, in fact throughout the Roman world, in orbe Romano, as 
Ulpian says. 1 This gift is attributed by Justinian 2 to the Emperor 
Antoninus Pius, erroneously, as is usually held by modern writers 
on the strength of a passage in Dio Cassius, 3 which gives the 
credit, though not on any very high ground, to Caracalla, who 
amongst several other later Emperors debased that honoured name. 
There is, however, in the Cabinet de France a bronze medallion of 
Pius 4 bearing the striking legend Ampliatori civium within a wreath 
of oak-leaves. That this really refers to a vast extension of citizen- 
ship by that great and humane Emperor has been strongly 
maintained by authorities who were quite aware of the passage in 
Dio. 5 The difficulties arising in subsequent law are about the same 
in both cases. This medallion is placed by Cohen between A.D. 
140 and 143. The disputed question as to its meaning I leave 
to you. 6 


1 Dig. 1. 5. 17. 

2 Nov. 78. 5. 

3 Dio Cassius, Ixxvii. 9. 

4 Cohen, Monnaies de VEmpire, ii. 347, no. 789 ; see last drawing on 
p. 149. 

5 E.g. Hommel. 

6 The discovery of the papyrus published as P. Giess. 40 seems, as has 
been pointed out to me by Professor Lenel, to confirm the conclusion that 
thejan^ersaypaji^-oiURDjman citizenship is to be_attribute.d_to Caracalla. I 
still think that the medallion of Pius may refer to some less advanced or less 
effective measure in the same direction, of which we otherwise know nothing. 



UNTER Rechtssubjekt verstehen wir ein Wesen, das Rechte (und 
allenfalls auch. Pflichten) haben kann. Wir nennen ein solches 
Wesen auch Person im Rechtssinne. Die Gottheit in unserem 
modernen Sinne ist sicherlich auch Person. Wir legen ihr Vernunft, 
Willen, Handlungsfahigkeit bei. Wir glauben an einen personlichen 
Gott. Aber unser Gott ist Person nur im moralischen, im ethischen 
Sinne. Nicht im Rechtssinn. Unser Gott ist nicht Eigentumer 
im Rechtssinn. 

Anders schon das Mittelalter. Das Mittelalter spricht Gott und 
den Heiligen Rechtspersonlichkdt zu. Sie haben Eigentum an 
Grundstiicken und Fahrnis. Sie haben Vasallen, Dienstmannen 
und Horige. Die Heiligen gehen Vertrage ein und werden daraus 
berechtigt und verpflichtet. Sie haben offentliche Rechte. Die 
Rolle des heiligen Petrus in der Entwicklung der staats- und 
kirchenrechtlichen Verhaltnisse ist bekannt. Gott als Grundherr 
und Eigentumer der Welt hat Anspruch auf Zehent. Raub von 
Kirchengut ist Beraubung Gottes und seiner Heiligen. Das hat 
bereits vor rund 50 Jahren Otto Gierke festgestellt und voll ein- 
dringend erortert. 

Ich meine, man kann eine solche iiberaus lebendige, sinnliche 
Auffassung auch schon im vorchristlichen Germanentum nach- 
weisen. Die anthropomorphistisch theokratische Anschauung 
des Mittelalters findet sich bereits im germanischen Altertum 
vorgebildet. Nicht nur im Keim, sondern womoglich noch viel 

Es scheint mir reizvoll, diesem Problem nachzugehen, umsomehr, 
als sich <3abei tiefere Einblicke in die Rechtsinstitutionen des 

154 H. Schreuer [vn 

menschlichen Verkehrs ergeben. In einer in Kiirze erscheinenden 
Publikation 1 biete ich eingehende Erorterungen. Hier mochte ich 
eine gedrangte Ubersicht der Hauptresultate vorfuhren, die sich 
mir ergeben haben. 


Es ist notwendig, zuerst das Wesen der germanischen Cotter 
einigermassen herauszuarbeiten. Die germanischen Cotter, soweit 
wir ihrer habhaft werden konnen, sind von Haus aus reale Machte, 
die sich handgreiflich bemerkbar machen. Caesar B. G. vi. 21 nennt 
Sol, Vulcanus, Luna ; reliquos ne fama quidem acceperunt. Das 
waren also zunachst Naturkrafte, die uns als gegebene, aussermen- 
schliche und iibermenschliche Machte von ungeheurer Wirksamkeit 
entgegentreten, die man zu spiiren bekommt. Das ware das Reale. 
Die Naturvolker lieben es aber, Krafte, denen sie begegnen, 
als Ausserungen menschenahnlicher Subjekte sich vorzustellen. 
Hinter den Naturerscheinungen von Sonne, Mond und Blitz 
(Feuer) sieht der Germane. Wesen, die der menschlichen Seele ver- 
wandt sind. Die wirklichen oder auch eingebildeten Funkzionen 
von Sonne, Blitz und Mond sind ihm Tatigkeiten psychischer 
Wesen. Der Schade, den sie verursachen, erscheint ihm als 
Feindseligkeit, der Nutzen als Wohlwollen (Animatismus, Animis- 
mus). Die Ohnmacht des Menschen gegeniiber den Naturgewalten 
wird so zur Unterordnung unter die Herrschaft ubermachtiger 
Cotter. Es ist kein Wunder, dass man diesen uberlegenen Geistern 
auch hoheres Wissen beilegt. 

So schon nach den Angaben Caesars. Dies beweist unter 
Anderem der Gebrauch von Orakel und Opfer. Vulcanus ist der 
germanische Thonaraz, Sol ist Tiwaz. Es kann auch gar kein 
Zweifel sein, dass diese Cotter mannlich gedacht sind. Ihnen 
gegenuber steht eine weibliche Gottheit, Luna, wie ich meine die 
weibliche Gottheit KO.T efox^. Das ist schon eine sehr weitgehende 

Noch weiter geht die Vermenschlichung der Cotter nach den 
Angaben des Tacitus. Die Cotter stehen da zu einander in men- 
schlichen Familienverhaltnissen, ja die germanischen Volker leiten 
ihre Herkunft von den Gottern ab, vor allem von dem uralten 

1 ZSS, 1913. 

vn] Goiter und Tote 1 55 

Haupt- und Obergott Tin. Ich glaube nicht zu viel zu sagen, 
wenn ich den Germanen auch eine gottliche Stammesmutter, 
etwa kurz gesagt, die Mutter Erde, zuschreibe. Nicht mit alien 
physiologischen Einzelheiten, aber doch unter Festhaltung der 
Familienrechtsbegriffe : Vater und Mutter. 

Diese Auffassung hat sich mir als gemeingermanisch, urger- 
manisch ergeben. Die Germanen sind von Haus aus Tiu-Sohne 
gewesen, wie es noch zur Zeit des Tacitus ganz besonders die 
Herminonen (Sueben), speziell die Semnonen sind. Ja ich bin 
sehr geneigt, diese Vorstellungen als arisches Urerbe anzusehen. 

Diese Versippung der Gotterwelt mit dem Menschengeschlechte 
ist fur das religiose aber auch fur das Rechtsleben von tiefstgrei- 
fender Bedeutung. 

Gotter und Menschen sind durch den Friedens- und Rechts- 
verband der Sippe organisch zusammengeschlossen. In religioser 
Beziehung tritt zur Macht die Liebe, die Innigkeit. In juristischer 
Beziehung erscheint die sakrale Gotterherrschaft ahnenkultlich 
konstruiert. Die religiose Vorstellung der Gotterherrschaft wird 
durch das ahnenkultliche Element der rnenschlichen Rechtsordnung 


Die Verschmelzung der Gotter mit den Ahnen fiihrt auf die 
Rechtsstellung des Toten. Die Lehre von der Fortdauer der 
Rechtspersonlichkeit nach dem Tode ist in letzter Zeit namentlich 
durch Heinrich Brunner belebt und vertieft worden. Einiges 
kann ich aus eigenen Untersuchungen, die nun neun Jahre zuriick- 
liegen, hinzufiigen. 

Nach altgermanischer Anschauung erlischt die Personlichkeit 
des Menschen mit dem Tode nicht. Im Gegenteil bewirkt der Tod 
eher eine Steigerung der Personlichkeit an Wissen und Konnen. 
Fiir das Rechtsgebiet kann man geradezu den Grundsatz aufstellen, 
dass prinzipiell die Rechtsfahigkeit und die Handlungsfahigkeit, 
dass die Rechtsverhaltnisse, soweit nicht besondere Griinde 
eintreten, auch nach dem Tode fortbestehen. Als Sitte und Pietat 
ragen ja diese Vorstellungen noch in unsere Tage hinein. Nach 
altgermanischem Rechte dauert das Personenrecht des Toten fort. 
Schon am Korper kann eine Ehrung, Beschimpfung, Bestrafung 
des Toten vollzogen werden. Die eheliche Treue und die Gefolg- 

156 H. Schreuer [vn 

schaft wahren liber das Grab hinaus. Ebenso das Vermogensrecht. 
Der Tote hat Eigentum an seinem Grabe (als an seiner Behausung) 
und an Allem, was er mitbekommt. 

Mit eherner Logik und in scharfster Auspragung haben die 
Romer das Recht des Toten festgehalten. ^^paterfamilias 
bleibt Rechtssubjekt seines Vermogens. So erklart sich m. E. die 
eigentiimliche Anschauung, dass der Erbe, der heres^ die Person- 
lichkeit des Toten in sich aufnimmt, dass er sie fortsetzt. Daher 
auch die ungeheuer friihzeitige Testirfreiheit der Romer. Weil 
eben dem Toten wie bei Lebzeiten das Gut gehort, und zwar das 
ganze Gut, darum kann der Lebende ohne weiteres liber den Tod 
hinaus dariiber verfiigen. Noch tiefer fassend und in fernste Zeiten 
zuriickgreifend wird man wohl sagen diirfen, dass auch die patria 
potestas den Sohnen, den sui heredes, durch Absorpzion der Seele 
des Vaters iiberkommen sei. Die romischen Begrabnis- und 
Totengebrauche zeigen die zu Grunde liegende Anschauung in 
grosser Lebhaftigkeit. Der Tote lebt in dem Erben fort. 

Auch bei den Germanen stirbt der Tote nicht. Der Tote, 
der Ahn, bleibt insbesondere Eigentiimer seines Hauses, er bleibt 
Hausherr. Noch im Mittelalter ist im deutschen Handgemal, im 
englischen frumstol, eftel, im nordischen dal kurz im Erbgut der 
Gedanke von Eigentum und Herrschaft des Toten lebendig. Noch 
in spater, geschichtlicher Zeit okkupiert ein toter Norweger 
(Kvelldulfr] Land auf Island. Und ausdriicklich erklaren die 
Hochsitzpfeiler des nordischen Bauernhauses, die ondvegissulur, 
dass an dem Hochsitz die Seele des Ahnen hause. Auch fiir das 
deutsche Institut des sog. Dreissigsten " und dessen Parallele, das 
nordische Erbbier, muss ich entgegen Homeyer als den einen 
Grundgedanken das Recht des Toten in Anspruch nehmen. 

Selbst die familienrechtliche Gewalt des Hausvaters bleibt 
bestehen. Nicht nur folgt ihm freiwillig die Treue liber das Grab. 
Der Tote erscheint auch selbst und stellt Forderungen. Bei wich- 
tigen Anlassen wird er beschworen und um Weisungen ersucht. 

'Andererseits zeigen die germanischen Anschauungen gegenliber 
dem romischen Recht eine Abschwachung der Rechte des Toten. 
Der Tote ist da nicht Eigentiimer seines ganzen Nachlasses, wie in 
Rom. Er erhalt bios bestimmte Vermogensstiicke oder eine 
Quote, kurz den Totenteil. Das entspricht aber dem Verhaltnis 
schon bei Lebzeiten. Schon bei Lebzeiten steht das Vermogen in 

vn] Cotter und Tote 157 

gemeinschaftlichem Eigentum der Familienglieder, allerdings unter 
voller Gewere des Vaters. Ich will ganz davon absehen, in wiefern 
die Bestattung ausserhalb des Hauses, der Gedanke von Walhall 
und christlichem Jenseits nach germanischer Anschauung losend 
wirken musste. In dem deutschen Dreissigsten " sehe ich als 
zweiten Grundgedanken die Abfindung, Abschichtung des aus- 
wandernden Toten. Aber schon fur die Urzeit tritt der Gesichts- 
punkt in Kraft, dass die laufende Ausiibung der Rechte dem 
Toten genomnen war. Die Gewere hat der Erbe. (Dieser Vor- 
stellung mag auch der spatere Satz entsprechen : Le mort saisit 
le vif.) So ergibt sich ein Nebeneinander, Miteinander in der 
Herrschaft, in dem Haus- und Familienregiment des Ahnen und 
des Erben. Der Erbe hat eine unmittelbare Gewere, die in histo- 
rischer Entwicklung leicht zu Nutzungseigentum und schliesslich 
Ablosung, Abstossung des Obereigentums fiihrt. 


Zieht man nun das ahnenkultliche Element der altgermanischen 
Religion heran, so werden nicht nur diese erbrechtlichen Grundsatze 
bekraftigt. Durch das Totenrecht tritt auch das Sakralrecht mit 
juristischer Plastik hervor sowohl das sakrale Vermogensrecht, 
wie das sakrale Personenrecht. Zweifellos ist die Gottheit Eigen- 
tiimerin ihres Haines, ihres Tempels, ihrer Schatze, der Tiere in 
ihrem Gehege.. Auch die bekannten nordischen Privattempel sind 
Eigentum der Gottheit. Der Gode ist von Haus aus nur Priester, wie 
die Gydja Priesterin. Als solcher ist er allerdings Organ der Gott- 
heit ; er fiihrt deren Handlungen aus ; er libt Amtsgewere, diedann 
freilich weitgehender Sakularisierung, Allodialisierung fahig ist. 
Ja selbst der einfache Hausvater ist in seiner Stellung als Haus- 
und Grundherr transzendental, gotter- und ahnenkultlich verankert. 
Der Hausfriede ist nicht sein Friede sondern sakral. Die zwangs- 
weisen Grundanweisungen durch die Fiirsten Caesars konnen nur 
durch das sakrale Eigentum resp. Obereigentum der in der 
Volksversammlung anwesenden Gottheit erklart werden. Und noch 
in spatgeschichtlicher Zeit weisen Heiligkeit der Grenzzeichen, 
feierliche Umgange, das nordischefara eldium landit, der Hammer- 
wurf u. A. auf die sakrale Wurzel des Grundeigentums. Auch im 

158 H. Schreuer [vn 

Personenrecht regiert die Gottheit, die vom Konige, Landespriester 
oder Hausvater um ihre Weisung befragt wird. 

Die Heiligkeit der Eltern aber auch die Banngewalt der 
Obrigkeit, die iubendi potestas hat eine gotter- und ahnenkultliche 
Wurzel. Das cogere der principes Caesars, dessen magistratus, 
qui vitae necisque habent potestatem, all das ist bei dem charakter- 
istischen Unabhangigkeitssinn der Germanen nur auf sakraler 
Grundlage moglich. 


Es eriibrigen noch einige Worte zu der Frage, wie sich diese 
transzendenten Rechtssubjekte im Rechtsverkehr dieser Welt 
geltend machen. Sie bringen sich selbstandig oder befragt, be- 
schworen durch sinnlich wahrnehmbare Ausserungen zur Geltung. 
Es sind reale Geschehnisse, die als Ausserungen der gottlichen 
Ahnen, Freunde oder Feinde, gedeutet werden. Die Personen, an 
welche und durch welche sich die Gottheit an die anderen wendet, 
erscheinen da in priesterlicher Funkzion. Von besonderer Wich- 
tigkeit sind dabei gewisse Attribute der Gottheit. Uber die 
Vorstellungen, welche hier durchgreifen, gibt vor Allen Tacitus 
Auskunft : Deum adesse bellantibus credunt. Effigiesque et signa 
quaedam detracta lucis in proelium ferunt. Diese Wahrzeichen 
des Gottes sind Wahrzeichen seiner Anwesenheit. Der Gott ist 
da, sichtbar durch sein Wahrzeichen. Derjenige, der das Wahr- 
zeichen handhabt, ist ein Werkzeug in der Hand des Gottes. Er 
bringt den gottlichen Willen zur sichtbaren, vernehmbaren Aus- 
serung. Daher umgekehrt : wer das Wahrzeichen des Gottes hat, 
ist dessen Priester, Bote, Stellvertreter. Daher soil der islandische 
Gode, wenn er in Funkzion tritt, den Opferring an der Hand 
tragen. Dann ist es der Gott, der aus ihm spricht. So wird mit 
dem Feuer das Land geheiligt, ebenso mit dem Hammer Thors 
das Land ausgemessen. Das ist die tiefere Bedeutung des germa- 
nischen Konigsspeers, der Konigsfahne, des Schwertes und wohl auch 
des Gerichtsstabes. Noch die spateren Kronungsformeln lassen 
den Stab als Zauberstab erkennen. Auch hier tritt der Gedanke 
der Amtsgewere und Allodialisierung ein : Der Bote wird zum 
Stellvertreter, dieser zum Eigenberechtigten von Gottes Gnaden. 





Oal. If we consider the terms used in contrast to the word cftal, 
we shall best understand its original meaning. 

The first term of this kind is aurar (moveables). This distinc- 
tion is observed throughout in the oldest of our legal sources, the 
Gulat kings law. A deceased person's property is either oftal or 
aurar \ tertium non datur. 1 In ihe Pros tat kings law, dated 100 
years earlier, we find the same distinction indicated by the words 
jgr^> and aurar? 

Another term used in contradistinction to cfcal isfyng (acquired 
land) 3 or kaupijqrft (purchased land). 4 The last distinction also re- 
appears in the Frostathingslaw, where we find kauplendingr (the 
owner of kaupland or kaupijqr^} distinguished from &alsma ! r 
(the odaller). 5 In the Landslaw of Magnus Lagab0tir (the Law- 
mender), 1 274, fqng and kaupijqtQ are comprised in the term utjqr'S 
(outland). 6 

S key ting. The s key ting (L&\.. scotatid] is the very ancient Scan- 
dinavian form for ' transfer of property in land.' This at least is the 
communis opinio doctorum? But in my opinion the correct defini- 
tion of the legal act of skeyting is this : the skeyting is originally 
the legal form for ' transfer of $fo/-right in $fo/-land.' ' To buy land 

1 G. 103, 104; cpr. 270, 275. 2 F. v. 13; cpr. G. 53. 

3 G. 285. 4 G. 223. 5 F. xiii. 25. 6 L. v. 7. 

7 See Ebbe Hertzberg, Glossary to the Old Laws of Norway, s.v. ' Skeyting.' 


160 A. Tar anger [vm 

for skeyting' (at kaupa jqr til skeytingar) 1 is the same as 'to buy 
land for ffiat' (at kaupa jqr^ ser til cftals}? The old provincial laws 
for Gulathing 3 and Frostathing 4 only use the terms skeyta and 
skeyting in connexion with transfer of <ftta/-land, and the same is 
the case in Lands law? 


In 1907 Professor Vinogradoff published in the Harvard Law 
Review a paper on ' Transfer of Land in Old English Law.' It is 
this paper which has prompted me to make the following remarks 
about the original meaning of the words &al and skeyting in the 
old laws of Norway. 

As to the general meaning of the word d$al\ it signifies the 
family -ownership of land, and also land as the object of such 
ownership. Mr. Hertzberg in his Glossary of our old laws, how- 
ever, has put this conception of the word as a secondary one, and 
has made it evident, or at least tried to make it evident, that the 
original legal meaning of cfoal was simply ownership in land and 
land as an object of such ownership. The word concerns only 
property in land or soil. 

My own investigations have led me to the same conclusion. 
But what does ' property in land ' indicate ? What kind of ' land ' 
is owned ? 

Everywhere in the Teutonic world we observe that the oldest 
valuation of land only comprises the arable land. And I believe it 
to be just as certain that only the arable land originally was the 
object of ownership. The real basis of land-ownership is the tilling 
of the soil. 6 

Having studied our old laws, particularly the oldest one, the 
Gulathing -slaw \ I found that the real $ta/-land was the arable land, 

1 G. 278, 279. 2 F. xii. 4. 3 G. 278, 279, 292. 

4 F. xii. i, 2, 4 ; ix. 4 (jqtfS). I do not think that F. xii. i is against my 
opinion, that the common intention of the skeyting originally is transfer of 
<?oW-right in <?3tf/-land ; but, as I will show later on (p. 1 70), the skeyting in F. 
has more the character of transferring the gewere than that of transfer of a 
' right.' This was formerly my view of the skeyting ; see my paper ' Den 
norske besiddelsesret ' in Tidsskrift for Retsvidenskab, x. 105 sqq. 

5 L. vi. 8, 10. 

6 Adolf Astrom, Svensk jordaganderatt (Stockholm, 1897), has treated this 
subject at large and in a very convincing way. 

vni] Odal and Skeyting 161 

the tilled ground, the ' fenced-in ' fields, meadows and pastures, in 
fact the homestead. This is the original 6$al, both in the vulgar and 
the legal meaning of the word. 1 We have two convincing evidences 
of this fact. The one is the act of &alsskipti> the other is the act 
of skeyting. 

The act of 6alsskipti (division of the o^af) is, according to the 
Gulathingslaw, 87, only a division of houses or tilled ground (hus 
&8a JQrti), or of b<t>ar (townships). The division of mountain- 
pastures (s&tr) or forest (mqrk) is regulated in quite a different 
way in G. 86. 

The act of skeyting is once described in the Gulathingslaw before 
its revision by King Olaf the Saint (ob. A.D. 1030) or King Magnus 
Erlingsson (A.D. 1 163). Of this description we still have a notice in 
G. 292, which gives us a clear idea of its peculiarities. 

The most essential act of the skeyting was the ' mould-taking ' 
(moldtaka\ generally performed by the seller ; but if the seller 
refused to perform this duty, the purchaser himself might do so. 
In the latter case G. 292 provides : ' He shall take the mould 
according to the order of the law : Take some mould from the four 
corners of the hearth, from the seat of honour (the gndvegissceti, 
the 'high seat'), from where the field and meadow meet, from where 
the fenced-in pastureland and grove meet.' 2 From other sources 
we know that the mould thus taken was cast into the lap (skauf) 
of the purchaser, and hence the whole ceremony was named 
skeyting) which verbally would correspond to an English word 
' lapping ' (from c lap '). 

This old ceremony of skeyting takes us back to the very 
primitive days of Norwegian peasant life. We find ourselves in 
the ancient peasant house with its hearth in the middle of the 

1 According to Falk u. Torp, Etym. WB.^ dal means " eigentum, heimat, 
vaterland, grundbesitz, vorkaufrecht ' = ags. 6]?el, e]?el 'heimatland,' afries. 
othol, ethel, as. othil * erbgut,' oht. uodal in ders. bedeut. ; vgl. got. haimopli 
' heimatliches gut.' Eine urspriinglichere bedeutung liegt vor in poet, 
anord. otSal 'gemiit, natur, wesen ' = aoal, eoli. Daraus entwickelte sich die 
bedeutung geschlecht, herkunft ' (so bei anord. eoli und bei adel) und daraus 
wieder 'heimat' usw. Die alteste bedeutung der wortgruppe ware 'einge- 
weide,' falls as. inothri, ahd. inuodili und inadiri ' eingeweide,' Gr. ^TO/>, 
'hertz' verwandt sind." 

2 * Hann mold at taca sem i logum er maelt : Taca at arenshornom 
fiorum oc i ondveges saete. oc ]?ar sem acr oc eng m0tezt. oc ]?ar sem 
holt oc hage m0tezt.' 


1 62 A. Tar anger [vm 

earthen floor, and the seat of honour, belonging to the master, 
placed in direct contact with the same earthen floor. The hearth 
and the high seat were the chief things within the old <?&z/-house 
of Norway. The ancient Norwegian peasant, looking at his oftal- 
homestead, would, I believe, consider himself as much a lord as 
the English landowner when he declares, ' My house is my 
castle.' 1 Nobody could enter against the will of the ^^/-house- 
holder. If anybody wished to summon him before the Thing, or 
tribunal, he had first to summon him ' home ' ; because the 
summoning to the courts of law was not lawful when the defendant 
was not sitting * in his qndvegi? 2 When the heir took the seisin 
of the ancestral property the act was symbolized by the heirs 
taking their place in the high seat. 3 Thus the qndvegi may be 
named the 'throne' in the ^/-householder's realm, which comprised 
the house and the fenced-in land, the fields, meadows, grove, and 
home-pasture. When transferring this * realm ' to another house- 
holder, he had to make it over to his successor in this dramatic 
way of ' mould-taking ' and ' mwld-skeyting* 

I presume we are not very far from the truth in asserting 
that the above-mentioned formula of skeyting dates from a time 
when every Norwegian free peasant was an $ta/-man, that is, the 
owner and the farmer of his own <?S<z/-homestead. Leaseholders 
(leigulendingar} of <?oW-land had not yet made their appearance in 
the agrarian history of Norway, in which they were afterwards to 
play so prominent a part. The ^/-householder farmed his land 
himself with the assistance of his family and his serfs. 

How far back in our history have we to go in order to find 
such conditions ? The answer to that question was given as long 
ago as 1889 by Konrad Maurer in his paper on Die norwegischen 
holdar. He has proved that the word hauldr (holdr ags. hold] 
originally was synonymous with the word bondi (husband, free 
peasant), and we still find these words used as synonyms in the 
laws of Eastern Norway in the twelfth century. But in the laws 
of Western Norway (the Gulathingslgg and the Frostathingslqg) 

1 Note the answer of a defendant in the procedure of redeeming <?&W-land : 
* thou shall never get this land from me, without taking it from my corpse ' 
fyufcer Ipd iord eigi of mtr. nema ]>u af mer datiftum drager, G. 268, cpr. 265). 

2 See G. 35, 266 ; F. x. 2. 

3 G. 115: ' Nu er maftr dauSr, arve skal i ondvegi setjazt.' 

vm] 6dal and Skeyting 163 

hauldr is synonymous with fiftalborinn maftr or 
while bondi here means an inferior class of free peasants, 
who are not $fo/-born or <?&z/-men. This division of the peasant 
community may have taken place before the beginning of the 
ninth century, when we meet the Norwegian hold in the 
Anglo-Saxon Chronicles and in the Northleoda laga as a man 
standing in the middle rank between the ealdorman and the 
\egn^ just as the Norwegian hauldr ranks between the lendrma&r 
and the bondi. 

This division of the peasants living round the Western fjords 
is no doubt one of the many evolutionary factors which the raids 
of the Vikings introduced into Norway. During this period the 
sons of the ancient ^/-families developed more and more into 
a class of warriors and merchants, to whom farming seemed 
degrading and inadequate for the economic needs of their new 
households, which were greater and more costly than under the 
old standard of living on a single $fo/-estate. They developed 
from <?tfo/-peasants into landlords. The story of Harek in Tjotta 
(first half of the eleventh century) is very significant in this respect. 2 
His father, Eyvind Skaldaspiller, had not been storaudigr (very rich), 
and in his time there lived in Tjotta many small peasants. His 
son Harek at first bought only one farm, and that not very large ; 
but in a few years he bought out all the small bfindr, who had 
lived there before, so that he himself alone owned the whole island 
and built a big ' manse ' upon it. 

Under such circumstances the small <?&z/-peasants were trans- 
formed into leaseholders of <?&z/-land belonging to others, or they 
founded, new <ftfo/-estates by clearing away the forests and tilling 
uncultivated soil. About a thousand years after the advent of 
Christianity this development got a new impulse in that Christianity 
did away with serfdom. Olaf and his Anglo-Saxon court bishop, 
Grimkell, had very effectively advocated the abolition of serfdom. 
They ordered in their new Christian law that every year at every 

,r einn 

1 Maurer, Die holdar, pp. 198-99. 

2 ' I ftottu bjoggu >a smair b0ndr ok eigi allfair. Hdrekr keypti J?a. . 
b0 fyrst ok eigi allmikinn ok for J?ar buSum til ; en a fam misserum hafSi 
hann rutt i brot gllum b6ndum, >eim er ]?ar bjoggu aSr, sva at harm atti pa 
einn alia eyna ok gerfti ]?ar ]?a h9fudb0 mikinn ' (Heimskringla, ed. Firinur 
Jonsson, ii. 215). 

164 A. Tar anger [vm 

Lawthing and Fylkisthing in the land a serf should be set free; 1 the 
inhabitants of the thinglqg should every year give the sum of 
money which was needed to pay the freedgeld to the owner of the 
serf, and the solemn act of free-giving was performed on the first 
Sunday in the session. K. Maurer has expressed the opinion 
that the object of this act of free-giving was to establish a contrast 
to the heathen sacrifices of serfs at the commencement of the earlier 
things. It was truly an effective way of preaching the Gospel, 
and one which commended itself to the understanding of the 
people. Its consequences were that 1 50 years after the death of 
King Olaf (1030) there existed no more serfs in Norway, this being 
100 years earlier than their disappearance in Denmark and about 
200 years before their disappearance in Sweden. 



From the unfree population there now grew up a stock of free 
labourers, who naturally found their way into the class of small 
leaseholders and new settlers. 2 The cultivation of the land was 
extended. During the first Christian centuries the woods and 
valleys of Norway are cleared, and the inhabited land gets the 
shape and extension it has kept up to recent times. The place- 
names composed with ru^ about 3000 in number spread 
over all the inland districts, show us the value of the cultivation 
carried on by these petty strugglers for life. 

There was created a great deal of fresh ffial, in the ancient 
meaning of the word, i.e. cultivated land. But who were the * 8&al- 
men' to this oftat? Were they the tillers and settlers themselves, 
or were they the old <?S<2/-families whose domains were extended 
in this way, or were they the King and Crown, whose * commons ' 
(almenningar) were transformed into bygftir (inhabited districts) ? 

Of course both these things happened, and the principal 
result of the riftningr (reclaiming of land) is an immense 
increase of the leaseholders. An undated statute of King Magnus 
Lagab0tir (1263-80) assumes that every inhabitant of a ruftstaftr 

1 G. 4 : ' Pat er nu ]?vi nest, at ver skolom geva manne fraelsi dr hvert her 
i Gula.' 5 : * pat er nu J?vi nest at ver scolom manne fraelsi geva i fylki hveriu 
i Gula]?ings logum.' 

2 In the sense of persons reclaiming land for cultivation (ryningsm<znd). 

vm] Octal and Skeyting 165 

is a leaseholder ; but it assumes, too, that many of these settlers 
do not know who is their landlord. It is therefore their duty to 
go to the heraftsthing and * call for a landlord (bondt] ' ; and if 
they do not find one, the King is the owner of the ruftstaftr. 1 

But, after all, we must presume that in these early Christian 
centuries there also grew up a new class of independent owners 
in other words, new $te/-men and <?o#/-families. In Eastern 
Norway such parvenus, when free-born, seem to have been regarded 
as b0ndr and hauldar in the eye of the law. Perhaps this view was 
not taken as early as the first generation ; but when their home- 
stead had passed from father to son, it became dSal in Norway as it 
became arvejord (terra hereditarid) in Sweden. 2 

In Western Norway also this rule originally prevailed. In G. 
270 are mentioned * the land tycer jarftir) which shall follow the 
cfoals : it is that which the forefather has left to his successor (su er 
ein er ave hever ava leiff]' The use of the word ave for both of 
them indicates that the land for many generations has been in the 
same family. 3 But when we remember that fiSal simply means 
tilled ground, we are bound to assume that originally it was 
enough to make it oftal, in the sense of terra hereditaria, that it 
had at some time or other passed to an heir. 

Now we meet in the Gulathingslaw, 266, another provision 
for the 8alsbrig (the redemption of <?tta/-land). The person 
redeeming the land must ' tell off (count) his 5 ancestors, who 
have owned (the land), and the 6th, who held both in ownership 
and in dSal.' 4 And the Frostathingslaw, xii. 4, provides : * The 
land of no man shall become fiSal before 3 ancestors have 
owned it and it has come into the possession of the 4th without 
interruption.' 5 These regulations, I think, are consequences of 
the above-mentioned aristocratic tendencies in West Norway to 
distinguish between the $ta/-born men and the common peasants 
(b0ndr). I do not think it was the original rule that a homestead 

1 Norges gamle Love, ii. 485. 

2 Nordstrom, Svenska Samhalls forfatningens historia, ii. 140 sqq. 

3 See Hertzberg, Glossarium s.v. * af i ' ; Fritzner, Ordbog, s.v. * af i ' 2. 
DN. iv. No. 848 : 'J?at hefir fylgt afi eptir afa.' 

4 * Peir scolo telia til langfe<5ra sinna v. er att hava, en sa hinn sette er 
baeSe atte at eign oc at oSrle.' 

5 Engum manni verSr iqrft at oSali fyrr en iij. langfeSr hafa att oc kemr 
undir hinn iiij. samfleytt.' 

1 66 A. Tar anger [vm 

first got the quality of fi$al after six or four generations of 
successive possession in the same family. In ancient times it 
becomes fial as soon as it is established as a homestead for a 
free-born bondi. In my opinion it was the extensive and common 
' free-giving ' of serfs which was the chief cause of the provision as 
to the six or four generations. Then it was an old rule that the 
family of a freedman could not enter the class of the b0ndr till 
after at least four generations. 1 

The natural effect of the above-mentioned regulation was to 
diminish both the <?&?/- land and the cftal- families. Magnus 
Lagab0tir accepted in his Landslaw (vi. 2) the rule of the 
Pros tat kings law relating to the four generations. But the 
common rule amongst the people was that an <?tS<2/-witness should 
make clear the pedigree of the ancestors ' as far back as the haugr 
(burial mounds) of heathen times.' 2 

A perfect $$<2/-estate possessed a burial-mound (haugr) of the 
heathen ancestor. In the pedigrees of the ancient ruling families 
in Sondmor we find the following characteristic remarks : 

Herbjorn ligger i hougen i Drifftvig. Aatte til eigu och odel 
Helgabostad och Holm och Starrin. 

Barder Nessiakonung ligger i hougen paa Bardarstad ; hand 
aatte all Roma och alia Strandarvig och Gudoy och Hundeidavig. 

Eilifr jarl ligger i Eilifshoug i Gudo. 

Tosten Blafotr ligger indeni Hundeid. 

Rafn som ligger i Hval i Heimdal. 

Grimr ligger i hougen paa Hjordal paa Sundmor. 3 

It cannot be wondered at that under such conditions the class 
of haulds was decreasing. Both the Frostathingslaw (xiv. 7) and 
the Landslaw (vii. 61) reckon with the possibility that in a fylke 
(county) there may not be found as many as twelve haulds. 
Indeed, the exact meaning of the term hauldr is no longer familiar 
to the common mind ; therefore the Landslaw (vii. 64) must 

1 See Konrad Maurer, Die Freigelassenen nach altnorwegischem Rechte 
(1878). Seebohm, Tribal Custom in Anglo-Saxon Law, p. 319. Paul 
Vinogradoff, ' Geschlecht imd Verwandtschaft im altnorwegischem Rechte ' 
(Zeitschrift fur Social und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, vii. i sqq.). 

2 * Greinande skilvislega langfaeSgatal til haugs ok til heiSni,' Norges 
gamle Love, iii. 121 (1316). In the Landslaw vi. 16 this o^al is named haugs 
or haugao^al. It is opposed to utjar^ir in DN. ii. No. 694 (A.D. 1427). 

3 Gustav Storm, 'Indskuddene i Fagrskinna' (Kristiania Videnskabsselskabs 
Forhandlinger, 1875, pp. 100-106). 

vm] Octal and Skeyting 167 

define it : * But he is hauldr who has foals by inheritance both 
from his father and his mother, which his forefathers have owned 
before them and which have not been the (foals of other men, who 
have got it by purchase or by collateral inheritance.' 1 This 
definition makes it evident that the genuine cftal is the cftal 
inherited from lineal ancestors, not from collaterals. The o^al is 
terra hereditaria /car 


The ordinary way of acquiring <?tta/-right in <?S<z/-land was that 
of inheritance. In G. 270 inheritance is mentioned as the first 
method of acquiring $ta/-right to land. The second is forfeiture of 
land as gjold for a manslaughter. The third is branderfft ; that is, 
when a man takes into his household another man with all his 
property in order ' to maintain him until he is carried to the funeral- 
pyre ' (til brannz oc til bals}? The fourth is the ' gift of honour ' 
(hefolauri) from a king or prince. The fifth is the * gift for drink ' 
(drekkulauri)* if it is given by the king. The sixth the ' gift for 
child-fostering ' (barnfostrlaun). The seventh is the foalsskipti. 

Although it is not stated in the law, we must presume that the 
form of skeyting originally was in use for all these ' gifts,' and also 
for the gjold (forfeiture), where it was performed by the thing 
with wapentak) unless the manslaier performed it himself on the 

But it is to be observed that 'sale' is not mentioned in 
G. 270 as a title creating 0tta/-right. Our old laws knew different 
kinds of 'sale,' as sal til stefnu (for 15 years) or sal til mala 
(pawn), all of which were conditional and possessed a form of 
pledging the land. But in G. 278 and 279 we hear of a sal til 
skeytingar, and, as I have said before (p. 160), that must have been 
a sale of the $fo/-right, and skeyting is the form of transferring that 
right. If the seller refuse to perform it, the thing shall perform 

1 * En sa er hauldr er hann hefir oSaul at erfSum tekit bseSe eptir faSur oc 
moSor )?au er bans forellrar hafa att aSr firir J>eim oc eigi annara manna 
oSaul i at telia, ]?au er meS kaupi eru at komin eSa uterfftum.' 

2 * Su er bin xvi. (erfS) er heitir branderfS. ef maSr tecr mann d bond ser 
at liufu oc at leiSu. oc f0Ser hann til brannz oc til bdls, kveSr at ferno male ' 
(G. 108). 

3 Cp. drikkelaun in the North, preosta lagu, i. 67 I. See Vinogradoff, 
Transfer of Land, pp. 537 sqq. 

1 68 A. Taranger [vin 

it by wapentak, if the purchaser can prove that he has lawfully 
' taken mould ' (G. 279, 292). In selling <?oW-land, the vendor had 
first of all to offer it publicly in the thing to his <?oW-fellows, who 
had the right of 'first refusal.' If none of them would buy it at 
the price which he might be expected to get from outsiders, he 
could sell it out of the $fo/-group. But if he sold it ' unoffered,' the 
<?&z/-men could redeem it in twelve months. Such is the provision 
in G. 278 by sal til skeytingar. l 

If the land was sold with a right of redemption by the seller, he 
had to keep this right alive by ' publication ' (lysing) in the thing. 
If lysing was neglected for twenty years the contractual right of 
redemption was deemed to be extinct by prescription ; the seller, 
however, still had his $fo/-right of redemption, if the land was his 
&&al\ but he had now to pay full value for the land, not merely 
the sum he had got by the conditional sale. 2 In this case the 
Gulathingslaw says that 'the land has become <?3<2/,' viz. for the 
purchaser ; * then he (the purchaser) may deny the cftal (of the seller) 
and assert it for himself.' 3 Here we have clear evidence that &al 
means simple ownership, not family ownership ; but it is assumed 
that the latter is still retained by the seller, who can redeem it by 

We have seen that the 0S#/-group lost their right of redemption 
in regard to 'offered' <?tfo/-land after a very short period of pre- 
scription, viz. twelve months. I think this provision dates from a 
time which regarded $5tf/-right mainly as simple ownership. But 
whether it is old or not, it is a valuable concession to the right of 
free disposition by the actual owner of the land. Then, of course, 
the family right of redemption was a hampering restriction on the 
free trade in <$5<2/-land, which as early as the first centuries after the 
introduction of Christianity had become more and more extensive. 

It is, however, quite another question whether the sold 0S<z/-land 
became the family-<?oW of the purchaser and his kinsmen at once 

1 * Nu kaupir maSr iorS til skeytingar. oc tecr skeyting a" J>d scolo }?eir 
oSalnautar bans ef their ero innan fylkis. oc vilia brigt hava. ]> scolo ]?eir 
brigt hava d fyrstum xii. mdnatfom. ellar seal sd. hava er keypt hafSe' (G. 
278, cp. 289). 

2 G. 272 and 276 in fine. 

3 * Nu liggr ior<5 um stefnu. oc liggr xx. vetr. oc hava ]?eir enga lysing }>ar 
a\ }?a" er hon at oSrle orSen. J?a" md. hann (purchaser) dula 8&als oc kenna 
ser' (G. 276). 

vm] Octal and Skeyting 169 

or in a twelvemonth. Personally I am convinced that the 
skeyting-diC.^ was intended to transfer the $ta/-right, not merely the 
ownership, from the seller and his offspring to the buyer and his 
offspring. None of the seller's offspring had any right of redeem- 
ing sold $ta/-land, if it had been lawfully * offered.' On the contrary, 
he had to ' offer ' it even to his own son. 1 Only, if he would sell 
til stefnu and not til 8als, he was not required to 'offer' to his 
son. 2 That this is the intention of the skeyting is stated expressly 
in many s&eyti*g~dceds. I will quote as an instance one of the 
oldest that has come down to us, viz. a donation-deed of 1281. 
The donor says : ' This land, which hitherto has been my dal y 
shall henceforth be considered by everybody as the cftal of the said 
monastery.' 3 The common phrase runs that the land is sold or 
given til alda oftals, or til cefiligrar eignar ok alda cftals, or /// alda 
foals ok ubrig&ligrar eignar* Here redemption by the seller or 
donor and his offspring is certainly excluded. 

But in regard to the acquisition of family $te/-right by pre- 
scription, the old provincial laws have only the above-mentioned 
(p. 165) rules relating to possession for five (.) or three (F.) genera- 
tions. The last rule is the later in date and was first, I think, 
introduced in favour of the King and the Church. As an exception 
it is in G. 271 applied to the King, who acquires $to/-right by pre- 
scription in ' three kings' time.' According to F. xiv. 7 the 
possessor of land, cultivated in the King's Commons, gets owner- 
ship if the land was cultivated ' before three kings' time, of whom 
none was in the land for a shorter space than 10 years.' The 
shortest time of prescription is thus thirty years, or just the term 
within which the Church may obtain prescriptive ownership of 
$W-right. 5 Of course the $fcz/-right of ' offering ' and ' redemption ' 
was not favourable to the greatest landlords, the King and the 
Church; but in the old Gulathingslaw (271) the King is bound to 

1 G. 276. 

2 G. 288. I do not agree with the conjecture of Boden, 'Das altnor- 
wegische Stammgiiterrecht ' (ZSS, xxii. 109), that the phrase in G. 288 in 
fine, * ef hann vill,' means * if the son will.' 

3 DN. xii. No. 5 : c seal Jessi eigh[n] er mit hefuir vaerith odhal her til, 
uerdha hsedhan af odhal firir sagdz stadhar firir huariom manne.' 

4 See Fritzner, Ordbog s.v. 6Sal,' i. 

5 F. xiv. 3 : ' En )?at verSr kirkiu at oSali ef hon hefir at xxx. vetra. en ]?at 
vitni beri henni kirkiusdcnar menn.' 

170 A. Tar anger [vm 

allow the bftndr to make use of them both against him. In the 
Frostathingslaw, however, none of them may be used against the 
King ; and if the King skeytir land to a man, the possessor may 
not offer it to anybody if the King was before the lawful owner. 1 
This provision shows that the s key ting in the Frostathingslaw was 
not always intended to transfer $fo/-right ; indeed, the skeyting is 
used even in * conditional ' sales, where the seller has reserved a 
right of redemption. 2 The skeyting in F. is rather a form 
for transfer of gewere than of a right of ownership. In fact, 
there aje in this law of the twelfth century many 'modern' 
tendencies which obscure the more archaic features of Norwegian 
land-law in the provincial law as shown in the Gulatkingslqg. 

The Norwegian Justinian, King Magnus Lagab0tir, had a sharp 
eye for these ' modern ' tendencies, which threatened to weaken the 
bond which the <?&z/-right had set between the land and the people. 
And before he published his new Norwegian Code, he issued a statute 
about acquisition of 0&2/-right. Here he laid down the new provi- 
sion that 0&z/-right should be acquired by sixty years' prescription. 
This new rule he put in the first paragraph in his Code which re- 
lates to this matter. In the second paragraph he put the old 
rule from the Gulat kings law, 270, that land given by the King 
is 6$al, ' if he has not given it subject to other conditions.' In the 
third place, he took the rule from the Frostathingslaw concerning 
possession for three generations ; and in the fourth the foalsskipti.* 

Next, he laid down new provisions for the 'offer' and the 
1 redemption.' I shall not go into details ; but the alterations are 
essential and go very far in favour of the person redeeming the 
land. His redemption-right is not lost by prescription in a twelve- 
month as in the Gulat kings law, but in ten years. And if he 
has lawful exceptions (nauftsyn), he may publish them every tenth 
year, and (thus keep Jiis $fo/-right alive for sixty years. The first 
exception is very favourable to a poor man using the right of 
redemption : he can publish his ' lack of money,' and that suffices. 
Another provision, quite as favourable to him, is that the sum of 

1 F. xii. 4 : En ef konungr sceytir manni iorft, ]?d seal ]? iorS engum 
manni bioSa ]?6 at hann vili selia hvergi er atti aftr, ef konungr atti sigan 
heimila. En engi ma5r seal bioSa konungi iorS. oc eigi konungr 65rum 

2 See F. xii. i. 8 L. vi. 2. 

vni] Octal and Skeyting 171 

redemption-money should not be the price the owner could get in 
free trade, but the sum assessed by a body of six men. 1 

It is evident that the new $ta/-law was intended to secure the 
$ta/-right for the common peasantry. But the popular King did 
not achieve his object. In every decade before the great disaster 
of the Black Death (1349-50) both the nobility and the clergy 
grew richer by land which for centuries had been got out of the 
foal possessions of the b$ndr. It is the common view that the 
Church obtained most of her landed property by gifts or testa- 
ments. In some degree this view is right in regard to the parish 
churches and chapels ; but it is not so in regard to the greater 
ecclesiastical institutions the episcopal sees, the cathedrals, the 
chapters, and the monasteries. The only instance in which we can 
verify the truth of this assertion is that of the monastery of Munkelif 
to Bergen. Between 1223 and 1349 this institution acquired 64! 
mdnaftsmatabol by gifts, 157! by purchase of prevent ("board" in 
the cloister), 181 by purchase, and 232 by conditional sale with 
right of redemption reserved by the seller. But none of these sellers 
were economically in a strong enough position to make use of their 
redemption-right, and the land became the property and the dSal of 
the monastery. Thus the great ecclesiastical institution played the 
same part in the economic life -of the Norwegian peasant in the 
Middle Ages as the ' Hypothecary Banks ' to-day, furnishing them 
with ready money and getting their land in mortgage. The best 
and most favourable $ta/-right could not prevent this economic 
evolution, or rather degradation, of the peasantry. Against the 
want of money nothing is of avail but money ; and for ready 
money the Norwegian peasants sold not only their land, but also 
their $fo/-right. If the buyer was willing to pay the skey tings- 
aurar* or cfoalskaup* or oftalslausn,* he got the cal~ rights of 
the seller at once. 

It is, however, a significant fact that from the time of Magnus 
Lagab0tir the terms skeyta and skeyting disappear in the title-deeds 
of land. We have thousands of such deeds published in Diplo- 

1 L. vi. 4. 

2 DN. iv. No. 147 (1321), 899 (1447); cp. von Amira, OR. ii. 687, 
who has a different view. 

8 Dipl. Oread, i. No. 48 (1575). 

4 DN. ix. No. 577 (1526), 793 (1565). 

172 A. Taranger [vm 

matarium Norwegicum, but as far as my knowledge goes we shall 
scarcely find the terms skeyta and skeyting in fifty of them. 
According to von Amira 1 they were changed into afhenda and 
afhending. I am not convinced that the last-named terms really 
took the places of skeyta and skeyting. In the title-deeds 
prevail the terms selja (sell) and sal (sale), or kaupa (buy) and 
kaup (purchase). The fact is, in my opinion, that skeyta and 
skeyting disappear, because the transfer of $ta/-right became more 
and more infrequent. As we learn from the title-deed book of Mun- 
kelif the ' conditional ' sales are in an absolute majority. 


Finally, I shall in a few words, and without collecting the 
evidence, try to point out another change which the Middle Ages 
brought into the old <9cta/-conception. This was, as already men- 
tioned, originally meant to include only the tilled field and the 
fenced-in pastureland. Outside this lay the commons (almennin- 
gar\ and the commons were not an object of ownership (eiga, eign} 
but of possession (hafa). In the Gulat kings law, however, a part of 
the common is already attached to the cftal, viz. the mqrk (forest) 
and the scetr (summer pastures in the mountains). Of this the 
odaller can get ownership by twenty years' use (prescription). Never- 
theless it is not yet o^al and not included in the foakskipti? In the 
later skeyting formulas the chief object of the transfer is the oftat, 
or more commonly the jgrft (the tilled ground) and the ' appurten- 
ances ' (lunnendi) belonging to the same. ' Appurtenances ' include 
hafn (pasture), hogg (wood), vatn (water), veiftista&ir (fishing or 
hunting places), and various other uses. All these ' appurtenances ' 
are included in the term eign (owned land), but not in the term 
oftal. We see that the right of ownership in untilled land surround- 
ing the o^al grew up out of these many ' uses ' in it. Originally 
only the &al is owned, and 8al is obviously synonymous with eign, 
and was perhaps the most common term for eign. Afterwards the 
eign was expanded to the regularly * used ' woods and pastures 
outside the cfoal in the commons. And lastly, the ^/-conception 
comprises the whole eign. Such is its meaning in the o^alsskipti 
of Magnus Lagab0tir's Landslaw (vi. 3), which, as opposed to its 

1 OR. ii. 64 2 G. 86 compared with 87. 

vm] Odal and Skeyting 173 

source, G. 87, includes the whole eign, inside and outside the fence, 
and not merely the fenced-in &8al. But the tilled ground, as being 
the more valuable, has to be divided by stick (skapf] or string 
(albur^r] ; for the land outside the fence the ' eye-measure ' (aug- 
naskof] is sufficient. 

Takmgrk and heimrqst are the terms which are used in Magnus 
Lagab0tir's Code to indicate the eign as a whole, or most commonly 
the land outside the fences. Takmqrk^ according to Hertzberg's 
Glossary -, means ' boundary,' but the common term for ' boundary ' 
is takmark, I am inclined to believe that the takmqrk is the taken 
mqrk (wood, forest), which also is a feminine word; but it is 
impossible for me to establish this view with philological precision. 
The term heimrqst may be verbally translated by ' home-mile.' 
In the Landslaw it evidently means ' homeway,' viz. ' the way from 
the highway to the beer' 2 or ' the way from the home to the out- 
pastures.' 3 In a document from Gudbrandsdalen (1432) we learn 
that the heimrqst reaches from the storehouse to the commons, 4 a 
distance of 6-7 kilometres. 5 This document gives us an idea of an 
tfoW-peasant's claims in regard to wood and pasture-land. Under 
such circumstances it is not surprising that the commons soon 
became private property ; and the fixing of the boundaries between 
eign and common was placed in the hands of the haulds or * best 
peasants.' The thing was to elect twelve of them, and two of 
the twelve were to * swear to the limit.' 6 As a contrasting fact I 
will mention that a settler in the common had no power of 
disposition over a greater distance from his fence than he could 
throw his snidl, a knife for cutting twigs. But in later times the 
lagretsmen (a kind of jury), who had to fix the boundaries of the 
reclaimed plots, were more generous, and considerable portions of 
the commons were often attached to them. There was land enough 
to draw from, and the poor eremites sometimes obtained forests 
which are now sold for fortunes. 


1 L. vii. 60. 2 L. vii. 46. 3 L. vii. 41, 58. 4 DN. iii. No. 717. 

5 In Shetland hemrost is synonymous with hemhoga, the nearest pasture- 
land outside the hedges. In the Pharoes heimrustir means the ground around 
the houses = I eel. and Norw. tun. See Jakobsen, Etymologisk ordbog over 
det norrone sprog paa Shetland, s.v. 'hemrost,' and Tillceg til Forslag og 
Betcenkninger afgivne af den fceroiske Landbokommission^ p. 426. 

6 F. xiv. 7 ; L. vii. 6 1 . 



LES regions du Sud - Est de la France, qui ont constitue" au 
moyen age la partie me"ridionale du royaume d'Arles, 1 vallee du 
Rhone et versant occidental des Alpes, Lyonnais, Bresse, Savoie, 
Dauphin^ et Provence, ont te* comprises dans les pays de droit 
ecrit. Mais on oublie trop que, pendant le haut moyen age, ces 
regions ont pratique un droit coutumier original, tres nettement 
distinct du droit remain, tres voisin du droit des pays coutumiers 
de la France du Nord. Ces idees coutumieres n'ont pas brusque- 
ment disparu, au xil e siecle et au XIIP, au contact des ide"es 
romaines. La renaissance de 1'etude et de 1'enseignement du 
droit romain n'a pas change soudainement le droit ante"rieur. Les 
survivances des vieilles ide"es coutumieres, au Xlll e siecle et au 
xiv e , sont nombreuses et frappantes ; elles montrent que le 
triomphe des ides romaines fut, sur beaucoup de points, lent, 
difficile et incomplet. 

Cette lenteur de la penetration des ide"es romaines est d'autant 
plus remarquable que, de tres bonne heure, ce pays a ete" touche" 
par la renaissance du droit romain savant, plus t6t que le reste de 
la Gaule. II n'est pas certain que les Exceptiones Petri aient e*te" 

1 Ces regions, politiquement separees du reste de la Gaule lors du de- 
membrement de 1'Empire carolingien, ont vecu d'une vie independante 
durant une grande partie du moyen age. Meme lorsque, en 1032, elles 
furent rattachees au Saint Empire, Faction des Empereurs ne fut que tres 
intermittente, leur influence resta presque nulle, et 1'autonomie politique de 
la region a durd jusqu'au jour ou les Capetiens s'en emparerent. 


ix] Droit Coutumier 175 

composes a Valence. Par centre, au milieu du xir siecle, un 
livre remarquable, le Codt, a e"t compost a Aries ; puis, au xili e 
siecle, des jurisconsultes tels que Johannes Blancus en Provence, 
Johannes de Blanosco en Maconnais, ont apporte" dans notre region 
les ides qu'ils avaient apprises dans les e"coles d'ltalie. II ne faut 
pas oublier aussi que Henri de Suze a compose", alors qu'il e"tait 
archeveque d'Embrun, au moins une partie de sa Somme des 
De"cre" tales. II ne semble pas qu'aucune influence politique ou 
religieuse se soit exerce"e dans nos regions, comme la chose a pu 
se produire ailleurs, contre 1'enseignement du droit romain. Le 
terrain paraissait done admirablement prepare* pour la reception 
pratique des ides romaines. La resistance des anciennes ide"es 
coutumieres n'en est que plus caracteristique. 

C'est a dessein que nous employons ce mot : droit coutumier. 
Ce droit est, comme le droit coutumier de la France du Nord, un 
droit d'origine assez hybride, ou se sont fondus des elements 
germaniques et des elements pris au droit romain vulgaire, mais 
qui contient surtout des elements nes spontane"ment, destines a 
satisfaire des besoins nouveaux, ceux de la socie"t du moyen age, 
qui ne ressemble ni a la societ romaine, ni a la societe* des 
Germains avant les Invasions. Dans la vallee de la Saone et du 
Rhone, des races tres diverses se coudoient ; les professiones juris 
mentionnent la loi salique, la loi romaine, la loi burgonde, la loi 
lombarde. En realite, le droit que Ton y pratique est un droit tres 
unifi6, et qui n'est ni franc, ni burgonde, ni romain. 

Cependant la these de la survie de Pancien droit burgonde a 
te" parfois soutenue, et, recemment, Julius Ficker s'en est fait le 
deTenseur. Etudiant 1'extension de 1'augment de dot dans les 
coutumes de la fin du moyen age, il a cru trouver une coincidence 
entre cette extension et la sphere d'action des Burgondes ; il 
a attribue" a 1'augment de dot une origine tres ancienne, et 1'a 
rattache au vieux droit burgonde ; puis il a entrepris une demons- 
tration du mme genre pour quelques autres particularity du droit 
de la Bourgogne et de TAuvergne. 1 Mais sa these, que nous ne 
pouvons discuter ici en detail, nous semble inadmissible. Nous 
verrons plus loin que 1'augment de dot date tout au plus du XIII e 

1 Ficker, Untersuchungen zur Erbenfolge der ostgermanischen Rechte ; v. 
surtout Nos. 1300 et suiv. R. Caillemer, La Formation du droit franqais 
mtditval et les travaux de Julius Ficker -, p. 34 et s. 

1 7 6 

R. Caillemer [ix 

siecle et n'a jamais etc" une institution ge"nerale dans nos regions : 
jusqu'au Xlir siecle, les coutumes de la region que nous etudions 
ont connu un droit de survie tout different. 1 

Comme exemple de ces idees coutumieres, tres diffe"rentes des 
idees romaines, nous avons de\ja pu, dans des travaux ante"rieurs, 
signaler la conception de la proprie'te' fonciere et des droits re"els 
sur les immeubles. Loin d'opposer la proprie'te' proprement dite 
et les jura in re aliena, les textes de notre region, au haut 
moyen age, considerent les divers droits de jouissance, se tra- 
duisant par la possession d'un immeuble, comme des modalite's 
d'un meme droit re"el fondamental. Le droit de Pusufruitier (p. 
ex. du donateur avec reserve d'usufruit ou de beneficium) est un 
droit de proprie'te' viagere ; le droit du creancier gagiste est un 
droit de proprie'te' limite'e, et les textes lyonnais appellent toujours 
1'engagiste emptor* Un acte lyonnais preVoit, le cas e"che"ant, 
Palienation de la terre soumise a 1'usufruit par Pusufruitier. 3 Le 

1 Dans cette etude, nous nous servirons surtout des nombreux recueils de 
documents lyonnais et dauphinois publics : M.-C. Guigue, Cartulaire lyonnais, 
2 vol. in -4, Lyon, 1885-1893; Aug. Bernard, Cartulaire de Vabbaye de 
Savigny, suivi du Petit Cartulaire de Vabbaye d'Ainay, 2 vol., Paris, 1853 ; De 
Charpin - Feugerolles et M.-C. Guigue, Grand Cartulaire de Pabbaye d'Ainay, 
2 vol. in-4, Lyon, 1885 ; De Charpin-Feugerolles et M.-C. Guigue, Cartulaire 
du prieure de Saint-Sauveur en Rue, I vol. in-4, Lyon, 1881 ; De Charpin- 
Feugerolles, Cartulaire des Francs-fiefs du Forez, Lyon, i vol. in-4, 1882 ; 
Valentin Smith et M.-C. Guigue, Bibliotheca Dumbensis, 2 vol. in-4, Trevoux, 
1884-1885 ; M.-C. et G. Guigue, Bibliothtque historique du Lyonnais, I, 
Lyon, 1886, in- 8; M.-C. Guigue, Petit Cartulaire de Fabbaye de Saint- 
Sulpice en Bugey, Lyon, 1884, in-8 ; Aug. Bernard et Aug. Bruel, Recueil 
des chartes de tabbaye de Cluny^ 6 vol. in- 4, Paris, 1876-1903; Valbonnais, 
Histoire de Dauphin^ Geneve, 2 vol. in-f, 1722; M. Fornier, Histoire 
gtntrale des Alpes, publiee par 1'abbe Guillaume, 3 vol. in-8, Paris et Gap, 

1890-1892; Ul. Chevalier, Collection de cartulaires dauphinois, notamment 
le t. i er , Cartulaire de Saint-Andrt le Bas, Vienne et Lyon, 1869, in-8 ; le 
t. vii, Choix de documents historiques ine"dits sur le Dauphine 1 , Montbeliard et 
Lyon, 1874, in-8 ; et le t. ix, i e livr., Codex diplomaticus ordinis Sancti Rufi 
Valentiae, Valence, 1891, in-8 ; P. Guillaume; Chartes de Durbon, Paris, 
1893, in-8 ; Auvergne, Cartulaire de Saint-Robert et Cartulaire des couges, 
Grenoble, 1865, in-8. Pour les regions plus meridionales, nous avons utilise 
surtout le Cartulaire de Vabbaye de Saint-Victor de Marseille, public* par 
Guerard, Paris, 2 vol. in-4, 1857; et le Cartulaire de la commanderie de 
Richerenches, public par M. de Ripert-Monclar, Avignon et Paris, 1907, in-8. 

2 V. notre etude sur Pengagement, Festschrift Heinrich Brunner, p. 
294 et s. 

3 Cart, de S.-Andrt le Bos, app., N 114 : usufruitier qui a le droit de 
vendre, de donner, d'echanger, etc. 

ix] Droit Cout^lmier 177 

droit de 1'usufruitier ou du cre"ancier gagiste n'est pas un simple 
jus in re aliena : c'est une propriete temporaire, un estate in use, 
comme dirait le droit anglais, qui a admirablement conserv sur 
ce point la vieille idee me'die'vale ; saisine actuelle, que vient limiter 
un estate futur, en reversion ou en remainder. 

Nous pourrions encore signaler une autre idee coutumiere, tout 
a fait etrangere au droit remain, et que Ton releve dans les actes 
du Sud-Est de la France, comme dans les actes d'autres regions : 
1'idee que les seuls actes stables et definitifs sont les actes a titre 
one"reux, assurant a chacune des parties un avantage en ^change 
du sacrifice qu'elle consent ; idee commune aux diverses races 
germaniques, et qui se manifeste si nettement dans le launegild 
des coutumes lombardes. Elle revit, en plein moyen age, dans 
divers documents, et notamment dans les chartes du cartulaire 
de Richerenches. Les donataires remettent aux donateurs 
une caritas ou une securitas, en argent ou en nature ; et cette 
petite contre-prestation a pour but d'assurer la stability de la 
donation : les chartes le disent expressement. Dans un autre 
document, nous trouvons une donation, accompagne"e de cette 
contre-partie, que Ton pense rendre plus stable en lui donnant 
Paspect d'un acte a titre onereux, et en la qualifiant de emptio et 
de venditio.^ 

On a quelquefois soutenu que 1'emphyteose avait persiste dans 

1 C. de Richerenches, N 43 (1148): transaction: Et, ut sic observem 
et sic faciam, seccuritatis nomine ab Ugone de Bolbotone de helemosinis 
Templi xii cim sextarios accipio boni frumenti, et iiii or ordei, et unum equum, 
id est caballum, precio 1 sol. Val. N 49 (1149): autre dimissio\ Ut 
autem ista nostra dimissio et libera desemparatio semper seccura et firma 
remaneat . . . x cem solidos bone monete Val. et imam saumatam de 
frumento accipimus, caritatis nomine. N 50 (1149): Ut autem ista 
mea donacio firma et stabilis perpetuo remaneat, de bonis de Templo habui 
xi cim sol. et dim. Val., et unum palafridum cum sella et freno. N 51 
(1150): Facta est hec donacio et guirpicio ... in manu . . . militum 
Templi, a quibus caritative helemosinis Templi accepimus ccc sol. Val. 
monete. N 54 (1147): Ut autem hec nostra donatio stabilitatem et 
securam semper habeat firmitatem, . . . accepimus septuaginta solidos vet. 
den. Melg. On peut rapprocher de ce dernier acte le N 5 8, qui est qualifie 
de venditio-empcio, sans indication de prix de vente, dans le corps de 1'acte. 
Mais, apres la signature, vient la note suivante : Propter hanc empcionem 
fratres milicie Templi his supradictis venditoribus septuaginta solidos vet. Melg. 
dederunt. L'acte se presente plutot comme une donation, suivie d'une caritas 
de 70 sous, comme dans le N 54. Cf. Schroder, Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte, 3* 
dd., p. 294 et s. 


178 R. Caillemer [ix 

le Sud-Est de la France pendant tout le moyen age ; mais aucun 
texte n'en parle avant le XIII 6 siecle; les nombreux contrats que nous 
avons conserves, relatifs a la culture de la terre, sont, soit des 
contrats de prestaria (on ne dit guere : precaria dans notre region), 
soit des concessions ad medium plantum, soit, dans la suite, des 
albergements. Ce n'est que plus tard, apres la renaissance du 
droit romain, que le nom d'emphyteose a e"t donn a 1'alberge- 
ment. 1 

Nous pourrions encore noter, dans le domaine du droit des 
obligations, la persistance des anciennes formes de garantie reelle 
(impignoratio^) et de garantie personnelle (hostagium). U hostagium, 
meme dcor du nom romain de fidejussio> n'a rien de commun 
avec le cautionnement romain. 3 

Mais nous voudrions surtout parler du droit de famille, et 
montrer que, sur ce point, le triomphe du droit romain a e"t 
incomplet, tardif et pe"niblement achete". 


Nous noterons d'abord, a ce point de vue, la force des liens 
familiaux, se traduisant par la necessity du concours des plus 
proches heritiers de 1'alienateur aux alienations immobilieres. Aux 
XI e et xil e siecles, les transferts d'immeubles sont faits avec la 
laudatio des hoirs ; s'il n'y a pas eu de laudatio, a la mort de 

1 Dans les actes lyonnais, 1'emphyte'ose apparait en 1255 (C. lyonnais^ ii. 
N 518) : Donant ... in emphiteosim nomine albergamenti im perpetuum, 
pro xl solidis nomine intragii jam solutis, et pro xviii denariis . . . annuatim 
de supra servicio persolvendis. . . . Renunciant . . . exceptioni intragii non 
soluti. Dans le recueil des chartes de Durbon, le mot emphyteose n'apparait 
qu'en 1327 (N 687). 

2 V. notre etude sur 1'engagement, citee plus haut. 

8 C. lyonnais , i. N 219 (1226): Dederunt fidejussores . . . qui . . . 
juraverunt quod si ... prefata Michola vel filii vel filie sue ea que supra 
dicta sunt non observarent vel in aliquo contravenirent, ipsi . . . ostagium 
tenerent inl oco sibi . . . designate. N 235 (1228) : Dederunt fidejussores 
. . . qui similiter juraverunt se tenere ostagia Lugduni si premissi Hugo et 
frater suus non observarent premissa. N 389 (1244): Dedit ecclesie 
fidejussores pads juratos de dicta vendicione in perpetuum tenenda in pace . . . 
qui ad ammonicionem dicte ecclesie infra xv dies postquam fuerint moniti, 
juraverunt tenere tanidiu ostagium Lugduni, donee a dicta ecclesia licentiam 
habuerint recedendi. N 402 (1245), acte tres curieux, ou des tuteurs, 
vendant des biens de mineur, se portent fidtjusseurs et promettent de tenir 


Droit Coutumier 


l'alie"nateur ses he"ritiers s'efforcent de reprendre les biens alie"ne"s, 
et se font souvent payer tres cher par I'acque'reur leur ratification. 1 
Get usage de la laudatio persiste apres la renaissance du droit 
remain, et il n'est pas rare, meme dans la seconde moitie" du 
Xlir siecle, de voir Pali^nateur, donateur ou vendeur, promettre 
d'obtenir la laudatio de ses fils ou de ses freres, alors absents ou 
empeche"s. 2 Dans toute donation importante, le donateur tient a 
s'entourer du concours de ses parents et de ses amis, a obtenir 
leur consentement, qui parfois ne sera donne que moyennant des 
sacrifices pecuniaires, plus ou moins considerables, consentis par 
l'acque"reur. 3 Ces pratiques ont leur utilite", et ces precautions ne 
sont pas superflues. Au Xlir siecle comme pre"ce"demment, il 
n'est pas rare de voir, apres la mort de 1'alienateur, ses he"ritiers 

1 Exemples de reclamations d'heritiers, au xn e siecle : Valbonnais, i. 
p. 39, S (1132) : a la suite d'une transaction, les deux fils de 1'une des parties 
attaquent 1'acte, disant : absque consilio et assensu eorum fuisse factum, 
ideo minime tenendum. Selon la vieille conception medievale, les temoins 
de 1'acte viennent prendre sa defense, et obtiennent une renonciation des 
enfants. Giraud, C. de S.-Barnard de Romans^ ii. preuves, p. 20 : ... Im- 
posueramus calumpniam super unam terram . . ., quam terram ecclesia 
Romanensis S d Bernardi ab antiquo tempore acquisierat de nostro genere. 
Les reclamants cedent, moyennant 13 sous, et la concession a Tun d'entre eux 
de la jouissance viagere du bien litigieux. C. lyonnais, i. N 163 (i 190 env.) : 
Moricinus vendidit domum suam. .* . . Postea vero tres filii ejus calum- 
niaverunt . . . vendicionem ; on leur donne 22 sous. 

2 Alienateurs promettant d'obtenir la laudatio de leurs fils : C. lyonnais, 
i. N 465 (1251) : Promitto nichilominus sub virtute prestiti juramenti, quod 
omnia premissa et singula faciam in perpetuum a filiis meis Bosone, Symboudo 
et Alberto rata habere et firma, et servare illesa, prout superius sunt expressa. 
ii. N 552 (1259): acte de vente : Promittit rnsuper sepedictus Berlio 
venditor, sub prestito juramento et sub obligatione omnium bonorum suorum, 
quod ipse procurabit, faciet et efficiet quod dominus Jacobus de Spina miles, 
Guillelmus de Spina domicellus, Albertus de Gorgi frater ipsius Berlionis, 
Quarta uxor, Jaquemetus et Guionetus filii ejusdem Alberti, ad requisitionem 
dicte domine Brune . . . dictam venditionem . . . laudabunt, approbabunt, 
gratificabunt et acceptabunt per juramentum et sub testimonio litterarum : 
ainsi le frere, 1'epouse, deux neveux du vendeur, et deux milites^ sans doute 
deux vassaux (parmi les biens vendus figurent les taschiae illorum de Spina ). 
N 589 (1261) : transaction ; consentement d'un frere present, et promesse de 
laudatio de deux freres absents. 

3 C. de S.-Sulpice en Bugey^ N 29 (1239), p. 83 : don fait par tienne 
de Luyrieux avant de partir pour la Terre Sainte, de voluntate et consilio 
amicorum meorum et parentum sive consanguineorum, assensuque G. domini 
de Luyrieux nepotis mei et Hu., fratris ejus, super hoc accedente. Le 
donateur revolt 300 florins nomine placiti, 1'un des neveux 20 florins, et 
1'autre 10. 

180 R. Caillemer [ix 

revendiquer les biens alins, sous ce pre"texte qu'ils n'ont pas 
donn leur laudatio, et ne renoncer a leurs preventions que moyennant 
un de"dommagement p^cuniaire. 1 

La necessity de ce consentement des plus proches he"ritiers 
prend meme, a ce moment, une nettete" plus grande. Les conditions 
de la laudatio se pre"cisent. Lorsque I'he'ritier dont la laudatio est 
requise a moins de 14 ans, on assure, au moyen de promesses 
spe"ciales, garanties par des fidejusseurs, sa laudatio ulte"rieure, 
lorsqu'il aura atteint ses anni legitimi? Les enfants de plus de 14 

1 C. lyonnais, i. N 409 (1246) : Asserebat . . . Stephanus (Etienne de 
Chandieu) duas vercherias . . ., quas . . . prior de Plateria nomine dicte 
ecclesie detinebat, ad se jure hereditario pertinere, et ideo eas sibi restitui 
postulabat, nonobstante quadam venditione, quam eo inscio et minime requisite, 
Berlio frater suus . . . fecerat. Sentence arbitrate : le reclamant devra 
ceder tous ses droits, moyennant^ 7 livres et 20 sous. V. encore N 251 
(1229) ; N 444 (1250). C des Ecouges, N 20 (1232) : Lantelme de Saint- 
Quentin a donne divers biens aux religieux des Ecouges, mais, apres sa mort, 
ses fils veulent reprendre les biens donne's. A la fin, grace a 1'intervention 
du Doyen de 1'eglise de Grenoble, Tun des fils, Guillaume de Saint-Quentin, 
renonce a sa reclamation, et promet meme de defendre le monastere contre 
toute attaque, toute calumnia nouvelle. II se fera le defenseur de la donation 
meme vis-a-vis de ses freres ; toutefois, il ne s'engage pas a leur faire la guerre 
ni a depenser sa fortune a ce sujet : excepto quod belluin contra fratres facere 
vel sua expendere non tenetur ! 

2 Sur cette question de la laudatio de 1'enfant, il y a, au haut moyen age, 
des systemes divergents : tantot on fait intervenir Penfant lui-meme, tantot 
on assure, par des fidejusseurs ou par des serments, qu'il donnera plus tard sa 
laudatio. Ce dernier systeme triomphe dans les actes lyonnais du xni e siecle. 
On n'admet plus la laudatio emanee des enfants eux-memes. V. C. lyonnais, 
i. N 167 (1220); laudatio des fils, qui talis erant etatis quod ad eos 
laudare pertinebat. N 188 (1222): les fils ne donnent pas de laudatio : 
nullus adhuc erat talis etatis, quod ad eum laudare pertineret. N 2 1 6 
(1225): laudaverunt omnes filii mei, qui tales erant etatis, quod ad ipsos 
laudare pertinebat. Des lors, si 1'enfant est trop jeune, on promet sa laudatio 
pour le jour ou il arrivera a ses anni legitimi, ad plenam etatem. N 2 1 9 
(1226): et quum minor filius Odo nondum videbatur ad annos legitimos 
pervenisse. N 221 (1226); Ut hec venditio rata et firma habeatur, 
dederunt fidejussorem Vincencium de Poimia, donee eorum infantuli per- 
venerint ad plenam etatem et concesserint plenarie dictam venditionem. 
V. encore t. ii. N 508 (1255) : ad etatem congruam. Quelques textes parlent 
de minors*, de major aetas : i. N 287 (1234): Promisit etiam sub eodem 
juramento quod, cum Jaquemeta filia ipsius, qui tune temporis minoris etatis 
erat, ad annos legitimos pervenerit, faciat earn laudare et jurare pacem de hac 
venditione. N 269 (1231): Et obligamus nos eodem juramento quod 
heredes nostri, qui tempore donationis erant in minori etate, quando essent in 
majori, eamdem donationem laudarent et confirmarent. Mais ces expressions : 
minor aetas, major aetas ne doivent pas etre interpreters comme des allusions 

ix] Droit Coutumier 181 

ans, mais mineurs de 25 ans, fournissent eux-memes leur laudatio ^ 
sur le mandat de leur pere, en renonc.ant aux exceptions de 
minority et de puissance paternelle. 1 L'importance de la laudatio 
parait telle, que cette laudatio est souvent consignee dans une 
charte spe"ciale, attested par des temoins particuliers. 2 Et enfin, 
pour entourer cette institution, si completement e"trangere au droit 
romain, de formes romaines, on voit apparaitre a la fin des actes 
une renonciation nouvelle : a Vexceptio concessionis et laudationis 
non fact e? 

Get ancien usage de la laudatio des heritiers a laisse", en 
Provence et en Dauphine", des traces curieuses. En 1456, Louis 
II, le futur Louis XI, alors Dauphin de Viennois, promulgua un 
statut exigeant, pour la validite d'une donation, la presence du bailli, 
du juge ou du chatelain du domicile du donateur, et, de plus, le 
concours de trois de ses plus proches parents habitant la meme 

a la majorite de 25 ans. II s'agit en realite de la puberte, que nos coutumes 
fixent a 14 ans. N 445 (1250): Dictus siquidem Stephanus promisit per 
stipulationem et sub prestito juramento quod, quam cito Hugo, Uldricus et 
Placencia liberi ipsius ad annos pubertatis pervenerint, ipse faciat et efficiet, 
quod ipsi liberi . . . dictam venditionem laudabunt et approbabunt. ii. 
N 511 (1255): Hanc autem venditionem Zacharias films dicti Guidonis, 
major quatuordecim annis, prout ipsi pater et films per juramentum asserunt, 
sponte sciens et prudens laudat, approbat, gratific'at et acceptat. V. aussi 
N 522 (1255): facti puberes, prout ipsi per juramentum asserunt. 

1 C. lyonnais, ii. N 536 (1256): reprise de fief: Hanc autem re- 
ceptionem feudi . . . Petrus, filius dicti Aemari, coram nobis constitutus, 
sciens, prudens et spontaneus, de mandate ipsius Aemari, laudat, approbat, 
gratificat et acceptat. . . . Renuntiant . . ., et . dictus Petrus exception! 
quod metus causa, minoris etatis, beneficio patrie potestatis. V. aussi 
N 509 (1255), ou les trois fils du donateur, accordant leur laudatio, renoncent 
minoris etatis auxilio et beneficio, et patrie potestati. 

2 Cart, de S.-Ruf, N 93 (1205) : Quando Guntardus et Eicburgis, amita 
Raimundi, hoc laudaverunt, presentes erant. . . . Quando Ymbertus Runini 
(frere du donateur Raimond) hoc laudavit in claustro Sancti Jacobi, et etiam 
super iiii or evangelia juravit, presentes erant. ... De meme N 96 (1207). 

3 C. lyonnais, ii. N 757 (1279): confirmation par 4 freres : Johannes, 
Guillermetus, majores viginti et quinque annis, Bartholomeus et Jaquetus, 
minores viginti quinque annis, majores tamen decem et septem annis ; et 
renonciation : exception! . . . concessionis et confessionis . . . legitime 
non factarum. N 813 (1287): laudatio d'un neveu : renuncians ex- 
ceptioni ratifications, acceptationis, confessionis, concessionis, remissionis 
et promissionis . . . non factarum vel sine justa causa factarum. N 827 
(1290) : confirmation par les deux fils du donateur (donation d'une rente d'un 
fromage) : ils renoncent exception! dictarum quittationis, laudationis et con- 
cessionis non factarum. 

1 82 R. Caillemer [ix 

paroisse. 1 Et c'e"tait seulement si Ton ne pouvait trouver ces trois 
parents, ou s'ils refusaient d'intervenir a 1'acte, que le magistrat 
pouvait appeller comme te"moins d'autres probi viri. 

Du Dauphine", la regie est passed en Provence. En 1472, un 
statut du roi Rene" est venu exiger, pour la validity des donations, 
la presence de deux parents du donateur ; et ici ce ne sont plus de 
simples te"moins ; ils viennent eclairer le donateur sur la portee de 
la donation. Le statut exige, non seulement leur presence, mais 
leur conscientia? Visiblement, le but de ces deux statuts est 
moins de proteger la famille du donateur, que de garantir le 
donateur lui-meme contre ses propres entrainements. Mais, dans 
le precede qu'ils emploient pour atteindre ce but, en faisant 
intervenir les parents du donateur, ces statuts nous pre"sentent une 
curieuse survie des anciennes ides medievales. 

D'autre part, le retrait lignager s'est developpe, a la fin du 
moyen age, dans un assez grand nombre de coutumes locales de 
la region. II est ne" d'un desir de concilier les inte"rets de la 
famille de Palie"nateur avec la necessite des alienations immobilieres. 
Dans quelques documents, nous voyons des disposants instituer 
une sorte de retrait lignager conventionnel. Alie"nant un de leurs 
biens, ils prevoient la possibilite d'un rachat de ce bien par leurs 
heritiers ; 3 ou encore, re"glant le sort de Pensemble de leur fortune 

1 Ce statut a etc souvent imprime ; il figure, avec le commentaire de 
Joannes a Cruce, a la suite de certaines editions des Decisiones de Guy Pape. 
V., p. ex., 1'ed. de Geneve, 1653, 2 e pagin., p. 69 et s. : . . . Decernimus 
donationes praedictas (inter vivos) de caetero fiendas non esse aliter valituras, 
quam si in baillivi, judicis aut castellani loci sive parochiae domicilii donatoris, 
vel locatenentis eorumdem, et trium ex proximioribus consanguineis sive 
parentibus ipsius donatoris in dicta parochia existentibus, vel, ubi non reperi- 
rentur in dicta parochia, aut vocati adesse nollent in donatione praedicta, 
aliorum virorum proborum dictae parochiae non suspectorum, per alterum ex 
dictis officiariis, pro numero parentum non repertorum, aut adesse ut supra 
nolentium, surrogandorum, praesentia factae fuerint, recitatae et publicatae. 

2 V. notre etude sur le Retrait lignager dans le droit proven$al (Studi in 
onore di Carlo Fadda\ p. 1 1 et s. (Naples, 1 906). 

3 On trouve, des le xi e siecle, des actes de ce genre dans les Ch. de Cluny, 
iv. N 2525 (1000 env.) : Facio autem hanc donationem eo tenore, ut, 
dum aliquis ex filiis meis ad perfectam etatem venerit, si redimere voluerit, 
redimat xl ta solidis. N 2972 (1048-1049): Dono . . . unum mansum 
. . . ea ratione ut filius meus Wichardus, si voluerit eum redimere, det 
pro ipso manso habitatoribus supranominati loci (monasterii Cluniacensis) 
xx solidos ; sin alias, ipsi monachi teneant et possideant. V. aussi le N 
2973 (meme date), acte mutil : Dono ... si legalem heredem de uxore 

ix] Droit Coutuniier 183 

par un partage d'ascendant, ils stipulent que, si Tun des biens de 
la succession est vendu par un de leurs heritiers, les autres he"ritiers 
auront a son e*gard un droit de preemption. Ainsi, dans un acte 
lyonnais de 1243, une veuve, repartissant sa fortune entre ses 
enfants, decide que, si Tun des enfants veut vendre ou obliger les 
biens compris dans son lot, il devra d'abord les offrir a ses freres, 
ou meme a d'autres parents. 1 

Cette institution du retrait lignager ne s'est pas developpee 
partout dans la region qui nous occupe. On ne la rencontre ni 
en Savoie, ni en Bresse, ni en Lyonnais ; mais, au XIII e siecle et 
au XIV 6 , elle a e*t consacre"e par d'assez nombreuses coutumes 
locales du Dauphin^ et de la Provence ; et elle a e"te" enfin e"tendue 
a tout le comt de Provence par un statut de 1469.2 


L'etude du regime des gens maries est aussi caracteristique, 
qu'il s'agisse des apports de la femme, ou des donations que son 
mari lui fait au moment du mariage. 

A. Apports de la femme. Inalienability de la dot. 

Pendant tout le haut moyen age, nous trouvons dans nos 
regions, comme dans la France coutumiere, une association etroite 
des deux epoux dans tous les actes qui se rapportent a la gestion 
des biens du manage. Qu'il s'agisse des biens du mari, ou qu'il 

habuero, si tenere voluerit, ducentos solidos . . . redimi. ... Cf. 
Festschrift Brunner, p. 294, note I. C. lyonnais, ii. N 570 (1260): 
testament d'un bourgeois de Beaujeu, Mguant, pour son anniversaire et celui 
de sa femme, une vigne a Peglise Notre-Dame de Beaujeu : Si autem dilecti 
filii mei Johannes et Bernardus vel alter ipsorum potuerit assignare dictis 
presbiteris quindecim solidos Viennensium debitales vel solvere quindecim 
libras Viennensium ad emendos redditus pro dicto anniversario faciendo, volo 
quod dicta vinea, hoc facto, ad ipsos redeat pleno jure. Acte de 1272, 
cite" dans notre etude sur le Retrait lignager dans le droit proven^al, p. 1 6. 
Dans d'autres actes, le droit de rachat est limite a certains cas determines, 
p. ex., au cas ou le donataire ne respecterait pas les clauses de la donation, ou 
les biens donnes ne seraient pas laisses a 1'usage collectif des moines. 

1 C. lyonnais, i. N 378 : ... Item voluit et ordinavit dicta A., quod, 
si predicti filii sui vel alter eorum de rebus supradictis . . . vellent aliquid 
vendere, obligare seu alio modo alienare, primo presentarent sive presentaret 
fratribus suis aliis predictis vel eorum propinquis. V. aussi BibL Dumbcnsis, 
i. p. 331 (1402). 

2 V. notre etude sur le Retrait lignager, 1. cit., p. 16 et s., 25 et s. 

184 R. Caillemer [ix 

s'agisse des apports de la femme (de"signes, non pas du terme de 
dos\ mais des noms de maritagium, matrimonium, mar it amentum, 1 
vercheria en Provence 2 ), les deux 6poux agissent ensemble et 
disposent ensemble de leurs biens. Aucune trace de Tinalie'nabilite' 
dotale ne peut etre releve'e. Encore au milieu 'du XIIP siecle nous 
trouvons 93. et la des femmes alie"nant leurs immeubles dotaux avec 
le concours de leur mari, sans qu'aucun doute s'eleve sur la validite" 
de ces actes. 3 Pendant tout le haut moyen age, la ne"cessite" de la 
laudatio des plus proches heritiers de la femme pour 1'alienation 
des immeubles de celle-ci rendait superflu tout autre systeme de 
protection. Certains documents sont, a cet e*gard, tres caracteris- 
tiques. En Bugey, en 1234, Pierre de Noiret donne aux Chartreux 
de Meyriat, du consentement de sa femme, des biens faisant partie 
de la dos de celle-ci. Plus tard, il attaque cette alienation ; or, il 
n'invoque nullement le caractere dotal des biens alienes ; il allegue 
des raisons toutes differentes : ces biens sont occupe"s par des tiers, 
qui les detiennent en vertu d'un albergement ; et ces tenanciers, 
n'ayant pas consenti a 1'alienation, declarent qu'elle ne leur est pas 
opposable. L'arbitre choisi, 1'eveque de Belley, oblige Pierre de 
Noiret a faire laudatio de sa propre donation, en obtenant cette fois 
la laudatio de ses fils et des tenanciers recalcitrants. II ne semble 
pas mettre en doute, au point de vue du regime matrimonial, la 
pleine validite de cet acte. 4 

1 Maritagium : Bibl. Hist, du Lyonnais, p. 29 (1229); C. lyonnais, i. 
N 2 56 (i 229) ; 236 (1228). Maritamentum : C. de S.-Andre 1 le Bas, N 1 93. 
Matrimonium: C. lyonnais, i. N 163 (1219). Cf. C. de S. -Vincent de 
Mdcon, N 477 : Nepti sue donavit in maritatu. ... 

2 Vercheria : hommage d'Amauri de Montfort a 1'archeveque d'Embrun, 
en 1222, a raison des biens de sa femme en Embrunais, Fornier, iii. p. 226. 
Le mot est reste dans la langue proven^ale. V. Mistral, Lou Tresor dou feli- 
brige, v verquiero : 

Fiho poulido porto sa verquiero au front. 

3 P. ex., en 1247 (C. lyonnais, i. N 417), une femme vend une maison 
avec le consentement de son mari, sans que 1'acte contienne la moindre allusion 
aux obstacles tenant au regime dotal ; v. encore N OS 22I (1226); 287 (1234). 
C. de S.-Sauveur en Rue, N cxxxviii. (1253): Ego Pictavina, . . . con- 
sentiente et volente praedicto viro meo, . . . dono et concede . . . terram 
meam dotalem . . . cum censibus et usagiis et pleno dominio dictae terrae. 
Peu importe le mode d'alienation, vente ou donation, et Ton pourrait multiplier 
les exemples de ce genre. 

4 C. de S.-Sulpice en Bugey, N 27 (1234). Cette question de la necessite 
du consentement des tenanciers dans les alienations a etc, jusqu'ici, assez peu 

ix] Droit Coutumier 185 

L'idee de la communaute entre e"poux, qui triomphera plus tard 
dans la France coutumiere, mais que le regime dotal remain 
chassera de la region que nous e"tudions, se manifeste dans diverses 
chartes, et notamment dans certains documents lyonnais du haut 
moyen age. II arrive souvent que deux e"poux, faisant une 
donation avec reserve d'usufruit, stipulent que, au dces du pre"- 
mourant, 1'usufruit s'e"teindra pour une moitie, que cette moitie" ira 
au couvent et servira de donation pro sepultura pour ce premourant ; 
tandis que 1'usufruit se continuera pour moitie" au profit du conjoint 
survivant. 1 Et ce partage par moitie" est particulierement remar- 
quable quand le bien donne par les e"poux est un bien qu'ils ont 
acquis au cours du mariage, p. ex., par suite d'un contrat de 
concession fonciere ad medium plantum? 

etudiee dans les actes frai^ais. Cette question se rattache a celle de la 
necessite de la saisine pour une alienation valable, principe qui s'affirme des 
1'epoque franque, et qui a subsiste dans certaines coutumes (p. ex. dans les 
coutumes anglaises) avec une grande nettete. 

1 C. de Savigny, N 83 (env. 970): Tali convenientia ut, quandiu 
vixerimus, teneamus, . . . et qualiscumque de nobis duobus primus obierit, 
medietas ipsius mansi in dominicatum veniat. N 170 (env. 980): Eo 
videlicet tenore ut quamdiu vixero fructum percipiam ; post mortem vero 
meam ex medietate ejus sepulturam habeam\ aliam autem medietatem 
Adalendis uxor mea, quamdiu vixerit, possideat ; et, qualiscumque ex nobis 
prius obierit, absque ulla contradictione, ad cultores ipsius ecclesiae medietas 
de ipsa haereditate perveniat ; post decessum vero utrorumque omnia vobis 
cedo. C. d^Ainay (Bernard), N 72 (av. 993) : deux epoux donnent aliquid 
ex rebus nostris, hoc est curtilem unum, avec reserve d'usufruit ; et, quisquis 
ex nobis duobus primus obierit, unam medietatem predicti monachi ex supra- 
scriptis rebus recipiant. Post amborum quoque discessu . . . totum ad 
integrum teneant et possideant. N 105 (989) : memes formules. N 1 1 1 
(env. 1000) : Ita ut quicumque de nobis duobus prius mortuus fuerit, statim 
monachi prescripti loci suam medietatem accipiant, subsequens vero stiam 
medietatem teneat dum vixerit ; post mortem autem illius, medietatem illam 
monachi prefati in suo jure ponant. 

2 V. notamment C. de Savigny, N 266 (970 env.). Deux epoux donnent 
des terres qu'ils ont acquises par un partage avec les moines de 1'Ile-Barbe : 
quicquid cum monachis Insulae Barbarae partiendo visi sumus habere ; . . . 
ita tamen ut medietas de ipsis rebus ad ipsam ecclesiam pro sepultura corporis 
mei a die praesenti perveniat ; aliam vero medietatem, quamdiu Dulcisina 
uxor mea vixerit, possideat, et post suum decessum sepulturae locum exinde 
accipiat. La terre acquise se partage done egalement entre les deux epoux, 
et chacun d'eux dispose de sa part/n? sepultura. V., sur ces tendances des 
coutumes de la France meridionale, avant la renaissance du droit remain, les 
tres justes observations de M. Lefebvre, Nouv. Rev. hist, de Droit, 1911, 
p. 369 et s., notamment p. 390, ou 1'auteur cite encore d'autres actes des 
cartulaires d'Ainay et de Grenoble. 

1 86 R. Caillemer [ix 

Tel e"tait le droit de nos regions avant la renaissance du droit 
remain, et il ressemblait en somme singulierement a celui de la 
France coutumiere. La romanisation s'est faite peu a peu ; elle 
ne se traduit d'abord que dans les mots et dans les formules, et 
elle ne modifie pas au debut le fond du droit. 

Le mot dos reparait avec son sens remain, et il remplace peu a 
peu, pour designer le patrimoine de la femme, les autres termes 
rappele"s plus haut. 1 Puis, dans les renonciations qui terminent les 
actes, on voit apparaitre des clauses se rapportant a la lex Julia 
(avec le sens que les romanistes du moyen age donnent a ces mots), 
au Se"natus-consulte Velle"ien, au privilege de dot, a 1'hypotheque 
de la femme sur les biens du mari. 2 Quand une femme reprend en 
fief une de ses terres, elle renonce juri prohibenti ne super re 

1 Parmi les actes des Dauphins, le premier qui parle de dos au sens 
remain est 1'acte de 1202 par lequel Guillaume, comte de Forcalquier, donne 
a sa fille Beatrix, qui doit epouser Andre Dauphin, ses possessions de Gap 
et d'Embrun. Fornier, iii. p. 222. Vers la meme epoque, dans un acte 
lyonnais de 1206 (C. lyonnais, i. N 99), dos designe sans doute aussi la dot 
romaine. Pour 1'epoque anterieure, on ne peut relever que quelques tres 
rares documents ou dos designe 1'apport de la femme : Ch. de Cluny, N 
2528 (acte maconnais non date, des environs de 1'an 1000 ?). Partout ailleurs, 
jusqu'a la fin du xn e siecle, le mot designe la donation du mari (Ch. de 
Cluny, N os 1777, 2628, etc.). 

2 Dans le C. de S. -Victor de Marseille, les premieres renonciations de ce 
genre remontent aux annees 1202 (N 977), 1212 (N 930), 1229 (N 909) ; 
ces documents ont etc deja signales par M. Meynial, Nouv. Rev. hist, de Droit, 
1901, p. 275, n. 2, et p. 689, n. 2. Dans les actes lyonnais, on trouve vers 
1215, sous une forme encore rudimentaire, les premieres renonciations relatives 
au regime matrimonial. C. lyonnais, i. N 140 (1216): Renuncians omni 
juri sibi in his rebus competenti vel in futurum ratione dotis vel propter 
nuptias donationis vel alicujus melioramenti competituro, juramento ab ea 
interposito. N 164 (1219): Preterea predicte Dideria et Rollenz pro- 
miserunt sub eodem juramento, quod ratione dotis vel alia qualibet ratione 
contra hanc venditionem non venirent, nee eundem Stephanum super re 
vendita presumerent aliquatenus molestare. N 233 (1228): abre- 
nuntiantes . . . exception! dotis. N 236 (1228): Abrenunciavit omni 
juri quod habebat in eisdem mansis ratione maritagii vel aliqua alia ratione. 
N 261 (1230): Expresse renuncians omni exceptioni et omni benefitio 
et auxilio juris canonici et civilis, que ipsam contingerent in hac parte. Au 
N 256 (1229), l a femme renonce simplement au privilegium dotis. Les 
renonciations detaillees n'apparaissent que plus tard : Bibl. Dumbensis, ii. 
Suppl. N in (1253). V., sur Phistoire des renonciations en general, 
Petude precitee de M. Meynial. On rencontre des renonciations en Dauphine" 
et en Lyonnais depuis le debut du xm e siecle seulement. Au xii e siecle, 
elles sont exceptionnelles : C. des fecouges, N 5 (1139) ; mais cette charte ne 
nous est parvenue que par un vidimus du xiv e siecle. 

ix] Droit Coutumier 187 

dotali aliqua servitus imponatur. x Ces clauses sont inse"res 
re"gulierement et sans discernement dans tous les actes ou des 
femmes interviennent, meme s'il s'agit de femmes non marines ou 
veuves. 2 

Peu a peu, cependant, I'id^e d'une veritable protection de la 
dot se dgage ; et cette protection deviendra de plus en plus 
necessaire, au fur et a mesure que s'att^nuera 1'ancienne garantie 
resultant de la laudatio des proches parents. Et il est meme tres 
remarquable que cette idee nouvelle va pe"netrer en de"pit des 
renonciations et des cauteles. Meme dans les actes ou les femmes 
de"clareront renoncer au be"ne"fice de la loi Julia, Pidee d'inaliena- 
bilit dotale triomphera ; en de"pit de leur renonciation, les femmes 
se proccuperont de garantir leur dot. Tant il est vrai qu'il y a 
deux romanisations distinctes : celle des formes, la plus connue et 
la plus facile a e"tudier ; celle du fond du droit, plus lente, parfois 
moins complete, mais dont les resultats, une fois acquis, seront 
infiniment plus solides. 3 

Mais, au XHP siecle, au moins dans la region lyonnaise, 4 ce 
n'est point l'inalienabilit absolue du droit romain qui s'introduit. 
La dot reste alienable, a condition que le mari fournisse a sa femme 

1 C. lyonnais, ii. N 546 (1258): I. R. miles et domina A. uxor ejus 
. . . recipiunt in francum feudum . . . quicquid juris dictus miles nomine 
dicte domine uxoris sue et ipsa habent. . . . Renunciantes . . . exception! . . . 
dotis et Velleiani privilegio, et juri prohibenti ne super re dotali aliqua servitus 

2 C. lyonnais, ii. N 535 (1256) : Jaquette de Vaux, non mariee, reprenant 
des biens en fief du chapitre de Saint-Paul, renonce au privilegium dotis et 
ypothece . 

3 Peut-etre trouvons-nous, dans un litige survenu en 1229, 1'une des 
premieres manifestations de Pinalienabilite dotale (C. lyonnais, i. N 257). 
Aymon d'Escullon, avec le concours de son fils, vend a 1'eglise Saint-Just de 
Lyon un bien appartenant a sa femme. Puis il veut reprendre le bien vendu, 
et son beau-frere soutient cette reclamation : Duranz Gaudemars, cujus 
sororem idem Aymo habuerat in uxorem, de cujus dote idem Duranz dicebat 
res predictas fuisse. ... Les reclamants renoncent cependant a leurs 
preventions, moyennant 12 livres viennoises. Toutefois Pacte n'indique 
nullement que la base de ces reclamations soit le caractere dotal du bien 
vendu ; et, dans les renonciations qui terminent cette transaction, il n'est fait 
aucune allusion a la dotalite. 

4 Les documents imprimes relatifs aux autres regions que nous etudions, 
et en particulier a la Provence, sont trop peu nombreux pour nous permettre 
de connaitre 1'extension territoriale du systeme que nous presentent les textes 

1 88 jR. Caillemer [ix 

une recompensatio, un excambium, en lui ce"dant des immeubles ou 
des droits immobiliers ; au besoin, il devra acheter des immeubles 
pour les donner a sa femme en echange du bien dotal alie'ne'. Le 
principe est pose tres nettement dans un acte lyonnais de 1236: 
Res dotales vendi vel distrahi a maritis non possunt, sine recom- 
pensatione sufficienti facta uxoribus. 1 

Dans les premieres annees du Xlir siecle, ce systeme nouveau 
n'est pas encore constitue, et la dot semble encore pleinement 
alienable. 2 Vers 1200, B. d'Andilly, faisant son testament, legue a 
sa femme divers immeubles, pour lui tenir lieu des biens dotaux 
vendus ou engages. 3 Mais il semble bien qu'il n'y ait encore la 
qu'un scrupule du mari, et non pas une obligation stricte ; peut-etre 
aussi la femme n'avait-elle pas consenti a 1'alienation. 

Mais, a partir de Tan 1220, la doctrine se fait plus precise et 
plus exigeante. Desormais le remploi doit etre deja effectue et 
accept^ par la femme, au moment ou l'alination du bien dotal 
devient definitive. Dans quelques documents, la femme se contente 
de declarer qu'elle a regu une recompensatio suffisante ; 4 mais 
d'ordinaire, dans 1'acte d'alienation du bien dotal, les biens fournis 
en remploi par le mari sont indiques avec precision. Peu importe 
d'ailleurs le mode d'alienation du bien dotal, qu'il s'agisse d'une vente, 5 

1 C. lyonnais, i. N 305. 2 V. les actes cites plus haut. 

3 C. lyonnais, i. N 80 : Uxori sue, pro terra sua quam vendiderat, et pro 
quadem curte sua quod invadiaverat, dimisit, pro velle suo facere, curtem 
. . . et vineam . . . et terram . . . et gageriam. 

4 Bibl. Dumbensis, ii. Suppl. N 74 (1228) : Confessa est insuper comi- 
tissa se pro predicto castro, quod ad ipsam ratione successionis et jure 
hereditario pertinebat, a domino et marito suo Johanne prefato comite per- 
mutadonem sufficientem et ydoneam recepisse ; et supradicta omnia rata 
habuit et sponte in manu nostra concessit. Gr. Cart. d^Ainay, ii. p. 181 
(1263): Et quoniam dicte res vendite erant de dote dicte Guigone, ut ipsa 
asserit, ipsa confitetur se habuisse et recepisse a dicto marito bonum et 
legitimum escambium pro ipsis rebus de dote sua, ut asserit, existentibus, de 
quo ipsa se tenet integre pro pagata. 

5 C. lyonnais, i. N 256 (1229): Cum autem hec essent de maritagio 
predicte Guicharde, facta sibi recompensatione ab Umberto marito suo de eo 
quod apud Chal habebat, ambo laudaverunt predictum curtile. N 26 1 (i 230): 
vente de 3 solidi debitales aux Templiers de Laumusse : Et cum dicti tres 
solidi debitales nominate Dannon fuissent a matre sua legati, propter quod ad 
dotem suam videbantur pertinere vel dotis privilegio fungi, ne super hoc dicti 

fratres vel alius pro ipsis possent in posterum molestari, prenominatus Willelmus, 
uxori sue recompensationem faciens, tres solidos debitales eidem assignavit 
in appendiciis . . ., propter quod eadem dictis tribus solidis renunciavit. 

ix] Droit Coutumier 189 

d'une donation, ou encore d'une transaction. 1 A en croire 

N 305 (1236), acte cite* plus haut : Quum igitur res dotales vendi vel distrahi 
a maritis non possunt sine recompensatione sufficient! facta uxoribus, dictus G. 
in sufficientem recompensationem dedit in perpetuum dicte Agneti uxori sue et 
heredibus ejus clausum. ... Entre autres elements de la recompensatio 
figure la renonciation du mari et de son frere a une obligation de 100 livres 
grevant a leur profit les biens dotaux. V. encore le N 437 (1249) : In con- 
cambium vero et permutationem rerum venditarum dotalium dicte Petronille, 
assignat et concedit dictus Jarento miles prefate Petronille uxori ejusdem . . ., 
de quibus rebus sibi nomine dicte concambii et permutationis assignatis dicta 
Petronilla se tenet et tenuit coram nobis integre pro pagata. T. ii. N 522 
(1255): vente de bien dotal par le pere du mari : que res vendite ad Beatricem, 
filiam quondam dicti Hugonis, nunc uxorem Thomassini filii dicte Thome mi- 
litis jure hereditario pertinebant. Les jeunes epoux,/^// puberes, approuvent. 
Dictus vero Thomas in recompensationem et escambium dictarum rerum 
venditarum reddit, tradit et assignat et concedit dicte Beatrici curtile. . . . 
De qua recompensatione et escambio dicta Beatrix et dictus Thomassinus de 
mandate dicti Thome se tenent pro pagatis ; asserentes per juramentum quod 
propter hoc eorum condicio non est in aliquo pejorata, immo quod melior est 
effecta. N 555 (1259): Et quoniam dicte res erant . . . de dote dicte 
Ysabelle, dictus Stephanus (le vendeur) maritus suus reddidit ei . . . in 
escambium et recompensationem ipsarum rerum quicquid idem Stephanus habet 
in parrochiis . . . ; de quo escambio et recompensatione dicta Ysabella se 
tenet per juramentum pro pagata ; asserens per idem juramentum quod propter 
hoc dotis sue conditio melior est effecta. 

On pourrait relever encore, dans les autres recueils lyonnais, au xni e sjecle, 
de nombreux exemples de ces alienations de biens dotaux, moyennant remploi 
en biens du mari. Gr. C. d'Ainay, ii. N xi (1279) : * Et cum dicte res vendite 
essent de dote dicte domine Margarite, idem miles in recompensationem et 
escambium . . . reddit et assignat eidem domine res que secuntur. ... C 
des francs-fiefs du b'orez, N 41 (1257): vente de 5 sous de rente et du haut 
domaine d'une vigne : Et quia predict! quinque solidi forcium novorum et 
dominium ad dictam Aalis pertinent racione dotis, dictus Petrus eidem volenti 
et ex certa scientia recipient! reddit et assignat in recompensacionem predictorum 
tres jornalatas vinee . . . ; et de istis rebus habitis et receptis dicta Aalis, 
cerciorata de jure et de facto, pro supradictis venditis dicto capellano, se tenet 
integre, ut asserit, pro pagata. 

II arrive que le mari, au lieu de donner a sa femme la propriete meme de 
ses immeubles, en remploi, lui assigne une rente sur ses immeubles. C. 
lyonnais, i. N 173 (1221): vente d'un courtil et de vignes : Et ob recon- 
pensacionem rei vendite, Johannes Dumbeis dedit et concessit uxori sue Proetan 
x libras et x solidos super domum quam habet apud Ansam, et inde pacem 
ipse et filii sui eidem Proetan in perpetuum juraverunt. Ce texte est 1'un 
des plus anciens ou Ton voie fonctionner le systeme de la recompen- 

1 La plupart des documents que nous venons de citer concernent la vente 
d'un bien dotal. Mais le meme systeme d'alienabilite moyennant remploi se 
rencontre aussi dans des donations, ou dans des transactions portant sur la dot. 

i go R. Caillemer [ix 

certains documents, il faut meme que le bien donne" en recompen- 
satio ait une valeur nettement supe"rieure a celle du bien dotal 
alie"ne". On exige, par exemple, que les biens donnas en remploi 
rapportent 60 sous de rente, si les biens dotaux aline"s valaient 50 
livres, ce qui fait un revenu de 6 %. J Ajoutons enfin que cet usage 
de 1'ali^nation moyennant remploi a sa repercussion sur la liste des 
renonciations : Ton voit apparaitre, a cote de la renonciation a la loi 
Julia ou au Velle"ien, la renonciation exceptioni legitime remunera- 
tionis non habile? 

D'ordinaire, les deux operations, vente du bien dotal et recom- 
pensatio, sont reunies dans le meme acte, mais logiquement elles 
restent distinctes, et la recompensatio, \excambium doit meme 
theoriquement prceder 1'alienation. Un document lyonnais de 
1 244 est particulierement curieux a cet e"gard. Au lieu de vendre 
directement le bien dotal a l'acque"reur, sauf a assigner a sa femme 
une recompensatio, le mari commence par conclure avec sa femme 
un echange. Le mari et son frere cedent a la femme un immeuble 
qui leur appartient, en ^change de I'immeuble dotal ; ce premier 
acte est fait avec le consentement des enfants d'un premier lit de 
cette femme, et celle-ci declare que 1'echange est avantageux 
pour elle. Puis le mari et son frere, ayant ainsi acquis la libre 
disposition du bien dotal, le vendent a une Maison de 1'Ordre de 
Malte. 3 

Gr. C. tfAinay, ii. N xlix. p. 89 (1227) : proces relatif a un moulin, que ad 
se pertinere dicebat (Radulphus) ratione Aalis uxoris sue. Une transaction 
intervient ; les epoux renoncent a leurs droits sur le moulin, moyennant 1 2 
livres viennoises : Quia vero jus prefate querele ad uxorem dicti Radulphi 
militis pertinebat, ut ipsi dicebant, reddidit ei maritus ejus ex causa permuta- 
tionis quicquid habebat apud . . ., quam permutationem ipsa domina gratam 
habuit et recepit. 

1 C. des francs -fiefs du Forez, N 27 (1246), p. 121 : Guigues de 
Montagny et sa femme vendent, pour 50 livres, des droits immobiliers a 
Feurs : Et qum res superius nominate erant de dote vel de patrimonio dicte 
Agnetis, dictus Guigo dedit et tradidit ei, in recompensationem earumdem, 
quicquid habebat. . . . Et, si hec non valerent sexaginta solidos fortium 
censuales, dictus Guigo debet eos dicte Agneti perficere de redditibus suis 
quos habet in mandamento de Fontaneis ; ut de eis faciat quicquid facere 
poterat de rebus que erant de dote vel de patrimonio ejus. 

2 Gr. C. d'Ainay, ii. N vii. (1268): exceptioni legitime remunerationis 
non habite; N xi. (1279): exceptioni legitimi escambii non habiti. C. 
lyonnais, ii. N 522 (1255) : exceptioni legitime remunerationis non habite. 

3 C. lyonnais, i. N 393 (1244) : ... Uxor domini Willermi de Pavenens, 

ix] Droit Coutumier 191 

Ainsi, au XIII s siecle, dans la region lyonnaise, la dot, e"chappe 
encore a 1'application rigoureuse des regies romaines relatives a 
Pinalie'nabilite" dotale, et est soumise a un regime en somme assez 
different du systeme romain. La regie romaine d'inalie"nabilit 
absolue ne triomphera que plus tard. 1 

Cette inalienability relative ne s'est appliquee tout d'abord, 
semble-t-il, qu'aux immeubles dotaux de la femme. Mais, dans 
le courant du Xlir siecle, un systeme de protection analogue, 
quoique moins net et moins e"nergique, a e"te e"tendu aux immeubles 
du mari, dans la mesure ou la dot mobiliere de la femme e"tait 
assignee sur ces immeubles, et ou ils en garantissaient la restitution. 

Au de"but du Xlll e siecle, aucune protection spe"ciale de la dot 
mobiliere de la femme n'apparait encore. Quand le mari vend un 
de ses biens propres, la femme renonce purement et simplement a 
tous les droits qu'elle peut exercer sur ce bien a raison de sa dot. 2 
L'hypotheque que le droit romain lui accordait sur les immeubles 
de son mari ne semble guere avoir eu d'application pratique : on la 
mentionne rarement, et seulement pour y renoncer. 3 II arrive 

dicta Boicharda, laudantibus et consentientibus . . . liberis dicte domine 
Boicharde, quos ab alio marito suscepit, permutavit dicto W. de Pavenens 
marito suo et Jocerando de Pavenens militi, fratribus . . . mansum . . ., 
quern dederat dicto Willermo in dotem cum earn accepit in uxorem, cum 
manso . . . et cum his que habebant vel possidebant dicti milites apud 
Granges . . . ; et juravit dicta domina super sancta Dei evangel ia dictam 
permutationem sibi utilem esse, et se imperpetuum per se vel per alium contra 
non venturam. Deinde dicti W. et Jocerandus . . . dictum mansum . . ., 
quern ex dicta permutatione habuerunt, vendiderunt ... 

1 Guy Pape ne semble plus connaitre Palienabilite de la dot moyennant un 
remploi. La seule question qu'il se pose est la fameuse question de savoir si 
un serment de la femme peut valider Palienation de la dot. Qu. 1 90 ; cf. 
Expilly, Arrtts, ch. 123. On sait que plus tard, le 20 avril 1664, une 
ordonnance royale, rendue a la requete du prevot des marchands et des 
echevins de Lyon, est venue abroger Pinalienabilite de la dot dans le Lyonnais, 
le Maconnais, le Forez et le Beaujolais. Cf. Lefebvre, article precite, p. 428 
et s. 

2 V. C. lyonnais, i. N 236 (1228), cite plus haut, et un grand nombre 
d'actes du meme recueil. 

3 V., p. ex., Bibl. Dumb. ii. Suppl. N 73 (1228), a la suite d'une obliga- 
tion d'immeubles : Blancha quoque, dicti domicelli uxor, dictam obligationem 
expresse laudavit, . . . renuncians cum juramento ypothece dotis generali vel 
special!, tacite vel expresse, in rebus supradictis, et omni juri et auxilio legum 
vel canonum sibi competent! vel competituro. N in (1253), a la suite 
d'une receptio feudi faite par un mari avec la laudatio de sa femme : Re- 
nunciantes . . . exception! . . . dotis et ypothece tacite et expresse privilegio, 
et Velleiani privilegio, legi Julie de fundo dotali non alienando. 

192 R. Caillemer [ix 

meme que la femme du vendeur cede expressdment a Pacheteur les 
sommes dotales que 1'immeuble vendu garantissait. 1 

Cependant son desinteressement n'est pas toujours aussi complet. 
II arrive que la femme, apportant ainsi sa laudatio a 1'alienation de 
I'immeuble du mari, se fasse payer par 1'acquereur cette laudatio 
et cette renonciation a ses droits e"ventuels 2 ; ou bien encore elle se 
fait donner par l'acque"reur les drouillesi>, les prestations accessoires 
qu'il est d'usage de joindre au prix de vente. 3 Quelquefois enfin, 
la femme revolt, lors de 1'alienation, une somme d'argent plus con- 
siderable encore : elle se fait remettre par son mari, a concurrence 
du montant de sa dot, le prix du bien vendu.f Mais ces precedes, 

1 C. lyonnais, i. N 99 (1206): Supradicta vero domina in omnibus 
possessionibus supradictis habet 1 Irbras de dote, quas predicte domui Templi 
dedit et concessit. N 163 : meme acte refait en 1219. 

2 C. lyonnais, ii. N 557 (1259): transaction entre Albert de La Tour et 
Pabbe d'Ambronay au sujet de leurs droits a Lagnieu ; Pabbe remet, pro bono 
pacts, 1 1 1. vienn. a Albert et 30 sous a son epouse : Nos vero Alasia, 
domina de Turre, receptis dictis xxx solidis pro laudibus, laudamus et 
approbamus compositionem predictam. 

3 C. lyonnais, ii. N 573 (1261) : vente par Bertrand de Tassin a 1'eglise 
de Lyon : Hanc autem venditionem et precii solutionem domina Elyoz, 
uxor dicti militis . . . sponte sua laudat, approbat, ratificat et acceptat, et 
omne jus et ypothecam . . . quitat. . . . Confitetur etiam ipsa domina se 
habuisse a dictis emptoribus sex solidos Viennensium pro druelliis. V. Du 
Cange, v is druaylia, drueleria, droillia, drolia et draulia ; Collet, Explication 
. . . des statuts . . . de Bresse, art. 83. Chartes de Cluny, vi. N47ii 
(1237) : pro laudationibus seu drueleriis, acte deja signale par Du Cange. 

4 Cart, lyonnais, i. N 193 (1223) : vente par Guillaume Bernard a 1'eglise 
de Lyon : De precio quoque supradicto confessus est coram nobis predictus 
Willelmus sibi plene satisfactum fuisse, et illud totum Willelme uxori sue pro 
dote sua solvit ; unde propter hoc tarn dictus Willelmus quam Willelma uxor 
ejus omni juri sibi in prefatis rebus aliquando competenti vel competituro cum 
juramento renuntiarunt. N 271 (1231): Berard de Pizay et sa femme 
Guillelmine, ne pouvant payer leurs dettes, vendent a Amedee de Miribel, 
frere de Berard, tous leurs immeubles situes a Soucieu, moyennant 25 livres 
payees immediatement et un complement a percevoir sur les revenus d' Amedee 
a Ornacieu, jusqu'a ce que les vendeurs aient regu en tout 7500 sous: 
Dictum autem rerum venditarum precium et dictos redditus . . . pro precio 
assignatos dictus Berardus assignavit dicte Willelme uxori sue pro dote sua ; 
quam assignationem ipsa gratam habuit et acceptam, confitens et recognoscens 
dictas res sibi assignatas plus valere quam res que in dotem fuerant sibi date. 
Preterea domina Willelma . . . renuntians . . . juri ypothecarum quod 
habebat generaliter vel specialiter in rebus et possessionibus omnibus supra- 
nominatis. . . . Sub eodem quoque juramento renuntiavit sepedicta Willelma 
litteris, si quas habebat, quod dicte res sibi essent pro dote specialiter 
assignate ; et promisit se eis decetero non usuram. N 274 (1232): Etienne 

ix] Droit Coutumier 193 

aboutissant a remettre entre les mains de la femme, au cours du 
manage, des sommes d'argent plus ou moins importantes, sont 
evidemment tres imparfaits. Une telle restitution anticipe"e de la 
dot n'est guere admissible. 

Aussi, depuis 1240 environ, apparait un autre systeme, plus 
conforme aux regies normales du regime matrimonial, plus voisin 
des regies qui protegent la dot immobiliere. L'alie"nation de 
1'immeuble garantissant la dot n'est valable que si la femme declare 
formellement, au besoin sous la foi du serment, que la restitution 
de sa dot est assuree au moyen d'autres biens du mari, que de 
nouveaux immeubles ont te" affecte"s a la garantie de la dot, en 
recompensatio des immeubles aliened, 1 ou du moins que son mari 
possede d'autres biens apparents , suffisants a assurer la restitution 
de sa dot. 2 Toutefois il convient de noter que 1'acte n'indique 

Charreton et son epouse vendent une maison pour 28 livres. Et ipsa 
Petronilla expresse renunciavit sub eodem juramento omni juri ypothecarum 
et omni alii juri quod ratione maritagii vel qualibet alia ratione posset ei 
competere in domo supradicta vel prodesse quoquomodo. Confessa fuit 
etiam quod de pecunia memorata satisfactum ei fuit in xxilll libris forcium, 
quas maritus ipsius confessus fuerat ab eadem se in dotem recepisse. 

1 BibL Dtimbensis, ii. Suppl., N 91 (1236) : Recognoscens dicta Maria 
sibi satisfactum de dote sua, et sibi fuisse cautum alibi de eadem : ces 
derniers mots semblent indiquer que la dot n'a pas ete restituee, mais a etc 
assignee sur de nouveaux biens. C. de Saint-Sauveur en Rue, N civ. (1242) : 
Hec omnia facta sunt praesente et consentiente Luca uxore mea, et 
renuntiante per juramentum privilegio in hoc sibi competent! ratione rei dotalis, 
recognoscente et confitente cautum sibi a me alibi de dote sua. Grand Cart. 
(fAinay, i. N 49 (1256): Hanc autem venditionem . . . domina Sibilla 
mater dicti Petri et Eliouz uxor sua . . . laudant . . ., et, si forte eis vel 
alter! ipsarum predicta fuerunt pro dote vel dotalicio aut alia causa obligata 
tacite vel expresse, obligationem et omne jus, quod in predictis habent, quittant 
dicto priori . . ., asserentes se recepisse a dicto P. alias possessiones in 
recompensationem plus valentes, in quibus condicio sua melioratur, et non 
modicum aumentatur; et hoc ita esse . . . juraverunt. V. aussi C. de Saint- 
Sauveur en Rue, N cxii. (1251): engagement realise par Hugue Falco, 
sa femme, son fils et sa belle - fille : Et nos praedictae Aalis et Beatrix 
renuntiamus praestitis juramentis . . . omni juri et privilegiis dotis et 
donationis propter nuptias, et tacitis sive expressis hipothecis pro dotibus 
nostris, confitentes alibi in terra dicti militis et filii sui de dotibus nostris 
sufficienter cautum esse. 

2 C. lyonnais, N 386 (1244) : a la suite d'une vente de rentes : confessa 
est etiam dicta nobilis (femme du vendeur) sub prestito sacramento, quod 
alias de bonis dicti B. mariti sui de dote sua potest sibi consuli competenter. 

N 426(1247) : Hanc autem venditionem et precii solutionem laudavit et 
approbavit et ratam habuit domina Guibors, uxor dicti Hugonis, promittens 


194 -# Caillemer [ix 

jamais avec precision quels sont les nouveaux biens du mari ainsi 
affectes a la garantie de la dot ; et, des lors, ce systeme de 
recompensatio ne fonctionne pas ici avec la meme nettete" et la 
meme rigueur que lorsqu'il s'applique aux alienations de la dot 

Ainsi, soit en ce qui concerne Pinalie'nabilite' de la dot 
immobiliere, soit en ce qui touche la garantie de la dot mobiliere, 
nous voyons apparaitre au Xlll e siecle, non pas les pures ide"es 
romaines, mais des systemes originaux de protection des intrets 
de la femme : ni 1'inalienabilite" absolue, ni la garantie resultant de 
Phypotheque de la femme sur les biens du mari n'ont pene'tre' a 
cette epoque dans la pratique. 

Quant aux paraphernaux, la pratique les a longtemps ignores. 
Les chartes parlent bien des bona dotalia et parafernalia, mais sans 
que les contractants sachent ce que ce dernier mot signifie. Une 
charte provengale, au de"but du Xlll e siecle, englobe meme les para- 
phernaux dans l'inalie"nabilite dotale. 1 L'ide"e de biens reserves a la 
femme, laiss^s a son administration et a sa jouissance, etait trop 
contraire aux anciennes conceptions medievales pour pouvoir 
pentrer dans la pratique. 2 

per sacramentum se contra aliquatenus non venturam de jure vel de facto, . . . 
confitens et asserens sub eodem juramento quod ob hanc alienationem seu 
venditionem sue dotis conditio deterior non fiebat, cum vir suus plura alia 
bona habeat, ob quorum existentiam, prout ipsa asserebat, dos sua sibi large 
potest salva consistere et manere. 

Grand Cart. tfAinay, ii. p. 191, Suppl., N 20 (1272): predicta Amfelisia, 
uxore dicti domini Guichardi, per juramentum asserente sibi posse satis 
consuli alibi de dote sua super certis rebus et possessionibus apparentibus 
mariti supradicti. 

1 C. de S. Victor de Marseille, ii. N 909 (1229): Barrale des Baux, 
faisant avec le consentement de son mari et de ses enfants une donation 
immobiliere a Saint-Victor, renonce : specialiter juribus que decernunt res 
dotales seu parafernales alienari non posse. 

2 La jurisprudence de la France du Midi declarera que, s'il n'y a pas con- 
stitution de dot prefixe, ou s'il n'y a pas du tout de contrat de mariage, tous 
les biens de la femme sont tenus pour dotaux : Roussilhe, Traitt de la Dot, i. 
p. 165 et s. Les paraphernaux sont une anomalie, une institution etrangere 
et que Ton tend a restreindre. De plus, cette meme jurisprudence tend a 
donner au mari Padministration et la jouissance des paraphernaux. V. Guy 
Pape, qu. 468 : il distingue trois especes de biens de la femme, i, la dot; 
2, les paraphernaux, dont il donne la definition suivante : Bona parapher- 
nalia sunt ilia quae ipsa uxor, tempore quo inducitur in domum mariti, secum 
defert, et in quibus administrationem concedit marito tacite vel expresse ; 

ix] Droit Coutumier 195 

B. Gains de survie 

Comme dans les regions plus septentrionales, nous rencontrons 
dans nos pays, au haut moyen age, le douaire. Tantot le mari, au 
moment du manage, attribue a la femme certains biens de"termine"s 
(sponsalicium\ tantot il lui donne une quote-part de tous ses biens 
(dotalicium ; mais cette terminologie n'est pas tres ferme) : souvent, 
dans un meme acte, ces deux genres de libe"ralite sont re'unis. 1 Ce 
douaire appartient en proprie'te' a la femme, mais on releve nette- 
ment dans nos regions, comme dans beaucoup d'autres, des tendances 
a re"server le douaire aux enfants a naitre du mariage, et aussi, a 
deTaut d'enfants, a stipuler le retour du douaire aux parents du 
mari : tendances qui, dans d'autres pays, conduiront au douaire des 
enfants et au douaire en usufruit? 

A partir du XIIP siecle, il se fait un changement dans les 
termes, et dans le fond du droit. 

L'ide"e coutumiere et germanique du calcul du douaire sur la 
fortune du mari va faire place a l'ide"e d'un gain de survie propor- 
tionne" a la dot : ce sera V augment de dot des pays meridionaux, 
largement inspire des regies romaines relatives a la donatio propter 
nuptias. Toutefois l'e"galite" entre la dot et la donatio propter nuptias, 
qui a triomphe" dans quelques coutumes locales du Midi, semble 
n'avoir jamais pe"ne"tre" dans la region qui nous occupe. D'ailleurs 
1'augment de dot n'a pas remplac des la fin du moyen age tous les 
autres gains de survie. La transformation a e"te plus complexe. 
Encore aux XIV e et XV e siecles, on retrouve le mot dotalicium. Ce 
mot a pris, il est vrai, des sens varies. Tantdt il s'agit, comme 
dans les siecles precedents, d'un douaire veritable, calcule sur la 

enfin 3, les biens qui ne sont ni dotaux, ni paraphernaux, quae mulier habet 
omnino separata a viro et in suo regimine ac dominio reservata. 

1 V., comme exemple tres caracteristique de cette institution, le douaire 
(in sponsalitio sive in dotalitio} constitue par Guigue le Gras, comte d'Albon, 
en 1070, au profit de sa fiancee, Agnes (Bull, de PAcad. delphinale, 3 e Serie, 
t. xx. p. 369 et s.) : ce douaire comprend une serie de castra determines, avec 
leurs mandements, et le tiers des placita. V. aussi Marion, C. de Ptglise de 
Grenoble, A, N 21 (1023) ; Ch. de Cluny, N os 7, 88, 105, 229, 439, 659, 686, 
687, etc. ; C. de S. Victor de Marseille, N os 65, 189, 704, 705. Lemotj/^- 
salicium se retrouve encore, en 1257, dans le C. de Saint-Sauveur en Rue, 
N cviii. Cf. Gavet, Sponsalitium et Dotalitium dans les chartes de Pabbaye 
de Cluny (Melanges F. Ciccaglione, i.). 

2 V. notre etude sur les origines du douaire des enfants (Studi in onore di 
Vittorio Scialoja, Prato, 1904). 

196 R. Caillemer [ix 

fortune du mari ou fix a une somme determined. En 1273, le 
contrat de manage entre Anne, heritiere des Dauphins de la seconde 
race, et Humbert de La Tour, contient un dotalicium et doarium 
selon les usages de la Bourgogne : le fianc attribue a sa future 
Spouse, outre certains biens determines, Pusufruit de la moiti de 
tous ses biens. 1 De meme, en 1347, dans un projet de mariage 
entre Humbert II et Blanche, sceur du comte de Savoie Amdee, 
Humbert promet a sa fiancee, en dotalicium^ une rente annuelle de 
10,000 florins. Mais ce dotalicium doit cesser lorsque la dot aura 
te restitute, et, pour ce cas, on stipule un augment de dot, si la 
femme survit et s'il n'y a pas d'enfants du mariage : la rente annuelle 
fera place alors a un capital une fois paye. 2 

Au xv e siecle encore, Guy Pape connait et etudie le douaire, 
dotalicium ou doarium y constitue par le mari au profit de sa 
femme pour le cas de survie de celle-ci ; et, suivant sur ce point la 
vieille conception medievale, il declare que la femme, bien que 
n'ayant sur ce douaire qu'une jouissance viagere, en est cependant 
vraiment proprietaire, et qu'elle doit supporter toutes les charges 
qui pesent sur la propriety fonciere, impots, cens, etc. 3 

Dans d'autres textes cependant, le mot dotalicium prend des 

1 Valbonnais, Hist, de Dauphin^ ii. p. 1 1 et s. 

2 Ibid. ii. p. 569 et s., N cell. : Item actum est quod dictus dominus 
Dalphinus teneatur dare et assignare dictae dominae Blanchae ratione dotalitii 
10,000 flor. annuales, assignandos in castris Visiliae, etc. . . . et quod dicta 
castra sibi tradantur. Et plus loin : Item, in casu ubi restitutio praedictae 
dotis fuerit plenarie facta, quod tune cesset totaliter dotalitium supradictum. 
Si Blanche, devenue veuve, se remarie, le douaire s'eteindra aussitot, ou bien 
il faudra imputer les produits de ce douaire sur le chiffre de la dot a restituer. 
Si Blanche ne se remarie pas, et reprend cependant sa dot par fractions, a 
chacun des termes de restitution de la dot, le douaire sera reduit de 1200 
florins. V. encore, en 1369, le dotalicium de Beatrix de Chalon, mentionne 
dans le testament de son mari Humbert de Villars, et qui comprend un certain 
nombre de castra, avec leurs mandements. Bibl. Dumbensis, i. p. 305. 

3 Guy Pape, Decisiones, qu. 524-525 : Si dotalitium seu doarium con- 
stituatur sponsae futurae in casu quo vir praedecederet, utrum valeat ? Die 
quod sic ... Et ita in judicando servatur . . . Sed . . . pone quod 
maritus assignat uxori doarium in vitam^ vel aliquam rem ad alimenta aut pro 
statu suo tenendo sibi donat vel legat, nunquid istis casibus censebitur uxor 
proprietaria ? . . . Et per hoc dico quod mulier, vita sua durante, tenetur 
pro talibus rebus solvere collectas quae pro ipsis rebus imponentur, census et 
alia onera ex ipsis bonis debita, cum etiam in mulierem talium rerum transeat 
dominium . . . Et ita de consuetudine etiam servatur in hac patria, in locis 
in quibus collectae et subsidia Delphinalia solvuntur. 

ix] Droit Coutumier 197 

significations nouvelles, inconnues pendant le haut moyen age. 
Tantdt le mot de'signe une assignation d'immeubles du mari, 
destinee a garantir a la femme la restitution de sa dot en deniers : 
assignatio facta mulieri causa dotis assequrande^ Tantdt enfin le 
mot dotalicium de'signe un contre - douaire , un droit d'usufruit 
constitue par la femme ou par les parents de la femme au profit du 
mari, pour le cas de sa survie. 2 

Puis apparait un gain de survie appele supravita, qui est 
mentionne" dans les textes lyonnais depuis le xill e siecle, 3 et qui, 
plus tard, usite" en Maconnais, en Bresse, 4 en Dauphine, 5 en Provence, 6 
consiste en une donation reciproque d'une somme d'argent, que le 
survivant prendra dans la fortune du pre'de'cede. Ordinairement, 
la survie de la femme est double de celle du mari. 

1 Telle est la definition du dotalicium donnee au cours d'une contestation 
entre 1'avocat fiscal et le procureur general du Dauphin et le seigneur de 
Sassenage, en 1420, au sujet de la terre de Pont en Royans. Cette terre 
avait ete constitute en dotalicium par le seigneur de Sassenage au profit de 
son epouse, Alice de Chalon, pour garantir, a concurrence de 10,000 florins, 
la restitution de la dot de celle-ci. Les gens du Dauphin reclament, sur 
cette constitution de dotalicium, le paiement des lods et ventes dus en cas 
d'alienation immobiliere. Le seigneur de Sassenage dixit se non teneri, quia 
tale dotalicium, sive assignacio facta mulieri causa dotis assequrande, non 
transfert dominium. II ajoute que la coutume dauphinoise n'impose pas en 
pareil cas le paiement des lods et ventes, puisque la terre doit lui revenir des 
que la dot aura ete restituee. U. Chevalier, Choix de documents inedits, 
p. 254 et s. 

2 Guigue, BibL Hist, du Lyonnais, p. 29 (1229): Humbert de Beaujeu, 
apres avoir constitue un maritagium a sa sceur, Sibille, fiancee a Renaud de 
Bage, ajoute : Ego siquidem H., de voluntate et mandato expresso S. sororis 
mee, dicto R. contuli in dotalicium medietatem omnium rerum supradictarum, 
si forte, quod absit, earn absque libero mori contingeret, quoad vixerit possi- 
dendam, et post mortem ipsius ad me et ad meos pleno jure revertetur. 

3 C. Lyonnais, i. N 464 (1251) : Hanc autem venditionem. . . . Aalys, 
uxor dicti Guigonis, sponte sua laudat, . . . et omnem ypotecam . . . et 
omnes actiones, si quas habet in dictis rebus venditis . . . pro dote sua aut 
supra-uita . . . quitat. 

4 V., sur les donations de survie, Ch. Revel, D Usage des pays de Bresse, 
n. ed., Bourg, 1729, p. 253 : Item, lesdits Epoux et Epouses futurs se sont 
faits les donations de survie suivantes : Sgavoir, que le dit Epoux venant 
a mourir avant ladite Epouse, ayant enfans ou non, ce Mariage consomme ou 
non, il lui donne de survie 100. Et au meme cas de predeces, ladite epouse 
donne audit epoux 50. 

5 Guy Pape, qu. 565. 

6 De Cormis, Consult, i. col. 1363. En Provence, cette donation 
reciproque est le seul gain de survie pratique. 


./?. Caillemer [ix 

Quant aux mots : augmentum dotis, melioratio, melior -amentum , ils 
ont design^ tout d'abord un accroissement quelconque de la dot, qu'il 
vint du mari, ou des parents du mari, ou meme des parents de la 
femme. 1 Puis le mot augment de dot a pris un sens plus e"troit, et 
a de"sign un gain de survie calcule" sur la dot. Get augment de 
dot n'a jamais eu, dans le Sud - Est de la France, une grande 
extension. II a pris le caractere d'un gain de survie ttgal dans 
quelques pays (Suisse romande, Savoie, Lyonnais, et aussi Franche- 
Comte, ou les roturiers le pratiquent sous le nom de douaire)? 
En Dauphine, il n'a jamais existe" qu'en vertu d'une clause formelle. 3 

1 Bibl. hist, du Lyonnais ', p. 29 (1229): melioramenttim const! tue par le 
frere de la femme au profit du mari. Valb. ii. p. 61 : augmentum dotis 
constitute par le pere de la femme. C. Lyonnais, i. N 1 40 (i 2 1 6) : Renuncians 
omni juri . . . ratione . . . alicujus melioramenti competituro ; N 220 
(1226): melioratio dotis constitute par le pere du marie: Cum Johannes 
films meus contraxisset matrimonium cum filia Boni Johannis, dedi ei et 
concessi in melioration^ quicquid idem Johannes acquisierat vel acquirere 
poterat cum vinea mea de Poimie. De meme pour un autre fils. 

2 V., pour la Suisse Romande, von Wyss, Eh. Guterrechte, p. 177, 
178 et s., 194 et s., 197 et s. ; pour la Savoie, le Bugey, le Valromey, le pays 
de Gex, Ant. Favre, Codex Fabrianus, v. i, De don. ante nupt. 3 et s. : pour la 
Franche-Comte, cout. de 1459, art. 26. Au contraire le douaire des nobles 
francs-comtois est un veritable douaire, calcule sur les immeubles du mari. 

8 On peut voir un exemple d'augment (sans le nom) en 1309, dans 
Valbonnais, i. p. 199, HHH ; la fiancee apportant une dot de 20,000 1., son 
fiance lui fait une donation entre-vifs de 10,000 1. La donation du mari est 
ainsi egale a la moitie de la dot. 

\} augmentum dotis figure dans le projet de mariage, cite plus haut, entre 
Humbert II et Blanche de Savoie, en 1347, Valbonnais, ii. p. 370; cet 
augment ne doit prendre naissance que si la dot est restituee a la veuve, et 
s'il n'y a pas d'enfants nes du mariage : Item memorandum quod, si dotis 
restitutio locum haberet, domino Dalphino praemoriente, non superstitibus 
liberis ab eisdem communibus, dat sibi dominus in augmentum dotis decem 
millia flor. En cas de predeces de Blanche, le Dauphin doit garder de meme 
10,000 florins sur la dot : on nommera ce droit, plus tard, le contre- 

Guy Pape parle a plusieurs reprises de 1'augment : qu. 274, 363, 430, en 
se preoccupant surtout d'ecarter Papplication a 1'augment des regies romaines 
sur la donatio propter nuptias. II cherche a etablir que 1'augment sera du a 
la femme, meme si la dot n'a pas etc payee au mari : et ita in judicando 
servatur in hac curia Parlamenti (qu. 274). II montre que 1'augment de dot 
peut fort bien ne pas etre egal a la dot : Licet in pactis de dote et dotis 
augmento lucrandis aequalitas debeat servari . . ., tamen inaequalitas dotis 
et augmenti quandoque toleratur . . . , primo videlicet, si usus et consuetudo 
patriae habeat oppositum . . . : sicut est in patria Delph., quia videmus 
quotidie quod ex pacto maritus de dote lucratur pro supermta centum vel 

ix] Droit Coutumier 199 

II est reste" a peu pres inconnu en Bresse 1 et en Provence. 2 N 
tardivement, apres la renaissance du droit remain, 1'augment ne 
saurait eVidemment e"tre rattache, comme le voulait Ficker, au 
vieux droit burgonde. 

En somme, malgre' la renaissance du droit romain, les coutumes 
du Sud-Est de la France n'ont pas adopt le systeme romain de la 
donatio propter nuptias. Ici encore, en matiere de gains de survie 
comme en matiere de protection de la dot, ces coutumes ont e"labor< 
une se"rie d'institutions originales, et ici la resistance aux ides 
romaines a e"te" plus durable, car, tandis que I'lnali^nabilite" dotale a 
fini par triompher, cette organisation spontane"e des gains de survie 
a persiste jusqu'a la Revolution. 

Nous pourrions faire, en ce qui concerne les actes a cause de 
mort, des observations analogues. Jusqu'au XIP siecle, le Sud-Est 
de la France a completement ignore^ le testament proprement dit, 
unilateral et revocable. Les actes appeles testaments sont. 
des donations ou des ventes. On ne connait que la donation 
avec reserve de jouissance viagere. Le gadium dauphinois et pro- 
vengal, difficilement revocable, n'est qu'une donation post obitum. 
Lorsque, au XIF et surtout au XIIP siecle, le testament reparait, il 
se de"barrasse pe"niblement de ces anciens caracteres des actes a 
cause de mort. L'institution d'heritier n'apparait qu'avec des 
formes hesitantes (institution de Dieu ou des Saints ; tres 
nombreuses institutions ex re certa). Le contenu du testament 
continue de s'inspirer d'ide'es etrangeres au droit romain. Mais 
cette etude est faite ou va tre faite ailleurs, et elle nous entrainerait 
trop loin. 

ducentos florenos, et uxor duplum. II est curieux de voir Guy Pape, voulant 
donner un exemple de 1'augment dauphinois, choisir un cas de supravita. 

1 V., pour la Bresse, Ch. Revel, D Usage des pays de Bresse, nouv. ed., 
Bourg, 1729, p. 254 et s. : L'augment est une complaisance efeminee et une 
mauvaise drogue qui nous est venue de de-la les Monts ou de la Savoye : le 
droit romain ne 1'a jamais ape^u ; nos Coutumes n'en parlent point. . . . 
Get augment est descendu jusqu'en Bugey, mais il n'a pas passe la riviere 
d'Ain ... En Bresse, il n'existe que s'il est expressement stipule, et on le 
peut apeller Poprobre et Pinfamie de notre siecle. Dans la seconde partie 
de cet ouvrage, p. 119 et s., Revel etudie Paugment tel qu'il fonctionne dans 
le Bugey, le Valromey et le pays de Gex. 

2 V., sur cette extension de Paugment a la fin de notre ancien droit, 
Boucher d'Argis, Traiti des gains nuptiaux, ed. de 1787, p. 37. 

2oo R. Caillemer [ix 

Pour terminer, nous indiquerons encore que les idees romaines 
sur la tutelle, la curatelle, la puissance paternelle, I'emancipation 
sont absentes du droit du haut moyen age. Les premiers actes 
d'emancipation re"ve"lateurs d'une puissance paternelle perpetuelle, 
sont du xnr siecle. En 1204, Andre Dauphin, donnant des 
franchises a St- Vallier, date 1'acte : anno mee milicie primo ; il a 
environ 20 ans ; jusqu'alors, sa mere administrait le comt 
d'Albon : c'est encore la majorit feodale, marquee par 1'adoubement. 1 
Au contraire, en 1237, dans son testament, il distingue, pour son 
jeune fils Guigue, la periode de la tutelle (jusqu'a 14 ans) et celle de la 
curatelle : 2 les ide"es romaines ont done, en cette matiere, pe"ne"tre" 
dans le premier tiers du xill e siecle dans la Maison des comtes 

Ces quelques indications, que Ton pourrait encore allonger, nous 
paraissent caracte"ristiques : ces pays de droit e"crit ont e"te", au haut 
moyen age, profondement p^n^tr^s d'id^es coutumieres, qui ont 
sur quelques points oppose, a la reception du droit remain, une 
vive resistance. 


1 Franchises de Saint- Vallier, dans la Petite Revue des bibliophiles 
dauphinois^ Grenoble, 1869-1874, p. 59. 

2 Valbonnais, i. p. 60 : Item dedit eidem Guigoni tutricem Beatricem. 
. . . Item post expirationem tutelae dedit eandem Beatricem curatricem 
filio suo supradicto. 




LE Digeste, au titre de legibus senatusconsultis et longa consuetudine 
(i. 3), contient un fragment d'Ulpien (L. 31) qui commence ainsi : 
Princeps legibus solutus est. Peu de textes ont exerce" une 
influence plus profond sur le deVeloppement du droit public dans 
certains pays d'Europe et surtout en France. Seul peut reven- 
diquer le meme prestige et meme 1'emporter a cet e"gard un autre 
fragment du meme jurisconsulte Ulpien qui forme la loi du titre 
suivant, de Constitutionibus principum et qui commence par cette 
assertion celebre et mena^ante : Quod principi placuit legis habet 
vigor em. 

La premiere regie formulee par Ulpien et sur laquelle porte 
notre e"tude, avait dans le droit romain du nr siecle une porte"e 
precise et limite'e. L'Empereur n'e"tait point affranchi des lois ; il 
leur e"tait au contraire soumis en principe. Mais il arrivait que 
telle ou telle loi nouvelle exemptait le prince re"gnant de certaines 
des regies qu'elle dictait, et la Lex de imperio Vespasiani montre 
que 1'habitude e"tait de maintenir ces exemptions a ses successeurs. 1 
En dehors de ces franchises spe'ciales et legalement e"dicte"es, 
1'Empereur pouvait obtenir du S^nat, competent a cet egard, la 
dispense de certaines regies le"gales. Puis, et c'est la un nouvel e"tat 
du droit romain deja ^tabli au temps d'Ulpien, on admit que 
1'Empereur pouvait lui-meme accorder des dispenses de cette 

1 Lex de imperio Vespasiani^ dans P. F. Girard, Textes de droit romain 
public's et annote"s, 4 6ine edition, p. 108 : <t Utique quibus legibus plebisve scitis 
scriptum fuit ne divus Aug(ustus), Tiberiusve Julius Caesar Aug(ustus), 
Tiberiusque Claudius Caesar Aug(ustus) Germanicus tenerentur, iis legibus 
plebisque scitis imp(erator) Caesar Vespasianus solutus sit. 


2O2 A. Esmein [x 

espece et, comme il pouvait le cas e'che'ant se les accorder a lui- 
meme, on admit qu'une telle dispense pour lui-meme allait de soi : 
pour plus de simplicity il fut conside're' comme affranchi des regies 
le"gales dont il pouvait accorder la dispense. Tel est le sens vrai 
et la porte"e originelle de cette petite phrase e"crite par Ulpien : 
Princeps legibus solutus est. * Mais cette faculte" ne s'appliquait 
qu'aux lois concernant le droit prive" 2 et, ajoute Mommsen, aux 
lois de police. 3 L'Empereur restait tenu des lois concernant le 
droit public 4 et meme des lois criminelles, bien qu'en vertu des 
principes g6neraux aucune poursuite ne fut possible centre lui 
pendant son principat. 5 

Mais lorsque, lors de la premiere renaissance des e*tudes de 
droit romain, le texte d'Ulpien sortit de la poussiere et fut remis 

1 Voyez le magistral expose de Theodor Mommsen sur cette question, 
Romischer Staatsrecht, zweiter Band, II. Abtheilung, zweite Auflage, p. 728 
et s. traduction franchise par P. F. Girard. 

2 Mommsen fait justement remarquer que le texte d'Ulpien est tire de 
son commentaire ad legem Juliam et Papiam, c'est-a-dire, sur une matiere 
essentiellement de droit prive, et que cela est confirme par ce qui y est dit de 
V Augusta^ laquelle n'avait aucune part au gouvernement et pour laquelle il ne 
pouvait s'agir que de privileges se rapportant au droit prive : Augusta tamen 
licet legibus soluta non est, principes tamen eadem illi privilegia tribuunt quae 
ipsi habent. Dans ce dernier cas il y a manifestement une dispense accor- 
dee par 1'Empereur. D'apres une constitution de 1'empereur Alexandre il 
semblerait meme que les princes sur certains points aient de parti pris 
restreint leur exemption, Cod. Just. vi. 23, 3 : Ex imperfecto testamento nee 
imperatorem hereditatem vindicare saepe constitutum est. Licet enim lex 
imperil solemnibus juris imperatorem solverit, nihil tamen tarn proprium 
imperii est quam legibus vivere. Mais la vraie raison de la decision donnee 
la est qu'il s'agissait de la validite d'un acte accompli non par le Prince, 
mais par un tiers. Voyez une constitution de Justinien (Cod. v. 16, 26) qui 
declare absolument et immediatement valables les donations entre epoux 
faites par I'Empereur a V Augusta ou par V Augusta a 1'Empereur. 

3 Mommsen, op. tit. p. 728 : Nicht mit Unrecht wurde darum spaterhin, 
wenn ein vom Kaiser vollzogener Rechtsakt einer privatrechtlicher oder nur 
poliseilichen Prohibitivvorschrift zuwiderlief, derselbe aufrecht erhalten als die 
Dispensation derselben in sich tragend. 

4 Un passage de Suetone me parait montrer que, dans 1' Administration 
de la justice qu'il rendait en personne, Auguste se croyait oblige de se 
conformer aux lois, Divus Augustus, c. 33 : Dixit autem jus non diligentia 
modo summa sed et lenitate, siquidem manifesti parricidii reum, ne culleo 
insueretur, quod nonnisi confessi adficiuntur hac poena, ita fertur interrogasse : 
Certe patrem tuum non occidisti ? Si, par sa seule volonte Auguste avait pu 
ecarter la peine du culleus, il n'aurait pas eu besoin d'arreter 1'aveu sur les 
levres du coupable. 

5 Mommsen, op. cit. p. 729. 

x] Princeps legibus solutus est 203 

au jour avec les autres, on lui donna une porte"e nouvelle et 
absolue. On lui fit dire que le monarque n'etait pas tenu des lois, 
qu'il en e*tait affranchi d'une maniere ge"ne>ale. Les Glossateurs,^ 1 
qui avaient fait un de"pouillement integral des textes compris / 
dans la Compilation de Justinien, en trouvaient bien qui leur parais- 
saient contraires a cette regie ; mais ils les e"cartaient par cet argu- 
ment principal que le Prince, quoique non tenu.des lois, pouvait s'y 
soumettre de sa libre volonte. 1 

On regardait done comme une regie incontest et absolue du 
droit remain que le Prince e"tait affranchi de 1'observation des lois 
et cette regie, comme tant d'autres appartenant au meme fonds, se 
fit recevoir en France. Elle s'y fit recevoir dans le cours du XIII 6 
siecle, car, comme on le verra plus loin, elle est visee comme certaine 
dans la Practica aurea libellorum de Petrus Jacobi qui fut terminee 
en 13 1 1. 2 Dans le dernier tiers du XIV e siecle elle est invoquee dans 
un texte officiel, dans 1'ordonnance de Charles V de 1374, qui fixe 
a quatorze ans la majorit des rois. 3 

1 Le texte principal qui semblait contraire etait une constitution des 
empereurs Theodose et Valentinien (Cod. i. 14, 4) ainsi con9ue : Digna vox 
majestate regnantis legibus alligatum se principem profiteri : adeo de auctoritate 
juris nostra pendet auctoritas. Et re vera majus imperio est submittere 
legibus principatum. Et oraculo praesentis edicti quod nobis licere non patimur 
indicamus. C'est sur ce texte que la glose produit les diverses conciliations 
qu'avait trouvees 1'ecole. L'une consistait a dire qu'il etait noble et digne de 
declarer que Pempereur etait soumis aux lois, bien que cela fut faux ; glose, v is 
Digna vox : Sed quomodo est digna vox, cum sit falsum 1 ff. L. Princeps et 
ff. de leg. Ill ex imperfecto et in authent. de considibus \fin(ali) cap. Ill, et I(nfra) 
I. ex imperfecto ? Responde : digna est si dicat se velle quod non sit, Inst. 
quibus modis injir(inantur testamentd] finali et in praeallegata l(ege) ex 
imperfecto.)) Une autre opinion soutenait qu'en pareil cas il etait permis de 
mentir ; la glose citee continue ainsi : Alii dicunt quod hie permittitur 
mentiri ut Inst. de act(ionibus') alia, quod non placet. Enfin on soutenait 
que cela s'appliquait parce que c'etait en vertu de la loi meme que le Prince 
etait affranchi des lois, par 1'effet de la lex regia de imperio ; glose sur la loi 
Digna vox, v ls de auctoritate : <t hoc est ratio primi dicti et quod dicit juris, s(ci- 
licet) regis regiae quae est de imperio transferendo de populo in imperatorem. 

2 Savigny, Geschichte des romischen Rechts im Mittelalter, zweite Ausgabe, 
sechster Band, 12, p. 37. 

3 (Dupuy), Traite" de la majorite" des rois et des r/gences du royaume, 1722, 
t. i. p. 237 : Super adoptione et administratione regni non reperiatur certa 
aetas constituta vel praefinita a jure in Rege, qui solutus est legibus, cum jura 
dicentia aetatem exigi in minoribus loquantur (de) jurium ditioni subjectis. 
Le texte repousse ici 1'application des regies du droit remain sur les mineurs 
de vingt cinq ans parce que le roi legibus solutus est, et constate d' autre part 
que ce droit n'a pas de regies speciales sur la majorite* des rois. 

2O4 A. Esmein [x 

D'autres pays avaient eu le bonheur d'echapper a cette in- 
fluence. Telle 1'Angleterre. Des le XIIP siecle Bracton y pro- 
clamait 1'empire absolu de la loi ; le roi lui-meme lui tait soumis 
car c'e"tait la loi qui faisait le roi)). 1 Au XV e siecle Fortescue 
expose magistralement la meme these. II montre que 1'Angleterre 
de son temps vit sous le regimen politician et non simplement sous 
le regimen regale ; c'est une monarchie limited, tandis que la France 
lui apparait comme une monarchie absolue, bien qu'en re"alite" elle 
ne le fut pas encore a cette poque. Fortescue e"tablit clairement 
la souverainete" des lois anglaises. Non seulement il declare que 
toutes les lois humaines sont sacre"es aussi bien que celles du 
Deute"ronome, 2 mais il rappelle qu'a son couronnement le roi 
d'Angleterre promet par serment d'observer ses propres lois. 3 
Fortescue s'attaque d'ailleurs, non proprement a la regie Princeps 
legibus solutus est, mais a la regie Quod principi placuit legis habet 
vigorem. II reconnait encore au roi, du moins dans un de ses 
ouvrages, le droit de dispenser des lois, lequel ne sera definitive- 
men t aboli que par le Bill of Rights.^ 

1 Henrici de Bracton de legibus et consuetudinibus Angliae libri quinque, 
Londini, 1640, L. i. c. 8, 5, p. 5 : Ipse tamen rex non debet esse sub homine 
sed sub Deo et sub lege, quia lex facit regem. Attribuat igitur rex legi quod lex 
ei attribuit, videlicet dominationem et potestatem ; non est enim rex ubi domi- 
natur voluntas et non lex. Et quod sub lege esse debeat, cum sit Dei vicarius, 
evidenter apparet ex similitudine Jesu Christi. Cf. Pollock and Maitland, The 
History of English Law before the Time of Edward I, tome i. pp. 160-1. 

2 Fortescue, De laudibus legum Angliae . . ., Londini, I775> c - 3) P- 3 : 
Scire igitur te volo quod non solum Deuter. leges sed et omnes leges humanae 
sacrae sunt, quia lex his verbis definitur : lex est sanctio sancta, jubens honesta, 
prohibens contraria. 

3 De laudibus legum Angliae, c. 34, p. 28 : Audisti namque superius quod 
inter leges civiles praecipua sententia est maxima sive regula ilia quae cavit quod 
principi placuit legis habet vigorem : qualiter non sanciunt leges Angliae, dum 
nedum regulariter sed politice rex ejusdem dominatur in populum suum, quo 
ipse in coronatione sua ad legis suae observantiam astringitur sacramento. 

4 The Governance of England : otherwise called The Difference between an 
Absohite and a Limited Monarchy, by Sir John Fortescue, a revised text edited 
with introduction, notes, and appendices by Charles Plummer, M.A., Oxford, 
Clarendon Press, 1885, p. 83 : There is, however, in the De Natura a pass- 
age (c. 24 sq. Works, pp. 85-87) not found in his other works. Et a la note 
3 M. Plummer ajoute : As this passage is rather important as bearing on the 
question of the dispensing power, I give Fortescue's exact words : Ad libitum 
etiam tuum tu semper regis omnia criminalia et poenas cunctas moderaris vel 
remittis : omnimodo sic facere poteris sine subditorum iactura et offensa 
consuetudinum et statutorum regni tui. On this dispensing power of the 

x] Princeps legibus solutus est 205 


En France, nous 1'avons dit, la maxima Princeps legibus solutus 
est fut re^ue dans le cours du XIII e siecle et elle se maintint dans 
la suite ; elle faisait vraiment partie du droit public de 1'ancienne 
monarchic. Elle y avait une grande porte"e et Ton en tirait deux 
series de consequences. 

Les premieres concernaient le droit prive. Si le roi accomplissait 
un acte rentrant dans le droit prive", un acte qu'aurait pu faire un 
particulier, s'il faisait son testament, une donation, un contrat, il 
les faisait valablement sans tenir compte des regies e"tablies par les 
lois ou par les coutumes, en violant ces regies et en les ecartant. 
C'e"tait, somme toute, ce qu'avait permis jadis aux empereurs remains 
la regie Princeps legibus solutus est. Bodin en cite des applications 
topiques, notamment le testament de Philippe de Valois portant 
la clause derogatoire aux coutumes et loix civiles, comme n'e"tant 
pas oblige" a icelles &. 1 II cite aussi une donation du meme roi a sa 
femme, de Tan 1330, qui e"tait ferme et valable, bien que les dona- 
tions entre epoux fussent prohibe"es par la plupart des coutumes 
de France. Les contrats de manage des rois fournissent de 
notables exemples. Celui de Louis XIII et de l'infante Anne 
portait : que leurs dites Majesty's tres-chre'tiennes et catholiques 
approuveront et ratifieront ladite capitulation et tout le contenu en 
icelle, s'obligeant et promettant par leurs foy et paroles royales de 
le garder et accomplir inviolablement et seront de"pechees toutes 
lettres en la forme et maniere accoutum^e, avec les derogations a 
quelconques loix, coutumes et dispositions qui sont au contraire. 

Mais la seconde se"rie de consequences etait autrement grave et 
importante, visant le droit public. On tenait que lorsque le roi 
intervenait en personne, pour decider lui-meme un acte d'adminis- 
tration ou de juridiction, il pouvait le faire valablement sans tenir 
compte des lois, que ses officiers, au contraire, e"taient tenus d'observer 
et de respecter. Cela tait surtout remarquable quand il s'agissait 

Crown during the Middle Ages see S.CM. iii. 579, 582. The exercise of 
this power was more frequent in the Middle Ages than we should consider 
consistent with Constitutional Government, but it was often rendered necessary 
by the unwise minuteness of many mediaeval statutes. 

1 Bodin, Les Six Livres de la R'epublique^ edit. Geneve, 1629, L. i. ch. 8, 
P- 154- 

206 A. Esmein [x 

de 1'administration de la justice, que le roi, s'il le voulait, pouvait 
rendre lui-meme a ses sujets. Cette intervention directe et per- 
sonnelle du monarque justicier e"tait d'ailleurs conforme a la tradi- 
tion ancienne ; et Bodin discute encore une opinion, d'apres laquelle 
ce serait la la meilleure forme de 1'administration de la justice. II 
note en meme temps que le roi jugeant en personne pouvait, en 
toute libert^, ne juger que d'apres sa conscience : Si le Prince 
jugeoit, lui qui est la loi vive et par-dessus toutes les lois civiles, 
accompagn de son Conseil, il feroit bonne et brieve justice, ayant 
esgard au fond sans beaucoup s'attacher aux formalite's. 1 C'est 
par la meme conception qu'il interprete un privilege obtenu par 
les nobles polonais : La noblesse de Pologne obtint de Louis roy 
de Hongrie et de Pologne un privilege que les nobles ne pourroient 
etre juge"s que par le roy quand il y va de la vie et de 1'honneur, 
croyant qu'ils pouvoient aisement e"chapper le jugement du roy et 
non pas des juges qui sont obligez aux loix. 2 

II resultait de la que le Conseil du roi, quand il jugeait au 
fond les causes des particuliers, pouvait toujours decider en 
ne consultant que le sentiment de Pe"quite ; car le Conseil du 
roi, c'tait le roi lui-meme, celui-ci e"tant toujours cense" present 
dans son Conseil ; c'etait lui que faisaient parler les arrets 
du Conseil. 3 Nos anciens auteurs insistaient sur ce pouvoir 
general de juger en simple &iuite" ; 4 ils relevaient que, dans les 

1 Les Six Livres de la Rtpublique, L. iv. ch. 6, p. 612. 

2 Ibid. p. 623. 

3 Histoire du Conseil du roy, par Guillard, avocat au Conseil du roy, Paris 
1717, p. 68 : Mais si les Cours ont cette liberte (d'evoquer les causes) dans 
quelques occasions, celui qui la leur a donnee conserve toujours en sa per- 
sonne la plenitude de puissance dont il peut user selon son bon plaisir et son 
Conseil etant inseparable de sa majeste, dont il n'est que 1'organe, personne 
ne peut dire que le Conseil ne puisse pas dans certaines occasions connoistre 
des affaires des particuliers, les evoquer a soy, les decider diffinitivement, sans 
les renvoyer a des juges ordinaires comme il les renvoie le plus souvent parce 
qu'il s'occupe d'affaires plus importantes. 

4 Guillard, Histoire du Conseil du roy, p. 72 : II faut convenir que 
1'equite naturelle, qui est Fame des lois et des ordonnances, merite beaucoup 
d'attention au Conseil du roy pour peu qu'il soit besoin d'entrer dans 1'inter- 
pretation de quelques ordonnances, Edits ou Declarations ; et quand on decouvre 
une iniquite evidente dans quelque jugement des Cours, le Conseil du Prince 
est d'autant plus oblige de soutenir la partie opprimee que 1'on ne doit pas 
souffrir que pour quelque formalite mal observee ou obmise les plaideurs de 
mauvaise foi profitent du dol et des surprises qu'ils ont mis en usage pour 
tromper leurs juges et leurs parties. 

x] Princeps legibus solutus est 207 

serments du sacre le roi promettait de rendre la justice en 

La il n'y avait encore que demi mal, bien que le respect du 
droit technique soit le meilleur garant des interets le"gitimes ; mais 
le principe entrainait, dans d'autres applications, de terribles 
dangers. II en rsultait en effet que le roi, statuant en personne, 
pouvait infliger les peines les plus graves sans qu'elles fussent 
prononce"es par aucune loi et sans forme de proces. Logiquement il 
aurait pu le faire en siegeant comme juge. 2 -Mais dans les audiences 
prive'es que les rois tinrent pendant longtemps, 3 ils ne tranchaient 
que des causes civiles de peu d'importance. D'autre part le Con- 
seil du roi cessa de bonne heure de revendiquer aucune competence 
en matiere criminelle. 

Mais les Lettres de cachet e*taient surement une application 
du principe. Elles pouvaient contenir un ordre quelconque du 
monarque. Mais en fait, employees comme moyen de repression, 
elles ne contenaient jamais qu'un ordre d'emprisonnement sans 
jugement dans une prison d'Etat, ou un ordre d'exil. II est vrai 
que les rois anciennement ont parfois fait mettre a mort sans juge- 
ment, par ordre verbal, des personnes qu'ils conside"raient comme 

1 Guillard, op. tit. p. 72 : Nos rois s'engagent meme a leur sacre par 
un serment solennel a suivre en tout les regies de Ftquiti et de condamner 
Finiquitt en toutes occasions. C'etait Ik une interpretation forcee ; dans les 
serments du sacre le mot tquiti (aequitas) etait pris dans un autre sens ; il 
voulait dire que le roi statuerait avec .impartiality.) On se rappelle que, d'apres 
Fortescue, le roi d'Angleterre jurait d'observer, non Tequite, mais les lois, ses 
propres lois ; voyez ci-dessus, note 3, p. 204. 

2 Fortescue, De laudibus, c. 35, p. 30, parait bien dire qu'il en etait ainsi : 
(tNobilis tamen non sic exactionibus opprimitur. Sed si eorum aliquis 
calumniatus fuerit de crimine, licet per inimicos suos, non semper coram judice 
ordinario ipse convocari solet, sed quam saepe in Regis Camera et alibi in 
private loco, quandoque vero solum per internuncios ipse inde alloqui visus 
est et mox ut criminosum eum Principis conscientia, reatu aliorum, judicaverit, 
. . . qualiter et mori audivisti numerum multo majorem hominum quam qui 
legitimo processu juris convicti extiterunt. Ce passage de Fortescue qui 
parait reposer sur des bruits non fondes, ne serait point inexact s'il se rap- 
portait aux lettres de cachet ; mais les lettres de cachet ne contenaient jamais 
1'ordre de mettre a mort une personne quelconque. Ce passage ne peut pas 
non plus se rapporter aux Jugements par Commissaires^ dans lesquels tait 
suivie une procedure extraordinaire mais complete. 

3 L'ordonnance de Blois de 1579 contient encore une disposition sur cette 
administration de la justice intime et familiere. 

208 A. Rsmein [x 

coupables. 1 Nos anciens auteurs appelaient cela proceder par des 
votes defait ; mais ils estimaient que le monarque ne devait pro- 
ceder que par des votes de droit, c'est-a-dire par les procedures 
re"gulieres. 2 


II ne faudrait pas croire cependant que la maxime Princeps 
legibus solutus est n'ait pas rencontre" en France de contra- 

Des le premier tiers du XIV e siecle, da^ns sa Practica aurea 
libellorum? Petrus Jacobi s'efforce d'en e"carter ^ 1'application. II 
ne conteste point directement que le roi soit exempt des lois ; il 
Tadmet au contraire en droit. Mais il tient qu'il est digne d'un 
monarque, que c'est meme son devoir de vouloir ce que veulent les 
lois et ne pas e"couter les flatteurs, les courtisans qui tachent de 
lui inspirer une volonte" diffe"rente. 4 Cette influence neTaste des 
courtisans reviendra dans des textes poste"rieurs. 

Mais c'est la une note isol^e et timide. II faut attendre la 

1 II semble que Louis XI ait agi assez souvent ainsi a 1'egard de petites 
gens. La Roche-Flavin, Treize Livres des Parlements de France, Bourdeaux, 
1617, L. xiii. ch. 13, N 5 : Le roi Louis XI sur la fin de ses jours trouva 
sa conscience grandement oppressee du mepris de la justice et, entre autres, 
d'avoir pousse jusqu'a 1'exces le pouvoir absolu allant faire prendre par le 
Prevost les prisonniers de la Conciergerie du Palais qui les faisoit noyer a 
1'endroit de la Grange aux Merciers, Dans le passage de Fortescue (De 
laudibus, c. 35) cite p. 207 n. 2, il est fait allusion aux memes faits qui, sans 
que le nom de Louis XI soit prononce, sont rapportes comme une pratique 
ordinaire des monarques fran^ais : In sacco positus absque figura judicii per 
Propositi marischallorum ministros noctanter in flumine projectus submergitur. 
La source a laquelle ont puise Fortescue et La Roche-Flavin doit etre la meme. 
Ce mode d'execution etait surement familier au xv e siecle ; qu'on songe aux 
vers de Villon : 

Semblablement ou est la royne 
Qui commanda que Buridan 
Fut jete en un sac en Seine ? 

2 La Roche-Flavin, Treize Livres des Parlements de France, L. xiii. ch. 1 2. 

3 Edition Venetiis, 1502. 

4 Practica aurea libellorum rubrica, xxv. de condictione ex lege, Institution, 
de actione quadrupli, N 19 : Princeps debet sibi cavere ne alias laedat sub 
coloribus quaesitis et per curiales suos adinventis. Quia, licet princeps sit 
solutus legibus, ut ff. de leg. /. Princeps, tamen dignum est sibi profited secundum 
leges vivere velle, ut C. de leg. /. digna vox, et idem dicitur de Papa, 1 2, qti. 
2, c. non liceat papae. 

x] Princeps legibus solutus est 209 

seconde moitie du XVF siecle pour trouver une repudiation e"riergique / 
de la maxime, une contestation formulae en vertu de principes bien 
arrets. Elle e"mane des crivains qui, dans la pe"riode des guerres 
de religion, s'efforcerent de deVelopper en France les principes de 
liberty politique. Elle est particulierement nette dans les Vindiciae 
contra tyrannos et dans le Dejure magistratuum in subditos et officio 
subditorum erga magistratus. 1 L'auteur, pour respecter la grande 
autorite du droit remain, conserve pourtant a la maxime la premiere 
se"rie d'effets qu'on lui attribuait, celle qui se rapportait aux regies 
du droit priv dont le Prince e"tait exempt, mais il l'e"carte, avec 
preuves a 1'appui, en ce qui concerne le droit public et le gouverne- 
ment de 1'Etat. II affirme aussi en termes saisissants que le roi 
est tenu par le droit naturel et par le droit divin ; mais cela alors 
personne ne le contestait. L'auteur des Vindiciae contra tyrannos 
parait contester meme que le roi soit exempt des regies du 
droit prive. 2 II s'eleve spe"cialement centre l'ide que le roi peut 
juger sans respecter les lois et les formes de la justice, 3 et qu'il ait 
sur ses sujets le droit de vie et de mort. 4 

1 Edition Ursellis apud Cornelium Sutorium, 1 600, a la suite des Vindiciae 
contra tyrannos, p. 2 5 3, Repetitio quaest. vi. : Quod excipere solent Regem legibus 
non astringi in genere nee potest nee debet accipi, ut dicunt regum assentatores 
regnorumque eversores. Nam ut taceam tot omnium fere nationum exempla, 
quae supra allata sunt, quot sunt graves veterum juris consultorum sententiae 
e jure naturae excerptae ? Cujusmodi sunt : eos qui leges ferunt legibus quoque 
obtemperare. Et quod quisque juris in alium statuit erit, ipse ut eodem jure 
utatur. Et nihil imperio magis conducere quam ut rex legibus utatur ; 
dignam denique vocem esse Principem se legibus subditum profiteri. Itaque 
quod alibi a juris consultis dici videtur Principem esse supra leges aut Principem 
legibus esse solutum nonnisi de legibus civilibus deque particular! privatorum 
jure est intelligendum, verbi gratia de testamentis, de detractione Trebellianae 
vel Falcidianae : non autem de jure publico et ad statum, ut dici solet, pertinente, 
multoque minus de jure natural! et divino, cui cum omnes singuli homines 
subiciantur, quatenus homines nati sunt, omnino efficitur aut reges homines 
non esse aut illos hoc jure teneri. 

2 En effet (quaest. iii. p. 91) il montre que des Princes, pour pouvoir 
faire ce que la loi defendait, ont change celle-ci a 1'egard de tous : Valenti- 
nianus, imperator bonus alioquin, quia duas uxores simul habere voluit, singulis 
lege permisit. Cambyses, Cyri films, nuptias cum germana sorore, quia 
sororem appetebat, licitas esse voluit. Chabades, Persarum rex, adulteriorum 
poenam sustulit. 

3 Vindiciae, quaest. iii. p. 89 : An autem rex, quia juri dicendo praeest, 
ex arbitrio jus dicet ? Rexne, inquam, a lege an lex a rege pendebit ? 

4 Vindiciae, quaest. iii. p. 98 : Adulatorum aulicorum axioma percelebre 
est Principes in subditos earn quam domini olim in servos potestatem vitae, 


2io A. Esmein [x 

Ce ne sont pas seulement au XVP siecle des crivains poli- 
tiques, dont les ouvrages d'ailleurs sont profonde'ment impre'gnes 
de droit technique, qui dclarent le roi soumis aux lois, ce sont 
aussi de purs juristes. En voici un, qui n'est pas a proprement 
parler un homme supe"rieur, mais qui a joue" un role notable 
de son temps, e"ditant ou re"editant de vieux textes qu'il com- 
mente, tels que la Somme rural de Boutillier, composant des 
livres dont les titres sont presque remains mais qui se rapportent 
au droit frangais. C'est Charondas le Caron, dont les deux 
principaux ouvrages sont Les Reponses du droit frangais et les 
Pandectes du droit fran$ais. C'est dans ce dernier crit qu'il a traite" 
notre question. 1 II 1'aborde avec une grande nettete", car il se 
demande si les rois sont exempts des lois qui concernent le droit 
public et le gouvernement de l'tat. 2 II admet que les rois peuvent 
facilement se dispenser d'observer les dispositions de droit prive" et 
sont exempts des peines portees par les lois. 3 Ce n'est pas qu'il passe 
sous silence le texte d'Ulpien ; il en exagere meme la ported. 4 
Mais il a pour soutenir sa these des raisons meilleures que des 

inquam, et necis habere. Adeo vero istis nugis principibus imposuerunt ut 
plerique ea saevitia non utantur non minus tamen sibi licere putent sed de suo 
jure quodammodo cedere videantur. Dicimus vero nos contra Principem 
tanquam legis ministrum et executorem in eos tantum quos lex jusserit gladium 
stringere posse. Sin fecerit^ non regem amplius sed tyrannum, non judicem 
sed praedonem, non legis custodem sed violatorem esse. 

1 Pandectes ou Digested du droit fran^ais, par Charondas le Caron, docteur 
es droits, conseiller du roy et son lieutenant general au bailliage et Comte de 
Clermont en Beauvoisis, Lyon, 1 5 96, ch. iii. Des loix et ordonnances et quelles 
doivent estre et si le souverain est exempt d*icelles, p. 29 sq. 

2 Pandectes du droit frangais, loc. cit. p. 4 1 : On demande s'il est sub- 
ject aux loix establies pour 1'estat public, honnestes et politiques. 

3 Pandectes^ loc. cit. p. 43 : Je n'ignore qu'il y ait des Edits et Ordon- 
nances qui ne concernent 1'estat public dont les roys se peuvent facilement 
dispenser, d'autant que la transgression n'est de grande consequence et ne 
prejudicie a Putilite commune ; aussi les rois sont exempts des peines portees 
par les loix, parce que leurs personnes ne sont subjectes a aucuns juges, ne 
recognoissans que Dieu pour souverain et seul juge de leurs actions. 

4 Pandectes^ loc. cit. p. 42: Je sgay bien que le jurisconsulte Ulpian 
dit que le Prince est exempt et absous des loix, ce qu'aucuns ont voulu res- 
traindre aux loix penales, c'est a dire a celles qui sont ordonnees contre ceux 
qui delinquent, puisque le Prince n'y est subject : mais il semble que les 
Romains ont entendu plus largement ceste exemption et absolution des loix, 
comme declare Dion au livre cinquante-troisiesme de son histoire, parlant de 
1'empereur Auguste auquel fut donnee ceste prerogative, et Pinterprete n'estre 
tenu a aucune necessite de loy, ains estre exempt de tout droit escrit. 

x] Princeps legibus solutus est 211 

textes, des plus belles et des plus fortes, et il expose courageusement 
son opinion, malgre les discours des courtisans, dont la mention 
revient constamment en cette matiere. 1 Pour Charondas la loi est 
la regie normale de tous les etres raisonnables, et il rappelle que le 
roi doit gouverner par raison ; 2 d'autres disaient qu'il devait gou- 
verner conforme'ment a la loi naturelle. Devangant sur ce point 
Montesquieu, il dit, dans le langage de son temps, que Dieu mme a 
des lois. 3 Comme le disaient les Monarchomaques^ ses contemporains, 
en parlant surtout des lois fondamentales, il affirme que la loi est une 
convention entre le Prince et ses sujets, qui lie les deux parties. 
Comme Bracton, il proclame que le Prince doit respecter la loi, 
parce qu'il ne regne que par elle. 4 II considere d'ailleurs que le 
monarque est un officier public et remplit une charge, 5 et il doit 
a ses sujets 1'exemple ne"cessaire du respect des lois. 

Dans un pareil milieu I'autorite' de la regie Princeps legibus 
solutus est devait decroitre progressivement. On tendait a y voir 

1 Pandectes, loc. cit. p. 4 1 : La question qui se presente est tres espi- 
neuse et ne se peut qu'avec difficulte traicter en une monarchic a cause des 
flaneurs courtisans qui tirent souvent en mauvaise part ce qu'on allegue de 
la bonte et moderation du Prince. Toutesfoys j'en diray mon opinion con- 
formement a ce que nos Roys, vrais et excellens princes, ont tousjours observe.)) 
P. 42 : Si quelques courtisans veulent dire qu'il ne faut donner frein ni bride 
au souverain, je leur respondray que la Loy n'est une bride forcee, ains un 
doux lien qui le retient en son devoir et rend plus fort son estat. 

2 Pandectes, loc. cit. p. 41 : Mais le Prince, qui est homme et commande 
aux hommes libres qui sont participans d'une mesme nature et sgavent que 
c'est de gouverner par raison, ne se peut plus seurement maintenir avec eux 
que par commun lien et accord de la loy. 

3 Pandectes, loc. cit. p. 4 1 : S'il faut plus avant philosopher, il semble 
combien que Dieu par sa puissance souveraine et absolue puisse remuer tout 
1'ordre de 1'Univers et n'y soit aucunement astraint, toutesfoys que pour le 
conserver il s'y rende aucunement subject, c'est a dire qu'il y accommode 
sa volonte et puissance qu'on appelle ordinaire.* 

4 Pandectes, loc. cit. p. 4 1 : La loy qui est (a bien dire en peu de paroles) 
une tnutuelle convention entre le souverain et le peuple de bien commander 
et bien obeir, pourquoy done le souverain n'y sera subject ? Tous les roys, 
empereurs et monarques qui ont merite le tiltre de bons princes, ont tousjours 
diet que le Prince devoit obeir aux loix, d'autant qu'il regnoit par Pauctorite 
d'icelles. 1> 

5 Pandectes, loc. cit. p. 42 : Car si le Prince doit obeyir a la loi divine 
et naturelle, il peut apprendre par icelle qu'il faut que par son exemple il incite 
ses subjects a bien vivre, ce qu'il ne peut faire s'il ne se rend subject aux loix 
de son royaume, parce que la personne publique ne doit seulement bien vivre 
en son particulier, ains aussi selon le droit que requiert sa charge. 

212 A. Esmein [x 

une ressource, fondle en droit, mais qui normalement restait dor- 
mante par la volont meme du monarque, celui-ci preTe"rant le 
regne des lois. 1 Nos anciens auteurs signalaient en particulier et 
avec raison sa jurisprudence regue en France, qui rendait le roi 
justiciable de ses propres cours, et permettaient a ses sujets d'agir 
centre lui, pour faire valoir le droit resultant de la proprit ou des 
contrats. II est vrai qu'alors le procureur du roi figurait seul en 
nom au proces ; c'tait centre lui que le jugement tait rendu, mais 
c'etait le roi qui en subissait les consequences. Tout cela d'ailleurs 
n'empechait point que la pratique des lettres de cachet n'entrat 
dans son plein ; mais elle prenait 1'aspect d'une institution par- 
ticuliere, ayant sa valeur propre. 

Dans la seconde moitie" du XVIP siecle, les grands esprits qui 
construisaient la the"orie de la monarchic absolue, alors re~alise"e, 
s'efforcaient de re"duire, autant qu'il e"tait possible, la porte"e de la 
maxime ; ils en avaient vraiment honte. Ecoutons Bossuet, dans 
sa Politique tiree des propres paroles de V&criture Sainte : Les rois 
ne sont pas pour cela affranchis des lois. C'est ce que les Princes 
ont peine a entendre. . . . De la cette belle loi d'un empereur 
romain : c'est une parole digne de la Majeste" du Prince que de se 
reconnaitre soumis aux lois. 2 Et, continuant, voici en quels 
termes il expose sa thorie : Les rois sont done soumis comme les 
autres a l'equit des lois, et parce qu'ils doivent etre justes et parce 
qu'ils doivent aux sujets 1'exemple de garder la justice ; mais ils ne 
sont pas soumis aux peines des lois, ou, comme parle la the"ologie, 
ils sont soumis aux lois, non quant a la puissance coactive, mais 
quant a la puissance directive. Dans la proposition pre"ce"dente, 
intituled qu'il riy a point de puissance coactive contre le Prince, il 
avait e"crit : On entend par force coactive une puissance pour con- 
traindre a executer ce qui est ordonne" le"galement. Au Prince 
seul appartient le commandement le"gitime, a lui seul appartient 
la force coactive. Cela revenait a dire que moralement et meme 
juridiquement le Prince e"tait tenu de se conformer aux lois, 
mais qu'il pouvait s'en ^carter impunement, n'tant pas soumis aux 
peines des lois, et aucune sanction n'e"tant possible contre lui. 

1 La Roche-Flavin, Treize Livres des Parlements, L. xiii. ch. 13, N 6: 
Chose digne de la majeste d'un Prince que nos rois, a qui Dieu a donne 
puissance absolue, aient d'ancienne institution voulu reduire leurs volontes k 
la civilite des lois. 

2 Livre iv. article i, quatrieme proposition. 

x] Princeps legibus solutus est 213 

La doctrine du grand jurisconsulte Domat, dans son Droit 
public, est a peu pres la meme : On peut ajouter pour dernier 
devoir du souverain et qui renferme aussi tous les autres, qu'encore 
que sa puissance semble le mettre au-dessus des lois, personne 
n'ayant droit de lui faire rendre compte de sa conduite, il doit 
observer celles qui peuvent le regarder et y est oblige, non seulement 
pour donner 1'exemple aux sujets et leur rendre leur devoir aimable, 
mais encore parce qu'il n'est pas dispense du sien par cette puissance 
de souverain et qu'au contraire ce rang 1'oblige meme a preTrer a 
ses interets particuliers le bien commun de TEtat et qu'il est de sa 
gloire de regarder comme le sien propre.)) 1 

Cependant jusqu'a la fin de Pancien regime la regie resta dans 
le droit public, comme subsisterent les lettres de cachet, qui 
ne furent abolies que par PAssemblee Constituante. Les esprits 
liberaux qui restaient attache's aux principes traditionnels de 
1'ancienne monarchic n'osaient pas repudier ce droit anormal du 
roi. Voici ce qu'on lit encore dans un livre publi quelques annees 
avant la Revolution et qui cut plusieurs editions : De quelque 
utilite que soient les formes legales pour intimider le coupable 
par la certitude de la peine que la loi prononce et pour tranquilliser 
Pinnocence centre les efforts de la calomnie, pour mettre le monarque 
a 1'abri des surprises, elles lui laissent cependant 1'administration 
libre, force"es de ceder elles-memes a 1'interet public dont le monarque 
est le seul juge. 2 L'auteur, qui est un esprit eclair^ cependant, 
considere cette faculte laisse"e au roi comme une loi fondamentale 
de 1'Etat, et il y rattache les lettres de cachet, qu'il approuve dans 
leurs principales applications. Moreau, dans son livre intitule 
Les Devoirs du Prince ramenes a un seul principe ou Discours sur la 
justice dedie au roi? qui avait t compost pour 1'education de 
Louis XVI et de ses freres, soutient une these semblable. Voici 
comment il defend les lettres de cachet contenant un ordre d'em- 
prisonnement ; il est vrai que suivant lui ce doit etre la simplement 
une mesure provisoire et le prisonnier doit etre dans un court delai 
renvoy devant ses juges naturels : Les formes qui accompagnent 
essentiellement la marche de celle-ci (la justice) sont lentes et 

1 Domat, Droit public, L. i. tit. 2, sect. 3, N 14. 

2 Les Vrais Principes du gouvernement fran$ais, dhnontre's par la raison et 
par les faits, par un Frangois, Geneve 1782, p. 66. 

3 A Versailles de I'imprimerie du roi, Depart, des aff. etr. 1775, p. 160. 

214 ^- Esmein [x 

tardives. Elles furent invente"es pour etre le rempart de 1'inno- 
cence. Doit-on souffrir qu'elles facilitent 1'evasion du crime et lui 
servant en quelque fagon de barriere ? Non. Les ordres rapides de 
1'administration dans ce moment vont au secours de la juridiction 
elle-meme. Le coupable que de"signe la voix publique est alors 
arrete" par le commandement du Prince. Ce n'est point un jugement 
qu'il prononce. C'est une precaution par laquelle il empeche que 
ce jugement soit un jour inutile. Mais cette meme autorite" qui 
a 6t au malfaiteur le pouvoir de fuir, le doit livrer aussitot a la 
justice, dont elle n'a fait que preVenir et faciliter les demarches. 

Mais la philosophic du XVIII 6 siecle, reprenant avec une force 
nouvelle la doctrine exposed par les Monarchomaques du XVI e siecle, 
proclamait, comme une regie essentielle de 1'Etat, 1'empire absolu 
et inevitable de la loi. Je ne citerai qu'un passage de Voltaire, qui 
dans un de ses Dialogues fait ainsi parler un Anglais : Ce que je 
trouve de plus juste c'est liberte et proprUte. . . . Je veux que 
chacun ait sa prerogative. Je ne connais de lois que celles qui me 
protegent, et je trouve notre gouvernement le meilleur de la terre 
parce que chacun y sait ce qu'il a, ce qu'il doit et ce qu'il peut. Tout 
est soumis a la loi, a commencer par la royaut et par la religion. * 
C'e"tait une cause gagne"e devant 1'opinion publique, et la Constitu- 
tion frangaise de 1791 enregistrait la regie nouvelle dans ces termes, 
d'une precision et d'une elevation admirables : II n'y a point en 
France d'autorite" superieure a celle de la loi. Le roi ne regne que par 
elle, et ce n'est qu'au nom de la loi qu'il peut exiger l'obeissance. 2 


1 DA, B, C ou Dialogues entre A, B, C, traduit de 1'anglais de M. Huet, 
troisieme dialogue. 

2 Constitution du 3 septembre 1791, tit. ii. ch. 2, sect, i, art. 3. 




THE object of this paper is to explain the import and trace the 
history, so far as possible, of two ancient brocards familiar to 
modern lawyers and in daily use in British Courts. The term 
brocard (low Latin brocarda, also brocardica and other forms 1 ) 
is mediaeval. Calvin, in his Lexicon, says contemptuously : 
Vocabulum est barbarum in nostro eleganti Jure Civili ; relin- 
quendum igittir barbaris. It means a legal maxim or axiom or 
rule a regula juris. Brocards are rather apt to be dangerous 
weapons in the armoury of lawyers. They are apt to represent 
conclusions based on slender premisses, or generalizations from an 
inadequate number of particulars, the exceptions to the rule being 
often more or less disregarded or left out of view in formulating 
the rule. Sometimes they have acted as Will-o'-the-wisps to 
lead the Courts astray in their decisions. In his preface to the 
second edition of Barbosa's Axiomata, J. O. Tabor discusses 
the utility of collections of so-called loci communes and mentions 
several noted jurisconsults (including Duarenus and Cujacius) who 
wholly discountenanced them. Plaustra ista brocardicorum^ said 
one old jurist, obscurare sacrosanctam veritatem et cognoscendi 

Nevertheless brocards and maxims have a certain utility in 
concentrating ideas, stimulating the memory, and otherwise, and 
they have been much employed both by the classical jurists of 
Rome and the great lawyers of the Middle Ages. 

1 See Calvin, Lexicon jurid. and Du Cange, s.v. 

2 Herman Lather, de Cens. 1618, lib. 2, c. 3, Num. 9, 60 ; see Cujac. 
Epist. consult, praefat. 


216 H. Goudy [xi 


(a) Its Import. General Observations on the Meaning of 
Personal Action in English Law. 

Though this is one of the most familiar maxims of English 
Law, the veil of obscurity covers not only its origin but its true 
import and significance. It is certainly an ancient maxim ; the 
late Lord Justice Bowen claimed for it (though erroneously, I 
think) an antiquity as great as that of the English Common Law 
itself. 1 It was not taken from the Roman Law nor from any 
mediaeval civilian ; indeed to a Roman lawyer or to a civilian it 
would have sounded nonsensical ; yet it has, as we shall see, an 
indirect connexion with the Roman Law. Many cases in our 
English Courts have been decided on the strength of it, and it has 
been the source of not a little injustice. Though sometimes a 
lance has been raised on its behalf, it has, in my opinion, been 
rightly denounced by one of our best English lawyers as ' a 
barbarous rule.' 2 

We may translate the maxim thus ' a personal right of action 
comes to an end by the death of either of the parties.' Now, first, 
we must see what is meant here by personal action. The familiar 
division of Roman Law into actions in rem and in personam the 
former being vindications of property and real rights, the latter 
arising out of obligations was never received into English Law. 
On the other hand, old English Common Law divided actions into 
real and personal in a special and peculiar sense : the former, the 
real actions, being those by which rights to heritable property 
(realty) were enforced ; the latter, the personal actions, being those 
by which rights to moveable chattels, choses in action, etc., were 
enforced. 3 This division, old apparently as the Conquest, was due 
to the Feudal Law, which, unlike the Roman, made a fundamental 
distinction between rights in lands and other immoveables and 

1 Phillips v. Homfray, 1883, L.R. 24 Ch. Div. 439 : In Finlay v. Chirney^ 
1887, 20 Q.B. Div. p. 494, Bowen and Fry, L.JJ., say of the maxim that its 
origin is ' obscure and post-classical.' 

2 Pollock, Torts, p. 64. 

8 Mixed actions (partly real and partly personal) need not be referred to. 
The term realis actio is purely mediaeval. The term personalis actio, in the 
sense of actio in personam^ appears occasionally in the Digest (e.g. Dig. x. 4, 
3 3) but it may be due to interpolation of the compilers. 

xi] Two Ancient Brocards 217 

rights in moveable or personal property. Real actions, however, 
in the above sense gradually became obsolete and were ultimately 
abolished by statute, their effects being obtained indirectly by 
personal actions. There is no such thing as rei vindicatio in 
modern English Law. 

Personal actions in English Law are, in the words of Blackstone, 
' Such whereby a man claims a debt or personal duty or damages 
in lieu thereof; and likewise whereby a man claims a satisfaction 
in damages for some injury done to his person or property. The 
former are said to be founded on contracts, the latter upon torts or 
wrongs.' 1 Now it is in this wide sense that actio personalis in our 
brocard should be prima facie understood, but, as we shall see, it 
was never, from the time it was first formulated, extended so far 
in practice. Had the maxim been taken literally the result would 
have been that every right of action, whether arising out of contract 
or of tort or other obligation, would have come to an end by the 
death of either party. A covenant, for instance, would have ceased 
to be actionable by the death of either covenantor or covenantee or 
a contract of bailment by the death of bailor or bailee. But an 
examination of the Reports from early times shows that the 
Common Law never went so far. Apart from torts, the utmost 
that can be said is that the old English Law, for a brief period, 
refused to recognize the transmission passively of actions on 
contract, and even this can only be admitted subject to exceptions, 
e.g. actions on covenant under seal. But it clearly ceased to be 
the rule once a definite theory of contract was developed and the 
action of assumpsit established. When this stage was reached we 
find that, apart from one or two special contractual claims such as 
the old actions of Debt and Account, 2 and (later) the action of 
breach of promise of marriage, actions on contract survived ab 
utraque parte, and non-transmissibility on death became restricted 
in practice to actions based on tort or on facts analogous to tort. 
In other words, non-transmissibility applied as a rule only to 
actions for reparation of damages for injuries and penalties for 
wrongful acts. As is said in Dyer's Reports, * actio personalis 

1 Bl. Com. iii. p. 117. 

2 I.e. as regards passive liability of executors. The action of account 
seems not to have transmitted against executors. See Bacon, Abridgment, 
ii. p. 444; Holdsworth, Hist, of English Law, iii. p. 455. 

2i8 H. Goiidy [xi 

quae oritur ex contfactu dieth not, yet quae oritur ex delicto 
moritur cum persona, as all trespasses.' 1 This suggests that our 
maxim was originally deduced from a misunderstanding of the 
Roman Law and, before going further, it may be useful to state 
here very briefly what the rules of that Law were on transmissibility 
of actions on death. 

(b) Transmissibility of Actions on Death by Roman Law. 

As is well known, a material difference existed from a pretty 
early period in Roman Law between contracts on the one hand 
and delicts on the other as regards transmission of actions to and 
against the heirs of the parties. In contracts the right of action 
almost invariably transmitted both to the heirs of the creditor and 
against the heirs of the debtor ; in delicts transmission depended 
largely upon whether the action was of a penal nature or not. If 
it were poenalis the general rule was that it transmitted to the heirs 
of the injured party (i.e. actively) but not against the heirs of the 
wrongdoer (i.e. passively). The maxim was actio poenalis transit 
heredibus sed non transit in heredes? The actio fur ti, for example, 
could be brought by the heirs of the injured party against the thief 
but not by the injured party against the heirs of the thief. Where, 
on the other hand, a delictal action was not strictly penal e.g. the 
actio doli it transmitted both actively and passively, except that 
as a rule passive transmission was only allowed so far as the 
deceased's heir had received benefit from the wrong. 3 

But to the rule actio poenalis transit heredi sed non in heredem 
there were several well-known exceptions of much importance. To 
the first part of the maxim viz. transit heredi I remind you of 
the two following : 

1st. Injury to a freeman which caused his death gave no right 
of action to his heirs for damages either in factum under the lex 
Aquilia or otherwise. The reason for this usually given by the 
jurists was that no money-value can be put on the life of a free- 
man : liberum corpus nullam recipit aestimationem.^ To this harsh 
rule the Roman Law steadily adhered down to Justinian ; the 
jurists were apparently obsessed by the idea that the person of a 

1 Dyer's Rep. 271, 143.. 

2 Dig. xlvii. i, i ; Gaius, Com. iv. 112. 

3 On the extent of this exception the Roman texts are not altogether 
consistent. 4 Dig. ix. 3, 3 ; ix. 3, i 5 ; cf. Dig. ix. 2, 13 pr. 

xi] Two Ancient Brocards 219 

freeman had no money-value and that there could be no patri- 
monial loss to a man's family where the injury to himself could 
not be estimated. This has also always been the rule of English 
Common Law, based on our brocard, though, as we shall see in a 
moment, it has been considerably modified by modern statutes. 

2nd Exception. Injury to a man's person or reputation done 
wilfully, as by assault, slander, etc., gave no right of action to his 
heirs. In short, the actio injuriarum and a few similar actions did 
not transmit at all. The principal reason given by the jurists for 
this exception was that the object of such actions was more one 
of revenge than of reparation far from a satisfactory reason once 
pecuniary compensation had taken the place of self-revenge. It 
and the other actively intransmissible actions of a similar character 
in the classical law were called actions vindictam spirantesl 

On the other hand, to the second part of the maxim viz. non 
transit in heredem an important exception occurred in penal 
actions for injuries to property ', in which it could be shown that the 
estate of the deceased tort-feasor had received benefit from the 
delict committed. The injured party was allowed in such case 
(just as I have said in the case of non-penal actions based on 
delict) to sue the heirs of the tort-feasor in quantum lucrati sunt? 
The actio legis Aquiliae is a well-known example. 2 

Finally all actions ex delicto, whether penal or not, transmitted 
both to and against heirs, if the suit had already begun in the life- 
time of the principal parties. This was on the theory of litis con- 
testation having created a judicial contract between the parties : 
Litis contestatione poenales actiones transmit tuntur ab utraque 

Such, then, broadly stated, were the rules of the Roman Law 
as regards transmissibility of actions ex delicto. 

(c) Transmissibility of Actions on Death by English Law. 

The English Common Law from early times proceeded to a 
large extent on different lines from these doctrines of the Roman 
jurists. I have already broadly indicated how far it held actions 
to enforce simple contracts to be extinguished by death of either 
party ; and for the moment I leave contracts aside. Apart from 

1 E.g. ' querela inofficiosi testament!. 3 See Gaius iv. 112; Dig. iii. 6, 4. 

2 Dig.\. 17, 38; ix. 23 8. 

3 Dig. xxvii. 7, 8 i. 

22o H. Goudy [xi 

contracts, English Common Law has, as a rule, treated death of 
either party as sufficient to bar all action on tort both by and 
against executors. And whether the plaintiff was seeking damages 
by way of penalty or as simple reparation or otherwise, and 
whether the action had been already begun during the lifetime of 
the principal parties or not, made no difference. To this latter 
point I will recur in a moment. The only Common Law excep- 
tion to the rule was that property positively appropriated by a 
deceased tort-feasor to his benefit, or its value, could be recovered 
from his executors by an action which was substantially one for 
recovery of property. In other words, passive liability of executors 
was recognized where the deceased's estate had been enriched by 
the wrong. 1 This Common-Law bar to right of action on tort by 
death of either party often proved very inequitable, especially in 
cases of damage to property, and certain remedies were gradually, 
though tardily, supplied by statute. The first remedial step was 
indeed taken pretty early, viz. by 4 Edward III cap. 7, which 
enacted that for trespass done to a man's goods and chattels 
during his lifetime his executors might sue. This statute, though 
liberally construed, did not go far, being limited to active trans- 
missibility and to personal property. But nearly five centuries 
had to elapse before a wider step in the same direction was taken, 
viz. by 3 and 4 William IV cap. 42. This Act, in the first place, 
made actions for wrongful damage to real property transmissible 
to personal representatives of the injured party, just as the Act of 
Edward had done for personal property, but subject to the con- 
dition that the damage had been done within six months prior to 
the death and that the action was begun within twelve months 
after the death. In the second place it sanctioned passive trans- 
missibility by providing that the personal representatives of one 
who had caused wrongful damage to property, whether real or 
personal, of another should be liable by action of trespass or tres- 
pass on the case to the extent of his assets, but subject always to 
similar limitations as to time of injury and of raising action. 

The practical effect of these statutes of Edward and William 
was to put the English Law (as regards transmission on death of 
actions for damage to property) on pretty nearly the 'same footing 

1 See Phillips v. Homfray, supra, per Bowen, LJ.; Holdsworth, Hist. 
E. L. iii. 455. 


Two Ancient Brocards 


as the Roman Law on the subject, apart from the just-mentioned 
limitations of time. 1 One great difference was left unaltered, viz. 
the effect of action begun ante mortem. While by Roman Law, as 
we have seen, litis contestation ensured transmissibility of the 
action to the heirs in every case, English Common Law gave no 
effect to it. If, after an action on tort has been competently 
brought, one of the parties dies, the action abates by English Law 
in accordance with our brocard, and does not pass to or against 
his personal representatives. Despite some slight attenuations 
introduced into modern practice, 2 the rule remains as stated. 
This is strongly illustrated by the case of Bowker v. Evans, in 
1885, where an action on tort having been referred by the judge 
to arbitration, in accordance with previous agreement of parties, 
and one of the parties having died while the arbitration was pend- 
ing, his executor was not allowed to take his place, although it 
had been expressly stipulated by the parties that the award should 
take effect though either party died before it was issued. 3 It 
seems impossible to justify this in equity or good sense. 4 

The statutes of Edward and William just mentioned relate, it 
will be noticed, solely to injuries to property. 5 For injuries to 
person, on the other hand, little change was made by legislation. 
One or two recent statutes, however, have caused English Law in 
one respect to make a step in advance of the Roman, viz. by 
allowing actions of damages to be brought under certain circum- 
stances by the personal representatives of persons killed by fault 
(actual or constructive) of others. This was first done in 1846 by 
the Fatal Accidents Act (commonly called, after its author, Lord 

1 Equity in this matter follows the law. See Peek v. Gurney, 1873, 6 
H.L. App. 393. 

2 See Twy cross v. Grant, 1878, 4 C.P.D. 40. But see note 4 infra. 

3 15 Q.B.D. 565. The agreement for reference to arbitration was held 
to be mere matter of procedure, which could not affect the rights of parties 
under the action. 

4 Oddly enough, in a marginal note to some MSS. of Bracton, fol. U4b 
(which cannot be well attributed to B. himself), it is said : ' Notandum quod 
poenalis actio non datur in heredes nee transit in eos nisi lis fuerit contestata 
cum defuncto.' See Maitland, Bracton and Azo (Selden Series), p. 213. 

5 It should be noticed that while the Roman Law only allowed damages 
to be claimed from heredes, so far as they were lucrati by the wrongful act, 
English Law under 3 and 4 Wm. IV allows action for injury to property, if 
timeously brought, to have effect so far as the deceased left assets. This is 
in accordance with Canon Law and mediaeval practice. See infra^ p. 228 n. i. 

222 H. Goudy [xi 

Campbell's Act), 1 which enabled children and certain other near 
relatives of persons killed to recover through the executors (under 
certain conditions as to time of raising action, etc.) damages 
for pecuniary loss thereby sustained by them. Subsequently the 
Employers Liability Act enabled executors of certain employees 
to sue where death was caused by injuries specified in the Act. 2 
This is a more enlightened view than is contained in the Roman 
maxim liberum corpus nullam recipit aestimationem. 

But these several statutory reforms, important though they 
are, do not after all go very far. The Common Law still remains 
in force as regards ordinary actions on tort, and so far actio personalia 
moritur cum persona retains its force as a binding maxim. 

(a 7 ) Traces of Origin of Brocard. 

I shall now endeavour to trace the origin of our brocard. We 
have seen that it is not Roman ; neither is it traceable to any of the 
post-Justinian civilians or to the Corpus Juris Canonici. We must, 
I think, turn in the first place to Bracton. The maxim indeed is 
not to be found in his pages, but he may be none the less its fons 
et origo. Bracton, who wrote his De Legibus et Consuetudinibus 
Angliae in the middle of the thirteenth century, borrowed, as is well 
known, a large amount of his matter (not purely feudal) from the 
Roman Law. He did so in part (but only in small part) from the 
texts of the Corpus Juris directly, but to a large extent, as Dr. 
Carl Giiterbock pointed out long ago, from the Summa of the Code 
and Institutes of the famous glossarist Azo. Now, in dealing with 
obligations, which he does under the general head of actions, he 
says this about the modes of their extinction (fol. 101): Item 
tollitur \pbligatio\ morte alterius contrahentium, vel utriusque> 
maxime si sit poenalis , vel simplex si autem duple x, scilicet 
poenalis et rei persecutoriae^ in hoc quod poenalis est tollitur ; et non 
extenditur contra heredes, nee datur heredibus y quia poena tenet suos 
auctores et extinguitur cum persona, i.e. an obligation is ' also 
got rid of by the death of either of the contracting parties or of 
both, especially if it is a penal obligation or a simple one ; but if 
it be a double one, namely penal and for recovery, it is got rid of 
as far as it is penal and it does not extend to the heirs, nor is it 

1 9 and 10 Viet. c. 93, ss. I, 2. 

2 43 and 44 Viet. c. 42, s. i. See also Workmen's Compensation Act 
(1906), s. 13. 

xi] Two Ancient Brocards 223 

allowed to the heirs, because a penalty binds the original parties 
and is extinguished with the person.' l This is wholly confused. 
It is evident that in seeking to apply the Roman doctrine on this 
matter to English Law (and he is plainly not stating existing English 
rules) he has failed to distinguish between obligatio and actio. As 
I have said, he treats the doctrine of obligations under the head of 
actions (which in itself is not without justification, as we know 
from Theophilus) ; but he mixes them up in a strange way. The 
whole section about the dissolution of obligations has been taken, 
as Maitland points out, 2 in part from Azo's Commentary on Inst. 
iii. 29 (Quibus modis obligatio dissolvitur) and in part from the 
Institutes directly. But the passage I have just cited is not in Azo, 
nor anything like it, much less in the Institutes , and is, I need 
hardly say, very far from representing Roman Law. Whether it is 
Bracton's own or was taken by him from some other source, I am 
unable to say. It looks like his own. 3 What Bracton may perhaps 
have had before his mind in composing it was contracts of a penal 
character, i.e. contracts in which non-performance was treated as 
delictal and punished by a penalty or amercement (e.g. the action 
of debt). Nearly all contracts seem to have been of this character 
in his age ; they were, with few exceptions (as where made in 
writing by solemn form, or perhaps where there was res data\ 
enforceable only by actions of a delictal character. Contracts 
and torts were, in short, hardly distinguished. The fact is one 
cannot dispute it that, great as were Bracton's merits in other 
respects, his knowledge of Roman Law was utterly defective. In 
appropriating passages from the Corpus Juris and from Azo, he 
over and over again fails to understand them, makes the most 
bewildering statements, and is not seldom self-contradictory. This 
must be said even in view of Professor Maitland's warning about 
possible defects in the manuscripts. 4 As glaring illustrations of 
such blunders, I may be permitted to refer to one or two other 
passages in addition to the one cited. Thus in the same section as 

1 Edition of Twiss, ii. p. 123. Cited by Bowen, L.J., in Finlay v. Chirney^ 
supra, p. 216 n. 

2 Bracton and Azo (Selden Series), p. 162. 

3 ' Culpa tenet suos auctores' is in Code De Poem's, 1. 24. That Bracton 
borrowed from some other civilian than Azo is very probable ; who this was 
remains to be discovered. 

4 Bracton and Azo (Selden Series), p. xvii. 

224 H* Goudy [xi 

the above he explains the dissolution of obligations confusione in 
this way : Item per confusionem \pbligatio tollitur\ ut si massa 
confusa fuerit cum alia, ita quod non appareat, here understanding 
confusio in the sense it has in the doctrine of property mixture of 
different materials. Again, on folio 99b, he applies a sentence in 
Justinian's Institutes, iii. 14, which relates to mutuum to the 
contract of commodatum, so as to make the commodo accipiens 
liable for injury to the thing by casus, though a little farther on he 
negatives such liability. Attempts have been made to rectify this 
passage as a MS. error, but to me it appears an evident blunder 
due to want of knowledge. Again, on folio 102, he treats actions 
rei persequendae causa as equivalent to actions in rem and says : 
Omnes fere personates actiones sunt ex contractu, sicut mutui 
commodati, etc., obviously misunderstanding the passage in the 
Institutes, iv. 6, 17, which runs : Earum vero actionum quae in 
personam sunt, hae quidem quae ex contractu nascuntur fere 
omnes rei persequendae causa videntur. But it is needless to 
multiply examples ; they abound. 1 In view of what I have just 
said, it is impossible to be sure of what Bracton intended in the 
passage above cited, asserting that contracts perished by the death 
of either of the contracting parties. I think he probably meant no 
more than that contracts were so dissolved in which non-performance 
was treated as delictal and amercement or fine followed judgment 
(e.g. Action of Debt), because he says later, fol. 102 : Personates 
vero actiones . . . locum habent adversus eum qui contraxit et 
heredem suum, nisi sint poenales? But, whatever he meant, 
his statement was copied by Fleta, 3 and to some extent influenced 

1 These and other instances have been noted by Maitland in Bracton and 
Azo, supra. A specially glaring case is iii. 3, 9, fol. 1030, which Maitland 
describes as a ' marvellous mess.' 

Where Azo (or his MS.) is wrong Bracton follows him e.g. compare Azo 
in Inst. ii. i, f. 244, No. 7 with Bracton ii. I, 2, where both use apprehen- 
sionem apparently for aucupium and misunderstand Dig. xli. I, 55. Did 
Bracton in his constant slight changes in the phraseology of Azo (e.g. substitut- 
ing Sempronius for Seius and Maenius for Maevius) intend to compound with 
his conscience for plagiarizing him ? 

2 See also folio loib, where, dealing specially with delictual actions, he 
says : ' In iis autem delictis sive maleficiis obligatur ille qui delinquit ei contra 
quern delinquitur, nee dissolvitur obligatio quoad poenam nisi morte utriusque 
vel alterius.' 

3 ii. 60, 9. The extent of the influence of Bracton on the Common Law 


Two Ancient Brocards 


the Courts, so that for a time apparently nearly all personal actions 
(whether on contract or delict) were held to be intransmissible 
(either actively or passively) on death of one of the parties, though, 
as already indicated, this soon became restricted to actions on tort. 
But however this be, in the Year Books after Edward I there is 
little evidence that an action purely on contract was intransmissible 
either to or against executors, apart from the passive intransmissi- 
bility of actions of Debt and Account already mentioned. The law, 
however, was anything but settled. The Report in Y.B. 15, Ed. IV 
Term. Hill. 16, 3, bears that in certain cases an action for debt did not 
lie against an executor of a testator, for the reason that the testator 
might have waged his law, which executors could not do. 1 Most, if 
not all, other cases in the Year Books in which transmission was 
not allowed (so far at least as text-writers have noticed them) were 
in form actions for damages to person and property (e.g. actions of 
waste and trespass). In Y.B. 19 Hen. VI 66, pi. 10 (A.D. 1440) 
(an action by churchwardens for things carried off from a church), 
Chief Justice Newton said, * If one doeth a trespass to me and 
dieth, the action is dead also, because it should be inconvenient to 
recover against one who was not a party to the wrong.' It is 
curious, however, that we do not find our maxim, actio personalis 
moritur, cited in the Year Books anywhere. It is said indeed by 
Reeves to have been employed in Y.B. 12 Hen. VIII. 2 This Report 
is interesting. It was an action on the case brought by executors 
to enforce a personal promise of guarantee, and the Court was 
unanimous in holding the action competent. Fineux, Chief Justice, 
said and his words deserve attention * This is not a case where 
actio moritur cum persona, for that only applied where the hurt or 
damage is corporal ; as if one beats me, and dies, my action is 
gone ; or if I die, my executors will not have an action, for the 
party cannot be punished when he is dead.' This means, I take it, 
that in the opinion of the Chief Justice it was only penal actions 
that were terminated by death of party. But Reeves 3 apparently 
makes a mistake in attributing to the Chief Justice the words actio 
personalis moritur \ the words of the Report in the black-letter 

is much disputed. It may be perhaps compared to that of Craig (Jus Feudale) 
in Scots Law. 

1 See also Bacon, Abr. s.v. Executors, ii. p. 444. 

2 Fol. n, pi. 3. 8 History of English Law^ iii. p. 403. 


226 H. Goudy [xi 

edition of the Year Books are simply actio moritur cum persona, 
and there seems no reason for supplying the word personalis rather 
than poenalis. 

The decision in this case of 12 Henry VIII is subsequently 
denounced by Fitzherbert in an opinion delivered by him in the 
year 1536 and reported in the Year Book 27 Henry VIII, fol. 23. 
Though this eminent judge does not cite our maxim, he expressly 
declares that the last-mentioned decision was bad law, telling us at 
the same time that he himself had been counsel for one of the 
parties in it. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Fitzherbert 
took the view that personal actions generally (whether on contract 
or on tort) did not transmit at Common Law either to or against 
executors. No reason is reported to have been given by him ; and, 
though his opinion may have governed the practice of the Courts 
for a time, 1 the question was soon after settled by the case of 
Norwood v. Rezd z and that of Pinchon, tempore James I (1609), 
reported by Coke. 3 The latter of these was an action on Contract 
(as sump sit) ; and here for the first time, so far as I have been 
able to discover, the phrase actio personalis moritur cum persona 
was judicially used. Perhaps Coke himself invented it. In 
Pinchon's case the Court disregarded the opinion of Fitzherbert 
and in effect followed the earlier judgment in 12 Henry VIII, 
above cited. After this, our maxim seems to have become 
common in practice, but, save in the old action of Debt and the 
modern action for breach of promise of marriage, it never received 
any effect in actions on contract or quasi-contract. Its currency 
in the Law Courts after Elizabeth is undoubted. It appears in 
Noy's Grounds and Maxims of the English Lawsf first published 
in 1640. Noy, who was Attorney-General under Charles I, seems 
to have understood the maxim in its literal sense as applicable 
to contractual as well as delictual obligations. As a legal 
writer, however, he is of little authority. What is rather inter- 
esting is that in the fifth edition of this book, published with 
notes and additions in 1757, Bacon is referred to as authority for 
the maxim. Now Lord Bacon did write a small work on legal 
maxims. It is styled Rules and Maximes of the Common Lawes of 
England, and was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth. It was not 

1 Reeves, ut supra. 2 Plowd. p. 180. 

3 9 Rep. 86b. 4 Noy, 6th ed. 1794, Maxim 14. 

xi] Two Ancient Brocards 227 

published, however, till 1630. When we turn to this work we find 
that Bacon does not include actio personalis moritur among his 
collected maxims, nor does he make the mistake of using that 
expression at all. But, oddly enough, he does give incidentally a 
maxim which differs by only one word from Noy's, viz. actio 
injuriarum moritur cum persona, and it is to this presumably that 
Noy's editor refers. Now, this maxim of Bacon, if taken in its 
literal sense, would, as I have shown, quite accurately represent the 
Roman Law. But unfortunately Bacon misunderstands, on his part, 
the meaning of actio injuriarum showing that his knowledge of 
Roman Law must have been very slight. He applies it to damage 
to property viz. waste by a tenant for years, thus failing to 
distinguish between injuria as a personal wrong and injury to 
property or damnum injuria datum. 

Such, then, is the early history of our maxim. If I am right in 
my reading of the authorities, I think it came into our law owing 
to the misunderstanding by Bracton of the Roman Law, his 
inaccurate use of its language, and the consequently erroneous 
doctrine adopted by Fitzherbert and others. We can see from 
the older cases cited in Bacon's Abridgment how fluctuating 
and diverse were the applications of the maxim in practice. 
It has been suggested that the expression actio personalis 
is merely a mistake for actio poenalis, due originally to some 
careless manuscript copyist. 1 But in view of the language of 
Bracton and Fitzherbert this conjecture may be discarded. Nor 
of course, as we have seen, would actio poenalis moritur cum 
persona be at all correct for Roman Law. 

(e) Its Application in Scots Law. 

Till quite recent times our brocard was unknown to Scots Law. 
It is nowhere referred to by the great Scotch institutional writers, 
such as Stair and Erskine, nor does it appear in any of the Reports 
of Cases prior to the nineteenth century. It has indeed crept into 
the terminology of the Courts in some recent decisions, but without 
being, in my opinion, properly appreciated an exotic borrowed 
from English Law. Speaking generally, both as regards active and 
passive transmission of penal actions (i.e. actions for damages in 
excess of bare reparation), Scots Law has for the most part followed 
the Roman, but in part the Canon Law. Thus for passive survival 
1 See B. Abridg. ii. pp. 444-5. 

228 H. Goudy [xi 

the rule of the Canon Law is applied, and personal representatives 
are liable only so far as deceased left assets. 1 On the other hand, 
as regards the effect of litis contestation or pendency of suit at 
death of either the wrongdoer or the injured party, Scots Law 
follows the rule of the Corpus Juris? Nevertheless in one or two 
respects, and particularly as regards transmission to representatives 
of the injured party, Scots Law has varied from the Roman rather 
remarkably. It has done so, in my opinion, on grounds of logic 
and good sense. Thus actions for personal injury, corresponding 
to the actio injuriarum, seem not to have been in older Scots Law 
barred as vindictam spir antes or on other grounds, but were held 
transmissible actively to the executors of the injured party. Such 
at least was decided in 1874 in an action of slander raised by an 
executrix of the person alleged to be slandered, in which the 
early authorities were all carefully considered. 3 The executrix 
averred that patrimonial damage had been caused to the deceased 
by the slander, and the action was held to be competent. It must, 
however, be admitted that in one or two recent cases of a similar 
nature the trend of judicial decision has been unfortunately to 
depart from this doctrine and accept, as regards personal injuries, 
our English brocard to a considerable extent. The doctrine on 
this point seems hardly settled. 4 

Further the law of Scotland, by long and well-established 
custom, allows the near relatives of persons who have been killed 
wilfully or negligently to sue the wrongdoer for damages such 
damages including not only patrimonial loss but also solatium for 
mental distress. Only near relatives, however, who are in the 

1 Davidson v. Tulloch, 1860, 3 Macq. 783. Canon Law allowed trans- 
mission against executors, but only so far as the deceased's estate was 
available. This was a consequence doubtless of the limited representation by 
personal representatives in that system, but was based on religious grounds. 
See Savigny, System, v. 211 ; and infra, p. 229 n. 3. 

2 Neilson v. Rodger ; 16 D. 325 ; Wood v. Gray, 19 Ret. (H.L.) 31. 

3 Auld v. Shairp, 1874, 2 Ret. pp. 199, 940. In this case Moncrieff, 
J.C., seems to speak of 'actio personalis moritur' as a Roman maxim, and 
fails to distinguish between personalis and poenalis. 

4 See General Bill Posting Co. v. Yonde, 1910, S.C. 934, and cases there 
cited. The case of Bern's Executor, 1893, 2O Ret - 8 59> where the Court 
refused an action to the executor of a deceased lunatic for injuries done to the 
lunatic, causing patrimonial damage, was, in my opinion, a retrograde step. 
See criticism by Mr. R. M. Williamson in L.Q.R. x. p. 182, with which I 

xi] Two Ancient Brocards 229 

position of dependents on the deceased, can sue, at least where 
death has been instantaneous. They sue in their own right and 
not in any representative capacity. 1 So far, then, Scots Law 
has disregarded the Roman maxim, liberum corpus nullam recipit 
aestimationem. The doctrine is one peculiar to Scotland, and was 
judicially admitted many centuries ago in the action of so-called 
assythment or kinbuit by which the near relatives of a murdered 
man could recover under certain conditions pecuniary damages 
from his murderer. 2 This action of assythment is now in desuetude, 
but an ordinary action for damages for fatal injury due to fault can 
always be brought. Lord Campbell's Act had no application to 
Scotland, and was never needed there. 

In my judgment these variations of Scots Law from both the 
Roman and English Law are based on sound principles of equity. 
There is no sufficient reason why the representatives of a deceased 
person to whom personal wrong has been done should not have a 
right to damages which such person would have been able to 
enforce had he lived. It is a civil debt which should transmit like 
other debts. In short, there is no good reason why a deceased's 
estate, if he leaves assets, should not be held liable for every kind 
of injury done by him causing damage to another, and that 
whether the estate was positively enriched by the wrongful act or 
not. 3 


This brocard may be translated, ' He who owns land owns 
also that which is above it,' or, more literally, * He who owns land 
owns everything above it up to the sky.' 4 It appears also in the 

1 In McEvaney v. Caledonian Railway Co., Scot. Law Times, April 1913, 
the right of executors and other personal representatives of a person killed by 
negligence of another to sue for damages was held to depend on the deceased 
having made a claim for damages antecedent to his death. See also Erskine, 
Principles, 2oth ed. p. 100. 

2 See Balfour, Practicks, p. 516 case of Bairnis of James Steuart v. 
Robert Steuart, 1539 for the grounds on which the rule is based. 

3 On the want of equity in the Roman Law as regards the limited trans- 
mission of delictal actions against heirs, see Savigny, System, v. 211 (p. 50 
sq.). Compare Bethmann-Hollweg, Civil Progress, ii. p. 298, n. 19, who takes 
a different view. 

4 See Broom, Maxims, pp. 300, 371, 376. 

230 H. Goudy [xi 

form Cujus est solum ejus est a coelo usque ad centrum (or usque 
ad inferos), i.e. ' He who owns land does so from the sky above it 
to the centre of the earth (or to Hades) below it.' x It is cited in 
Croke's Reports, in an action for stopping lights, as Cujus est 
solum ejus est summitas usque ad coelum, and a reference is 
there 2 made to its use in the time of Edward I. It is as old as 
the glossarists, though whether due to Irnerius or another I am 
unable to say. It appears in the Accursian gloss in the form 
Cujus solum ejus esse debet usque ad coelum? On the other hand, 
I do not find that it was much used by the commentators or 
other Continental civilians after Accursius. Cujacius gives a 
somewhat different locution, viz. Quo jure est coelum eodem jure 
esse debet solum et contra. Barbosa does not give our maxim 
at all. 

Unlike actio personalis moritur cum persona, our present brocard, 
though it appears nowhere in the Roman texts, is consistent with 
the Roman Law, and would not have sounded strange to the 
classical jurisconsults. The text that comes nearest to illustrating 
it is Dig. xliii. 24 fr. 22 4. It is from Venuleius, and he tells us 
there that the interdict Quod vi aut clam could be raised against 
anyone who caused anything to project over another's burial-place, 
for the reason that a burial-place includes not only the solum 
but the air-space (coelum} above it : Si quis projectum aut 
stillicidium in sepulcrum immiserit, etiamsi ipsum monumentum 
non tangeret, recte cum eo agi quod in sepulcro vi aut clam factum 
sit, quia sepulcri sit non solum is locus qui recipiat humationem sed 
omne etiam supra ad coelum. 

The case figured is Some one has placed a projectum which 
interferes with the free air-space above the burial-ground of a 
neighbour (sepulcrum). If no right of servitude exists the owner 
can have the interdict Quod vi aut clam just as much as if the 
solum itself had been encroached upon by an opus manufactum* 

Another text is Dig. viii. 2, I pr., where it is stated that no 
servitude projiciendi or stillicidii could exist where a public place, 
such as a public road, intervened between the dominant and servient 
tenement, because coelum liberum esse debet, which means, I take 

1 See Lord Mackenzie, Roman Law, p. 170; Dart, Vendors and Pur- 
chasers, p. 129. 

2 Croke, Elist. p. 118. 3 Gloss to Dig. viii. 2, i pr. 

xi] Two Ancient Brocards 231 

it, that the air-space above the road should be free to all, like 
the road itself. 1 It was only from the point of view of vicinage 
and servitude that the Romans had occasion to consider the 
coelum in this sense. And it was the same with the mediaevalists. 
By our older British lawyers the maxim was usually cited in the 
following connexions: (i) in describing the nature and extent 
of property generally ; 2 (2) in affirming the acquisition ipso jure 
by the owner of the soil of what is built or planted on it ; 3 (3) in 
asserting the legal right not to have one's uses of one's own land 
prevented or restricted by one's neighbour using his for building, 
etc. (Baten's Case, tempore James I) ; 4 (4) in connexion with 
restrictions by servitudes of light, air, prospect, etc. 

The maxim also, in its form Cujus est solum ejus est a 
coelo usque ad centrum, has been used in relation to mining 
claims and the like, in support of the doctrine that ownership of 
land extends beneath the surface in a direct line to the centre of 
the earth. 5 

Neither the Romans nor the mediaevalists had to consider the 
important questions of overhead rights that we moderns have to 
consider. Balloons and aeroplanes and other air-craft were beyond 
their ken. How the Romans would have dealt with such questions 
as interference with privacy, disturbance from noise, etc., arising 
from air-craft must, of course, be left to conjecture. But I venture 
to think that the right of property in the coelum would have sufficed 
to prevent air-transit over a man's ground and interdicts to prevent 
it would have been granted had damage been caused or threatened. 
The assertion of some recent writers that because the air, like the 
sea, is res communis and free to all, the circulation of air-craft 
would not have been prevented by Roman Law, is, to my mind, 
based on an erroneous assumption. It is assumed that aer and 
coelum mean the same thing. But though no formal distinction was 
made between them by the Roman jurists, and though the terms 
are sometimes used as equivalents, a distinction none the less 
existed. It was the aer the omnipresent medium, never at rest 
and incapable of appropriation that was res communis. It was 

1 See also Dig. xliii. 24, 21 2. 2 Coke on Littleton, 4a. 

3 Stair, Inst. i. p. 296. 

4 8 Jac. I, 9 Co. 54. This case is similar to Dig. xliii. 24, 22 4. 

5 Broom, Legal Maxims, p. 302. 

232 H. Goudy [xi 

so because necessary for the life and health of all. But in contrast 
with it the coelum was res sotiand capable more or less of appropria- 
tion by the owner of the soil. In this sense it was not so much 
aer as spatium (or regie) a'eris, and it is only in this sense that it 
can be understood in the two passages above cited. The common 
user of aer is indeed asserted by many passages in the Digest, but 
private ownership of the coelum is also asserted. There is no 

Whether and how far actions of trespass, nuisance, or the like 
are by English Law competent to prevent transit by aeroplanes, 
etc., over private ground, are questions on which I do not enter. 
They have been abundantly discussed by recent writers, and the 
balance of authority seems greatly in favour of such actions being 
competent. 1 But whatever view may be taken, it is plain that 
our maxim will have much play in the judicial discussions that 
are likely to arise on the subject in the near future, and the matter 
is one that calls for regulation by statute. On the other hand, for 
International Law resting partly on the same principles as the 
private law and partly on other considerations we must hold that 
every State has the right of sovereignty over the air-space above 
its territory, and the consequent right to exclude foreigners from 
it, and rules for transit will have to be provided by international 
treaties. From the point of view of international rights air cannot 
be treated like the high seas, and we do not need a second Grotius 
to write an aer liber. 


1 See the interesting French case, Brinquant and others v. Farman and 
others^ July 1912, discussed by Valentine in Juridical Review, vol. xxiv. 
p. 321. 




THERE was no town or village on the site of the present City of 
London when Julius Caesar landed in Britain in 55 B.C. At that 
time, indeed, the estuary of the Thames was probably eight or ten 
times as wide as it is now ; there was a considerable ebb and flow 
of the tide ; and most of the land to the south of our present 
Holborn and Cheapside was then mere marsh or fen. Nor was 
there any London when the Romans occupied Britain for the 
second time in A.D. 43. This is shown by the fact that those who 
originally constructed the Watling Street probably on the track 
of an earlier British road ignored our metropolis and made their 
road pass half a mile or so on the western side of Westminster 
where it could more safely cross the Thames. 

But there was a London of some kind before Agricola left 
England ; Tacitus in his Annals (xiv. 33) mentions a Londinium 
as existing in A.D. 61. At first it was nothing more than a 
fortified barrack posted on a rocky hillock that rose out of the 
marshes of the Thames, on or near what we now call Ludgate 
Hill, and occupied only by soldiers and camp-followers. As trade 
developed merchants and hucksters and other non-combatants 
came to reside under its shelter, and London grew to be a colony. 
About A.D. 340, in all probability, it became a municipality, and 
at some date between A.D. 350 and 370 the famous Roman wall 
was built. It enclosed not only buildings but nearly a square mile 
of open country as well, in order to secure a supply of water and 
grazing for horses and cattle. This wall played a most important 


234 W. Blake Odgers [xn 

part in the subsequent history of London. It was wonderfully well 
and strongly built, and portions of it still exist. 

We are not concerned to-day with the history of the City of 
London, most interesting though it is. I have to deal only with a 
small portion of the land which lay to the immediate west of the 
old Roman wall. This locality has for many centuries been 
largely frequented by lawyers, and it has therefore been sometimes 
styled the 'legal quarter of London.' In Norman times the 
monks called it the ' territory ultra Fletam. 1 

The Holeburn, or the stream in the hollow, rose in the High- 
gate ponds beneath Ken woods, and soon met another brook, 
which had its source in the Hampstead ponds that lie to the east of 
Haverstock Hill. The united stream ran down by Battle Bridge, 
round the north of Holborn Hill, and discharged itself into the 
estuary known as the Fleet. This was a tidal creek of the Thames 
flanked on each side by high banks where Holborn Viaduct now 
stands, but opening out more widely at the foot of Fleet Hill, 
which we now call Ludgate Hill, and then running into the 
Thames close under the Roman wall. At high tide it was wider 
than Farringdon Street is now. Poor little Fleet brook ! After 
helping for centuries to guard the City of London on its western 
side, it came to be called the * Fleet ditch, 1 and is now shut up in 
a sewer under Bridge Street. You may see it at low tide pouring 
its contents into the Thames through a round opening in the wall 
which supports St. Paul's railway station. 

The land bordering on the Thames to the immediate west of 
the Fleet brook was in Roman and Saxon times full of creeks and 
runnels, though meadows were gradually emerging from the marsh. 
This is shown by the names which we still find there such as 
Bridewell, Water Lane, Milford Lane, etc. There was a nameless 
stream which was once the chief tributary of the Thames between 
the Fleet and the Tyburn. Its source was near the Church of St. 
Giles-in-the-Fields, whence it ran across the meadows in a south- 
easterly direction towards the site of the future Church of St. 
Clement Danes. Before it reached what we till lately knew as 
Wych Street, it fell into the creek which was called the Old Wych ; 
and close to this spot there was subsequently a water mill and a 
ford, at the top of what we now call Milford Lane. The Old Wych 
then curled round and fell into the Thames * just at the bottom ' 

xn] The Inns of Court 235 

of Essex Street, where the barges lay in the days of Sir George 
Rose ! Then a little farther on, between what we now call 
Catherine Street and Wellington Street, there was a bridge called 
Strand Bridge ; so there must have been another stream running 
into the Thames just there. This all tends to show that the 
southern portion of the territory ultra Fletam was originally more 
or less a marsh. It was indeed sometimes called ' London Fen.' 

A little farther inland from the Thames there soon came to be 
fair meadows, sloping up towards Holborn Hill. But in Roman 
and in Saxon times there were practically no houses to the west of 
the Fleet brook no Fleet Street and no Strand existed before the 
Conquest. There was no road or lane at this time south of 
Holborn, and there was no gate in the Roman wall at the foot of 
Fleet Hill. There was indeed no use or need for such a gate, as 
the Fleet brook was there too wide to jump and too deep to ford, 
and there was no bridge. For 800 years after the Romans left 
Britain the only gate in the Roman wall on the west side of 
the. City was the one afterwards called New Gate. An abbey 
was founded at Westminster a little more than a century 
before the Norman Conquest ; and shortly after that event the 
King had a palace at Westminster. But if either Abbot or King 
desired to journey from Westminster to the City of London, he 
had either to go by water for the Thames was the great highway 
between the two cities or else he had to go by road through the 
village of Charing and farther northwards till he joined the road 
from Oxford, then along Holborn and enter the City at the New 
Gate. That was then the only way by road from Westminster to 

Very few people before the accession of Henry I ventured to 
live outside the Roman wall ; and indeed there was no reason why 
they should do so, as there was plenty of room within its protection. 
Those who were bold enough to reside outside it naturally clustered 
round the existing highway and the neighbourhood of the City 
gate. There were houses on both sides of Holborn almost to the 
top of the hill for at least a hundred years before there was anything 
like a street nearer the Thames. But all the flat ground on the 
crest of the hill was devoid of any buildings. In the Manor of 
Portpool that is where now stands Gray's Inn there were no 
houses at the time of which I am speaking, but merely a windmill 

236 W. Blake Odgers [xn 

and a chantry. The priest who served this chantry came from St. 
Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield. He did not dare to sleep in 
the wild unknown country of Portpool ; he returned every night to 
St. Bartholomew's, 

But in the eleventh and twelfth centuries attempts were 
successfully made to embank a portion of the Thames and the 
mouth of the Fleet brook. Thus much of the marshy ground 
came to be meadows which attracted a few bold persons to come 
and live outside the City walls. At first these were chiefly 
ecclesiastics, as monasteries and churches were less likely to be 
attacked by robbers and housebreakers than private dwelling- 
houses, and priests could rely both on their sanctity and their 
poverty. The churches of St. Bride and St. Dunstan were built 
on the west side of the Fleet, and in 1115 we know that the Dean 
and Chapter of St. Paul's owned four tenements ultra Fletam, 
one of which was occupied by a loriner. There must have been 
some road or lane by which folk could go to these churches and 
to this loriner's. This is the beginning of Fleet Street. Then 
about 1 1 50 or a little later the Lud Gate was opened, and a bridge 
of some kind was no doubt made across the Fleet. King Lud 
never had anything to do with this gate ; it was not even named 
after him. The word * ludgate ' simply means the back gate, 
the postern gate. 

For centuries there had been wrangling between the City of 
London and the Abbot of Westminster as to how much of the 
marshy ground south of the Holborn Road belonged to each of 
them. At last in the reign of Henry II about the year 1183 
this dispute was settled, and a clear line was drawn separating the 
two dominions, which to the present day is still the boundary 
between the City of London and the City of Westminster. This 
line started from the New Gate, crossed the Hole -burn, and 
came up Holborn Hill to where still stand Holborn Bars. A little 
further on, it turned sharply to the left and ran southwards to where 
Temple Bar afterwards stood. At first there were only two posts 
and a chain there to guard the new entrance to the City ; this was 
known as the Barra Novi Templi as early as 1301. Later a gate of 
stone was built there, but not the Temple Bar which we older men 
so well remember that was built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1672, 
and removed in 1879. The boundary line between the two cities 

xii] The Inns of Court 237 

then passes due south through the corner of Messrs. Twinings' 
tea warehouse at the top of New Court, then by Ruth Pinch's 
fountain and through Garden Court. It cuts off a portion of the 
Middle Temple library, and emerges on the Thames Embankment 
just where there is a monument to Queen Victoria on the railing 
of the Middle Temple Garden. 

The area between this boundary and the old Roman wall was 
at once treated as a suburb of the City and placed under civic rule, 
although it was not till 1223 that it was expressly declared to be 
a City ward. It was called at first the ward of Holborn and Fleet 
Street, and later the ward of Farringdon. Half of our Inns of 
Court and of Chancery lay within this new ward, and half without 
it. Thus it contained both the Inner and the Middle Temple, 
Staple Inn, Barnard's Inn, Thavie's Inn, Clifford's Inn, and both 
the Serjeants Inns ; while Lincoln's Inn, Gray's Inn, Clement's 
Inn, and New Inn never were within the City of London. 

We will now briefly trace the history of each separate Inn of 


It was in the year 1118 that the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre 
at Jerusalem first came to England. They were bound by the 
strictest vows to poverty, chastity, obedience, to succour the Holy 
Land, and especially to ' save the Holy Sepulchre from thrall.' 
But they did not always devote the whole of their time to com- 
pliance with these vows. Being both soldiers and ecclesiastics, 
they did not fear to live outside the Roman wall, so they settled 
on a vacant piece of land on the south side of Holborn between 
the future Staple Inn and the top of the future Chancery Lane. 
There they built a hall and a round chapel ; all the churches 
dedicated to the Holy Sepulchre were round. They remained for 
over forty years on this site, which was long afterwards known as 
the * Old Temple.' 

When the Templars came to England it was natural, no doubt, 
for them to settle near Holborn, for that was then the only road 
out of London on the western side. But towards the close of the 
twelfth century, as we have seen, Ludgate had been opened and 
a road carried over the lower Fleet and along what we now call 
Fleet Street. And eventually the Templars, wanting more room 

238 JV. Blake Odgers [xn 

than they could get in Holborn, where houses were springing up 
all around them, obtained from Robert de Beaumont, second Earl 
of Leicester and Lord High Steward of England, the grant of 
a fine open meadow sloping down to the Thames on the southern 
side of the new road, and there built a great house and a second 
round church. They also acquired a field on the north side of the 
new road ; it was called Fickett's Field, and extended from the 
Church of St. Clement Danes almost to the future Chancery Lane. 
This field they used for tilting ; and doubtless the forge in the 
south-east corner of it, for which the City still pays, I believe, a 
rent to the Crown, was the place where the armour of the Templars 
was fitted and riveted, and their horses shod. 

The exact date when the Knights Templars left the Old 
Temple and settled in their new habitation, cannot be now 
definitely fixed, but it was probably about the year 1162. At 
first they had no chapel of their own ; they held their services in 
the Church of St. Clement Danes, over which King Henry II 
gave them certain rights, but they were busy building the circular 
portion of our present Temple Church. And on February 10, 1185 
this was consecrated by Heraclius, Patriarch of the Church of the 
Holy Resurrection, Jerusalem, in the presence of King Henry II, 
his consort, and his Court. King James I in his Charter of 1608 
still described this matchless specimen of pure Norman architecture 
as ' the Church of the New Temple of London.' There are only 
two other examples of the true Norman work above ground in 
London the Chapel of St. John at the Tower of London, and the 
Church of St. Bartholomew the Great at Smithfield though there 
are two or three Norman crypts in the City under ground. 

Later, in 1220, was built St. Ann's Chapel, the crypt of which 
is still to be seen. The Templars also erected a noble refectory of 
stone, which stood upon the site of the present Inner Temple Hall ; 
indeed two arched crypts which belonged to the refectory are 
still standing there. And here the Templars lived in pride and 
pomp. They associated only with the nobles. King John himself 
came and lodged with them for a week at a time. They looked 
down upon the knights of all other religious orders, and at last 
their arrogance was their ruin. At the beginning of the fourteenth 
century grave charges were brought against them, most of which, 
I believe, were unfounded. They were accused, among other things, 

xn] The Inns of Court 239 

of conducting in secret unholy Rosicrucian ceremonies and other 
mystic rites, which they were said to have brought from Palestine. 
An inquiry was held in St. Dunstan's Church in 1312, and the 
charges were declared to be proved. Under rigorous cross- 
examination, and probably under torture, some of the weaker 
brethren confessed to crimes which they had never committed, and, 
what was worse, to heresies, which they possibly may have held. 
All the property of the Knights Templars was confiscated, and 
they were expelled from the kingdom in the year 1313. 

There were many reasons for their expulsion. First and fore- 
most they were reputed to be very wealthy. Then they had done 
nothing for many years in performance of their vows. The Knights 
Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem were jealous of them. 
Lastly, the Pope turned against them, and then their doom was 

But the King obtained little or no booty from his cruel and 
unjust treatment of the Knights Templars. The Pope intervened 
on the ground that their property was consecrated, and by a decree 
made at Vienne in 1312 gave their possessions in England to the 
rival Knights of St. John, who continued to hold them till the 
dissolution of the monastic orders under Henry VIII. This 
property included what was afterwards known as the Inner and 
Middle Temple. 

But the Knights of St. John found their new acquisition rather 
a white elephant. They preferred the open country at Clerkenwell 
in which they had been for several years comfortably established. 
They had, moreover, a struggle with the King before they could 
obtain possession of the Templars' Hall and its precincts, for that 
monarch had put into possession of it, first Aymer de Valence, 
Earl of Pembroke, and then his own cousin Thomas, Earl of 
Lancaster. But the latter nobleman was executed in 1322, and in 
1324 the Pope again insisted that all the property of the Templars 
must be handed over to the Knights of St. John, lest, as the decree 
ran, ' the same should be put to profane uses.' And so, some 
years later, in the early part of the reign of Edward III, the 
Knights of St. John leased it to the lawyers ! 

240 W. Blake Odgers [xn 


The exact date of this letting (or, more technically, subinfeuda- 
tion) is unknown ; Master Worsley is content to say that it took 
place in 'some part of the reign of Edward III.' 1 Still less do 
we know to what lawyers the land was leased. Was it to an 
accidental group of persons who had never previously been 
associated ? Was it to a Society of lawyers, who till then occupied 
some neighbouring hospice ? We know that there were already 
many little communities in the City of London of professors and 
students of the law residing each in its separate hostel, taking 
their meals in common, and governed by their Readers or 
Benchers as the colleges in Oxford and Cambridge were by their 
fellows. Did one of these Societies march westward and occupy 
the chambers left empty by the Knights Templars within the new 
City boundary? Or was this land, as some maintain, divided 
from the first between two already existing Societies of lawyers 
who had previously been occupying separate hospices? These 
questions we cannot answer positively, because we have not the 
deeds. In the year 1381 the followers of Wat Tyler went to the 
Temple, broke into the Church, seized all the books and papers, 
and all the reports of cases which were in the lockers of the 
apprentices of the law in the Temple, took them up to the high 
road, and burnt them there. The existing registers of the Middle 
Temple begin in 1501, those of the Inner Temple in 1505 ; both 
contain references to older records now unfortunately lost. 

There is no doubt some reason to believe that while the 
Knights Templars occupied this land there were on it two halls. 
One, their refectory, stood where the Inner Temple Hall now 
stands it was consecrated because the prior slept over it. The 
other hall stood on unconsecrated ground occupying a portion of 
the site on which at present stand Pump Court and Elm Court 
in other words, in what is now the Middle Temple. But there is 
no reason why the same society may not own two halls ; Lincoln's 
Inn does so at the present moment, and ex hypothesi, the Order of 
the Knights Templars did so before their exile. The presumed 
existence, therefore, of the two halls does nothing to settle the 

1 Master Worsteds Book, edition of 1910, p. 89. 

xii] The Inns of Court 241 

More may perhaps be made of the undoubted existence of two 
rents. In the year 1331 William de Langford was Keeper of the 
New Temple under the Order of the Knights Hospitallers of St. 
John of Clerkenwell. He paid annually into the King's Exchequer 
for the Temple the sum of 24, namely ^"12:4:1 for the con- 
secrated portion and ;ii: 15:11 for the unconsecrated portion. 
But then a claim was made to the consecrated portion by Hugh le 
Despenser, who alleged that it had been sold to him by the Prior 
of the Order in the year 1324. The Prior, however, with the 
assistance of William de Langford, was able in 1336 to satisfy the 
King that this sale had been extorted from him by force by the 
said Hugh ; so William de Langford remained in possession as 
tenant of the Prior. Two years afterwards, on i8th June 1338, the 
King, being in need of money for his foreign expedition, agreed for 
the sum of ;ioo to allow the Prior the residue or unconsecrated 
portion of the manor of the New Temple, together with the rent 
due therefrom of j : 5 : 2. It is explained in the Calendar of 
Patent Rolls of this date how the rent had become reduced from 
;ii : 15 : II to this figure ; and it is stated that if this residue of 
the manor should be found by valuation to be worth more than 
10 the Prior should pay the excess into the Exchequer. Thus it 
came about that the lawyers in occupation of this portion of the 
land paid the Prior only 10 a year rental ; the Prior was not 
interested in obtaining more. But it was not until the year 1521 
that a later prior agreed to reduce the rent of the consecrated 
portion to the same amount. 1 The Order of the Knights of St. 
John of Clerkenwell was dissolved in 1539 and their property all 
passed to the Crown. So from that time forward the Societies of 
the Inner and the Middle Temple each paid the King 10 a year, 
and these rents were retained by the Charter which King James I 
granted to the two Societies in 1609. It will be observed, how- 
ever, that the two rents were originally one rent ; and, again, there 
is no reason why two different rents may not be paid by the same 
society for two different properties if that society occupies them 

We cannot, therefore, on the materials before us, definitely 
determine whether there were from the beginning two distinct 

1 For this detailed account of the two rents I am indebted to Mr. E. 
Williams, F.R.G.S., of the Prudential Assurance Company. 


242 IV. Blake Odgers [xn 

societies settled in the Temple. But this much is clear that within 
some fifty or sixty years after the first entry of the lawyers two 
separate societies were located there. The Prologue to the Canter- 
bury Tales was written when Chaucer was on a journey in the year 
1388, and it contains a well-known reference to a manciple, on 
which Dugdale x bases an argument : ' That they were here seated 
in King Edward the third's time, is out of all doubt, from what 
our famous old Poet Geffrey Chaucer expresseth in his Prologue 
to the Manciple, concerning them (he having also been a Student 
of this House, as the History of his life, printed in the front of his 
works, 2 sheweth).' 

A Manciple there was of the Temple, 

Of which all Catours might taken ensemple. 

But Dugdale here is clearly quoting from an inferior version of 
the Prologue. In the best manuscript, the Ellesmere, the lines 
run thus": 

A Gentil Maunciple was ther of a temple, 
Of which achatours mighte take exemple. 

And the use of the phrase ' a temple ' is some evidence that there 
was more than one temple known to Chaucer in the year 1388. 

Next, we are indebted to Mr. W. C. Bolland of Lincoln's Inn 
for an interesting discovery. 3 He found an old will preserved at 
Somerset House which is dated St. Bartholomew's, day, 24th August 
1404. It was made by John Bownt of Bristol, and is written in 
Latin. It contains a bequest of two marks to Robert, the manciple 
of the Middle Temple (Roberto mancipio medii Templi}. Can this 
be the very man who rode with Chaucer along the Pilgrim's Way 
to Canterbury ? Again in the year 1440 in the Paston letters we 
find one of the Pastons writing to his son and bidding him ' quan 
your leysyr is, resorte ageyn on to your college, the Inner Temple.' 
So by this time there were two distinct * colleges ' or schools of law 
established on the lands formerly held by the Knights Templars 
within the boundary between the City of London and the county 
of Middlesex. 

1 Origines Jurididales^ p. 145. The first edition of this book was 
published in 1666. 

2 Dugdale is no doubt referring to Speght's edition, published in 1574. 

3 See an article by him in the Law Quarterly Review ', vol. xxiv., at 
p. 402. 

xii] The Inns of Court 243 

The lands of the Knights Templars which lay outside that 
boundary came naturally to be known as the Outer Temple. The 
lawyers never got possession of any of this. The portion of this 
land which lay to the south of the Strand became the property 
first of the bishops of Exeter, then of Lord Paget, and later of the 
Earl of Leicester, and then of his stepson Robert Devereux, Earl 
of Essex. Upon it now stand Essex Hall, Essex Street, and 
Devereux Court. Much history lingers in the names of streets 
and houses. The portion north of the Strand formerly known as 
Fickett's Field was in the eighteenth century covered with a net- 
work of disreputable slums. These were later cleared away to 
make room for the stately pile of the Royal Courts of Justice, 
which were opened on 4th December 1882. 


But before proceeding farther northwards, we must pause to 
discuss a tradition mentioned by Dugdale connecting the Temple 
with Thavy's Inn. He tells us on p. 144 of his great work the 
Origines Juridiciales that 

by a Decree made in the great Councel at Vienna in anno 1324 (sic) 
(about the iQth year of the same King Edward the II reign) the 
lands of the Templars, being generally bestowed upon the Knights 
Hospitalers of St. John of Hierusalem, King Edward the 3d 
granted this Mansion unto the Knights of that Order here in 
England ; who, soon after (as the tradition is) demised the same, 
for the Rent of x 1 - per annum, unto divers professors of the Common 
law, that came from Thavyes Inne in Holburne. Now that there 
is nothing but tradition left to us ; for this cannot seem strange, 
considering what spoil Wat Tyler, with his fellow Rebells, made 
here, in 4 Ric. 2. by destroying and burning their Books and 

You will observe how guardedly Dugdale speaks of this 
' tradition/ that the first Templars came from Thavy's Inn. Never- 
theless a less learned and therefore a bolder writer makes the same 
statement in a manuscript still in the possession of the Society of 
the Inner Temple. His name is unknown, but he wrote at some 
date after the middle of the reign of Charles I, and he ventures to 
assign a precise date for the alleged migration. His statement is 1 

1 Calendar, Inner Temple, i. p. xvii. 

244 ^ Blake Odgers [xn 

that the lawyers came from Thavie's Inn 

about the year 1347, ever since which time they and their suc- 
cessors, professors and students of the Common Law, have there 
resided, who in tract of time converted and regulated the same 
first into one Inne of Court and afterwards, viz., in the reign of 
King Henry VI, divided themselves into those two Societies or 
Inns of Court, viz., the Inner and the Middle Temple. 

We shall see shortly x why the writer fixed on the year 1 347 ; but 
his extraordinary looseness as to dates is shown by his startling 
statement that there was only one society of lawyers at the Temple 
till the reign of Henry VI ! Indeed a few sentences later (p. xviii) 
he asserts that there was only one Hall in the Temple till the reign 
of Henry VI- 

then the lawyers were multiplied and grown into soe great a bulke 
as could not conveniently be regulated into one society, nor, indeed, 
was the old hall capable of containing so great a number, whereupon 
they were forced to divide themselves. A new hall was then erected, 
which is now the Junior Temple Hall, whereunto divers of those 
who before took their repast and diet in the old hall resorted, and 
in process of time became a distinct and divided society. 

These are, I believe, the only 'authorities' for the suggestion 
that the first Templars came from Thavy's Inn ; and neither of 
them carries any weight. As we shall shortly see, no Thavy's Inn 
existed in 1347. Moreover, at that date, in all probability, some 
lawyers had already entered the Temple. 

But where was Thavy's Inn, and who was Thavy? Was he 
the same person as Tavy or Davy, who are also accredited by 
some with having founded Inns of Chancery in the fourteenth 
century ? 

There was in the reign of Edward III 'an honest citizen' 
called John Tavy who owned three shops on the south side of 
Holborn, and behind them a house or hostel in which apprentices 
were boarded. They lay to the east of Fetter Lane, pretty much 
on the site of the present Bartlett's Buildings ; Tavy had purchased 
these in 1323. He was by trade an armourer, and a member of 
the Company of Armourers, and was one of the four members of 
that Company who were appointed in 1342 to supervise the new 

1 Post, p. 247. 

xn] The Inns of Court 245 

regulations as to the making and selling of armour. He was also 
an armiger, which shows that he was a person of some little dis- 
tinction in the City. 

John Tavy made his will on I2th March 1348, and it was 
proved and enrolled in the Husting on 23rd November 1349. He 
directed his executors to sell a certain tenement which he had 
acquired from John Cok, and with the proceeds to pay his debts, 
etc. To Isabella, his daughter, he left a certain shop, and to his 
wife Alice all his other tenements in Holborn. After her decease 
* the hostel in which the apprentices used to dwell ' was to be sold 
and the proceeds devoted to the maintenance of a chantry. 

On 1 6th January 1350-51, that is, fourteen months later, the 
executors, at Alice's request, sold the hostel and two shops and 
the reversion of the third shop held by Isabel, the testator's 
daughter, to Sir John de Houton, Baron of the Exchequer. 1 But 
this sale was only for the life of Alice. On the death of Alice, in 
1366, the hostel was sold in fee to Roger de Barnburgh and Sir 
Ely de Sutton, clerks of the Chancery (St. Andrew's Church taking 
a rent). This was in accordance with the will of John Tavy, 
which directed that it should be sold after the death of Alice to 
provide a chaplain to pray for the souls of Alice and John. 2 

There was another and a very different man, John Davy, who 
in the year 1376 occupied the land which lay to the south of 
Holborn on the east side of John Tavy's land, stretching away 
towards St. Andrew's Church and Shoe Lane. He was a Chancery 
clerk, Receiver for the King for the counties of Carmarthen and 
Cardigan, and a man of great prominence in Holborn from 1350 
to 1397, when he died. The land which he occupied is quite 
distinct from that which John Tavy owned in 1348. It extended 
from a tenement of John Tavy on the west to a tenement of 
John de Besville on the east, and stretched from the King's high- 
way on the north to the tenements of John de Besville and John 
Tavy on the south, and is so described in a deed of 26th June 
1346. And on this land there undoubtedly grew up, under the 
superintendence of Davy, a little school of law which was named 

1 The leading witness to this deed of sale was Thomas de Lincoln, 
serjeant-at-law, who at that time was the owner of the first * Lyncolnesyn ' 
in Holborn. 

2 For all these details as to the various properties in Holborn I am 
indebted to Mr. E. Williams, who holds the deeds. 

246 IV. Blake Odgers [xn 

after him Davy's Inn. It was sometimes called Thavy's Inn, but 
why we can only conjecture. Possibly Davy, the Receiver for the 
counties of Carmarthen and Cardigan, spelt his name with two 
' D's,' for the Welsh are fond of double initials, and I am informed 
by a high authority that in Welsh * dd ' is pronounced like ' th ' in 
* this ' or ' that.' Anyhow, both names seem to have been used in- 
discriminately for centuries. But ' Thavies Inn ' eventually gained 
the mastery, and the place was called by that name till within 
living memory. The property is referred to as ' Davysynne ' in an 
old Inquisition post-mortem in 1419, and in the minister's accounts 
of the Bishop of Ely in 1444. On 25th January 1550 Gregory 
Nicholas, citizen, quit -claimed to Edward Gryffith and others 
gubernatoribus hospitii de Lyncolnsyn a 'messuage with a garden 
adjoining commonly called Davyes Inne and of old time (olim) 
called Thavye's Inne with chambers, etc.,' in Holbourne. 

It is clear from the title-deeds that John Tavy, the armourer, 
never owned any portion of what was called Davy's or Thavie's 
Inn. Yet legal writers soon jumped to the conclusion that this inn 
was called after the armourer. The confusion has, no doubt, been 
caused by the similarity between the names, but I think my Lord 
Coke was also to blame in the matter. 

He stumbled one day in the Court of Husting upon John Tavy's 
will, and was struck by the fact that it contained the word appren- 
ticii. It described the house behind the three shops as hospitium 
in quo apprenticii habitare solebant, and this collocation of the 
words hospitium and apprenticii made a great impression upon 
Lord Coke's mind. Remembering that John Tavy was an 
armourer, and a member of the Guild of Armourers, we should now 
naturally translate the Latin phrase as 'the house in which my 
apprentices used to dwell.' No doubt Tavy had a year before his 
death retired from business, and his apprentices had left him and 
set up for themselves. But in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries 
the apprenticii had played a very important part in legal circles. 
There were the apprenticii ad legem the men who lived in the 
Inns of Court, and who roughly corresponded to what we now call 
the 'junior Bar' and the apprenticii attached to the various 
courts, who were in fact apprenticed to the clerks of those courts, 
and resided in the Inns of Chancery. With these looming large in 
his eye, Lord Coke jumped to the conclusion that apprentices of 

xii] The Inns of Court 247 

the law had lived in Tavy's house though why students of law 
should reside with an armourer I cannot understand ! And later 
came our friend who wrote the Inner Temple manuscript, from 
which I have copied on p. 244, and he said to himself : * John Tavy's 
will was made in 1 348, and in it he says that the apprentices used 
to dwell in his hostel (habitare solebanf] ; so they must have left 
before he made his will. Ah, I see ; they all moved in a body to 
the Temple in 1347 !' 

However this may be, Lord Coke refers to the matter on 
p. xxxvii of the Preface to the Reader in Part X of his Reports. 
After quoting the case of Thomas de Weylond (19 Edw. I) as to 
the antiquity of the Order of Serjeants, he adds : 

And in I Edw. Ill 'there is mention made of an apprentice, 
and he is called an apprentice of the law . . . and is next in degree 
under a serjeant.' See also the ordinance of 20 Edw. I, rot. 5, 
addressed to Sir John de Metingham, etc. : 'And so is farther proved 
by a record inter communia placita tenta in Hustingo, London, 
die Lunae in festo Sancti dementis Papae, anno regni Edw. Ill viz. 
die Jovis proxime ante festum Sancti Gregorii Papae, anno domini 
1348. Ego Johannes Tavie Armiger lego animam meam Deo, &c. 
Item lego omnia tenementa mea cum omnibus pertinentiis quae 
habeo in parte australi in parochia Sancti Andreae, &c. Aliciae 
uxori meae ad totum terminum vitae suae ; et quod post decessum 
praedictae Aliciae, totum illud Hospitium in quo Apprenticii legis 
habitare solebant.' 

This legend as to Davy's (alias Thavy's) Inn rapidly gained 
ground. Sir George Buc, who had himself been a student there, 
wrote an Account of the Schools of Learning in London, which 
he presented to Lord Coke, and which was published in 1631 
as an appendix to Stow's Chronicle of England. And therein he 
speaks in glowing terms of his former inn. 

And I must and will begin with Thavis Inne, for besides that 
at my first comming to London, I was admitted for probation, 
into that good house, I take it to be the oldest Inne of Chancery, 
at the least in Holborne, and so may justly challenge precedence 
by Seigniority, and antiquitie : it was before the dwelling of an 
honest Citizen called John Thavie an armorer, and was rented of 
him in the time of King Edward the 3. by the chiefe professors 
then of the Law, viz. Apprentises, as it is yet extant in a record 
in the hustings, and whereof my Lord Coke, shewed to me the 

248 W. Blake Odgers [xn 

transcript, but since that time it was purchased for the students 
and other professors of the Law of Chauncery by the Benchers of 
Lincolns Inne, about the Raigne of King Henry the seaventh, and 
retaineth the name of the olde Land-lord or owner, master Thavie. 

There are two glaring misstatements in this passage. The 
apprentices certainly never were ' the chief professors then of the 
law.' They always took rank below the Serjeants and readers. 
Again, the Society of Lincoln's Inn did not acquire Davy's Inn 
in the reign of King Henry VII, but in the year 1550, when his 
grandson, Edward VI, was King. Note also that what Lord Coke 
showed to Sir George Buc was not the original will in the 
Husting, but only a transcript of it. 

Lastly, let us have Dugdale's version of this legend ; it was 
written before the year I666. 1 

In this Inne of Chancery were Students of the Law resident 
in King Edward the third's time, as may appear by these follow- 
ing words, taken out of the last Will and Testament of John 
Tavye, whose House it then was, and of whom it took this name ; 
viz. ego Johannes Tavie Armiger, &c. lego animam meam Deo, 
&c. Item lego omnia tenementa mea, cum omnibus suis pertinentiis, 
quae habeo in parte Australi, in parochia S. Andreae, &c. Aliciae, 
uxori meae, ad terminum vitse suae : Et quod post decessum 
praedictae Aliciae, totum illud Hospicium, in quo Apprenticii 
ad Legem habitare solebant, per Executores meos, si superstites 
fuerint, una cum Executoribus praedictae Aliciae, vendatur, et quod 
de pecunia inde precepta, unus Capellanus idoneus, pro anima mea, 
et anima praedictae Aliciae inveniatur, &c. 

But in process of time, the inheritance thereof, coming to the 
hands of Gregory Nicholls, Citizen and Mercer of London ; he, by 
his Deed, bearing date . . . Jan. 4, E. 6, granted it to the then 
Benchers of Lincolns Inne, and their successors for the use of 
Students of the Law : After which time, it was by them demised 
to the Principal and Fellows of this House, for the Rent iii 1 . vi s . viii d . 
per annum ; and hath had the like privilege, for admission of their 
Students into the Society of Lincolns Inne, as those of Furnivals 
Inne had, and still have. 

When I compared the two versions cited above of the will 
of John Tavy, the armourer, I was struck by the difference of 
phraseology at the all-important point Lord Coke writing legis 
and Dugdale writing ad legem. A suspicion entered my mind 
that these words must in each case be a gloss placed by the learned 

1 Orig. Jur. p. 271. 

xn] The Inns of Court 249 

writer on the language of the original will ; each felt sure in 
his own mind that the apprentices referred to must have been 
apprentices of law, and each of them put in a word or two to make 
this quite clear to others. I naturally endeavoured to obtain an 
unimproved transcript of the original will. I searched in vain in 
the Calendar of Wills proved and enrolled in the Court of Husting, 
London, under the name both of Tavy and Thavy. Then a 
friend suggested to me to look under the name of Tany, as an 
n and a v are often written much alike in old manuscripts. And so 
under the name of John Tany, on p. 619, I found the following: 

Tany (John), 'armurer.' The tenement which he acquired 
from Master John Cok to be sold by his executors to pay his debts, 
and the residue to be devoted to pious uses. To Isabella his 
daughter a certain shop. All his tenements in the parish of S. 
Andrew (sic), with the exception of the aforesaid shop, he leaves 
to Alice his wife for life, after whose decease a hostel wherein his 
apprentices used to live is to be sold, and the proceeds devoted to 
the maintenance of a chantry, and his mansion house and shops 
to be given to the fabric of the church of S. Andrew in Holbourn. 
Dated in the parish of S. Andrew in Holbourn, Thursday next 
before the Feast of S. Gregory, Pope [12 March], A.D. 1348. 
Roll 77 (242). 

It is clear then that neither the word legis nor the phrase 
ad legem occurs in the original will. Moreover, I am assured 
by my friend Mr. E. Williams, who holds the deed, that in the 
grant of 1366 by which the hostel was sold in fee to Roger de 
Barnburgh and Sir Ely de Sutton only seventeen years after the 
death of Tavy it is expressly described as ' a messuage or hospitium 
in which the apprentices of John Tavy used to dwell.' 

I conclude therefore (a) that there is no evidence to show that 
any student of law ever dwelt on the land which John Tavy the 
armourer owned in 1348 ; (b) that a School of Law existed in 1376, 
and probably a few years prior to that date, on the land which John 
Davy occupied in that year ; (c) that there is no evidence that this 
School of Law ever had anything to do with either Temple ; it was 
no doubt from an early date intimately connected with the Society 
of Lincoln's Inn, which till 1412 or a few years later was located in 
its immediate neighbourhood. 

250 W. Blake Odgers [xn 


As we have already seen, the ecclesiastics were the first to 
venture outside the City walls ; take, for example, the Bishop of 
Ely who lived at Hatton Garden and the Bishop of Exeter who 
took up his abode in the Outer Temple. So it was that when 
Ralph Neville, the great Bishop of Chichester, needed a town 
house for himself and his successors in that See, his eye fell on 
the meadows to the immediate north and east of Fickett's Field 
just outside the new City boundary. And there he built himself 
a stately mansion in the year 1227, in which he died in 1244. 
This mansion must have occupied the site of the buildings which 
lie to the immediate south of Lincoln's Inn Old Hall. And behind 
his house was a garden, to the north of it a paddock, and on the 
west side of garden and paddock a coneygarth or warren for tame 
rabbits. This word was afterwards corrupted into coninger ; for 
at a later date the spot is referred to as Coninger Field, and is 
now part of the 'gardens of Lincoln's Inn. It probably stretched 
as far north as the back gardens of the houses on the south side 
of Holborn. 

Anyone can find out for himself exactly where the Bishop's 
mansion stood by walking up Chancery Lane from Fleet Street, 
crossing Carey Street (which did not then exist), and before he 
comes to the gateway of Lincoln's Inn he will find on his left hand 
two courts Chichester Rents and then Bishop's Court. These 
names still commemorate the approach to the Bishop's house and 
identify its situation. And in this house successive Bishops of 
Chichester lived for nearly two hundred years. One of them, John 
de Langton, was Chancellor of England from 1292 to 1302, and 
again from 1307 to 1310. After him, it is said, the lane on the 
east side of his house was called Chancellor's Lane, which is now 
corrupted into Chancery Lane. The last Bishop who occupied 
this house died there in the year 1412; his successor preferred to 
live elsewhere. 

What happened in the next ten years we do not know for 
certain ; but by the year 1422 we find a fully constituted Society 
in occupation of the Bishop's property, which is henceforth known 
by the quaint name of the ' Inn of Lincoln's Inn.' The records, 
which are known as the Black Books, describe the life of the 

xii] The Inns of Court 251 

Society in delightfully varied detail ; but they tell us nothing of 
its origin. The first Black Book begins in the year 1422 ; it 
contains entries which show that at this time the Society was 
paying a rent of ten marks a year to the Bishop of Chichester for 
the occupation of all that portion of his premises that lay to the 
west of Chancery Lane. The exact date of the original demise is 
not known ; it must have been between 1412 and 1422. 

Ralph Neville, Bishop of Chichester, also held land on the 
other side of Chancery Lane prior to I235. 1 He owned a garden 
there to the north of the land which the King had granted to the 
House for the support of the brethren converted from Judaism to 
the Catholic faith (afterwards part of the Liberty of the Rolls). 
This garden was bounded on the north by a ditch known in 1262 as 
' Chaunceleresdich.' A portion of the land which lay to the north 
of this Chancellor's ditch between it and Holborn was occupied 
in the middle of the fourteenth century by Thomas de Lincoln, the 
King's serjeant, and certain students of the law. Their territory 
may be roughly defined as the site of Furnival Street, which we 
used to call Castle Street, and of the present Patent Office to the 
south of Staple Inn. It was acquired in the following way. 

In 1334 the executors of Robert le Hende de Worcester granted 
a plot of land extending from the King's Street on the north to 
the tenement of the Bishop of Chichester on the south to Thomas 
de Lincoln of the Common Bench, the King's serjeant, who is 
described as the son of Thomas de Lincoln. In 1331 John de 
Totel de Lincoln had granted to Thomas de Lincoln some land 
to the east of this, and in 1332 Andrew Courtays had granted a 
garden to the south-east of this property to Thomas de Lincoln. 
He combined these three properties, and they formed the first home 
of the Society of * Lyncolnesynne.' Mr. Paley Baildon has dis- 
covered that there was an enormous increase in the work of the 
law courts about 1 340, and this would no doubt lead to an increase 
in the number of the students of the law and necessitate the 
erection of new hostels. 

In 1348 Thomas de Bedic granted all his rights of lordship 
over this land to Thomas de Lincoln. By three deeds dated 
1364, 1366, and 1369, the fee simple of the whole property was 

1 That is perhaps why we still find a court called Nevill's Court on the 
east side of Fetter Lane. 

252 IV. Blake Odgers [xn 

conveyed by Thomas de Lincoln to the Abbot and Convent of 
Malmesbury. In 1399 a 'Rental' of the property of the Convent 
of Malmesbury was drawn up which shows a payment to the 
Abbot of 8 De Firmario novi hospicii apud Londoniam vocati 
Lyncolnesynne. And in this Rental there is a later entry on the 
bottom margin of the same page ; it is undated but it was probably 
written early in the fifteenth century. It is to the following 
effect: Hospicium Armigeri jam magnum hospitium quod est 
ruinosum reddit per annum 40^. The rent had no doubt been 
reduced from 8 to 403. because of the ruinous condition of the 
big mansion. 1 

Hence, early in the fifteenth century, we find the Society of 
Lincoln's Inn located in a mansion on the east side of Chancery 
Lane which had become ruinous. The landlord apparently did 
nothing towards the repair of the mansion. And so it seems clear 
that the Society moved across Chancery Lane and entered into 
occupation of the house and premises of the Bishop of Chichester, 

1 For the above details as to the title of these various properties I am 
indebted to Mr. E. Williams, who is in possession of the title-deeds. 
See also an article by Mr. G. J. Turner of Lincoln's Inn in the Athenaum, 
September 22, 1906, p. 335. It may be interesting to subjoin the text of 
the most important entries. 


' De Firmario novi hospicii apud Londoniam vocati . J 
Lyncolnesynne ad iiiior terininos solvendo per annum . \ *!,, . 

De tenemento quondam Gaillardi Poet in Holbourne xxs 
De tenemento quondam Walter Bartone Allutarii . xiils mid ' 
Written in a different hand, with different coloured ink, at the bottom 
margin of the page, and certainly of a later date, the following remarks have 
been added : 

' London. Hospicium Armigeri jam magnum hospitium 

quod est ruinosum reddit per annum . XLs 
Tenura Celda proxima annexa hospicio reddit per 
tenencium annum ...... ixs 

infra silvam Secunda celda reddit per annum . . xs 
magni hospicii Tertia celda reddit per annum . . vills 

Quarta celda que est . . .' 

[Here the page is cut away] 

The ( hospicium armigeri ' of the marginal note is obviously the same 
building as the ' Lyncolnesynne ' of the former entry. Serjeants were ex 
officio 'armigeri,' and, according to Foss, were often so designated in the 
fourteenth century. 

xii] The Inns of Court 253 

which had lain empty since 1412. The exact date of this removal 
we cannot fix, but it must have been before 1422 ; for in that year 
commence the Black Books, the first volume of which is entitled 
Liber Hospitii de Lincolnsin. The earliest entries in this volume 
show that the persons then in possession of those premises formed 
a fully established society, possessing the constitution, powers, and 
privileges of an Inn of Court. And those persons retained their 
former title of the Society of Lincoln's Inn, and never called them- 
selves Bishop's Inn or Chichester Inn, as would have been the case 
with a society newly created. That the Society of Lincoln's Inn 
existed before 1422 is clear from the fact that in the Corporation 
Letter Books one Thomas Broun is described as Maunciple of 
Lincoln's Inn, under date of 1417. 

Lastly, we find in the Black Books another entry which 
seems to establish the continuity of the present Society with that 
formed on the other side of Chancery Lane by the King's serjeant. 
In 1466 the Society was paying 95. yearly to the Prior of St. Giles' 
Hospital for Lepers for another part of its property ; and no other 
rents, apparently, were being paid for any other part on the west 
side of Chancery Lane. But on p. 8 of vol. i of the Black Books 
of the present Society the following entry occurs : 

In the vigil of the Apostles Peter and Paul 16 Henry VI 
(1438) John Row delivered to John Fortescue and others in the 
name of the Society to be paid to ... Halssewylle for the farm of 
Lyncollysyn in arrear for the I5th year (Henry VI) in the time of 
Bartholomew Bolney then Pensioner in full payment 403. out of 
money received by him. 

That is to say, the Society of Lincoln's Inn, now settled in the 
Bishop of Chichester's mansion, was still paying the identical rent 
of 403. which it paid at the commencement of the century for the 
ruinous hospitium of Lyncolnesynne. 


But, as time ran on, the King's serjeant was forgotten ; no one 
remembered Thomas de Lincoln and his hospice to the north of 
the Chancellor's ditch. And men began to wonder why the Society 
was called 'Lincoln's Inn/ The name did not seem to have any 
connexion with the history of the Society's present abode ; from 

254 ^ Blake Odgers [xn 

what source then did it come ? And some one must have recol- 
lected that there was an Earl of Lincoln who was a famous man in 
the reign of Edward I, and who resided somewhere in this locality ; 
possibly he was the founder of the Society. And in that uncritical 
age the suggestion soon found favour. 

Hence it is that we find in the Origines Juridiciales (at p. 231) 
the following remarkable passage : 

After this Ralph Nevill, Richard de Wihtz (commonly called 
Saint Richard) had also his residence here. But in the next age 
Henry Lacy, Earl of Lincolne became possest thereof, and resided 
in it ; whereupon as many other great Houses, did in those dayes 
take denomination from their Owners, this had then accordingly 
the name of Lincolnes Inne, and hath ever since been so called. 

Of this Henry, Earl of Lincolne, is the tradition still current 
amongst the Antients here ; that he, about the beginning of King 
Edward the seconds time, being a person well affected to the 
knowledge of the Lawes, first brought in the professors of that 
honourable and necessary study, to settle in this place : but direct 
proof thereof from good Authority, I have not as yet seen any. 

There was good ground for Dugdale's scepticism. No Earl of 
Lincoln ever owned or occupied any portion of the land which 
belonged in Dugdale's day to the Honourable Society of Lincoln's 
Inn. Every square inch of this land was the property of the See 
of Chichester from 1227, when it was granted to Bishop Neville, to 
1537) when Bishop Sampson sold it to the Inn. And the only 
mansion on the land was, as we have seen, occupied by successive 
bishops from 1227 till 1412. 

There was no doubt at the beginning of the fourteenth century 
a great man living in this neighbourhood, Henry De Lacy, Earl of 
Lincoln and Salisbury. He owned the whole manor of Holborn, 
having purchased it in 1286 for 550 marks from the Black Friars, 
who had occupied it from 1215. His mansion stood in Shoe Lane 
on the slope of Holborn Hill, to the south-east of St. Andrew's 
Church. He was a valiant knight and an able statesman ; he was 
also a successful market-gardener. He made a considerable sum 
of money (for those days) by the sale of his fruit and vegetables. 
He was famous for the beauty of his gardens, which stretched 
down almost to Fleet Street. Think of him in his manor house on 
the slope of Holborn Hill looking across the Fleet brook at the little 
city still encircled by its Roman wall. 

xn] The Inns of Court 255 

Forget six counties overhung with smoke, 
Forget the snorting steam and piston stroke, 
Forget the spreading of the hideous town ; 
Think rather of the pack-horse on the down, 
And dream of London, small, and white, and clean, 
The clear Thames bordered by its gardens green. 

And in this house Henry De Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, died in 
1311 ; and his mansion and his manor passed to his son-in-law the 
Earl of Lancaster, Lord High Steward of England and cousin of 
the King, and was subsequently owned by other persons of high 
rank, whose title to them is well known. There is not the faintest 
evidence that any professors or students of the law ever occupied 
any portion of Earl De Lacy's house or grounds. 

To get over this difficulty it has recently been suggested that 
what the Earl did was to establish the lawyers not in his residence, 
but in Thavie's Inn, which stood at a little distance from it on 
the other side of Shoe Lane. But this he would have had no 
right to do. The Earl never owned either the house which was 
later called Davy's or Thavie's Inn, nor that which twelve years 
after the Earl's death became the property of John Tavy, the 
armourer. The Earl would have had no possible right * to bring 
in ' professors of the law into either house. 

And note that the tradition recorded by Dugdale does not 
assert either of these propositions. Still less does it assert that 
the Earl brought the lawyers into his house in Shoe Lane. It 
rests upon the assumption that in the reign of Edward II. he 
' became possessed of, and resided in/ the mansion built by Ralph 
Neville, which we know to be untrue. The fact is that the name 
' Lincoln's Inn ' is in no way derived from or connected with 
Henry De Lacy, Earl of Lincoln. Yet the Society in 1518 placed 
his arms on the side of their gatehouse facing Chancery Lane, 
where they still remain. And in 1553 they placed them with 
other coats on the ' loover or lanthorn ' over their Old Hall. 1 


Gray's Inn, like Lincoln's Inn, lies wholly without the City 
boundary ; for though it is in the parish of St. Andrew's, Holborn, 
none of it is within the ward of Farringdon. It is, in all prob- 

1 Dugdale, Orig. Jurid.^ p. 232. 

256 IV. Blake Odgers [xn 

ability, as old or nearly as old as the other Inns of Court. Sir 
George Buc records a tradition currrent at the Bar in Elizabeth's 
reign that Gray's Inn had been an Inn of Court since the days 
of Edward III. 1 It lies within the Manor of Portpool ; and this 
Manor undoubtedly belonged as early as 1298 to Reginald, Lord 
Grey de Wilton, Chief Justice of Chester. But there were no 
lawyers there during his lifetime. The precise date at which the 
students of the law ventured to come outside the City walls and 
settle in or near the ancient manor house of Lord Grey de Wilton 
cannot be precisely ascertained. They came no doubt from the 
Inns of Chancery on the south side of Holborn, and especially 
from Staple Inn and Barnard's Inn. 

The earliest records which Gray's Inn now possesses are the 
Pension Books, which begin in the year 1 569 ; there was an older 
volume, to which Dugdale had access, but which now is lost. The 
Inn also has preserved a list of its Benchers and Readers, prepared 
by its butler Segar in the time of Charles II, which makes the 
Inn date back to 1355 ; but this list is not trustworthy. In 1589 
Yelverton, J., spoke of Gray's Inn as having been founded * two 
hundred years ago at least,' but we cannot implicitly rely on a 
statement in round numbers such as this. One thing, however, 
is certain. I have already quoted the Paston Letters, and it is 
marvellous what valuable things we find in that collection of 
letters, discovered almost by an accident. In 1454 William Paston 
wrote to his father that when on a journey he had met Sir William 
Bylling, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, and this learned judge 
said to him: 'I was a felaw in Gray's Inn along with Ledam.' 
The word * felaw ' was applied in those days to any member of 
one of these Societies, and it would probably even then take a 
student forty years to attain to the dignity of a Chief Justice ; so 
that there must have been a fully-constituted Inn, either of Court 
or of Chancery, on this spot at or soon after the accession of 
Henry V in 1413. 

In 1 505 the ninth Lord Grey de Wilton, by indenture of bargain 
and sale, assigned ' to Hugh Denys, Esquire, his heirs and assigns, 
the manor of Portpool, otherwise called Gray's Inn, including two 
messuages, four gardens, the site of a windmill, eight acres of land, 
ten shillings of free rent, and the advowson of the chantry of Port- 
1 S tow's Chronicle, p. 1073. 

xn] The Inns of Court 257 

poole aforesaid.' Some eight years later, in 1513, the Prior and 
convent of Shene (that is Richmond, in Surrey) bought the manor 
from Denys' trustees. In 1516 a society consisting of two Serjeants 
and four barristers took a lease of the Manor of Portpool from the 
Prior of Shene for los. a year and a fine of 6: 13:4. On this 
manor still stood the ancient house of Lord Grey de Wilton, of 
which probably this society was already in occupation. The manor 
escheated to the Crown at the dissolution of the monasteries, but 
Henry VIII renewed the lease, and the Inn has long ago bought 
the freehold. 

The beautiful Hall of Gray's Inn was finished in 1563 eight 
years before the Hall of the Middle Temple, which it much 
resembles. At this time houses had been built along Holborn, 
almost as far as Southampton Row ; Warwick Court was already 
in existence, but there was no entrance into South Square from 
Holborn ; that was made by Francis Bacon at a later date. Gray's 
Inn was approached by a gate leading into Gray's Inn Square, to 
the north of the chapel and the Hall ; that is why the old gate of 
the Hall is on its northern side. And once more I would point out 
how history lingers in the names of streets. There is still a street 
called Portpool Lane, that runs in a line with Hatton Wall from 
Leather Lane to Gray's Inn, which it strikes to the north of the 
chapel and the Hall. This was no doubt a short cut from the 
bottom of Holborn Hill to the Manor of Portpool, and later to the 
northern gate of Gray's Inn. 


It is clear then that the Inner and Middle Temple, Lincoln's 
Inn, and Gray's Inn were all established as distinct societies by 
the end of the fourteenth century. They were by that time 
accepted as general schools of law, and had acquired recognized 
privileges as Inns of Court although they held no charter from 
the Crown. But, in addition to these four Inns of Court, there 
were as we learn from Sir John Fortescue, who wrote in 1470 
'ten lesser Inns, and sometimes more, which are called Inns of 
Chancery, in each of which there are an hundred students at the 
least.' In Lord Coke's time there were only eight. 

There is much that might be said about the Inns of Chancery 


258 IV. Blake Odgers [xn 

if time permitted. In the Inns of Court dwelt those advocates who 
had not attained to the degree of serjeant-at-law, and also the more 
advanced students. In the Inns of Chancery resided the Clerks of 
the Chancery, who prepared the original writs for the King's Courts, 
and also the younger apprentices who copied these writs, and thus 
acquired some elementary knowledge of civil procedure. With the 
possible exception of Simond's Inn and Staple Inn, the Inns of 
Chancery differed in their constitutions in no essential particular 
from the Inns of Court. But the main distinction between these 
two classes of Inns was this that the Inns of Court could call men 
to the Bar, and thus confer upon them the privilege of acting as 
advocates in the King's Courts. This no Inn of Chancery could 
do. How the Inns of Court acquired this privilege it seems now 
impossible definitely to ascertain. Nor is it clear why the Inns of 
Chancery did not possess it also ; for some of these Clifford's Inn, 
for instance appear to be of as ancient a date as the present Inns 
of Court. But the four Inns of Court in some way acquired the 
mastery, while the Inns of Chancery fell into the second rank. 
They served as preparatory schools for the Inns of Court up to the 
end of the sixteenth century ; each Inn of Court appears to have 
periodically sent to every Inn of Chancery attached to it a reader, 1 
accompanied by two ' utter barristers/ who there discussed points 
of law and presided over ' moots.' This committee of three had 
the power of bringing over each term the two most promising 
students of the Inn of Chancery and passing them into the Inn 
of Court. Hence many students entered an Inn of Chancery in 
the first instance, and were thence transferred to an Inn of Court. 
Throughout the Tudor period this custom was generally observed, 
though by the time of Sir Matthew Hale it had become obsolete. 

In the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and James I. Orders were 
passed by the four Inns forbidding ' common attorneys ' and 
solicitors from joining an Inn of Court, and this exclusion was 
confirmed by further Orders passed by the judges and also by 
the Privy Council. But these new regulations were not strictly 
observed. Attorneys and solicitors were not wholly excluded 
from the Inns of Court until towards the close of the eighteenth 

1 Thus Mr. Thomas More of Lincoln's Inn went as reader to Furnival's 
Inn in the reign of Henry VIII, and Mr. Edward Coke of the Inner Temple 
was reader at Lyon's Inn in the reign of Elizabeth. 

xii] The Inns of Court 259 

century. One consequence of this exclusion was that it now 
became impossible for attorneys and solicitors to be heard as 
advocates in the superior courts of law and equity. Another 
and a later result was the rule of our profession that a barrister 
can only plead in those courts when he has been instructed > by 
an attorney or solicitor. But in the meantime the attorneys, 
being thus excluded from the Inns of Court, gradually obtained 
entire control of the Inns of Chancery. 

The Inns of Chancery have now all ceased to exist as schools 
of law. Staple Inn, which Sir George Buc described as 'the 
fayrest Inne of Chancery in this University,' still stands intact ; 
for this we have to thank the Prudential Assurance Company, its 
present owners. Barnard's Inn, close at hand, is now the property 
of the Mercers' Company. The boys of the Mercers' School have 
their lunch daily in its old hall, which the Company has carefully 
preserved. We have already traced the early history of Thavie's 
Inn ; a small portion of one wall is all that is left standing ; the 
rest is occupied by part of a modern street called St. Bride's Street. 
Furnival's Inn was pulled down in the reign of Charles I, but 
was rebuilt by Inigo Jones and lasted until 1820; it stood on 
the site now occupied by the offices of the Prudential Assurance 
Company. Passing south to Fleet Street we find Clifford's Inn still 
standing, close to St. Dunstan's Church. It was founded as a school 
of law by Lady Clifford in 1344. It was from the first connected 
with the Inner Temple, and many of its students have from time 
to time crossed Fleet Street to join that Inn of Court. But there is 
no evidence that there ever was a migration of any considerable body 
of students from one to the other. Clement's Inn, which adjoined 
St. Clement's Church and the Holy-well, is now a row of handsome 
offices. New Inn was demolished when Holywell Street and Wych 
Street were pulled down in order to widen the Strand. Lyon's Inn, 
which stood between Holywell Street and Wych Street, was pulled 
down in 1863 to make room for the Globe Theatre. Strand Inn, 
which stood on the south side of the Strand, opposite the Church of 
St. Mary-le-Strand, was demolished by Protector Somerset in the 
reign of Edward VI, in order to make room for his new palace, 
which we now know as Somerset House. 

So the Inns of Chancery have one by one disappeared ; none 
of them, at all events, are in use to-day as places of legal education. 

260 W. Blake Odgers [xn 

But the Inns of Court still stand four-square the Inns which 
were described by James I in his charter of August 13, 1608, 
as ' those four colleges, the most famous in all Europe.' Long 
may they flourish ! To them has been entrusted the exclusive 
power of admitting students of law to the Bar of England ; 
on them has been conferred the right and the duty of selecting 
those who shall enjoy the monopoly of audience in the superior 
courts of England. His call to the Bar confers great privileges 
and powers on the young advocate. He is given the right, the 
terrible right, of almost unfettered cross-examination. He has 
also the right in his discretion to attack the character of a party 
or a witness, and no action for slander can be brought against him. 
Such powers must be entrusted only to persons who will use them 
honourably and well. Should they pass into the hands of unfit 
and dishonourable men they will be taken away from the whole 
Bar. Those who confer the privilege of audience in the High 
Court of the Kingdom must therefore also have the power to take 
that privilege away. 

The ancient Inns of Court, whose history 1 have been endeavour- 
ing to impart to you to-day, still retain, and rightly retain, the two 
high privileges of calling worthy men to the Bar, and of disbarring 
those who prove unworthy. And I may add, I think, that 
they exercise these powers to the general satisfaction of the English 




ONE of the most striking features of the English system of justice 
prior to the Judjrature Acts was the dual system of courts adminis- 
tering a dual system of justice common law rules and remedies 
and equitable rules and remedies. This dual system of courts had 
not always existed ; and the significance of the Judicature Acts 
lies in the fact that it brought back conditions that existed before 
the Chancery acquired its position as a court of equity. Even the 
Chancery exercised a common law as well as an equitable jurisdic- 
tion, and long before the establishment of the Chancery as a court 
of justice older tribunals had exercised a jurisdiction both at law 
and in equity. The beginnings of English equity are to be sought 
in the history of these older courts the common law courts them- 
selves, the local courts, the ecclesiastical courts, and Parliament 
and the Council acting in their judicial capacity. In the present 
paper I wish to draw attention to the equitable jurisdiction of the 
early common law courts, omitting all reference to the equity of 
local and ecclesiastical courts and of Parliament and the Council. 

The Prankish king's court exercised what amounted to an 
equitable jurisdiction. Based, perhaps, partly upon this earlier 
practice in the land of our legal ancestors and partly upon the 
royal justice of Anglo-Saxon times, the English king's courts in 
the centuries immediately following the Norman Conquest not 
only developed the principles of the early common law, but also 
administered a softening and supplementing equity that was dis- 
tinguished, both in the theory and in the practice of the times, 


262 H. D. Hazeltine [xm 

from the rigour of the common law itself. As the king's courts 
were not yet greatly checked by legislation and by judicial 
precedent, but were possessed rather of very wide discretionary 
powers, the need of a separate and distinct equity court seems not 
to have been felt : the king's courts themselves could do whatever 
equity required. But this early equity of the common law courts 
the King's Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer was much 
more than a broad, vague, and mystical doing of justice ; for these 
courts developed a rudimentary system of equitable principles and 
equitable remedies very like, in some respects, the more fully 
and elaborately developed system of the Chancery in a later age. 1 
Procedure by bills in eyre, as we have so recently learned from 
Mr. Bolland, seems actually to have been the predecessor of the 
Chancery's procedure by bills in equity. 2 But what I am now 
desirous of showing is that even the common law system of 
original and judicial writs gave the common law courts an oppor- 
tunity to administer equity. The oldest actions of the common 
law seem indeed to have been mostly actions brought not so much 
for 'damages,' the characteristic relief of the classical common 
law, as for what Chancery lawyers, at a later day, designated 
'specific relief; and in administering justice by writ process, the 
early justices not only gave judgments in rem, but also what we 
must designate ( decrees in personamj decrees that under the in- 
fluence of the subpoena became so marked a feature of the equity 
of the Chancellors. 3 

I propose in the present paper to give a short account of the 
following branches of this early equity of the common law courts : 
(i) Uses, (2) Gages, (3) Penalties, (4) Specific Performance, (5) 
Prohibitions, (6) Writs Quia Timet. 


The recent researches of Pollock, Maitland, and other legal 
historians prove that the practice of conveying land to uses began 

1 See the present writer's essay entitled ' Early History of Specific Per- 
formance of Contract in English Law' (Festgabe fur Kohler, 68, 69). 

2 Y.B. Edward II, Eyre of Kent, 6 and 7 Edward II 1313-14 (Selden 
Soc.), vol. ii. (1912), xxi-xxx. 

3 See further the present writer's essay referred to in note i supra, and 
the literature therein cited ; also Bigelow, Hist, of Proced. in Eng. chap. iv. 

xin] Early Equity 263 

long before the interest of the cestui que use was protected by the 
subpoena of the Chancellor. It is the generally accepted view 
that in this earliest period of the history of the use of land the 
obligation of the feoffee to uses was purely moral, and was un- 
enforced by judicial process in royal courts. 1 

In opposition to this view Mr. Justice Holmes maintains, in 
his essay on ' Early English Equity/ 2 that the enforcement of uses 
did not originate in the Chancery and was not based upon the 
personal obedience of the feoffee to the subpoena. According to 
Holmes the early feoffee to uses was but the salman or treuhand 
of early German law transplanted to English soil. This position 
is confirmed, in Holmes's view, by the fact that the executor of 
the Continent was simply the Germanic treuhand somewhat 
modified under the influence of Roman legal notions, and that the 
Continental executor and the English executor of Glanvill's time 
were undoubtedly identical. When we look at the protection 
accorded to the cestui que use, contends the learned justice, we 
find that both the common law and the ecclesiastical courts were 
prepared to give remedies. It was usual for feoffees to uses to 
enter into covenants in favour of their feoffors. In cases therefore 
where feoffors were themselves the cestuis que usent, they were 
protected as against their feoffees by the common law writ of 
covenant : and by this writ the feoffor might even recover the 
land itself. If the cestui que use was a third person and thus a 
stranger to the covenant, he was unable to invoke the protection 
of the common law courts on their doctrine of covenants, but he 
could and did reach the feoffee, in the ecclesiastical courts, for 
breach of faith. At a later time ecclesiastical Chancellors developed 
the use more fully than their predecessors of the church courts 
had been able to do. 

Into the arguments that have been advanced against Mr. Justice 
Holmes's view I cannot now enter. I must be content to have 
drawn your attention to the fact that, at least in Holmes's view, 
the early common law courts were employing their writ of covenant 
for the enforcement of uses long before the Chancellor made use of 
a more comprehensive and effective remedy the subpoena. 

1 See Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law, 2nd ed., 228-239 ; 
Ames, 'The Origin of Uses' (Lectures on Legal History, 1913, pp. 233-247). 

2 Select Essays in Anglo-American Legal History, vol. ii. 705-721. 

264 H. D. Hazeltine [xra 

It appears also that the early common law courts were enforcing 
uses or trusts of chattels and money by the writs of detinue and 
account. Ames, in his essays on the ' History of Parol Contracts 
Prior to Assumpsit ' 1 and the ' Origin of Uses and Trusts,' 2 has 
dealt fully with this phase of the equity of the common law courts. 
He has shown that on the delivery of money by one man to 
another to the use of a third, this third person the beneficiary 
was permitted to bring the action of account against the one who 
had received the money to his use. In the same way the bailment 
of a chattel to the use of a third party was enforced by this third 
party the beneficiary in the action of detinue. It is Ames's 
view, to quote his own words, that ' a defendant's duty to account, 
whether as bailiff or receiver, arose from his receipt of property as 
a trustee, and that a plaintiff entitled to an account was strictly a 
cestui que trust. In other words, trusts for the payment of money 
were enforced at common law long before Chancery gave effect to 
trusts of land. . . . Account against a receiver was long ago super- 
seded by the common count for money had and received by the 
defendant to the use of the plaintiff. But the words "to the 
use of" still bear witness to the trust relation.' ' It must have been 
all the easier for the Chancellor,' says Ames in another place, ' to 
allow the subpoena against the feoffee to uses because the common 
law gave a remedy against a fiduciary who had received chattels 
or money to be delivered to a third person, or, as it was often 
expressed, to the use of a third person, or to be redelivered to the 
person from whom he had received the chattels or the money.' 

It is likewise contended by this distinguished historian of 
English law that ' as the Chancellor, in giving effect to uses declared 
upon a feoffment, followed the analogy of the common law bailment 
of chattels, or the delivery of money upon the common law trust, 
so in enforcing the use growing out of a bargain and sale, he 
followed another analogy of the common law, that of the sale of a 
chattel. The purchaser of a chattel, who had paid or become 
indebted for the purchase money, had an action of detinue against 
the seller. Similarly the buyer of land who had paid or become a 
debtor for the price of the land, was given the right of a cestui que 
use [by the Chancellor].' 

1 Select Essays in Anglo-American Legal History, vol. iii. 304-319. 

2 Ibid. vol. ii. 737-752. 

xiii} Early Equity 265 

Ames's doctrine as to the so-called common law trust of chattels 
and money has not gone unchallenged. Hening, for example, in 
his 'History of the Beneficiary's Action in Assumpsit,' 1 contends 
that the obligation of the bailee of a chattel and the receiver of 
money as regards the beneficiary cannot be ranged under the 
category of trusts, in the modern sense, because the conception of 
an ' equitable ownership ' in the beneficiary was lacking in the early 
common law. Although we cannot pursue this inquiry further at 
the present time, we should note in passing that, whether or not 
we agree fully with Ames's view, certainly the early common law 
courts were enforcing by means of the writs of detinue and account, 
obligations of at least a fiduciary character the obligations of 
persons who received chattels and money to the use of others. 


A study of the law of securities on property in the time of 
Henry the Second throws much light upon the equitable nature of 
certain features of the procedure in the king's court. 2 The court 
enforced both the usufruct-gage and the property-gage of land. 
The property -gage assumed the form of a conveyance under 
condition precedent. If the parties include a clause of forfeiture in 
their contract, the gaged land, already in the creditor's possession, 
will at once become his absolute property, upon the principle of 
forfeiture, on the debtor's failure to pay at the fixed day. On the 
other hand, should the contract contain no clause of forfeiture, 
the creditor must go into court, and there must be certain legal 
proceedings before the law will view the gaged land as absolutely 
forfeited to the creditor for non-payment of the debt. These 
proceedings are essentially equitable in character, and show very 
clearly that the common law courts of the twelfth century had 
already arrived at a conception of what Chancery judges of later 
times will designate the ' equity of redemption ' and the ' decree of 
foreclosure.' What are these equitable proceedings of the king's 
court ? 

1 Select Essays in Anglo-American Legal History, vol. iii. 339-367. 

2 See the present writer's ' Gage of Land in Medieval England ' 
(Harvard Law Review, xviii. 552 seq. ; also Select Essays in Anglo-American 
Legal History, vol. iii. 646-672), and also his Geschichte des englischen 
Pfandrechts, 29, 198, 200, 213-232, 248 seq. 

266 H. D. Plazeltine [xm 

If the land be gaged for a term, and if the debtor fail to pay at 
the end of the term, the creditor must sue him. The debtor is then 
compelled to appear in court in answer to a writ ordering him to 
' acquit' or redeem the gage. If then in court the debt and the 
gage be confessed by the debtor or otherwise proved by the 
creditor, the debtor is ordered by the court to redeem the gage 
within a * reasonable ' time by payment of the debt ; and the court 
at the same time declares that, in case of default in payment at 
the end of this new period, the gaged land shall become the 
property of the gagee and thus forfeited for the debt. 1 

If, on the other hand, the gage be given indefinitely or without 
a term, the creditor may at any time demand the debt. To all 
seeming this means that the creditor can at any time go into court 
and get a judgment ordering the debtor to redeem within some 
fixed and reasonable period ; and that the court will at the same 
time declare that, if the debtor fail thus to redeem, the creditor 
may do anything he pleases with the gaged land, as it has been 
forfeited by reason of the debtor's default. 2 

At a later time, when the dual system of Common Law and 
Equity, administered by two separate and distinct sets of tribunals, 
was fully developed, the equitable jurisdiction over gages of law 
belonged exclusively to the Court of Chancery. The property- 
gage of the time of Henry the Second had become obsolete, and 
the classical common law mortgage by conveyance under condition 
subsequent had taken its place. The common law courts rigidly 
enforced the forfeiture of the mortgaged land for non-payment of 
the debt at the very time fixed by the parties in their contract. It 
was the Chancery alone which gave relief. The equitable right of 
the debtor to redeem the mortgaged land, after absolute forfeiture 
at law, became known as the * equity of redemption ' ; and the equit- 
able right of the creditor to obtain a decree of Chancery ordering 
the debtor to pay or for all time to lose his mortgaged land by for- 
feiture, in equity as well as at law, became known as the ' right to 
a decree of foreclosure.' Now the interesting thing about the 
procedure of the earlier period the time of Henry the Second 
is that it was the procedure of the king's court, the court of the 
common law. This procedure is indeed a very enlightening illus- 

1 Glanvill, x. 6-8. 

2 Glanvill, x. 8 ; Pollock and Maitland, op. cit. ii. 120. 

[xiii Early Equity 267 

tration of the fact that, before the development of a system of 
equity administered by the Court of Chancery, the courts of the 
common law were accustomed, in the interests of justice and equity, 
to soften the harshness and rigour of the law by the exercise of 
what is known in later times as equitable jurisdiction. Even after , 
non-payment of the debt on the day set by the parties in their 
contract of gage, the debtor was given a further opportunity of - 
redeeming the land ; and this second opportunity of the debtor 
essentially amounted to a rudimentary equity of redemption. 1 The 
patience of the creditor and of the court had its limits, however, 
and if the debtor failed to exercise his equitable right to redeem 
within the new period fixed by the court, the land then belonged, 
by decree of the court, finally, absolutely, and irrevocably to the 
creditor as a forfeiture for non-payment of the debt ; and this final 
decree of the court essentially amounted to a rudimentary decree 
of foreclosure. 

By the time of Edward the First the common law appears to have 
taken the position which it has ever since maintained ; for Britton 
tells us that the equity (equite) of the common law will not assist 
the mortgagor who has allowed the set day to pass without pay- 
ment of the debt. 2 After the early common law courts had thus 
ceased to give relief against forfeiture by means of the ' equity of 
redemption/ it was left to the Chancellors of later times to reintro- 
duce it into the law of mortgages in the form in which it has ever 
since played a conspicuous r61e in the equity of Chancery. By 
failing thus to retain the equity of redemption as a working prin- 
ciple of their system of justice the common law courts lost for all 
subsequent ages jurisdiction over a highly important branch of 
English law. 


The relief of the early justices in cases of gage of property was 

1 The spirit of the twelfth-century common law courts is expressed in the 
1 words of Glanvill, x. 8 : ' It is, however, sometimes requisite that he [the 

debtor] should be present in court, before the thing in question be adjudged 
absolutely to the creditor ; since, were he present, he might allege some 
reason why the thing should not irrevocably belong to the creditor/ 

2 Britton, Book III. chap. xv. 6 (Nichols' ed. ii. 128): Et si les pleintifs 
dient, qe equite les deit eyder pur la petitesce de la dette, ceo ne lour vaille 
rien . . .' See Holdsworth, History of English Law^ vol. ii. 249. 

268 H. D. Hazeltine [xui 

relief against forfeiture. There is some evidence that the equity of 
the early common law courts also anticipated the equity of the 
Chancery in relieving against penalties. 

Maitland, in his Introduction to. the Selden Society's edition of 
the - Year Books of 2 and 3 Edward II, drew attention 1 to the 
case of Umfraville v. Lonstede? decided in the second year of 
Edward II (1308-9), which, in his view, 'seems to deserve the 
notice of every future historian of English equity.' In this case, to 
quote Maitland's words, 'a man has bound himself to pay a 
certain sum if he does not hand over a certain document on a 
certain day. Being sued upon his bond, he is unable to deny that 
he did not tender the document on the day fixed for the transfer ; 
but he tenders it now, excuses himself by saying that he was 
beyond the sea, having left the document with his wife for delivery, 
and urges that the plaintiff has suffered no damage. The plaintiff 
relies upon the words of the bond, and we must confess to having 
thought that in and about the year 1309 judgment for the plaintiff 
would have followed as a matter of course. But, to our surprise, 
Bereford, C.J., after remarking that what is sought to be recovered 
is not, properly speaking, a debt (purement dette) but a penalty 
(une peine\ exclaims, " What equity would it be to award you the 
debt when the document is tendered and you cannot show that 
you have been damaged by the detention ? " 3 In the end the 
plaintiff is told that he will have to wait seven years for his judg- 
ment. Here certainly,' concludes Maitland, ' we seem to see " relief 
against penalties " and relief that is granted in the name of " equity," 
though it takes the clumsy form of an indefinite postponement of 
that judgment which is dictated by the rigour of the law.' 4 

I have not searched for other cases in which common law courts 

1 Y.B. 2 and 3 Edward II (Selden Soc.), p. xiii. 
5 Y.B. 2 and 3 Edward II (Selden Soc.), 58. 

3 Quel equite serra de agarder a vous le dette de pus qe 1'escrit est prest, 
si vous ne porriez moustrer qe vous fustes endamage par la de[tenue] ? Par 
qei volez receivre 1'escrit ? 

In another version Bereford's words are these : D'autrepart, ceo n'est 
pas purement dette, mes une peyne, et veez par quele equite vous poez 
demander ceo peyne (Moreover, this is not, properly speaking, a debt ; it is 
a penalty ; and with what equity (look you !) can you demand this penalty ?). 

4 In a footnote to the report of the case Maitland remarks : ' Observe 
that the court does not propose to give judgment against the plaintiff, who has 
the letter of the bond on his side.' 

xin] Early Equity 269 

gave relief against penalties ; but I do not believe that this remark- 
able case referred to by Maitland stands alone. 



We associate specific performance ocontracts with the Chancery, 
but the history of this form of relief begins at least two hundred 
years before the earliest decree by the Chancellor ; for the common 
law courts of Henry II and Henry III were giving, in their own 
way, much the same remedy, 1 and what the courts of the king were 
doing the courts of the fair and the manor and the church were 
doing also. The early common law courts, exercising very wide 
discretionary or equitable powers, and using their own judicial 
machinery, made indeed an honest and a fairly effectual effort to 
enforce the specific performance of contractual obligations. They 
thus enforced the covenant of the lessor, the covenant to convey, 
the obligations arising out of final concords, the agreements of 
lords to acquit their tenants from suit of court, the obligations of 
warrantors. Specific performance of these contractual obligations 
was compelled by the court in various ways. Sometimes the court 
ordered the defendant in general terms to keep his promise, i.e. to 
specifically perform ; and sometimes the court ordered the de- 
fendant to perform his covenant by giving the plaintiff possession 
of the land or by executing a conveyance. On the defendant's 
failure to comply with the judicial order, performance was then 
enforced by the exaction of security from the defendant, by dis- 
traint, or even by the threatened loss of the promisor's land. We 
have here, in these cases, not judgments in rem, but what we must 
designate 'decrees in personamj the characteristic relief of the 
equity of chancery in later times. The early common law courts 
seem, in fact, to have been striving as best they could to bring the 
contractual obligations of defendants home to their consciences. 
To that end the court directed the sheriff to command the defendant 
to specifically perform his agreement ; and only on disobedience 
to this command was pressure exerted upon him. This common 
law method of enforcing specific performance seems to have served 
a highly useful purpose in the days before Chancery's advent as a 

1 See the present writer's ' Early History of Specific Performance of Con- 
tract in English Law' (Festgabe fur Kohler, 67-87). 

270 H. D. Hazeltine [xni 

judicial tribunal. The weak point in the common law method lay, 
after all, in the inability of the court to do more than distrain the 
disobedient party. Chancery's procedure by subpoena, resulting as 
it might in the imprisonment of the party guilty of contempt of 
court by refusal to obey the court's decree, was undoubtedly a more 
effectual remedy, and naturally supplanted in time the older process 
of the common law. 


I pass now to the common law writs of prohibition. In Chancery 
the injunction was a judicial process, employed for various pur- 
poses, whereby a party was ordered to do a particular thing or to 
refrain from doing a particular thing ; and injunctions, owing largely 
to the fact that they were judicial orders in personam, have gener- 
ally been viewed as distinctively characteristic of Chancery as distin- 
guished from common law procedure. Common lawyers have not 
been slow in drawing attention to the writ of prohibition as a com- 
mon law process analogous to the injunction ; but they have usually 
emphasized just that employment of this writ which has nothing 
to do with anything the Chancery lawyers call equitable; for, 
although common law courts made use of the prohibition to restrain 
ecclesiastical and other courts, Chancery never restrained common 
law or other courts by means of the injunction. What I wish now 
to point out is that, in the procedure of the early common law 
courts, writs of prohibition and of estrepement and judicial orders 
issued in proceedings begun by various other common law writs 
anticipated the Chancery injunction as a process in personam 
whereby parties, as well as courts, were commanded to do or to 
refrain from doing a particular thing. 

Let us glance for a moment at the prohibition of waste. 

Bracton, in his account of common law procedure in cases of 
waste by tenant in dower, 1 makes it quite clear that the first step 
to be taken was one of self-help. The law gave the one entitled 
to the inheritance in the land full permission, without injury to 
anyone, to stop the committing of waste. If these private efforts 
proved unavailing, recourse to the court was then necessary. A 
writ of prohibition of waste was issued to the sheriff, wherein he 
was enjoined that he do not permit the woman to cause waste ; 
1 Bracton, ff. 315, 316. 

[xni Early Equity 27 1 

and the sheriff was required to act promptly in carrying out this 
order of the court, 1 lest irreparable injury be done. If the dowress 
still persisted in committing waste contrary to the court's pro- 
hibition, the next step was for the heir, or other owner, to sue 
her in a common law writ of waste. She was attached to appear 
before the court to show cause why she committed waste contrary 
to the court's prohibition. On the woman's denial of waste, a 
view was taken of the property, and an inquest was held. On 
proof of the waste the woman was obliged to make amends 
(emendetur vastum) by payment of damages. 

If the waste had been committed in a wood the court could, in 
exercise of its discretionary power (de consilio curiae\ prohibit any 
further waste and issue a writ for the appointment of a forester 2 
by the heir. The duty of the forester was to protect the wood and 
to see that the dowress took only her reasonable estovers and 
committed no further waste contrary to the prohibition. If the 
waste had been committed in houses, gardens, and pastures, the 
court could add a clause to the writ which empowered the heir 
to appoint one of his servants whose duty was to see that the 
dowress committed no further waste. The writ 3 was directed to 
the sheriff, who was enjoined not to impede in any way the appoint- 
ment of forester and servant by the heir. 4 

It is carefully to be observed that we have here in this method 
of enforcing the court's order a procedure which is distinctly 
equitable in character and which, so far as we can see, had been 
developed by the common law courts since the time of Glanvill. 5 
In certain respects it may be looked upon as an anticipation of the 
administrative side of the Chancery's activity. 

Bracton's Note-Book contains two instructive cases upon pro- 
hibition of waste by dowress. In John Sanfordv. Cecilia Sanford 

1 Bracton, f. 

2 Coke, Second Institute, 300, states that in the old books forestarius is 
equivalent to custos boscorum, a woodward. On woodwards see Select Pleas 
of the Forest (Selden Soc.), pp. xxiv-xxv, xlv, Ixvii. 

8 Bracton, f. 316. 

4 See Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 27, 56, fora case of the year 1219 (referred 
to by Bracton, f. 316) in which the court ordered the appointment of a forester 
to prevent the dowress and her husband from committing waste by taking 
more from the wood than haybote and housebote. See also ibid. pi. 672. 

5 See Twiss, Bracton (R.S.), vol. iv. pp. Ixi, Ixii ; Pollock and Maitland, 
op. cit. ii. 596. 

272 H. D. Hazeltine [xm 

the defendant, a dowress, was sued for breach of a prohibition of 
waste. So far as one can see, this is a case where the court had 
prohibited not only voluntary waste but also permissive waste 
permitting a fish-pond and mill to go dry (molendinum omnino 
desiccatum est et fractum et vivarium similiter)! In another case 
writ of waste was brought without prior prohibition. In rendering 
judgment the court required the defendant to pay damages and 
an amercement ; and in addition it ordered the defendant not to 
commit further waste under penalty of loss of her land. 2 

On waste by a guardian he could be reached by the plaintiff 
with the common law writ of waste either before or after the issue 
of a writ of prohibition ; although we may perhaps gather from 
Bracton's account that the usual course was first to issue the 
prohibition, and then, on breach of the prohibition, to bring the writ 
of waste. The writ of prohibition was directed to the sheriff, and 
in it he was enjoined not to permit the guardian to commit further 
waste. If breach of the prohibition necessitated the bringing of 
the writ of waste, and if the waste was proved, judgment was 
rendered that the guardian lose the guardianship, render damages 
to the plaintiff, and pay an amercement to the king. A distinction 
was thus drawn by the law between waste by a guardian and 
waste by a dowress, for the dowress did not, on committing 
waste, lose her dower, whereas the guardian, on the other hand, 
did lose his guardianship. 3 

This distinction between the penalties inflicted on dowress and 
guardian resulted, as will be observed, in an important difference 
between the judgment in the writ of waste against a guardian and 
the judgment in the writ of waste against a dowress. As the guardian 
lost his guardianship it was unnecessary for the court to include in 
its judgment a perpetual prohibition of waste. On the other Kand, 
as the dowress did not lose her dower land, it was necessary for 
the court in its judgment to restrain waste for the future, and 
sometimes even to order the appointment of forester and servant 
to see that the prohibition was complied with by the defendant. 

1 Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 1617 (A.D. 1223); s.c. Fitz. Wast, pi. 141. 
Plowden, 3223, refers to this case. On this and other cases of waste in Brae. 
N.-B. see Kirch wey's valuable 'Liability for Waste' (Columbia Law Review, 
viii. 425-437). Modern equity courts do not restrain permissive waste. 

2 Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 540. 

3 Bracton, ff. 316, 317. 

xin] Early Equity 273 

Attention should be drawn to two interesting cases in Bracton's 
Note-Book. In Royesia de la Dene a guardian in chivalry was 
sued for waste contrary to a prohibition. In its judgment the 
court ordered the defendant to restore a kitchen, which was burned 
during the tenancy, and two farm buildings, which had collapsed 
owing to non-repair, and also to repair all other buildings upon 
the land ; while the court also prohibited her from causing any 
waste for the future. 1 

In another case 2 a guardian had given two houses and two 
trees to a dowress, who had taken them off the land. The guardian 
was amerced to the king. In addition he was ordered to build 
two other houses of the same value as those he had given away, 
and was required to find pledges that he would neither carry off 
trees nor commit any other waste, and that he would build the two 
houses as he had been ordered by the court. 3 

Bracton's Note-Book contains cases which show us that tenants 
for life and lessees for years were also prohibited by the king's 
courts from committing waste. In the case of Nicholas Creusquer 
v. Peter Pejure the defendant, who held lands ad terminum, was 
attached to answer the plaintiff for waste. The case was dismissed 
because the waste was of such slight value ; but at the same 
time the court issued a prohibition, ordering the defendant to 
commit no further waste in the future. 4 Ranulf de Gatesdena v. 
Matilda de Gatesdena was a case in which the defendant, a tenant 
for life, was attached for waste. The inquest found that waste 

1 Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 1165 (A.D. 1235): consideratum est quod 
nullum fecit uastum, ita tamen quod tales etc. manuceperunt quod eadem 
Roeysia reparari faceret coquinam et grangias et ea que ceciderunt tempore 
quo eadem custodia exstitit in manu sua infra hunc annum, et quod de cetero 
sustentabit omnia alia edificia et quod nullum uastum faciet in situ mesuagii 
nee alibi ad exheredacionem predict! heredis. 

This case is also fully given in Fitz. Wast, pi. 139, where the report 
concludes : et inuenit pleg. ad hec omnia etc. 

2 Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 1075 (A.D. 1225). 

8 Et idea pro paruitate uasti et modo uastandi consideratum est quod 
Godefridus faciet alias duas domos ad ualenciam predictarum domorum et 
sit in misericordia. Et invenit tales plegios quod amplius non faciet uastum 
nee arbores asportabit et quod faciet domos sicut predictum est etc. 

4 Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 607 (A.D. 1231): Consideratum est quod 
Petrus inde sine die, et prohibitum est ei quod de cetero nullum uastum 

Bracton, f. 3160, refers to this case. See also Fitz. Wast, pi. 134. 

274 H. D. Hazeltine [xm 

had been committed. The judgment of the court was that the 
defendant be in mercy, pay the amount of the waste to the plaintiff, 
and find pledges ; while in addition the prohibition of the court 
issued forbidding her to commit any further waste under penalty 
of the loss of her land. 1 In Richard de Elmham v. Robert de 
Corneville the plaintiff alleged that the defendant, a life tenant, had 
committed waste contrary to a prohibition. Both parties put 
themselves upon the country, and an inquest was ordered. 2 

Bracton's Note-Book contains twenty-six cases on waste. In 
twelve cases the writ of prohibition first issued ; and then later, on 
breach of the prohibition, the aggrieved party brought the common 
law writ of waste. 3 In fourteen cases, on the other hand, the writ 
of waste appears to have been brought at once without a prior 
prohibition. 4 Proceedings upon the writ of waste ended, in six 
instances, in a prohibition of waste. 5 

Readers of the Second Institute will recall Coke's high praise of 
the writ of the prohibition of waste. I cannot forbear quoting his 
words, for they express very clearly the equitable character of this 
common law remedy in effecting the preventive justice that was 
later to be claimed by the Chancery as its own peculiar province. 
Coke draws attention to two common law remedies for waste, the 

1 Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 443 (A.D. 1230), 540 (A.D. 1231): Con- 
sideratum est quod ipsa sit in misericordia et satisfaciat eidem Ranulfo de 
predictis denariis et dictum est ei quod de cetero sub pena amissionis predicte 
terre non faciat uastum uel destruccionem et ipsa inuenit pleg'. 

See Bracton, f. 3i6b; Fitz. Wast, pi. 132. 

2 Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 1304 (A.D. 1217), 1371 (A.D. 1220): Robertus 
de Corneuilla summonitus fuit ad respondendum Ricardo de Elmham de 
placito quare ipse fecit uastum contra prohibicionem Dom. Regis de bosco 
in Tolleslund'. . . . Et Robertus uenit et defendit contra eum et contra sectam 
suam quod nullum dampnum uel uastum fecit post prohibicionem ei factam 
sicut curia considerauerit, et inde ponit se super iuratam patrie. Et Ricardus 

See Bracton, f. 316. The principal case will be found in Fitz. Wast, 
pi. 140. 

On the writ of prohibition in cases of waste by ecclesiastics, see Cruise, 
Digest of the Laws of England respecting Real Property, 4th ed. vol. i. tit. iii. 
ch. ii. 71. 

3 Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 27, 56, 388, 580, 632, 640, 718, 739, 880, 
1075, I37i, 1617. 

4 Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 115, 443, 461, 485, 527, 540, 574, 607, 691, 
717, 1131, 1165, 1304, 1743. 

5 Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 56, 540, 574, 607, 1075, 1165. 

xin] Early Equity 275 

writ of prohibition and the action of waste. ' Now the remedy at 
the common law/ says Coke, 1 ' was in two degrees : first, if he that 
had the inheritance did feare (for example) that tenant in dower 
would doe waste, he that had the inheritance might before any 
waste done have a prohibition directed to the sheriffe, that he shall 
not permit her to do waste in this forme. Rex vicecom? salutem. 
Praecipimus tibi quod non permittas quod talis mulier faciat vastum, 
vel venditionem, vel exilium de terris, hominibus, redditibus, domibus, 
boscis, vel gardinis, quae tenent in dotem de haereditate talis in tali 
villa, ad exhaeredationem ipsius talis ne amplius, etc. And Bracton's 
advice hereupon is as followeth : Et hoc faciat tempestive, ne per 
negligentiam damnum incurrat, quia melius est in tempore occurrere, 
quam post causam vulneratam remedium quaerere. And the sheriffe 
having the warrant of this writ may, as in case of a writ of 
estrepement, take posse comitatus, and withstand the doing of any 
waste. And this was the remedy [by prohibition] that the law 
appointed before the waste done by the tenant in dower, tenant by 
the curtesie, or the gardien, to prevent the same, and this was an 
excellent law, for praestat cautela quam medela, and preventing 
justice excelleth punishing justice. And this remedy may be used 
at this day.' 

Another striking illustration of the preventive justice admini- 
stered by the early common law courts is furnished by the writs of 
estrepement f writs that prohibited the commission of waste during 
the course of judicial process. 

At common law the writ of estrepement could be brought after 
judgment in any real action and before execution of the judgment 
by delivery of possession on the part of the sheriff ; and the object 
of the writ was to prevent the commission of waste by the one 
who, although in possession of the land, was not entitled to the 
land as his own by reason of the judgment against him in the real 
action. 3 

1 Second Institute -, 299. 

2 Blackstone, Commentaries (ed. 1768), iii. 225, says that estrepement is 
' an old French word, signifying the same as waste or extirpation.' 

Upon the writs of estrepement see Fitz. Estrepement ; Brooke, Estrepement ; 
Coke, Second Institute, 327-329 ; Fitzherbert, Natura Brevium, 9th ed., 60, 
6 1 ; Blackstone, Commentaries (ed. 1768), iii. 225-227. For the writs them- 
selves see Registrum Brevium Originalium, 76, 77 ; Regi 'strum Judiciale, 33. 

3 Coke, Second Institute, 327, 328 ; Blackstone, Commentaries (ed. 
1768), iii. 225-227. 

276 H. D. Hazel tine [xui 

So far as one can see, this common law writ of estrepement could 
not be brought at any stage in legal proceedings prior to judg- 
ment. 1 To remedy this defect in the common law system of 
preventive justice the Statute of Gloucester introduced, in the 
sixth year of the reign of Edward I, a new writ of estrepement. 
If a plaintiff justly feared that the tenant perhaps fully knowing 
the weakness of his title might commit waste while the legal 
proceedings were going on, he could bring this statutory writ of 
estrepement whereby the tenant would be prohibited from com- 
mitting waste pending the suit. 2 

The writ of estrepement, if directed to the sheriff, ordered him 
firmly to prohibit the tenant from committing waste so long as the 
legal proceedings in regard to the land were in progress. 3 If the 
writ was addressed directly to the party himself, the tenant, he 
was likewise ordered by the court not to commit waste pendente lite.^ 

Suppose the defendant failed to observe the court's prohibition ? 
If the writ was addressed to the sheriff, then he was obliged to see 
to it that the waste was stopped, and in fulfilment of his duty he 
could use necessary force, even to the extent of imprisonment or 
the raising of the posse comitatus to go to his assistance, ' so odious 
in law/ in Coke's words, ' is waste and destruction ' : the court 
itself would not imprison the waster, for the duty of preventing 
the waste rested solely upon the sheriff who had already received 
his orders in the writ addressed to him. On the other hand, if the 
writ was addressed directly to the waster himself, the aggrieved 
party could, on breach of the court's prohibition, sue the waster, 
recovering costs and damages, and get the court to imprison the 
defendant for his contempt of court in disobeying the prohibition. 5 

The interlocutory injunction of Chancery is an order of the 
court, issued before the final determination of the rights of the 
parties, and its object is the protection of the rights of the plaintiff 
pending trial and judgment. How like unto the interlocutory 

1 But see Coke, Second Institute ', 327. 

2 Statute of Gloucester, 6 Ed. I, c. 13 ; Coke, Second Institute, 327, 
329 ; Blackstone, Commentaries , iii. 225-227. 

3 Registrum Brev. Orig. 77 ; Blackstone, Commentaries, iii. 225-227. 

4 Registrum Judiciale, 2 1 . 

5 Fitz. N.B. 60, 6 1 ; Coke, Second Institute, 329; Blackstone, Com- 
mentaries, iii. 225-227; Play stow v. Bacheller, Moore, 100; Cumberland v. 
Dowager, Hobart, 85 ; Foliamtfs Case, Coke's Reports, v. f. U5a. 

xni] Early Equity 277 

injunction was the old common law writ of estrepement \ In its 
form it was an interlocutory order in personam and in its object 
it was a remedy of preventive justice. After the Chancery had 
fashioned its own interlocutory injunction, possibly in imitation 
of the writ of esirepement^ the Court of Common Pleas made an 
ineffectual effort to extend its own power to give preventive relief 
by a further development of the writ of estrepement ; but in 1594 
Lord Keeper Egerton made an order that no writ of estrepement 
should be issued by the cursitors unless it be in accordance with 
the ancient course of the law. 2 But for this order by the Lord 
Keeper the old writ of estrepement might well have held its own 
ground, at least for a time, as against the injunction. But Chancery's 
remedy gained the upper hand ; and to-day, while the estrepement 
is obsolete and well-nigh forgotten, the interlocutory injunction 
is in almost daily use and in the minds of all who have to do with 
the administration of English justice. 

In the long struggle of the common law courts with their rivals 
in the Middle Ages, chiefly the ecclesiastical tribunals the writ 
of prohibition proved itself a weapon of wonderful power. It was 
a writ which could be and was directed not only against parties, 
but also against tribunals. In cases involving subject matter 
claimed by the common law courts as falling within their own 
exclusive jurisdiction, not only were parties restrained by pro- 
hibition from suing in ecclesiastical courts, but those courts were 
themselves restrained by prohibition from entertaining such 
proceedings. It was thus largely by this writ that the courts of 
common law preserved and extended their jurisdiction, keeping other 
tribunals to their own peculiar province, and that they protected 
parties in their common law rights as opposed to rights good at 
ecclesiastical law. At a later day the Chancery, in its struggle 
with common law courts, employed the injunction to effect a similar 
purpose ; but there was this important difference between the pro- 
hibition of common law courts and the injunction of Chancery, that 

1 Ashburner, in his Principles of Equity, ed. 1902, p. 494, note (d), has 
suggested that it was the writ of estrepement 'which perhaps formed the 
model for the equitable remedy by injunction.' 

2 Kerly, History of Equity, 150; Spence, Equitable Jurisdiction oj 
Chancery, i. 672. 

On the scope of the writ of estrepement see Fitz. N.-B. 60, 6 1 ; Blackstone, 
Commentaries, iii. 225-227. 

278 H. D. Hazeltine [xm 

the injunction restrained only parties, while the prohibition restrained 
both parties and courts. 1 Only, therefore, in its effect in restraining 
parties can we say that the prohibition anticipated the injunction. 

Bracton is careful to explain why there should be two prohibi- 
tions one to the ecclesiastical court and one to the party. At 
first sight, he says, it might seem that a prohibition to the judge 
alone or to the party alone should suffice, for if the judge, in 
obedience to the prohibition, refused to hear the case, the party's 
attempt to sue would be of no avail, and if the party, in obedience 
to the prohibition, did not proceed with his suit, the judge could 
give no judgment for lack of a plaintiff. But two prohibitions are 
nevertheless better than one, maintains Bracton, lest either the 
judge or the party might proceed in the matter with impunity. 
Apparently he means that two prohibitions, rather than one, will 
make assurance doubly sure by giving no loop-hole for either judge 
or party to assert that he has not been prohibited. 2 3 

Not forgetting that the writ might serve either as an inter- 
locutory or as a final prohibition, 4 and is thus directly analogous to 
the temporary and perpetual injunctions of the Chancery, we must 
now ask the question as to whether the writ of prohibition was 
addressed to the sheriff or directly to the ecclesiastical judge and the 
party. Glanvill's only form of the writ restraining a party from 
suing in the ecclesiastical court is addressed to the sheriff, and 
orders him not to permit the party to sue ; 5 but his form of the 

1 See Glanvill, vi. 12-14, xii. 21, 22; Bracton, ff. 401-412; Spence, 
op. c it. i. 371, 673-676; Kerly, op. cit. 89, 109, 116, 293; Pollock and 
Maitland, op. cit. ii. 596; Holdsworth, op. M. ii. 196, 197, 211, 251, 
260, 395. 2 Bracton, f. 4050. 

8 To enter into a consideration of the question as to when a prohibition 
could and could not be brought (see thereon, Bracton, ff. 401-412) would take 
us beyond the scope of the present paper, for my only concern is to indicate 
the procedural significance of the writ. 

4 Bracton, ff. 401-412, makes this quite clear. 

5 Glanvill, xii. 22 : Rex vie' salutem. Prohibe R. ne sequatur placitum 
in curia christianitatis quod est inter N. et ipsum de laico feodo ipsius R. in 
villa ipsa unde ipse queritur quod prefatus N. inde eum traxit in placitum in 
curia Christianitatis coram iudicibus illis. Et si praefatus R. fecerit te securum 
de clamore suo prosequendo, tune pone per vadium et salvos plegios predictum 
N. quod sit coram me vel lustic' meis eo die, ostensurus quare traxit eum in 
placitum in curia Christianitatis de laico feodo suo in ilia villa, de sicut illud 
placitum spectat ad coronam et dignitatem meam. T. etc. 

Beames, Translation of Glanville^ Beale's 1900 ed. p. 243, note 2 : 'This 
writ stands in need of a transposition of the capitals to render it intelligible. 5 

xni] Early Equity 279 

writ restraining the court is addressed to the court directly. 1 By 
Bracton's time the writs appear always to be addressed directly to 
the court and directly to the party, without the interposition of the 
sheriff as an intermediary between the common law court and the 
party restrained ; 2 and so far as we can see, from an examination 
of later sources, this continued to be the usual course of procedure. 3 

In studying the equitable procedure of the early common courts, 
this fact that the writs of prohibition in these cases are addressed 
in this direct and personal way to the ecclesiastical judge and the 
party is, it seems to me, of significance ; for it shows us clearly that 
the courts of the common law were in this earlier period exercising 
a jurisdiction inpersonam by prohibition which anticipated Chancery 
jurisdiction in personam by injunction. Even writs of prohibition 
addressed to the sheriff, as the court's official, seem to have been 
essentially orders directed against the person of the defendant, as 
I shall hope to explain later on ; but the point that the jurisdiction 
was in personam is brought out with even greater clearness by 
study of the writs addressed directly and personally to the parties 

But even a royal prerogative writ of prohibition without the 
infliction of a penalty for its breach would be a weak thing indeed ; 
and we need not be surprised to find that the common law courts 
of Bracton's time were possessed of powers to inflict severe 
penalties even imprisonment upon judge or party who dared 
disobey the king's order. The writs of prohibition, as given by 
Bracton, contain in themselves no hint as to penalty for breach 
of the court's order; but that the disobedient judge or party 
will actually surfer a penalty is made quite clear by Bracton, who 

1 Glanvill, xii. 21 : Rex illis ludicibus ecclesiasticis salutem. Prohibeo 
vobis ne teneatis placitum in curia christianitatis quod est inter N. et R. de 
laico feodo predicti R. unde ipse queritur quod N. eum trahit in placitum in 
curia christianitatis coram vobis, quia placitum illud spectat ad coronam et 
dignitatem meam. T. etc. 

2 All of the writs -given by Bracton, ff. 401-412, are of this direct and 
personal character. 

3 See on writs of prohibition addressed directly to the party suing in the 
ecclesiastical court, Y.B. i and 2 Ed. II (Selden Soc.), pi. 5> Io ; Y - B - 2 
and 3 Ed. II (Selden Soc.), pi. 33 ; Y.B. 2 and 3 Ed. II (Selden Soc.), p. 
203 (Appendix II.); Y.B. 3 Ed. II (Selden Soc.), pi. 45 (and see p. 135 for 
note from the record) ; Regis trum Brev. Orig. ff. 33 seq. Cf. also Bracton's 
Note-Book, pi. 351. 

280 H. D. Hazeltine [xm 

gives a full account of the procedure on breach of prohibition. 1 If 
either judge or party has been guilty of a breach of prohibition the 
aggrieved party may sue him. In case the aggrieved party gives 
proper security for prosecuting his suit, a writ of attachment, 
directed to the sheriff, will issue. The sheriff must then place the 
offending judge or party under gage and pledge that he will appear 
before the royal justices to show cause why he has held the plea 
in the church court contrary to the prohibition, or why he has 
prosecuted the plea in the church court contrary to the prohibition. 
If either the judge or the party fail to appear on the set day, he is 
then attached by better pledges and distrained by all his lands to 
be present in court on another day, the order of attachment to be 
observed in other personal actions being followed. But if the 
defendant be a clerk, and if he be unwilling to find pledges, and 
have no lay fee by which he can be distrained, a mandate is then 
sent to the ordinaries and bishop that they shall cause the 
defendants to come before the royal court. When at last the 
parties and the offending judge are before the court, the plaintiff 
declares that the defendant, the party, has vexed and aggrieved 
him by suing in the ecclesiastical court in a temporal matter con- 
trary to the prohibition. The plaintiff proceeds at once with his 
proof. Then the offending party and the judge are heard, several 
defences being open to them. If judgment be given against either 
the defendant party or the defendant judge, he must pay the 
plaintiff damages and may even be severely punished by a heavy 
amercement. 2 If the defendant be a layman he will also be im- 
prisoned as a presumer against the royal dignity because he has 
disobeyed the prerogative writ of prohibition ; he is treated as 
if he had committed the crime of high treason. If, however, the 
defendant be a clerk, he is sometimes dealt with more mildly by 
grace and out of reverence for the clerical order. 

This method of enforcing the court's prohibition certainly seems 
rigorous and effective. Indeed, in certain of its features it is closely 
analogous to the method of the Chancellors the writ of subpoena. 

Before concluding this account of common law writs analogous 
to the injunction of Chancery, attention must be drawn to a 
remarkable case recorded on the De Banco Roll of Hilary, 

1 Bracton, ff. 401, 402, 409, 410. 

2 See Bracton, f. 402. 

xm] Early Equity 281 

2 Edward II. 1 In this case, Prior of Coventry v. William Graumpe 
of Coventry and others? the plaintiff complained that the defendants, 
men of Coventry, had been buying and selling outside his market 
upon market days. The Prior's right was denied by the defendants ; 
but verdict was found against them for sixty pounds damages. 
The judgment reads : ' And therefore it is considered that the 
said Prior recover his said damages against them, and that the 
said William and the others henceforth on Fridays on which the 
said Prior has his said market do not expose for sale their vendible 
wares within the town of Coventry elsewhere than in the said 
market.' 3 

In commenting on this judgment Maitland says : ' If this is not 
an "injunction" and a "perpetual injunction," we hardly know 
what to call it. How could this " injunction," if such we may call 
it, have been enforced ? It seems possible that if the defendants 
had repeated the tort, the plaintiff might have obtained a specially 
worded writ reciting the breach of the "injunction," and that in 
this new action the judgment would be that the defendants be 
taken and imprisoned, and not merely that they be amerced. It 
is to be remembered that the action known as contra formam 
feoff amenti^ was based on the breach of a royal prohibition ; and 
the same had been true of the action of waste.' 5 

1 See Maitland's comments, Y.B. 2 and 3 Edward II (Selden Soc.), p. xiii. 

2 Y.B. 2 and 3 Edward II (Selden Soc.), 74. 

3 Et idea consideration est quod predictus Prior recuperet versus eos 
dampna sua predicta, et quod predict! Willelmus et alii decetero mercimonia 
sua vendalia per dies Veneris quibus idem Prior habet mercatum suum pre- 
dictum alibi in predicta villa de Coventre quam in predicto mercato suo non 
vendant seu vendicioni exponant, etc. Et predictus Willelmus et alii in 
misericordia etc. 

In the Y.B. report of this same case Brabazon, J., says (see Y.B. 2 and 3 
Edward II, 71 ; Selden Soc. ed.) : 'Where the King grants a market to a 
man, he grants a market in such wise that no man may, in the same town 
in which the market is, sell any merchandise save in the market. So, since 
you have confessed that the Prior has a market in this town by the King's 
grant and that you are resident in the same town, common law will drive 
you to his market and prevent your marketing elsewhere in the same town 
(comune ley vous chacera de venir a son marche sans aillours marchander en 
mesme la ville).' 

4 Maitland here refers to cases in Y.B. 2 and 3 Edward II (Selden Soc.), 

93, 95- 

5 In a footnote to. the report of the case Maitland remarks: 'We can 
hardly say that the idea of an injunction was foreign to the common law. 

282 H. D. Hazeltine [xm 

Let me summarize what I desire to say in regard to prohibitions. 

The early common-law jurisdiction in personam by means of 
prohibitions was not narrow. The orders of the court were not 
only issued in cases of waste, 1 nuisance, 2 and other torts, 3 but also 
in cases of contract 4 and property. 5 They not only effected, in a 
negative way, a restraint upon the doing of an act, but also 
effected, in a positive and mandatory way, the actual doing of an 
act ; for parties were not only ordered not to commit waste, 6 not 
to commit nuisance, 7 not to sell land, 8 not to distrain the plaintiff 
to do suit of court, 9 not to destroy the wood in which the plaintiff 
has house-bote and hay-bote, 10 not to expose wares for sale elsewhere 
than in the plaintiffs market, 11 not to sue in the ecclesiastical 
courts ; 12 but parties were ordered to repair walls and buildings, 13 to 
erect houses, 14 to place property in the same condition in which it 
had been, 15 and to remove existing nuisances. 16 The orders of the 
court were also not only temporary or interlocutory in character, 
but they were final or perpetual ; for parties were not only ordered 
not to commit waste while legal proceedings were in progress, and 
not to sue in the ecclesiastical court till the rights of the parties at 
common law had been determined in the common law court, but 
they were also ordered never to commit waste, never to expose 

But could this mandate have any other effect than that of estopping the de- 
fendants from raising the same question over again ? As to this case see 
Mary Dormer Harris, Life in an Old English Town (1898), p. 64, where the 
history of the Prior's Half and the Earl's Half at Coventry is related.' 

1 See the cases cited pp. 270-77, supra. 

2 See Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 1081, 1162, 1253, 1284; Fitz. N.-B. 184, 

3 See Y.B. 2 and 3 Ed. II (Selden Soc.), p. xiii., 71, 74 ; Y.B. 18 Ed. 
Ill (R.S.), 236. 

4 See Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 1920. 

5 See Y.B. 30 and 31 Ed. I (R.S.), 324 ; Y.B. 2 and 3 Ed. II (Selden 
Soc.), pp. 93-96. 

6 See pp. 270-77, supra. 7 See note 2, supra. 

8 See Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 1920. 

9 See Y.B. 2 and 3 Ed. II (Selden Soc.), pp. 93-96. 
See Y.B. 30 and 31 Ed. I (R.S.), 324. 

11 See Y.B. 2 and 3 Ed. II (Selden Soc.), p. xiii., 71, 74. 

12 See pp. 277-80, supra. 

13 See Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 1165 ; Y.B. 18 Ed. Ill (R.S.), 236 ; Fitz. 
N.-B. 184, 185. 

14 See Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 1165. 

15 Bracton's Note-Book, pi. 1081. 16 Fitz. N.-B. 184, 185. 

xin] Early Equity 283 

wares for sale elsewhere than in the plaintiffs market, never to sue 
in the ecclesiastical court, and never to do other similar things. 1 

The order of the court was sometimes contained in the writ of 
prohibition itself; sometimes it was issued at the conclusion of pro- 
ceedings, such as the common law writ of waste, brought upon 
breach of a prior prohibition ; while sometimes it was issued at the 
conclusion of actions, such as trespass, brought independently of 
the breach of a prior prohibition. 

I have stated that the jurisdiction of the common-law courts in 
cases of prohibition was a jurisdiction in personam, and such I 
believe it was. In all cases the prohibition was issued by the court 
itself. In some cases the writ was addressed to the sheriff, and it 
was through him, an officer of the court, that the court's order was 
conveyed to the party. In other cases the writ containing the pro- 
hibition of the court was addressed directly to the party without 
the employment of the sheriff as the court's instrument. In still 
other cases the court's prohibition was laid upon the party directly, 
especially at the close of legal proceedings, without the employ- 
ment of writ or sheriff. As I have already indicated, I cannot 
think that in cases of the interposition of the sheriff the writ of pro- 
hibition is robbed of its character as the court's order in personam ; 
for the sheriff acts merely as the court's officer in informing the 
party of the court's command. Even if this view of the writ 
addressed to the sheriff be not adopted, there is still evidence in 
plenty that the court frequently gave orders to the party directly, 
either by writ or by command issued to the party as he stood before k 
the court in person. 

Although the writs of prohibition contain no hint of the 
penalties attendant upon disobedience to the command of the royal 
court, it is nevertheless clear from our study of the sources that 
disobedience resulted in serious consequences. In some cases 
breach of the prohibition gave rise to self-help on the part of 
the aggrieved person, forceful measures by the sheriff, and even 
imprisonment of the disobedient party. So, too, breach of the 
prohibition might result in legal proceedings by the injured party, 
and in these proceedings the court might inflict severe penalties 
for past disobedience and might also take measures of severe 
character to ensure that no further breaches of prohibition take 
1 See pp. 270-82, supra. 

284 H. D. Hazeltine [xni 

place. Appearance of the offending parties could be compelled by 
one or more attachments by gage and pledge and even by distraint 
of all their lands ; and if, on inquest, the breach of prohibition was 
proved, there might result payment of damages to the plaintiffs, 
heavy amercements to the King, loss of the defendants' lands, and 
even imprisonment for contempt of the King's prohibition. On the 
conclusion of the legal proceedings the court usually issued a 
further prohibition and ensured obedience to this new order by 
requiring the party to furnish sureties, by threat of loss of the 
party's land, or by appointment of persons, such as foresters and 
servants, whose duty it was to see that there should be no further 
breach of prohibition. 

Surely the way of the disobedient party was not made easy by 
the early common law ; and we may well believe that fear of the 
process of the courts acted, in the great majority of cases, as a 
wholesome restraint. The early common law tribunals had not 
the writ of subpoena at their command, but they did on 
occasion issue orders which closely resembled that writ, and they 
did have an effective machinery of punitive and preventive justice 
which operated both upon the person and the property of the one 
who did not comply with their prohibitions. 


I have dwelt upon the writs of prohibition because they 
illustrate so clearly the preventive justice of the early common law ; 
but I cannot conclude this paper without a bare reference to 
certain other writs which are closely related to writs of prohibition. 
I refer to the writs quia timet. These writs anticipated the 
Chancery's bills quia timet, which are so called in analogy to the 
common law writs which they supplanted. Coke, in his com- 
mentary on Littleton, draws attention to the writs in these 
words : ' And note, that there be six writs in law, that may be 
maintained, quia timit (sic), before any molestation, distresse, or 
impleading : as I. A man may have his writ of mesne (whereof 
Littleton here [ 142] speaks) before he be distreyned. 2. A 
warrantia cartae, before he be impleaded. 3. A monstraverunt, 
before any distresse or vexation. 4. An audita querela, before any 
execution sued. 5. A curia claudenda^ before any default of 

xin] Early Equity 285 

inclosure. 6. A ne injustl vexes, before any distresse or molesta- 
tion. And these be called brevia anticipantia, writs of prevention.' x 
As explained by Story, in his Equity Jurisprudence, the bills in 
equity quia timet * answer precisely to this latter description. 
They are in the nature of writs of prevention, to accomplish the 
ends of precautionary justice. They are, ordinarily, applied to 
prevent wrongs or anticipated mischiefs, and not merely to redress 
them when done. The party seeks the aid of a court of equity, 
because he fears (quia timet} some future probable injury to his 
rights or interests, and not because an injury has already occurred, 
which requires any compensation or other relief/ 2 

In the present paper I have not attempted to give an exhaust- 
ive account of the equity of the early common law courts. What 
I have said should be taken as merely suggestive of results that 
future detailed investigation may disclose ; for there are evidences 
in plenty that in various ways other than those I have mentioned 
to-day the early justices were administering principles of equity. 
But enough has already been said, I hope, to indicate that not 
all the ideas which we associate with English Equity were either 
borrowed from the Roman system by the Chancellors or original 
with them. The advent of the Chancellor as a judicial officer of 
the Crown was at a time when the older tribunals, although ex- 
panding their own system to meet the needs of a growing society, 
were nevertheless fettered in their powers by statute and precedent 
as well as by the conservatism and technicality of the legal pro- 
fession. The Chancellor's court, exercising very wide discretionary 
powers, gradually developed the elaborate and effective system of 
rules and principles which we of the twentieth century know as 
English Equity. But while fully recognizing the achievements of 
the Chancery, let us not forget that the new tribunal built partly 
upon the older practice of the common law and other courts whose 
equitable jurisdiction it supplanted. The new tribunal did not 
originate English Equity, for it simply carried on the work of the 
older courts by developing in greater fulness and with a different 
machinery the equity inherent in royal justice. 


1 Co. Litt. looa. 

2 Story, Equity Jurisprudence, 2nd Eng. ed., 825, 826. 



EQUITY, aequitas, eViei/ceia, and equivalents in modern Continental 
tongues, have for several centuries been current terms among 
jurists and publicists. In England, and in jurisdictions beyond seas 
which took their law from England, Equity has become, by a 
peculiar historical development, the name of a special body of 
judicial rules administered in the exercise of a special jurisdiction 
which in its origin was extraordinary. Historical students of legal 
ideas have to remember that this technical use of the word ' equity ' 
is much less ancient than the jurisdiction itself. In the proceed- 
ings of the Court of Chancery before the sixteenth century the 
complainants appeal to the Chancellor most commonly in the name 
of conscience, pretty often in that of good faith, right, or reason, 
very seldom in that of equity. 2 Perhaps it is not too much to say 
that the term was only becoming current among English lawyers 
when St. German discussed it in his Doctor and Student, a discus- 
sion to which we shall presently return. 3 In the course of the six- 
teenth century the Greek word 7rtetKeta was used by a few writers 
in an Anglicized form (see the Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. 
' Epiky '), but the experiment was short-lived. Whatever words 
are used, the general notion underlying them is that of a doctrine 
or authority capable of preventing the hardship which otherwise 
would ensue either from the literal extension of positive rules to 

1 The present paper may be taken as in some measure supplementary to 
Professor Vinogradoff's on Reason and Conscience in Sixteenth-Century Juris- 
prudence^ read at the Berlin Congress in 1908, and published in the Law 
Quarterly Review, xxiv. 373. 

2 See Baildon, Select Cases in Chancery (Selden Soc.), 1896, Introduction, 
p. xxix. 

3 St. German's immediate authority for the Aristotelian doctrine of equity 
was Gerson : ib. 374. 


xiv] Transformation of Equity 287 

extreme cases or from the exclusion, also by a strictly literal con- 
struction, of cases that fall within the true intention of the rule. 

Such being the purpose of equity stated in the widest terms, 
there are two quite distinct and almost opposite aspects under 
which it may be realized. In the first and more ancient of these 
we find equitable power exercised by some one, usually the king 
or a great officer of state, who can dispense with rules according to 
his discretion, conceived as a reasonable discretion but not defined 
beforehand. The other and modern form is the rational interpreta- 
tion and qualification of the rules themselves by a dialectic and 
scientific process. 

The first method works by occasional interference ; the occa- 
sions may be frequent or not, but each interference is still an 
isolated act. The second method works, on the contrary, by con- 
tinuous development. It is by this time almost a commonplace 
that the more archaic dispensing power, when it falls into a regular 
course of official administration, loses its arbitrary character and 
gradually assumes all the features of scientific law, becoming, as 
Blackstone said a century and a half ago, an artificial system. In 
the technical English terms, extraordinary jurisdiction ends by 
being ordinary. So gradual is the change that it is not altogether 
easy for the modern student to realize its extent or the discrepance 
of the original points of view. 

Let us consider the nature of superior dispensing power apart 
from any particular forms. It appears to be called for and 
determined by the nature of archaic legal rules and archaic juris- 
diction. Process of law was, in the beginning, a substitute for 
unrestrained private vengeance or self-help. For a long time 
there were no regular means at all, and for a much longer time 
no adequate means, of compelling parties to use it. Hence early 
legal formulas do not necessarily represent the general sense, at 
the date of their origin, of what is just and reasonable. They 
rather mark an outside limit beyond which vengeance or self-help 
will not be tolerated, and that limit has to be fixed with regard to 
the passions of ordinary men under provocation. The lawgiver 
does not advise taking an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth ; 
he forbids taking the whole head. In like manner the harshness 
of archaic law towards debtors is capable of several explanations, 
and there may well be some truth in all of them. But this one, 

288 F. Pollock [xiv 

I think, is fairly certain, that the law had to compromise with 
creditors on the least amount of power over the debtor which must 
be left to them if they were to renounce the use of lawless private 
force. At the date of the Twelve Tables that amount included, in 
the last resort, the power of life and death, although there is 
no reason to believe that the partis secanto clause was ever 
executed in historical times. 1 In matters of family law we know 
that early Indo-European custom hardly touched the despotic 
authority of the eldest ancestor. Accordingly the just man, in the 
estimation of archaic morality, is not he who stands on his right 
and expects others to stand on theirs, but he who knows how and 
when to forego the uttermost farthing: and, when once a competent 
executive authority has been established, the just ruler is he who 
gives effect to the moral sense of the commonwealth by relaxing 
penalties in cases of hardship and by putting forth his pre-eminent 
strength against enormous evil-doers. Such, indeed, is the pre- 
vailing sentiment in Eastern countries to this day. Great men 
and superior officials are conceived not as ministers of rule, but as 
wielders of a discretion transcending rule. Even educated Asiatics 
appear to have great difficulty in understanding that there can be 
such a thing as a rule not subject to a power of administrative 
dispensation in some one. A normal Eastern ruler would find 
nothing strange in one Pope treating Benvenuto Cellini as exempt 
from law and another subjecting him to rigorous imprisonment on 
mere suspicion, and would see nothing in the indignation roused 
by James II.'s prosecution of the seven bishops but one proof more 
that all Europeans are mad. 

Not that it is an unknown thing in Western lands to sue for 
personal favour or indulgence unwarranted by rule, but the suitor, 
unless he is very ignorant, knows that he is begging for something 
irregular and hopes to persuade the man in authority, perhaps 
tries to persuade himself, that a small breach of duty will be 
venial. To find an European parallel to the normal Eastern attitude 
we must look outside the region of secular law to the popular and 
still half-pagan cult of the saints in the Mediterranean countries, 

1 ' Dissectum esse antiquitus neminem equidem legi neque audivi ' : A. 
Gellius, xx. i. 52 : his guess as to the original intention of the extreme 
penalty, ' eo consilio tanta inmanitas poenae denuntiatast ne ad earn unquam 
perveniretur J is of course uncritical, but many modern antiquaries have made 
as bad guesses or worse. 

xiv] Transformation of Equity 289 

where, as an ingenious French scholar has shown, the saints have 
taken up the heritage of the gods. There, to this day, patron and 
other saints are besought and expected, sometimes on pain of 
losing their worshipper's devotion, to perform a variety of good 
offices in the celestial court, often of a kind hardly in accordance 
with the doctrine or discipline of the Church. Among the more 
innocent of these favours is that of helping students to pass their 
examinations, for which it seems Ste. Radegonde of Poitiers has 
a special reputation. I know not whether the operation is in the 
nature of strengthening the candidate's brain (which the psychologist 
may regard as a not improbable effect of his faith) or of softening 
the examiner's heart. When it comes to invoking St. Antony of 
Padua to save a man harmless in a duel, in other words to protect 
him from the temporal inconvenience, and the still graver spiritual 
danger, of being killed in the commission of a wilful and deliberate 
mortal sin, the notion of dispensing power appears to be consider- 
ably strained. Such a votive tablet, however, I have seen, and I 
do not suppose they are hard to find in Italy. These archaic 
observances of imperfectly instructed Catholics may be regarded, 
it seems to me, as modern survivals from the prehistoric conception 
of executive authority in general. 

To return to the ground of our own faculty, I took the lex 
talionis as a typical example of archaic positive ordinance, although 
it is strange to our own legal history : for the system of wergild 
and composition which, at the opening of that history, we find in 
force among all people of Germanic stock would not be appropriate 
for the same purpose. It seems to me to belong to a much later 
and more rational stage of ancient law, for it presupposes a long 
course of bargaining and settlement of feuds, not so much between 
individuals as between families and clans ; and that again pre- 
supposes a more or less effectual desire for peace, not by way of 
submission to a ruler but by free consent of both parties. We 
know that such a process took place in the heroic age of Greece. 
The famous trial scene on the Homeric shield of Achilles exhibits 
this at the very moment when public opinion begins to enforce the 
acceptance of a wergild under proper conditions. 

Homer omits to tell us what those conditions were. This is 
unlucky for our archaeology, but quite right for the artistic purpose, 
which is to describe not the cause in dispute or the scene itself, 


290 F. Pollock [xiv 

but the representation of it. According to the interpretation in 
which I agree with my friend Dr. Leaf, the question is precisely 
whether an aggrieved party who refuses the offer of a composition 
is not bound to accept it : there does not appear to be any difficulty 
about the amount. The choice on the other side, the manslayer's 
or offender's, to pay or to bear the feud, lasted into a comparatively 
recent period of Germanic antiquity, as is well known. On the 
Homeric development the curtain goes down abruptly, and when 
it next rises we are in a different order of civilization altogether, 
with very slight materials for guessing what has happened in the 
meantime. In any case, and even before acceptance or offer of a 
composition has become compulsory in form or in fact, the existence 
of an assessable value shows that something has been arrived at 
corresponding to what we call a market price or a reasonable price 
in the world of modern business. Thus the wergild presents itself 
not as the utmost that can be exacted by strict law but rather as 
an early form of equitable compromise ; and the fixed scales of the 
early Germanic law-books are really codification of a fairly settled 
customary rule of aequum et bonum. It might be shown, I think, 
without much trouble, that such a scale of compensation was in its 
time and circumstances a much more sensible institution than it 
appears to us at first sight ; but to pursue this would be somewhat 
too remote from the argument. 

In England the archaic form of equity predominated in the 
king's administration of special remedial justice during the fourteenth 
and fifteenth centuries ; the sixteenth was' a period of transition ; 
before the end of the seventeenth the Court of Chancery was not 
only a regular court of justice but had started on the road of 
technical and scientific elaboration. 

We have only within the last year become acquainted with a 
form of this jurisdiction earlier than its exercise by the Chancellor 
or even by the Council, so early that all remembrance of it was 
long lost. Mr. Bolland, in the course of editing for the Selden 
Society the proceedings of Edward II's itinerant justices in 
Kent, found a course of practice of which no intermediate mention 
is known through very nearly six centuries. 1 Causes of action 
arising or continuing while the Eyre was in the county were brought 

1 2 Eyre of Kent (Seld. Soc. 1912), Introd. p. xxi. As to bills on the 
Crown side, p. xxii. 

xiv] Transformation of Equity 291 

before the justices by presenting a bill instead of suing out a writ 
in the appropriate form of action. Many of these bills are pre- 
served, and they have a marked resemblance in their frame, and 
in many cases as to their contents also, to the earliest bills irt 
Chancery. To understand the jurisdiction it must be remembered 
that the justices in eyre represented the king's authority in a 
special and eminent manner. If we may borrow a canonical term, 
they carried with them high legatine powers ; they superseded all 
ordinary tribunals. Only the King's Bench, the Court held in 
contemplation of law before the king himself, could claim to rank 
above them. Thus the king's residual or extraordinary function of 
causing justice to be done where ordinary means failed lay in their 
hand, and they were not only entitled but bound to exercise it. 
Students of our legal history do not need to be reminded that this 
function had been recognized from the earliest times, and was 
treated as living much later. The witnesses for it extend from 
King Alfred's companion and biographer, the Welsh bishop Asser, 
to the Kentish antiquary Lambarde, one of Elizabeth's justices of 
peace. So the justices in eyre, being such exalted ministers of 
the king's power, were quite natural depositaries of this royal 
discretion when as yet the Court of Chancery was not. 

Applications to the justices in eyre by way of bill were 
multifarious enough. Some of those which Mr. Bolland has 
published are founded on money claims for considerable sums, and 
the parties appear to be of good standing. But there is also a 
class of petitions by humble suitors for relief against oppression or 
extortion, alleging their poverty and inability to cope with their 
adversaries by regular process of law. This class anticipates, in 
almost every detail, the petitions to the Council and the Chancellor 
of which specimens were published in 1820 by the old Record 
Commission, and in 1896 by the Selden Society. We find here 
exactly the same characteristic mark that distinguishes those early 
Chancery proceedings, but in still greater prominence. In a large 
proportion of cases the complaint is such as, in the later settled 
practice, would have justified a demurrer 'for want of equity.' 
The justices are not called op to administer any special rules or to 
recognize rights outside the ordinary law. What the suitor asks 
them to dispense with is the formality of process ; he claims a 
summary investigation, to use canonical language once more, 

292 F. Pollock [xiv 

sinefigura et strepitu iudicii. Considering the predominant import- 
ance of procedure in medieval law, 1 this again is quite natural. 
Sometimes the petitions are so illiterate that the manner of the 
halting Anglo-French is almost more eloquent of the petitioner's 
distress than the matter. A specially illiterate one, which gave 
Mr. Bolland and myself a good deal of trouble before we arrived 
at the true rendering by the help of a French medievalist, relates 
the misfortunes of a man who had paid a sum down to secure 
board and lodging for the rest of his days. Obviously this crude 
makeshift for a life annuity 2 was at the mercy of the host's good 
faith ; in this case avarice prevailed, and the host not only failed 
to make decent provision for his paying guest, but imprisoned him, 
tied him up, it seems, with a chain. This, of course, was a plain 
trespass at common law, supposing the fact to have been as 
stated. Perhaps the story gained something in the telling; at 
any rate the result was a settlement of some kind between the 
parties. We have said that there was no question, at this time, 
of applying any peculiar law to the suits initiated by bills in eyre ; 
but it does appear that the justices, when once they had a case 
in their hands, could proceed in a summary manner and use a 
pretty free discretion. They could even interrogate the parties, a 
thing unknown to common-law process. On the other hand, a case 
begun in this way sometimes runs its later course to judgment as 
regularly as if it had started with a writ; and this may throw 
some light on singularities of early Chancery procedure to which 
Mr. Pike had called attention long before we knew that there was 
such a thing as a bill in eyre. 

It is needless to say more here of Chancery suits in the 
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, as the information is easily 
accessible in the Selden Society volume already referred to, 
and is summarized by Dr. Holdsworth. There is, however, one 
rather curious head of jurisdiction of which I have found no 
mention in text-books. It was not very uncommon to apply to 
the Chancellor for an injunction to restrain the defendant from 

1 The 'lex terrae' of Magna Carta, for example, is rather due process 
of law than the substantive law defining offences. 

2 Similar agreements were still in use in the latest years of the fifteenth 
century: Trice Martin in Archaeologia, Ix. (i) at p. 378, where the com- 
plaint is of refusal ' to fynd or kepe ' the plaintiff. 

xiv] Transformation of Equity 293 

practising witchcraft against the plaintiff, or, it might be, from 
making false charges of witchcraft against him. This appears from 
a group of cases in which clergymen were concerned, printed in 
1907 by Mr. Trice Martin in the Archaeology*? as well as from 
the more generally known publications. If there was any usurpation 
of jurisdiction in matters of ' nygromancy ' it was against the Court 

There is no reason to believe that the jurisdiction of the 
mediaeval Chancellors was unpopular. Complaints began to be 
loud in the sixteenth century, and were heard of earlier. 2 But 
these were for the most part, if not altogether, made or instigated 
by practitioners of the common law who were aggrieved by the 
growing competition of the Chancery. If the competition had not 
met a public want it would not have been effective. What concerns 
us to note here is that the grievance was expressly founded on 
charges of arbitrary and uncertain interference with legal rights ; 
the Chancellor and his officers went, it was said, by their < conscience 
and discretion/ which might mean reasons borrowed from Roman 
law or anything else they chose. The only final and satisfying 
answer to such objections in a civilized country was to make it 
clear that the Court of Chancery was not a fountain of unlimited 
dispensations, but as regular a court of judicature as any other, a 
court whose existence precluded the king from setting up any new 
tribunals with like jurisdiction, or administering its remedies in any 
other way ; and this was in fact the line taken by James I with 
Bacon's advice when the conflict became open and official. 

Meanwhile Christopher St. German, a writer in advance of his 
contemporaries in many things, put an explanation of Equity in 
the mouth of his imaginary Doctor of Divinity, 3 and appropriately 
so, when it was still exceptional for the Chancellor to be a layman. 
The Doctor speaks, of course, from the canonical point of view, and 
does not profess to know Chancery practice. Equity is not yet a 
term of art among lawyers. The Student knows something, it 
appears later, about the cases in which the writ of sub poena does 
and does not lie, but does not care to go into details. Now the 

1 Vol. lx. (or 2nd ser. 10) pt. i, 353; cp. the same writer's miscellaneous 
specimens in vol. lix., pt. i, I (1904). 

2 Holdsworth, H. E. L. i. 246. 

3 Doct. and Stud., dial, i, c. 16. 

294 F> Pollock [xiv 

Doctor quite clearly takes the view that the fundamental principle 
of equity is not occasional and overriding interference, but 
enlightened scientific interpretation. I am putting St. German's 
thought into modern language, but I believe the^ words bear me 
out. ' Equity is a righteousness that considereth all the particular 
circumstances of the deed . . . and it is called also by some men 
epieikeia ; the which is no other thing but an exception of the law 
of God, or of the law of reason, from the general rules of the law of 
man, when they by reason of their generality would in any 
particular case judge against the law of God or the law of reason 
the which exception is secretly understood in every general rule of 
general positive law' Of these last words it is hardly too much to 
say that they anticipate the reforming and constructive spirit of 
Mansfield. The conception of Equity as expounded by St. German 
was in itself nothing new. He was quite openly following the 
scholastic tradition which went back partly by direct and partly by 
indirect ways to Aristotle. But the treatment of it as practically 
applicable to English law shows a grasp and insight quite 
exceptional at the time. The Doctor goes on to suggest that 
there may be * some like equities grounded on the general rules of 
the law of the realm ' and elicits from the Student examples of 
equitable construction applied within the common law itself. In 
the next chapter the Student goes so far as to say that the only 
reason why the equitable relief granted upon bills in Chancery does 
not count as part of the common law is the absence of a formal 
record in the king's court. ' Forasmuch as no record remaineth in 
the king's court of no such bill, nor of the writ of sub poena or injunc- 
tion that is used thereupon ; therefore it is not set as for a special 
ground of the law, but as a thing that is suffered by the law.' 

About a century later the Court of Chancery was solemnly 
recognized as a perfect and regular court of justice. Yet it was 
not till the end of the seventeenth century that James I's decisive 
action bore its due fruit. The causes of the check were not legal 
but political, and are to be found in the controversies between king 
and parliament, between prelates and Puritans, which led to the 
Civil War. The Chancellor was still eminently the king's minister ; 
his jurisdiction was practically uncontrolled, for there was no 
appellate Court ; and men saw in the Chancellor's discretion, as they 
had seen in the criminal equity of the Star Chamber, a power of 

xiv] Transformation of Equity 295 

being abused to political ends. Here, and not in any merely 
technical prejudice, is the explanation of Selden's famous gibe 
1 Equity is a roguish thing.' It is so because the measure of the 
Chancellor's foot may go too near to follow the measure of King 
Charles I.'s foot, peradventure even Archbishop Laud's : and so 
the fuller working out of equity on St. German's lines had to wait 
for the settlement of a free political constitution. 

So far as England is concerned, the Puritan dislike of Chancery 
jurisdiction may be taken as belonging to the common knowledge 
of legal and other historians ; and we know in a general way that 
it was carried across the Atlantic. The full extent of its working 
on the western continent has been disclosed to the learned world 
only by pretty recent publications of American scholars. While 
Story was setting forth the beauties of equity jurisprudence in his 
most elegant periods, the power of administering equitable remedies 
was still, in more than one State, altogether lacking or rudimentary. 
Traces of the old prejudice may be found even in much later 
American writers. We have to remember, however, that the 
Common Law itself found but little favour in the eyes of the 
Pilgrim Fathers and their successors. For a time it was in danger 
of being replaced by the Pentateuch, and its reception was pre- 
carious, even beyond the Puritan commonwealths of New England, 
down to the eighteenth century. 1 We have also to remember in 
extenuation that for some little time after the Restoration English 
Common Law judges themselves had not got clear of the old 
notions about equity, and wondered what it should have to do with 

In our own time, it is almost needless to say, courts of equitable 
jurisdiction wholly disclaim any such roving powers of dispensation 
and administrative interference as were exercised by the medieval 
Chancellors. A judge of the Chancery Division can in plain terms 
deny that his Court is a Court of conscience. 2 It would be beyond 
my present scope, and beyond my competence, to look for any 
similar process of transformation in other systems of law ; but the 

1 S. D. Wilson, ' Courts of Chancery in the American Colonies,' Essays in 
Anglo-American Legal History, ii. 779 ; Fisher, ' The Administration of Equity 
through Common Law Forms,' ibid. ii. 810 ; Reinsch, 'English Common Law 
in the Early American Colonies,' ibid. i. 369. 

2 Lord Justice (then Justice) Buckley [1903] 2 Ch. at p. 195. 

296 F. Pollock [xiv 

case of droit administratif in France is so near at hand and so 
generally known that I may allow myself to mention it. The 
semi-political jurisdiction of the Conseil d'Etat, established under 
the First Empire in the interest of the government rather than of the 
citizen, has by this time acquired a perfectly judicial character, and 
it is said that the result is at times better for the suitor than what 
he could look for under the ordinary law. 

During the last two centuries the scientific construction of 
equity jurisprudence in England has been in the hands of a highly 
specialized section of the Bench and Bar, concentrated in these very 
precincts of Lincoln's Inn where we are sitting. Practitioners of 
the common law regarded equity much as the lay people regarded 
all legal science, that is, as an inscrutable kind of magic, and rather 
black than white. Even since the jurisdiction of our present 
Supreme Court in all its branches has been made uniform this 
frame of mind has hardly become extinct, and there is still some- 
thing esoteric about the doctrines of equity and conveyancing. The 
whole of the ground sacred to these mysteries would be included in 
a radius of five hundred yards, or for abundant caution let us say 
metres, drawn from this Old Hall of Lincoln's Inn, within or near 
whose walls the law of the Court of Chancery was discussed and 
settled by several generations of lawyers. 




THE age of Coke was a critical period in the history of our common 
law. During the sixteenth century the work of making England a 
territorial state of the modern type had been accomplished, partly 
by the legislature, partly by newly created or newly organized courts 
and councils, and partly by the common law courts. With the 
natural expansion of the jurisdiction of these courts and councils 
conflicts between them had become frequent ; and they became 
more frequent and more bitter when the restraining influence of 
Elizabeth was removed. A settlement based upon an impartial 
consideration of the claims of these rival courts was eminently 
desirable. But it was never reached, because these disputes about 
jurisdiction soon became merged in that larger question of the 
whereabouts of the sovereign power in the State which underlay 
the various causes of conflict between the King and his Parliament. 
The newly created or newly organized courts naturally magnified 
the prerogative on which they leaned, and to which they owed their 
authority. They therefore gravitated to the royalist view that in 
the last resort the prerogative was the sovereign power in the State. 
On the other hand the common law was firmly based upon the 

1 This paper is printed in the form in which it was written for the Inter- 
national Historical Congress. It is a summary of a fuller account of Coke's 
career and influence which will appear in the succeeding volumes of the 
author's History of English Law. For this reason the author has thought it 
best not to overweight it by inserting the authorities for the statements con- 
tained in it. He has therefore only inserted explanatory references when these 
appeared to be necessary for the understanding of the text. The fuller account 
of Coke will, of course, contain detailed references to the authorities. 


298 IV. S. Holdsworth [xv 

mediaeval idea that in the State the law was supreme, and that the 
prerogative was limited by it. The common lawyers therefore 
gravitated to the Parliamentary view that definite legal limits 
should be assigned to the prerogative, and that ministers who 
overstepped those limits should be made responsible to the law. 
Conversely the Parliamentary leaders naturally held that the law 
to which they were responsible was that common law in which 
alone they could find a legal justification for their political views. 

But the additions made by the modern cases and statutes to 
the mediaeval principles on which the common law was founded 
made it often obscure and sometimes irrational. Was it capable, 
it might fairly be asked, of supplying the principles needed to 
guide the development of the public and private law of a modern 
state ? The common lawyers maintained that it was all sufficient 
for this purpose ; and though the growth of an independent system 
of equity, and the slow development of a reasonable system of com- 
mercial law, show that they to some extent exaggerated the capacity 
of their system, the history of English public law in the seventeenth 
century, and the growth of new branches of private law in the 
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, have justified their faith. 
That the common law was given this chance of justifying the 
faith of those who believed in its capacity is largely due to the 
career and writings of Edward Coke. 

The main facts of Coke's career are well known and a very brief 
recapitulation will suffice. He was born in 1551-2, and was called 
to the bar in 1578. He became Solicitor-General in 1592, and was 
Attorney-General from 1593 to 1606. It was during the latter part 
of this period that he published the first three volumes of his 
Reports, and gained the reputation of being the most learned 
lawyer in England. It was during this period also that he acquired 
that reverence for the common law which is the keynote of his 
whole career. In 1606 he became Chief Justice of the Common 
Pleas, and at once claimed for the common law the position of 
supremacy in the State to which he believed it to be entitled. 
This involved him in disputes with rival Courts, and, as James I 
claimed to be the arbiter of all these disputes about jurisdiction, 
with the king himself. These disputes merely confirmed Coke in 
his fixed belief as to the position of the common law in the State. 
Thus, when, in 1613, ne was made Chief Justice of the King's Bench, 




the quarrel still continued ; and at length, in 1618, he was dismissed 
from the Bench and ordered to revise his Reports. After a period 
of hesitancy he, in 1620, decisively threw in his lot with the Parlia- 
mentary opposition. Till 1628 he took a leading part in all the 
Parliaments of James I's and Charles I's reigns, except that of 1626. 
In the Parliament of 1628 he drafted and helped to carry the Petition 
of Right ; and the stormy scenes which marked its passage were his 
last appearance in public life. His remaining six years were spent 
in retirement. Charles I, on his death in 1634, seized all his 
manuscripts, lest they should contain matter to the prejudice of the 
prerogative ; for, as he said, ( he is held too great an oracle among 
the people, and they may be misled by anything that carries such 
an authority as all things do that he either speaks or writes.' 

The fears of Charles are the best evidence of Coke's reputation. 
It was a reputation fairly earned by the manner in which he had 
devoted all his great powers to the single object of understanding, 
applying, explaining, and systematizing the common law. The 
large place which he fills in English history is no doubt due in a 
great degree to the character of the age. In quieter times he would 
simply have been a great common lawyer with conservative 
prejudices. But in the seventeenth century a great common lawyer, 
who was passionately convinced of the excellence of the common 
law and of its right to be the supreme law in the State, was 
necessarily drawn into politics in order to defend its claims. The 
fact that he was thus drawn into politics causes an apparent 
inconsistency in his career, and some real inconsistency in his 
statements of the doctrines of constitutional law. At first sight, 
there seems to be little in common between Elizabeth's zealous 
Attorney-General, and the man who framed and helped to carry 
the Petition of Right. But this inconsistency is, to a large extent, 
only apparent. He could be a zealous servant of the Crown under 
the balanced Tudor monarchy, which so skilfully and diplomatically 
shelved fundamental questions. Under James I he was driven 
to resist the attempts to substitute the supremacy of the Crown for 
the supremacy of the common law. In the later years of James I's 
reign, and under Charles I, he was driven into alliance with the 
Parliamentary opposition in order to uphold as against the 
Crown the laws which secured the rights and privileges of Parlia- 
ment, and the liberties of the subject. He stood still. His 

3OO W. S. Holdsworth [xv 

outlook was always that of a statesman of the latter part of the 
Tudor period. It was the changing political scene which seemed to 
place him in constantly fresh positions, and necessarily led him to 
modify his views as to important doctrines of constitutional law. 

The character of the man and of the age fully accounts for his 
vast influence upon the law and politics of the seventeenth 
century. But they do not fully account for the permanence of his 
influence upon the future development of English law. This 
permanence is due to the fact that his devotion to the common law 
led him to consider it to be his duty to employ the scanty leisure 
of a busy career in the work of restating in his writings all its 
principal doctrines. If, therefore, we would understand the reasons 
for the permanence of his influence, if we would estimate its nature 
and extent we must examine the character of these writings. 

The two works which have had this great influence are the 
Reports and the Institutes. 

The first part of the Reports was published in 1600, the next 
two shortly after, and the remaining eight at intervals between 
1603 and 1615. The twelfth and thirteenth parts were published 
after Coke's death in 1655 and 1658. They were not prepared by 
him for the press ; and are in fact simply rough notes of cases 
and other transactions in which he had taken part. They have 
never had the same authority as the other eleven parts, which he 
himself published as his considered views upon the matters therein 

When Coke wrote his Reports there was no agreement as to the 
proper style of making a law report. The Year Book reports are 
often very discursive narratives of the proceedings in Court. But 
it is clear that in Coke's day much more attention was being paid 
both to the actual discussion, and to the reasons on which it was 
based, than in the earlier period. The constant and frequent 
citation of cases in court, sometimes on the point and sometimes 
at a great distance from that point, is noted by Coke and contrasted 
with the earlier practice. But the report was still made primarily 
for the benefit of the reporter ; and reporters adopted all styles 
from the short notes of Bendloe to the elaborate statements of 
record, argument, and judgment contained in Plowden. Coke did 
not adopt any one style. To a certain extent he was guided by the 
nature of the case which he was reporting. Occasionally he makes 

xv] Coke 301 

a case a mere peg for a disquisition on some branch of law. 1 
Sometimes he groups together the reports of several cases on one 
topic, e.g. slander, by-laws, usury, copyhold; 2 and these reports 
are usually summary. When the case is important he often gives 
the pleadings at length, a summary of the argument on both sides, 
and the decision, together with the reasons for it. In these cases 
Coke no doubt intended to give the effect of what was said in 
Court. But it is probable that he added both explanations and 
disquisitions which his own reading, and his enthusiasm for what he 
regarded as sound doctrine, suggested to him. Bacon once said 
that in his Reports there was too much ' de proprio.' 

The cases reported form a corpus of the common law in the 
sixteenth century. All parts of the law old and new are reviewed. 
The older learning where applicable is restated ; the manner in 
which it had been modified by the statutes of the sixteenth and 
early seventeenth centuries is explained ; and the statutes which 
introduced new branches of law are applied and interpreted. The 
new developments of the common law such as the beginning of 
the struggle against perpetuities, the development of assumpsit, the 
practice of allowing actions on contracts made abroad are noted 
and justified. Numerous cases, heard before courts other than the 
common law courts (e.g. the Court of Wards and the Court of 
Star Chamber), appear. The fact that the common law could 
appeal to some of these precedents was very useful to it when 
the results of the Great Rebellion gave it all and even more than 
all the jurisdiction which Coke had claimed for it. 

The four books of the Institutes were designed to supply the 
student with a general introduction to the law. The older methods 
of legal education were hardly sufficient by themselves, now that 
the law was growing more complex. Coke set himself to write, 
for the benefit of the student, the earliest of our text-books on the 
modern common law. The First Institute contains his com- 
mentary on Littleton. The Second is a discursive commentary 
on some 39 statutes, of which 28 belonged to the mediaeval period. 
Many of them deal with matters of public law. The Third 
deals with the criminal law, and the Fourth with the jurisdiction of 

1 Blackamore's Case, 8 Co. Rep. i $6a amendments of process ; Beecher's 
Case 8 Co. Rep. $8a amercements. 

2 4 Co. Rep. I2b-2ia (slander) ; 5 Co. Rep. 620-643 (by-laws) ; ibid. 6ga, 
7ob (usury) ; 4 Co. Rep. 2ia-32a (copyhold). 

302 IV. S. Holdswortk [xv 

courts. Throughout the Second, Third, and Fourth Institutes Coke 
insists on his views as to the supremacy of the common law courts 
which had cost him his seat on the bench. 'The First Institute was 
the only one which Coke published in his lifetime. The other 
three were published in 1641. 

The First Institute is a book of a very different character to 
the other three. Littleton was one of the first books which a 
student read, and Coke had been collecting material for it all his 
life from the time probably that he first read it as a student. 
Coke upon Littleton was meant to be Littleton up-to-date bearing 
somewhat the same relation to Littleton as Justinian's Institutes 
bear to the Institutes of Gams. But it is much more than this. 
The commentary is extraordinarily minute. It gives the most 
elementary pieces of information, and also disquisitions upon the 
most abstruse points of law. All parts of the law not dealt with in 
the other three books, and many that are, are introduced into this 
wonderful commentary. It could never have been a good students' 
text-book, and it is rather difficult to see how even its author 
could have supposed that it was suitable for this purpose. One 
reason may be found in the fact that he did not intend the student 
to read it all at once, and another in the fact that it was supple- 
mented by the instruction given by the Inns of Court. Moreover, 
what is to our eyes one source of confusion, the grouping of a 
large number of miscellaneous legal topics round the land law, was 
the traditional historic order of the common law. Just as in 
Roman law many topics belonging to the general law of contract 
are grouped round the stipulatio, because it was the most general 
form of contract known to Roman law ; so in English law, from 
the days of Bracton, many various topics had been grouped round 
the land law, because it was the most highly developed branch 
of the common law. The rapid development of the common law 
was fast making this grouping of topics obsolete the law of 
contract and the law of personal property were fast becoming 
independent branches of law, and as important as the land law. 
But it was hardly to be expected that Coke, whose outlook was 
always to the past, should appreciate this. That was a point of 
view which came more naturally to a man like Bacon whose 
outlook was towards the future. 

It is easy to see why Coke did not care to publish the last 

xv] Coke 303 

three parts of the Institutes in his lifetime. The First Institute 
dealt with branches of the law very remote from any of the con- 
stitutional controversies of the day. But a large number of the topics 
treated of in the other three books touched them at many points. 
In 1628, when the Second and Third Institutes were finished, 
Coke's active career was over ; and, when the Fourth Institute 
was finished, Parliament had been dissolved and the country was 
being governed by the Prerogative. We cannot blame Coke for 
not wishing to shorten his few remaining years by a close im- 
prisonment in the Tower. He had recorded his opinions : their 
publication could well wait for a more favourable season. 

When they were published in 1641 it was the hour of the 
victory of the common law and of the Parliament. Men did not 
stop to consider the accuracy or the validity of the arguments upon 
which Coke based his claim that the common law and the Parlia- 
ment were supreme in the State. They simply accepted them and 
made them the basis, not only of our modern constitutional law, 
but also of the whole of that large part of our modern English law 
which is comprised under the general term 'common law.' It is 
not surprising therefore that, almost down to our own days, there 
have been many lawyers who would hardly admit of the existence 
of any serious shortcomings in Coke's work. But during the last 
century there has been a reaction. Coke has been attacked on 
opposite grounds by two very different schools of lawyers. In the 
first place he has been attacked by the historical school on the 
ground that he has sometimes carelessly and sometimes, it is even 
said, intentionally misrepresented historical facts. In the second 
place he has been attacked by lawyers of the school of Austin and 
Bentham on the ground that both the material and the form of his 
writings are obscure, illogical, and ill-arranged. Let us look at 
these two classes of criticism, and see to what extent they are 


Time has its revenges. Coke in his lifetime was at pains to 
advise and correct historians if they ventured into the domain of 
law. Now the historians have turned upon Coke and pointed out 
that his history is often inaccurate, and that his law is not the 
true mediaeval law that he represented it to be ; and it must be 

304 W. S. Holdsworth [xv 

admitted that there is a large amount of substantial truth in their 
criticisms. Coke was always the lawyer, always the advocate, and, 
in the latter part of his life, a keen politician. The lawyer, the 
advocate, and the politician must needs make excursions into the 
domain of the historian for their own special purposes. But 
history so produced will generally be, as history, worthless. If we 
remember that Coke's excursions into the domain of history are all 
made with a purpose, and that in addition he had no conception of 
history for its own sake, and no power of criticizing the historical 
sources which he used, we shall not be surprised that, as compared 
with the work of true historians like Selden or Bacon, his historical 
work is almost contemptible. If we glance at the various purposes 
for which Coke was obliged to trespass upon the domain of the 
historian, we shall be the better able to understand why, in this 
historical age, Coke's reputation has fallen to perhaps an unduly 
low ebb. 

As a lawyer Coke was obliged to make a large use of history in 
order to explain his law. The continuity of the common law must 
make every sound common lawyer something of a historian. At 
the same time the peculiarities of our system of case law cause 
lawyers to exaggerate the amount of continuity which there is in 
the law. They talk as if the new decisions were merely develop- 
ments of the old law ; and this method of reasoning may easily 
deceive historians who are not lawyers. Moreover the present 
state of our knowledge of English legal history has led historians 
who are lawyers to join in condemning Coke. We know more 
about the legal doctrines of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries 
than about the legal doctrines of the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries. We see a doctrine in Bracton or the earlier Year Books. 
We see it in a somewhat different form in Coke, and we are apt 
to conclude that Coke has been perverting his sources. To take 
an illustration. Mr. Pike x has pointed out that when Coke, com- 
menting on Littleton, states that an advowson lies in grant but not 
in livery ', he is introducing a negative statement for which there 
is no warrant in Littleton. But Coke had authority. In 1490 2 
Brian and Vavisor agreed that, because an advowson passed by 
grant, it could not pass by livery. Coke was not writing legal 
history. He was only using legal history to explain the law of 

1 L.Q.R. v. 36. 2 Y.B. 6 Hy. VII, Pasch. pi. 5, p. 3. 

xv] Coke 305 

his own day. Possibly many of his statements which seem at 
variance with the older authorities are based upon more recent 
authorities which he was bound to follow. A judge who at the 
present day followed seventeenth-century in preference to nineteenth- 
century decisions would find that his judgments were frequently 
reversed. I cannot, of course, say how many of Coke's departures 
from thirteenth-century law can be justified in this way that would 
involve a knowledge to which I cannot pretend. But probably a 
good many can be so justified ; and clearly for errors of this kind 
he cannot be censured. But this plea cannot be urged in defence 
of the errors into which he was led either from his habits of 
indiscreet advocacy or from his political bias. 

A very cursory acquaintance with Coke's writings will show 
that he approached both law and history with the mind of a 
strenuous advocate. All through his life he never ceased to be 
an advocate of legal doctrines or political causes. Whether he is 
reporting a case, or arguing for the supremacy of the common law 
in the State, or upholding the rights and privileges of Parliament, 
he does it with all his strength ; and the result is that he writes or 
talks himself into a decided view on the subject. I very much 
doubt whether in all Coke's writings a passage could be found in 
which he admits that he has left the law uncertain. On the other 
hand there are many passages in which he states that he has 
solved all doubts and reconciled all conflicting cases. No doubt 
he honestly thought he had done so. Now this defect in Coke's 
mind has led to two very grave shortcomings in his writings, 
(i) The various causes which he advocated during his long life were 
not always quite consistent. Thus the dicta in Bonham's case 1 as 
to the power of the common law to overrule Acts of Parliament 
are not quite consistent with the views which he elsewhere expresses 
as to the supremacy of Parliament. Some of the dicta in the case 
of Non Obstante 2 as to inseparable prerogatives of the Crown which 
no Act of Parliament can take away, are not quite consistent with 
his more considered statements that the prerogative is subject to 
the law. (2) This defect made him very uncritical in the use of 
his sources. He swallowed all the statements in the Mirror of 
Justices because they fitted in with his preconceived ideas as to the 
immemorial antiquity of the common law. Moreover, it led him to 
1 8 Co. Rep 107. 2 12 Co. Rep. 18. 


306 IV. S. Holdsworth [xv 

read into his authorities meanings which they never possessed. I 
have elsewhere shown that he twice repeats a statement that one 
of the counts in an indictment of Wolsey contained an accusation 
that Wolsey had attempted to subvert the common law, the facts 
being that the indictment cited is not of Wolsey at all, and that 
the passage as to subverting the common law was the common 
form of an indictment under the statute of Praemunire. 1 The 
similar errors into which he fell in connexion with his account of 
the Admiralty jurisdiction have been exposed by Prynne in the 
seventeenth century, and by Mr. Marsden in our own times. But 
this last illustration of Coke's use of his history to advocate his 
views is closely connected with the political uses to which he 
turned it. 

We have seen that Coke in his later years had become a leader 
of the Parliamentary opposition. This naturally involved a 
reconsideration of some of his earlier opinions on such matters of 
public law as the right of the Crown to legislate by proclamation, 2 
to levy impositions and exact loans, 3 to commit to prison without 
cause shown, 4 to get extra-judicial opinions from the judges. 5 In 
earlier days these recantations tended to make men believe in the 
infallibility of Coke. When men thought that the constitutional 
principles established in the seventeenth century were not merely 
beneficial to the State, but also incontestably sound law, the views 
of Coke on these matters in his published writings were taken to 
prove his legal infallibility on all matters. But in our own days 
they have had the opposite effect. We see now that the public 
law of the seventeenth century was very obscure ; and that though 
the victory of constitutional principles was undoubtedly beneficial 
to the State, the legal principles upon which the leaders of the 
constitutional opposition relied were often very dubious. Hence 
we see in these recantations of Coke mere evidences of his political 

1 L.Q.R. xxviii. 135-6. 

2 Cp. Notes on the Prerogative in State Papers, Dom. (1598-1601), 
cclxxvi. 8 1, and the opinion given while Attorney-General, with the case of 
Proclamations (1611), 12 Co. Rep. 74. 

8 Spedding, Life and Letters of Bacon, v. 146 ; 12 Co. Rep. 119 ; Rush- 
worth, Pt. i. 497 ; State Papers, Dom. (1634), cclxxviii. 35 ; ibid. (1603-1610), 
Iv. 52. 

4 See his speech in the House of Commons, cited Foster, Elliot, ii. 26-28; 
and cp. his views in 162021, Proceedings and Debates, ii. 25, 109. 

5 Spedding, Life and Letters of Bacon, v. 114-18. 

xv] Coke 307 

bias, and are apt to doubt whether in other branches of the law he 
is as infallible as our forefathers thought him. I do not think that 
either line of argument is quite legitimate. We must clearly 
separate Coke's views on matters which related to the political 
controversies of the day from matters which did not ; and I think 
that on matters of law unconnected with these controversies a 
general charge of inaccuracy is not proved. No doubt dicta can 
be found which disparage his accuracy. But of some of these 
Mr. Wallace in his book on the Reporters has successfully disposed. 
No doubt later cases show that he was sometimes wrong. But 
they are small in number compared with the cases in which his 
ruling has been accepted. Neither Bacon nor Ellesmere found 
any serious faults with his Reports, except in cases of a political or 
semi-political character ; and Bacon admitted that the Reports, 
' though they may have errors, and some peremptory and extra- 
judicial resolutions more than are warranted, yet contain infinite 
good decisions and rulings over of cases/ Bacon and the lawyers 
who were the contemporaries or the immediate successors of Coke 
knew more of the older authorities at first hand than we do. I 
should therefore contend that the view that Coke is inaccurate in 
his statements of law on matters unconnected with the political 
controversies of the day is not proved. 

Let us now turn to the criticisms made by the writers of another 


Though Coke's history is often unhistorical he was for all that 
a lawyer of the historical school. ' Out of the old fields must grow 
the new corn ' was one of his favourite proverbs. And he had all the 
defects of the historical school in an exaggerated form. Thus he is 
ready with a defence for all the anomalies and anachronisms by 
which English law was disfigured. He could explain them ; and 
between explanation and justification it never occurred to him that 
there could be any distinction. On the other hand he had the virtues 
of the historical school. The analytical lawyer usually bases his 
analysis mainly upon the ideas current in his own day. He is 
therefore inclined to reject as useless all that is not in accord with 
these current ideas. But the historical lawyer preserves the ideas 
of a past age ; and these ideas often come into their own again in 

308 W. S. Holdsworth [xv 

a future age. Coke's writings preserved for England the mediaeval 
idea of the supremacy of the law at a time when political specula- 
tion was tending in the direction of the supremacy of a sovereign 
body or person who was above the law ; and the obscurity and 
indefinite character of some of the mediaeval rules of law which 
he states preserved for the common law a flexibility which is a 
condition precedent of natural development and expansion. 

As Coke's writings thus possess the vices and the virtues of 
the historical school, they have naturally attracted the censure of 
those whose minds are cast in an analytical mould. Hobbes, the 
forefather of the school of analytical jurists, attacks Coke in his 
Dialogue of the Common Law with all the accustomed weapons of 
that school. Law should be defined as the command of the 
sovereign. Case law is no true law. Useless distinctions should 
be got rid of. Absurd rules should be altered. Law should be 
stated so plainly that the non- lawyer should be able to give a 
sound opinion upon its meaning. Hobbes's criticisms are approved 
by Sir James Stephen. But we should do well to remember that, 
though Stephen is the historian of our criminal law, he had the 
mind of an analytical jurist. And when we read his condemna- 
tion of Coke's disorderly mind, of his technical and pedantic 
divisions, of his puerile speculations, we might also recall the fact 
that, in Austin's opinion, Coke's mastery of the legal system as a 
whole was equalled only by that of the great Roman jurists. 
Hobbes and Stephen saw part of the truth, but not all. 

That at the end of the sixteenth century a restatement of 
English law was needed was obvious to the leading lawyers and 
statesmen of the day. But what form should that restatement 
take ? It was clear to Bacon that the construction of a logical code 
was impossible. ' I dare not,' he wrote, ' advise to cast the law 
into a new mould.' Instead, he had visions of doing for English law 
something of the same nature that Justinian had done for Roman 
law. There was to be a revision of the statute book, a revision 
of the reports, a book of institutes, and a book of legal history. 
But political causes rendered Bacon's scheme impossible of realiza- 
tion at the time when it was propounded ; and the merits of Coke's 
writings rendered such a restatement at a later period less pressing. 

His writings had, it seems to me, five very considerable merits. 

xv] Coke 309 

(1) They cover the whole field of English law, and restate it 
from the point of view of the sixteenth century. In any age in 
which large political, social, and intellectual changes have taken 
place the law will need to be reconsidered and restated. And it 
is not one of the least of the advantages of our system of case law 
that it can thus be adapted to a new environment. What a 
succession of eminent lawyers have done for the common law in 
the nineteenth century, Coke did for the common law of his own 
day. Professor- Maitland once said in a letter to me, ' Coke's books 
are the great dividing line, and we are hardly out of the Middle 
Ages till he has dogmatized its results.' 

(2) He deduces from the scattered and inconsistent dicta in the 
Year Books positive rules of law. All through his writings Coke 
is reconciling Year Books. We could with considerable justice 
apply to his work the title applied to Gratian's work Concordia 
discordantium canonum. 

(3) His writings not only brought the Year Books into line 
with the modern reports, they brought the mediaeval literature of 
the common law into line with the modern literature. The great 
mediaeval books Glanvil, Bracton, Britton, and Fleta were made 
to explain and illustrate the law expounded by Perkins, Fitz- 
herbert, Staundford, and Lambard. 

(4) By the information which they gave as to the doings of 
other courts notably the Star Chamber, the Chancery, and the 
Admiralty they tended to familiarize the common lawyers with 
the new ideas which, in those courts, were giving rise to new legal 
developments. This made it easier for the common law to fill the 
great position which it acquired as a result of the constitutional 
conflicts of the seventeenth century. 

(5) As a result, his writings ensured the continuity of the 
development of the common law amidst all the vast changes of 
this century of Renaissance, Reformation, and Reception. This 
signal merit of Coke's writings was fully recognized in his own 
day. 'Had it not been for Sir Edward Coke's Reports ,' wrote 
Bacon, ' the law of this time had almost been like a ship without 
ballast ; for that the cases of modern experience are fled from 
those that are adjudged and ruled in former times.' 

Coke had thus adapted a thoroughly mediaeval body of law to 
the needs of the modern State, without any appreciable sacrifice of 

310 IV. S. Holdsworth [xv 

the mediaeval ideas contained in it. He had maintained that this 
body of law ought to be the supreme law in the State ; and the 
results of the Great Rebellion had caused his views to prevail. 
Naturally the effect of his writings on the future development of 
English law has been enormous both for evil and for good. 

It can hardly be denied that the victory of Coke's views has 
had unfortunate effects upon the form and the substance of English 
law. Rules and doctrines were retained which were already half 
obsolete in his day ; and, as a result, it is hard to draw the line 
between obsolete and living law. Then, too, the appropriation by 
the common law of commercial causes made the growth of a 
reasonable system of commercial law very slow. Till the codifying 
statutes of the nineteenth century, English law could show no 
measures dealing with this topic comparable with the French 
ordonnances of two centuries earlier. And till the reforms of the 
same century our law of bankruptcy was a disgrace to a civilized 

On the other hand we cannot doubt that the result of Coke's 
writings has been to make English law a very much more uniform 
system of law than it would otherwise have been. The result of 
the success of the Court of Chancery in its quarrel with the 
common law was to split our English law into two halves. If all 
the other rival courts had been equally successful, English law 
would have been split into many fragments. Coke's writings 
helped to save English law from this fate because they successfully 
asserted the supremacy of the common law. 

And more was involved in the maintenance of the supremacy 
of the common law than the settlement of a mere legal quarrel 
about jurisdiction. If the common law had lost its supremacy, 
would Parliament, we may fairly ask, have gained the victory? 
And if it had gained the victory without the help of a common 
law which claimed to be the supreme law in the State, would our 
constitutional law be what it is to-day ? This we may well doubt. 
In the past the common lawyers had helped to make the English 
Parliament an efficient representative assembly. In the seventeenth 
century the Parliament handsomely repaid the debt by helping 
Coke and his fellows to maintain the mediaeval conception of the 
rule of law, and to apply it to the government of a modern State. 
It was in Coke's writings that this, together with other mediaeval 

xv] Coke. 311 

conceptions, were given their modern form ; and therefore it is 
largely owing to the influence of his writings that these mediaeval 
conceptions have become part of our modern law. If their influence 
upon some parts of our modern law has not been wholly satis- 
factory, let us remember that they have preserved for England and 
the world the constitutional doctrine of the rule of law. 

The effects of this doctrine were destined in the succeeding 
ages to be felt beyond the bounds of England, beyond the bounds 
even of English-speaking peoples in all places and at all times 
wherever and whenever men have had the will and the power to 
establish constitutional government. We may surely claim that 
these large results of this part of Coke's work upon the civilized 
world of to-day entitle the most English of our English common 
lawyers to a place among the great jurists of the world. 




Zu keiner Zeit vielleicht hat das Majoritatsprinzip eine so 
gewaltige Rolle gespielt wie in der Gegenwart. Bei staatlichen 
und kommunalen Wahlen, bei den Beschlussfassungen von 
Parlamenten und Gemeindevertretungen, in administrativen und 
richterlichen Kollegien, in alien offentlichen und privaten Korper- 
schaften, in Vereinen fur wirtschaftliche wie fur ideale Zwecke 
entscheidet Stimmenmehrheit. Uberall gilt, was die Mehrheit 
will, als Ausdruck des Gemeinwillens. Durch ein Rechenexempel 
wird festgestellt, was alle Beteiligten als fiir sie bindend anerkennen 
miissen, mag es sich nun um 16 Millionen Stimmender, wie jiingst 
bei der amerikanischen Prasidentenwahl, oder mag es sich um 
die Abstimmung in einem Dreimannerkollegium handeln. Erst 
unterhalb der Dreizahl versagt dieses Allheilmittel fiir Meinungs- 
verschiedenheiten. In der Gemeinschaft zu Zweien gibt es keine 
Majoritat. Die innigste aller menschlichen Verbindungen, die 
Ehe, muss sich ohne Abstimmungen behelfen. 

Infolge solcher allgemeinen Anerkennung nehmen wir heute 
das Majoritatsprinzip <als etwas Selbstverstandliches hin und 
zerbrechen uns nicht viel den Kopf dariiber, warum denn hier 
Uberall der Teil so viel gilt wie das Ganze. Auch in juristischen, 
politischen und philosophischen Schriften begegnen nur selten 
eingehendere Versuche seiner Rechtfertigung. 1 

Dem war nicht immer so ! Das Majoritatsprinzip hat keines- 

1 Eindringlich erortert das Problem Simmel, Soziologie, 1908, S. 
186-97 (Exkurs iiber Uberstimmung). Eine Erklarung, die aber in den 
sinnlichen Vorstellungen primitiver Zeitalter stecken bleibt, versucht auch 
Bolze, Der Begriff der juristischen Person, 1879, S. 109 ff. 


xvi] Majoritatsprinzip 313 

wegs von jeher in Kraft gestanden. Es hat sich erst in langem 
geschichtlichen Ringen durchgesetzt und dabei sehr verschiedene 
Entwicklungsstufen durchlaufen. Sein Geltungsgrund ist in 
mannigfach ungleicher Weise aufgefasst und formuliert worden. 
Ein Blick auf diesen Werdeprozess bietet um so grosseres 
historisches Interesse, als er sich in engem Zusammenhange mit 
dem Wandel der Grundanschauungen liber das Wesen der 
menschlichen Verbande abgespielt hat. Zugleich aber mag er 
dazu dienen, ein tieferes Verstandnis unseres heutigen Rechts- 
zustandes zu fordern. 

In diesem Sinne mochte ich es unternehmen, Ihre Auf- 
merksamkeit auf die Geschichte des Majoritatsprinzips zu 
lenken. Dabei beschranke ich mich aber auf die Darlegung der 
auf Grund des germanischen Rechts im Mittelalter und in der 
Neuzeit vollzogenen Entwicklung. Insbesondere gehe ich auf 
eine Untersuchung der Geschichte des Majoritatsprinzips in der 
antiken Kulturwelt nicht naher ein. Bei Griechen und Romern 
erfreut sich in den reifen Zeiten, von denen wir genauere Kenntnis 
haben, das Majoritatsprinzip bei alien Versammlungsbeschliissen 
unbestrittener Herrschaft. Uber Vorstadien, die es vermutlich 
gegeben hat, sind wir nicht sicher unterrichtet. Jedenfalls war 
man sich solcher nicht mehr bewusst, hegte vielmehr an der 
Berechtigung der Entscheidung durch Stimmenzahlung keinerlei 
Zweifel. In der griechischen Staatslehre stossen wir iiber- 
haupt nicht auf Reflexionen Uber den Grund der Geltung des 
Stimmenmehrs. Erst die romischen Juristen suchen nach dem 
Geltungsgrunde. Sie begniigen sich aber mit einer sehr ausser- 
lichen Rechtfertigung. Refertur ad universes quod pub lice fit 
per majorem partem, sagt Ulpian in 1. 160 I D. de R. J. Ahn- 
lich meint Scaevola in 1. 19 D. ad municipalem (56, i): Quod 
major pars curiae effecit pro eo habetur, ac si omnes egerint. 
Diese Aussprliche, die spater eine grosse Rolle gespielt haben, 
laufen auf eine juristische Fiktion hinaus, kraft deren die Mehrheit 
gelten soil, als seien es Alle. Wie sich zu dieser Fiktion der 
bekannte positive Rechtssatz verhalt, der zur Gultigkeit eines 
Majoritatsbeschlusses der stadtischen Kurie die Anwesenheit von 
zwei Dritteln fordert, lassen die romischen Juristen, die eine 
allgemeine Theorie der Korporationsbeschlusse uberhaupt nicht 
ausgebildet haben, unerortert. 

314 O. V. Gierke [xvi 

Dem germanischen Recht war auf der ungleich primitiveren 
Stufe, auf der es bei seinem Eintritt in das Licht der Geschichte 
stand, das Majoritatsprinzip fremd. Ihm deckte sich der Gesamt- 
wille mit dem Versammlungswillen und der Versammlungswille 
mit; dem Willen aller Versammelten. Fur das durchaus sinn- 
liche und konkrete Denken der alten Zeit waren Trager alles Ver- 
bandsrechtes sichtbare Versammlungen und sichtbare Herrscher. 
So wenig man bei dem Herrscher die Individualpersonlichkeit 
und die Stellung als Verbandshaupt unterschied, ebenso wenig 
unterschied man bei der Versammlung die Gesamteinheit von 
der Gesamtvielheit. Alles Gemeinschaftsrecht hatte daher die 
Versammlung der vollberechtigten Genossen in ihrer zugleich 
einheitlichen und vielkopfigen Erscheinung auszuiiben. In dem 
kollektiven Wollen und Handeln Aller offenbarte sich das 
lebendige Ganze. 

Grundsatzlich bedurfte es also zu jedem Volks- oder Ge- 
meindebeschluss eines einhelligen Gesamtaktes. Im Falle 
der Meinungsverschiedenheit zu einem solchen zu gelangen, war das 
Ziel der Beratung. Wenn aber die Uberzeugungskraft der Griinde 
oder das Ansehen und die Beredsamkeit der fiihrenden Manner 
nicht zur Ubereinstimmung fiihrten, so setzte sich freilich in 
der Regel die Meinung der uberwiegenden Mehrheit durch. Allein 
dies geschah urspriinglich keineswegs im Wege einer die Minder- 
heit von Rechtswegen bindenden Abstimmung. Von Stimmabgabe 
und Stimmzahlung war nicht die Rede. Vielmehr gab die ver- 
sammelte Menge mit gesamter Hand und mit gemeinem Munde 
ihre Willensmeinung kund. Zusammenschlagen der Waffen mit 
Beifallsruf oder sonstige Billigung mit Hand und Mund gait als 
Annahme, lautes Murren oder missbilligender Zuruf als Verwer- 
fung eines Vorschlags. So schildert uns Tacitus die Beschluss- 
fassung in der altgermanischen Volksversammlung, und jiingere 
Quellen bestatigen es als gemeingermanische Ubung. 1 Verhielten 

1 Germ, c. 1 1 : sin placuit, frameas concutiunt; honoratissimum assensus 
genus est armis laudare. Vgl. Hist. v. 1 7. Die Waffenriihrung begegnet auch 
spater bei den Franken als besonders feierliche Form des Volksbeschlusses : 
Zusammenschlagen der Schilde und Beifallsruf bei der Wahl Chlodwigs 
durch die ripuarischen Franken nach Gregor = Gregor Tur. ii. 40 ; votibusque 
simul et armorum plausu sententiam ducis firmaveruntr^^ Annales Mettenses 
z. J. 690, MG. S.S. i. 318. Bei den nordischen Volkern als vdpnatak bei 
GesetzgebungsaktenundKonigsannahme. Doch war, wie sichschonausG^r;;/. 

xvi] Majoritatsprinzip 315 

sich Dissentierende schweigend, so hatte schliesslich doch die 
Versammlung mit gesamter Hand und gemeinem Munde ihren 
Willen erklart. Und auch der Widerspruch des einen oder 
andern mochte, wenn er iiberhort oder ubertont wurde, die Ver- 
kiindigung des Ergebnisses als eines einstimmigen Versammlungs- 
beschlusses nicht hindern. 

Eine rechtliche Verpflichtung aber, sich dem Mehrheits- 
beschlusse zu fiigen, und ihn so zugleich als eigenen Beschluss 
anzuerkennen, gab es nicht. Wer seinen Widerspruch trotzig auf- 
recht hielt, war durch den Beschluss der andern Genossen, die 
nicht mehr Alle waren, nicht gebunden. Allein er loste sich damit 
von der in sich einigen Gesamtheit der Anderen, er trat ihr als 
Feind gegeniiber und setzte sich ihrem gewaltsamen Zwange aus. 
War der Widerstand gegen solche Uberwaltigung wegen der 
Starke der Mehrheit aussichtslos, so musste regelmassig schon die 
Erwagung der Folgen die Minderheit bewegen, den Widerspruch 
fallen zu lassen. Allein den Halsstarrigen konnte nur die tatsach- 
liche Macht iiberwinden. Und wenn auch die Minderheit stark war 
und sich den Sieg zutraute, so trat an Stelle des einheitlichen Ver- 
sammlungsbeschlusses die Spaltung in Teilgesamtheiten, zwischen 
denen dann aussersten Falles die Waffen entschieden. 

Ein deutliches Bild der Fortdauer dieser urspriinglichen An- 
schauungen bieten bis tief in das Mittelalter hinein die deutschen 
Konigswahlen. Sie forderten Einstimmigkeit, anfangs Ein- 
stimmigkeit der versammelten Stammeshaupter und der zu- 
stimmenden Volksmenge, sodann Einstimmigkeit der Fiirsten l und 
dann noch, seitdem die Kurfiirsten aus Vorwahlern zu alleinigen 
Wahlern geworden waren, Einstimmigkeit der Kurfiirsten. Erst 
die goldene Bulle fiihrte das Majoritatsprinzip als Grundsatz 
des Reichsrechtes ein. 2 Bis dahin musste eine Minderheit, die 

c. 1 1 ergibt, der Waffenschlag nicht die einzige Form der Zustimmung. Es 
geniigte die acclamatio. Bei den deutschen Konigswahlen wird Emporheben 
der Hande neben dem Beifallsruf erwahnt ; Widukind, Res gest. Sax. i. 26, 
ii. i. Also, wie dies dem alten Rechtsformalismus entspricht, Billigtmg mit 
Hand und Mund. 

1 Noch der Sachsensp., iii. 57 2, fordert Einigung aller Fiirsten iiber 
die Wahl als Grundlage des formellen Kurspruchs : sven die vorsten alle to 
koninge erwelt, den solen sie (die Kurfiirsten) aller erst bi namen kiesen." 

2 Fur die kurfiirstliche Genehmigung koniglicher Verausserungen hatte 
schon ein Reichsweistum von 1281 (MG. Const, iii. 290) das Mehrheits- 

316 O. v. Gierke [xvi 

sich nicht freiwillig ftigte, durch Waffengewalt zur Anerkennung 
des gewahlten Konigs gezwungen werden. Die zahlreichen Waffen- 
gange zwischen Konigen und Gegenkonigen bei zwiespaltigen 
Wahlen sind aus der Geschichte bekannt. 

Auch sonst erhielten sich vielfach mit Zahigkeit die alten 
Anschauungen. Im deutschen wie im frankischen Reichstage 
war zunachst zur Beschlussfassung Einigung erforderlich und die 
Unterwerfung derer, die sich ausschlossen, vom Zwange der Uber- 
macht abhangig. Friihestens seit dem Ende des dreizehnten 
Jahrhunderts wurden Mehrheitsbeschliisse als bindend anerkannt, 
sehr viel spater erst Stimmzahlungen unter Fixierung des Stim- 
mengewichts eingefiihrt, bis zuletzt in den drei Kollegien, in die 
er zerfiel, das Majoritatsprinzip durchdrang und nur Einstimmig- 
keit der Kollegien oder im Falle der itio in paries der beiden 
Religionskorper notwendig blieb. Langsam und anfanglich nur 
in beschranktem Umfange wurde in den landstandischen Ver- 
sammlungen und auch hier immer nur innerhalb der einzelnen 
standischen Korper der Grundsatz der Einstimmigkeit durch die 
Mehrheitsentscheidung liberwunden, langsamer noch in den foe- 
derativen Verbanden, wie in der deutschen Hanse und der 
schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft. Ebenso musste uberall in 
Europa das Majoritatsprinzip in den politischen Versammlungen 
die formale Geltung, die es endlich errang, sich erst miihsam 
erkampfen. In manchen Landern wurde sogar ihm gegeniiber das 
Einstimmigkeitsprinzip zu formaler Geltung erhoben, 1 dem jedoch 
der endgiiltige Sieg nur im polnischen Reichstage mit dem 
beriichtigten liberum veto beschieden war. 

Langer noch, als auf den Hohen des offentlichen Lebens, 
behauptete sich in dessen Niederungen das alte Recht. Insbeson- 
dere wurden auf dem Lande in Markgenossenschaften und 
Bauerschaften die Beschliisse stets von der versammelten 
Menge der Vollgenossen einmiitig gefasst und einmiindig 
erklart. Dass Beschlusse, die das Sonderrecht des einzelnen 
Genossen kranken, dessen Zustimmung forderten, ist begreif lich ; 

prinzip anerkannt. Bei der Konigswahl wurde zuerst in der Const. Lud. 
Licet juris v. 6. Aug. 1338 die Beschlussfahigkeit einer Mehrheit von 
vier Kurfursten festgesetzt, mit dem Erforderniss der Einhelligkeit der Ver- 
sammelten aber noch nicht gebrochen. 
1 So bis 1292 in Arragonien. 

xvi] Majoritatsprinzip 3 1 7 

zu diesen aber rechnete man unter dem Gesichtspunkte des alten 
Gesamteigentums an der Mark vielfach auch die Aufnahme neuer 
anteilsberechtigter Genossen und jede Verfiigung liber die All-, 
mende oder deren Ertrage zu Gunsten von Ungenossen,raumte daher 
in solchen Fallen jedem Genossen ein formales Widerspruchsrecht 
ein, das erst durch Verschweigung in Jahr und Tag erlosch. 1 
Allein auch wo es sich lediglich um die Ausiibung des Gesamtrechtes 
oder um das gemeine Beste handelte, wo Recht gewiesen oder 
Recht gesetzt, wo ein Vorsteher oder ein Beamter gewahlt wurde, 
bedurfte es eines ungezweiten Versammlungsaktes. Hierbei 
machte sich nun freilich stets das Ubergewicht der Mehrheit 
geltend. Und seit dem dreizehnten Jahrhundert wurde mehr und 
mehr auch in den Landgemeinden der Stimmenmehrheit ein 
rechtlicher Vorzug zugestanden. 2 Allein damit wurde, wie wir 
sehen werden, zunachst das Erfordernis der schliesslichen Uber- 
einstimmung Aller keineswegs aufgegeben, sodass ausweislich 
unzahliger Weistiimer und Urkunden fort und fort die Gemeinde- 
beschlusse als einstimmige Versammlungserklarungen verkiindigt 
wurden. 3 

Nicht minder lebendig blieb die ererbte Denkweise bei dem 
Urteilsspruch in alien Gerichtsversammlungen. Das 
gefundene Urteil erlangte Rechtskraft nur durch die vulbort, die 
allgemeine Zustimmung der vollberechtigten Dingleute. Wo 
Schoffen oder andere Urtelsfinder ohne Umstand zu entscheiden 

1 Fur die Aufnahme neuer Genossen vgl. mein Genossenschaftsr. ii. 
232, Anm. 156, Maurer, Einl. 141 ff., Markenv. 112 ff., und dazu tiber 
das urspriingliche Recht, wie es der richtig verstandene Tit. leg. Sal. de 
migrantibus bekundet, mein Genossenschaftsr. i. 76 ff. Fur Verfiigungen 
iiber die Allmende mein Genossenschaftsr. ii. 232, Anm. 153, 158-60, 
Lamprecht, Deutsches Wirtschaftsleben im M.A. i. 310, Anm. 6 ; insbesondere 
noch die Kundschaft von 1487, b. Grimm, W. i. 400. Fiir Gestattung 
der Rodung nach Zeugenaussage v. 1560, b. Landau, Territories S. 117, 
Anm. i. Dazu vgl. man Pollock and Maitland, i. 684. 

2 Ausdriicklich heisst es schon im Sachsensp. ii. 55: Svat so die 
burmester schept des dorpes vromen mit wilkore der merren menie der bure, 
dat ne mach die minre deil nicht wederreden." Vgl. Schwabensp. (L.) 214 
(mit dem Zusatz : dass selbe recht sol man halden in den stetten "). 
Rupr. Freis. i. 142. Dazu zahlreiche Belege aus den Weistiimern 
in meinem Genossenschaftsr. iii. 220 ff., 478 ff. Vgl. auch Maurer, 
Markenv. S. 359 ff., Dorfv. i. 220, ii. 86 ff. ; Thudichum, Gau. u. Markv. 


3 Vgl. mein Genossenschaftsr. iii. 483, 501 ff. 

318 O. v. Gierke [xvi 

hatten, war mindestens ihre einhellige Billigung unerlasslich. 
Und dieser Grundsatz iiberdauerte wieder die Einfiihrung des 
Majoritatsprinzips. Etwas anders verhielt es sich bei dem 
Wahrspruch der Geschworenen, der ja von Hause aus nicht 
Urteil sondern Zeugnis war. 1 Aber auch das Gesamtzeugnis 
forderte eine einhellige Gesamtaussage und scheiterte am Zwiespalt 
der Meinungen. Das blosse Nichtwissen des Einen oder Andern 
mochte der Kraft des gemeinen Wahrspruches nicht schaden, wie 
denn im normannischen Recht die feste Regel ausgebildet wurde, 
dass der einstimmige Wahrspruch von elf unter den zwolf Ge- 
schworenen geniige. Der ausdriickliche Widerspruch aber auch nur 
eines einzigen Geschworenen hinderte das Zustandekommen eines 
giiltigen Spruchs. 2 Von hier aus konnte sich das starre Erfordernis 
der Einstimmigkeit in der englischen Jury entwickeln. 3 Es konnte 
aber auch das Majoritatsprinzip durchdringen, sei es nun, dass eine 
iiberwiegende Mehrheit erforderlich blieb, sei es, dass mit einfacher 
Mehrheit entschieden wurde, wie dies im normannischen Recht bei 
Besitzprozessen der Fall war 4 und in Deutschland bei der hier 
allein ubrig gebliebenen Bekundung von Besitzverhaltnissen durch 
die Umsassen gait. 5 

Die allgemeine Entwicklungstendenz war, wie wir gesehen 
haben, auf die fortschreitende Anerkennung des Majoritats- 
prinzips gerichtet, das in der zweiten Halfte des Mittelalters 
auch in Deutschland unbestritten in standischen Versammlungen, 
Gerichten, Landgemeinden, Stadten, Gilden und Ziinften gait und 
in den Rechtsbiichern, den Weistiimern und zahlreichen anderen 
Rechtsquellen als generelle Regel ausgesprochen wird. Allein 
ich habe schon darauf hingewiesen, dass es zunachst keineswegs 
einen Bruch mit den alten Anschauungen bedeutete, sondern sich 
in deren Rahmen als ein juristisches Mittel zur Erzielung eines 
einheitlichen Versammlungsbeschlusses einfugte. Denn es empfangt 
die Fassung: Die Minderheit soil der Mehrheit folgen," 

1 Eingehend handelt von dem Stimmenverhaltniss beim Wahrspruch 
Brunner, Entstehung der Schwurgerichte, S. 363-71. 

2 Brunner, a. a. O., S. 365. 

3 Pollock and Maitland, ii. 625 ff. 

4 Brunner, a. a. O., S. 367 ff. 

6 Sachsensp. iii. 2 1 i a.l. : Sve de merren mennie an'me getiige hevet, 
die behalt dat gut." 

xvi] Majoritatsprinzip 3 1 9 

minor pars sequatur majorem. 1 Durch diese Wendung aber oder 
durch ahnliche gleichbedeutende Wendungen wird ausgedruckt, 
dass die Minderheit ihren Widerspruch aufgeben und der Mehrheit 
zustimmen soil, damit ein einhelliger Gemeinwille zu Stande 
komme : eine sententia per approbationem et collaudationem 
communem^ quae volga dicitur^ ab omnibus et singulis stability 
wie ein Weistum von 1340 sagt. 2 

Hierin bekundet sich ein ausserordentlicher Fortschritt der 
Rechtsauffassung. Die Uberwindung des Meinungszwiespaltes 
soil nicht mehr von tatsachlichem tfbergewicht und gewaltsamem 
Zwange abhangen, sondern durch Erfiillung einer der Minderheit 
auferlegten Rechtspflicht herbeigefiihrt werden. Aus dem 
genossenschaftlichen Verhaltnis entspringt fiir den Genossen die 
Pflicht, um der Einheit des Ganzen willen sich dem Ergebnis der 
Abstimmung zu fiigen und durch seinen Beitritt den Mehrheitswillen 
zum Gesamtwillen zu erheben. Allein immer noch ist schliessliche 
Einstimmigkeit erforderlich, sodass der Beschluss nur Kraft erlangt, 
wenn wirklich die Minderheit der Mehrheit folgt. Verharrt sie bei 
ihrem Widerspruch, so begeht sie vielleicht ein strafbares Unrecht, 3 
ein rechtsgiiltiger Gemeinbeschluss aber kommt dann nicht zu 
Stande. Ist eine Losung des Konfliktes im Wege Rechtens un- 
erlasslich, so kann sie nur durch hohere Entscheidung erfolgen. 4 

In besonders klarer Auspragung treten diese Anschauungen 
im gerichtlichen Verfahren zu Tage. 5 Ist auf die richterliche 
Frage ein Urteil gefunden, so kann ihm jeder Schoffe oder Ding- 
mann ein ihm besser dunkendes Urteil entgegen stellen. Damit 
beredet er die vulbort. Dann behalt der, dem bei der Abstimmung 
die meisten folgen, sein Urteil. Dieses Urteil erhalt dann dadurch, 
dass sich die Minderheit der Mehrheit anschliesst, die vulbort 
und steht nun als Rechtsspruch der Gesamtheit, als gemeines ", 

1 Zusammenstellung zahlreicher Belegstellen in meinem Genossenschaftsr. 
ii. 482-3. 

2 W. v. Treyse b. Grimm, i. 810. 

3 Bisweilen wird die Erfiillung der Folgepflicht im Voraus formlich 
versprochen, ein solches Versprechen auch in den Schoffeneid aufgenommen ; 
mein Genossenschaftsr. ii. 484, Anm. 25-26. 

4 Vgl. mein Genossenschaftsr. ii. 483, Anm. 23. 

5 Vor allem im Sachsensp. ii. a. 12, mit dem aber die anderen sachsischen 
und im Kern auch die siiddeutschen Quellen iibereinstimmen. Vgl. iiber die 
hier in Betracht kommenden Gesichtspunkte mein Genossenschaftsr. ii. 
483 ff. 

320 O. v. Gierke [xvi 

gesamtes ", einstimmiges ", ungezweites " Urteil unanfechtbar 
da. Allein der dissentierende SchofTe oder Dingmann kann, so 
lange die vulbort nicht erteilt ist, auch anders verfahren. Er kann 
das Urteil schelten " oder verwerfen." Damit wirft er dem 
Urteilsvorschlage Rechtswidrigkeit vor und erklart auf eigene 
Gefahr bin, dass er demselben niemals und auch nicht, wenn ihm 
die Mehrheit folgt, zustimmen werde. In diesem Falle kommt 
ein gemeines Urteil nicht zu Stande, es wird um vulbort uberhaupt 
nicht gefragt und jede Moglichkeit rechtskraftiger Entscheidung 
durch das verhandelnde Gericht ist zerstort. Die Streiterledigung 
erfolgt durch Zug an ein anderes und womoglich hoheres Gericht, 
vor dem in einem neuen Prozess liber Gerechtigkeit oder Un- 
gerechtigkeit des mit der Urteilsschelte erhobenen Vorwurfs 
entschieden wird. Wer unterliegt, verliert nicht nur sein Urteil, 
sondern wird auch bussfallig. Der Sachsenspiegel aber betont es als 
ein besonderes Vorrecht des Sachsen, dass er auch einen anderen 
Weg wahlen kann, indem er das gescholtene Urteil an die 
rechte Hand zieht. Dann entscheidet gerichtlicher Zweikampf. 
Selbsiebent seiner Genossen muss er wider andere sieben fechten ; 
auf welcher Seite die Mehrheit siegt, die behalt das Urteil. 1 
Hier ist also in eigenartiger Weise das Majoritatsprinzip in 
die altertiimliche Waffenentscheidung, die in den Rechtsgang 
verlegt ist, hineingetragen : wo die Stimmenmehrheit versagt, 
dringt die Siegermehrheit durch. 

Doch ist auch im Bereiche vorbehaltloser Geltung der Stim- 
menmehrheit mit dem Satze Die Minderheit soil der Mehrheit 
folgen " die alte sinnliche Vorstellung von den Verbandseinheiten 
noch nicht uberwunden. Denn im'mer noch wird dabei die 
Gesamtheit als Einheit mit der Vielheit Aller identifiziert. Eine 
Anderung tritt erst ein, wenn der Mehrheitsbeschluss un- 
mittelbar als Ausdruck des Gesamtwillens gilt. Diese 
Entwicklungsstufe musste erreicht werden, sobald der alte Genos- 
senschaftsbegriff zum Korperschafts.begriff gesteigert wurde, 
was am friihesten in den Stadten geschah. 2 In der Tat lasst sich 
verfolgen, wie mit der korporativen Ausgestaltung der Verbande 
diese neue Auffassung des Majoritatsprinzips Hand in Hand geht 

1 Sachsensp. ii. 12 8 und i. 18 3 u. Lehnr. 69 3. Jeder Besiegte 
muss dem Richter Wette und dem Gegner Busse zahlen. 

2 Hiervon handelt mein Genossenschaftsr. ii. 573 ff., 829 ff. 

xvi] Majoritatsprinzip 321 

und demgemass die nachtragliche Zustimmung der Minderheit 
mehr und mehr als uberflussige Formalitat in Wegfall kommt. 

Vollzog das germanische Recht eine derartige Umbildung des 
Majoritatsprinzips aus sich heraus, so empfing sie doch ihre begriff- 
liche Fassung durch die vom romischen und kanonischen 
Recht ausgehende mittelalterliche Jurisprudenz. Sie 
zuerst stellte eine bis in die feinsten Einzelheiten ausgearbeitete, 
fiir die ganze Folgezeit grundlegend gewordene Korporationstheorie 
auf, in der das Majoritatsprinzip eine zentrale Rolle spielte. 

Die Legisten entnahmen dem Corpus Juris Civilis die grund- 
satzliche Geltung von Mehrheitsbeschliissen und deren Rechtferti- 
gung durch eine Fiktion, kraft deren die Mehrheit rechtlich so 
angesehen wird, als seien es Alle. Wahrend aber die Glossatoren noch 
uberwiegend in der Vorstellung befangen blieben, dass die Gesamt- 
heit sich mit der Summe der Einzelnen deckt, 1 fuhrten die 
Postglossatoren die Unterscheidung von omnes ut universi und 
omnes ut singuli ein, die schon bei O do f red us das Funda- 
ment der Lehre von den Korporationsbeschliissen bildet und bei 
Bartolus ihre abschliessende Gestalt empfangt. 2 Nur wo das 
Gesetz eine Vielheit als universitas zusammenfasse, stelle es die 
Mehrheit Allen gleich, wahrend iiberall, wo eine Vielheit nur als 
Summe von Einzelnen gelte, der Widerspruch eines Einzigen die 
iibereinstimmung aller Ubrigen iiberwinde. Von hier aus erkannte 
man in dem Vorrang des Mehrheitswillens ein spezifisch korpora- 
tives Prinzip. Man leitete ihn aus dem Wesen der Korporation 
her, weil diese eben die Mitglieder zur universitas verbinde, und 
versagte umgekehrt, von singularen Ausnahmen abgesehen, dem 
Majoritatsprinzip die Anerkennung in der blossen Gesellschaft oder 
Gemeinschaft, weil diese nur ein Verhaltnis von plures ut singuli 
sei. Weiter aber band man die Kraft des Mehrheitsbeschlusses an 
dessen Zustandekommen in einer gehorig berufenen und ordnungs- 
massig verhandelnden Versammlung, da nur in einer solchen die 
Gesamtheit sich rechtlich als Einheit darstelle, und baute die Lehre 
von den Erfordernissen eines jeglichen Korporationsbeschlusses im 
Einzelnen aus. Die Beschlussfahigkeit der Versammlung machte 

1 Uber die Lehre der Glossatoren vgl. mein Genossenschaftsr. iii. 220 ff. 
In der Gl. ord. zu 1. 7 I D. h.t.v. non debetur (ebend. Anm. 107) heisst 
es noch : universitas nihil aliud est quam singuli homines qui ibi sunt. 

2 Mein Genossenschaftsr. iii. 391 ff. 


322 O. v. Gierke [xvi 

man unter Verallgemeinerung des romischen Dekurionenrechtes 
von der Anwesenheit von zwei Dritteln der Mitglieder abhangig, 
sah aber abweichende Verfassungsbestimmungen als zulassig an. 
Endlich entwickelte man auf Grund der Unterscheidung von omnes 
ut universi und omnes ut singuli die Theorie von den fiir den 
Mehrheitsbeschluss unantastbaren jura singulorum^ die dann durch 
die Jahrhunderte hindurch sich behauptet hat, wahrend die Abgren- 
zung der Sonderrechte bis heute das umstrittenste Problem des 
Korperschaftsrechtes geblieben ist. Konnte doch einerseits durch 
libermassige Ausdehnung des Begriffes der jura singulorum alle 
Kraft der Gemeinschaftsgewalt gebrochen werden, wie ja vielfach 
bei der standischen Steuerbewilligung die Geltung des Stimmen- 
mehrs unter dem Gesichtspunkt, dass die Verfiigung iiber den 
Geldbeutel des Genossen sicherlich in dessen Sonderrecht eingreife, 
in Frage gestellt und spater in Deutschland sogar die Reichsgewalt 
durch die Versteifung der jura singulorum lahmgelegt wurde. Auf 
der anderen Seite aber lag in der Festhaltung dieser Schranke ein 
unentbehrlicher Schutz gegen Majoritatstyrannei. Doch bildet der 
wechselvolle Kampf um die jura singulorum ein eigenes Kapitel 
der Rechtsgeschichte. 

Mit der Lehre der Legisten beriihrte sich die Lehre des 
kanonischen Rechtes und der Kanonisten, 2 die mehr und 
mehr auch auf jene einen tiefgreifenden Einfluss gewann. Wenn 
in der Kirche das Majoritatsprinzip in Glaubenssachen stets aus- 
geschlossen blieb, so drang es doch bei Wahlen und bei alien 
kollegialen Beschliissen liber aussere Angelegenheiten, obschon 
auch hier Einstimmigkeit als das Erwiinschtere gait, allgemein 
durch. Dabei wirkten im friiheren Mittelalter auf die Ausgestaltung 
des Majoritatsprinzips germanische Anschauungen ein, sodass es 
nur als Mittel behandelt wurde, den Weg zum communis consensus 
zu ebnen. 3 Die ausgebildete kanonistische Theorie aber stimmte 
mit der romanistischen Theorie in der Gleichsetzung des Mehr- 
heitswillens mit dem Gesamtwillen uberein. Auch sie lehrte, 
dass im Gegensatz zu den res communes pluribus ut singulis 
bei alien negotia universitatis kraft gesetzlicher Fiktion quod 

1 Die Anfange schon bei Azo und in der Glosse ; a. a. O., S. 222, Anm. 
108. Uber die spatere Jurisprudenz S. 393, Anm. 163, S. 445 ff., S. 472 ff. 

2 A. a. O., S. 312 ff. 

3 A. a. O., S. 323 ff. 

xvi] Majoritatsprinzip 323 

major pars facit^ totum facere videtur. Sie suchte jedoch nach 
einem inneren Grunde dafiir und fand ihn in der Wahrscheinlich- 
keit, dass Viele leichter als Wenige das Richtige treffen werden : 
quia per plures melius veritas inquiritur. 1 

Dies war der treibende Gedanke fur die eigenartige Umpragung, 
die das Majoritatsprinzip durch die Einfiihrung des Satzes erfuhr, 
dass wahre Mehrheit nur die major et sanior pars ist. 2 Die pars 
numerosior hat nur die Vermutung der besseren Einsicht fur sich, 
kann aber nicht als der grossere Teil gelten, sobald diese Vermu- 
tung widerlegt wird. Von Theorie und Gesetzgebung seit dem 
I2ten Jahrhundert allmahlich ausgebildet und im Jahre 1179 von 
Alexander III. auf dem dritten Lateranensischen Konzil bereits 
als allgemeingiiltig behandelt, errang sich das Dogma von der 
major et sanior pars alsbald die unbestrittene Herrschaft im kirch- 
lichen Recht. Die Anschauung, dass die Stimmen nicht nur zu 
zahlen, sondern zu wagen sind, war ja auch dem germanischen 
Recht nicht fremd und kam in dem Ubergewicht der Stimmen 
der Angesehensten bei der Feststellung des Versammlungsbe- 
schlusses zum Ausdruck. Das kanonische Recht aber goss sie in 
juristische Form und verinnerlichte den Massstab der Abwagung. 
Bei der Ermittlung, welcher Teil der gesundere " ist, sollen neben 
dem Ansehen (auctoritas) der Stimmenden ihre geistigen und 
sittlichen Eigenschaften (ratio et pietas) und die Lauterkeit ihrer 
Motive (bonus zelus et aequitas) in Erwagung gezogen, zugleich 
aber soil die Vernlinftigkeit des Ergebnisses (insbesondere bei 
Wahlen die Wiirdigkeit des Gewahlten) gepriift werden. In den 
genauen Regeln iiber die Bewertung der einzelnen Momente 
offenbart sich in charakteristischer Weise der spiritual istische 
Zug des kanonischen Rechts. Gleichzeitig aber bedeutet das 
Erfordernis der sanioritas die Beugung des Majoritatsprinzips 
unter das hierarchische Autoritatsprinzip. Denn die Entscheidung 
liegt ausschliesslich in der Hand des kirchlichen Oberen. Vielfach 
wurde sogar die Ansicht verfochten, dass auch eine Minderzahl 
durch sanioritas zur major pars werde, womit im Grunde das 
Majoritatsprinzip uberhaupt in die Luft gesprengt war. Doch 
siegte schliesslich die Meinung, dass zum giiltigen Beschluss major 
et sanior pars unerlasslich sei, also Ubergewicht der Zahl und des 

1 Ausspruch von Innocenz IV. ebd. S. 324, Anm. 246. 

2 Uber Ursprung und Entfaltung dieser Lehne a. a. O., S. 324 ff., 475. 

324 O. v. Gierke [xvi 

Wertes der Stimmen zusammentreffen miisse. Und mindestens 
bei Wahlen drang die Anschauung durch, dass bei einer Zweidrit- 
telsmehrheit die Vermutung fur sanioritas sich zur Gewissheit stei- 
gere. In dem einzigen Falle, in dem es an der Moglichkeit einer 
Priifung der sanioritas durch einen kirchlichen Oberen fehlte, bei der 
Papstwahl, war gerade deshalb Zweidrittelsmehrheit erforderlich. 

Wenn die Kanonisten anfanglich fiir ihre Forderung der major 
et sanior pars Allgemeingultigkeit beanspruchten und hier und da 
hiermit Beifall fanden, 1 so siegte schliesslich die Meinung, dass es 
sich um eine Besonderheit des kirchlichen Rechtes handle. 2 
Nur vereinzelt begegnen Nachbildungen im weltlichen Recht. 3 
Dagegen gewann die kanonistische Anschauung, dass ein starkes 
und zwar mindestens doppeltes Ubergewicht der Zahl eine Gewahr 
fiir die Verniinftigkeit der Mehrheitsentscheidung biete, allgemeine 
Bedeutung. Auf sie geht das Erfordernis einer Zweidrittels- oder 
Dreiviertelsmehrheit zu besonders wichtigen Beschliissen, insbeson- 
dere zu Verfassungsanderungen zuriick, das schon im Mittelalter 
oft vorkommt 4 und heute zu den verbreitetsten Einschrankungen 
des Majoritatsprinzips gehort. 

In vielen anderen Punkten fiihrten die Kanonisten der Lehre 
von den Korporationsbeschliissen bleibenden Gewinn zu. Nur auf 
zweierlei will ich hinweisen. Gegenliber der von den Legisten 
verfochtenen Regel, dass zur Beschlussfahigkeit einer Ver- 
sammlung die Anwesenheit von zwei Dritteln erforderlich sei, 
setzten sie die Ansicht durch, dass an sich bei ordnungsmassiger 
Versammlung die Anwesenheit einer noch so geringen Zahl geniige, 
weil die Ausgebliebenen fiir dieses Mai sich selbst ausgeschlossen 
haben (se alienos fecerunf)? Alle Falle, in denen die Beschluss- 
fahigheit von der Anwesenheit einer bestimmten Zahl von Mit- 

1 Vgl. die Nachweise a. a. O., S. 394, Anm. 169, S. 475, Anm. 284. 

2 A. a. O., S. 475. Im kirchlichen Recht wurde das Prinzip der major 
et sanior pars niemals aufgegeben, allmahlich aber zuriickgedrangt. Mit 
der Zulassung geheimer Abstimmungen wurde es praktisch undurchfiihrbar. 

3 Vgl. die Stellen aus Weistiimern in meinem Genossenschaftsr. ii. 481, 
Anm. 14. Man denke auch an die Befugnis des Reichshofratsprasidenten, 
eine Entscheidung des Kollegiums, wenn sie nur eine geringe Mehrheit und 
nicht zugleich die offenbar besseren Griinde fiir sich hat, ad votum Imperatoris 
zu bringen. 4 Mein Genossenschaftsr. ii. 481, Anm. 15. 

5 A. a. O. iii. 320 ff., 467 ff. Die Folge ist, dass jus universitatis reridit 
in ceteros velin unum. Man sprach von einer ,,magna controversia " zwischen 
Legisten und Kanonisten. 

xvi] Majoritatsprinzip 325 

gliedern abhangt, erscheinen demgemass, wie ja auch in heutigen 
Recht, als besonders begriindete Ausnahmen. Sodann befruchteten 
die Kanonisten die Lehre von den Einzelrechten durch die erst- 
malige Unterscheidung zwischen den freien Individualrechten und 
den korperschaftlichen Sonderrechten, den jura singulorum propria 
und den jura singulorum collegialia oder in universitate^ 

Fragen wir nach dem Verhaltnis der romanistisch-kanonisti- 
schen Korporationstheorie zur Grundauffassung vom Wesen der 
Verbande, so leuchtet ein, dass sie mil der durchgangigen Unter- 
scheidung der omnes ut universi und der omnes ut singuli die der 
alteren germanischen Vorstellung noch nicht gelaufige Abstraktion 
der Gesamteinheit von der Gesamtvielheit vollzogen hatte. Allein 
in der Identifizierung der Korperschaft mit der Gesamtheit als 
einheitlichem InbegrifF blieb sie zunachst stecken. Die univer- 
sitas deckt sich eben mit den omnes ut universi \ darumwurde 
in stets wiederkehrenden Wendungen die wollende und handelnde 
Mitgliederversammlung als die Korperschaft selbst, die univer- 
sitas ipsa bezeichnet. 2 Im Bereiche der Geltung des Majo- 
ritatsprinzips kommt in der major pars die universitas ipsa zur 
Erscheinung. Kraft einer neuen Fiktion werden Reprasentanten- 
versammlungen, z.B. Stadtrate, der universitas ipsa gleichgestellt. 3 
Hier liberal 1 handelt die universitas per se. Dagegen liegt ein 
agere per alium vor, wenn Vorsteher und Beamte tatig werden. 
Sie sind blosse Vertreter der Gesamtheit und handeln nur da, wo 
die universitas ipsa nicht zu handeln vermag, kraft gesetzlicher 
oder rechtsgeschaftlicher Vollmacht an ihrer Stelle. Diese Unter- 
scheidung zwischen dem eignen Handeln der Korperschaft und 
dem Handeln ihrer Vertreter war fur den Aufbau der mittel- 
alterlichen Korporationstheorie von fundamentaler Bedeutung 
und beherrschte namentlich die viel umstrittene Lehre von den 
Korperschaftsdelikten. 4 

Neben der kollektiven Verbandsauffassung aber brach sich eine 
ganz andere Auffassung Bahn, die von den Kanonisten und zwar 
in voller Scharfe zuerst von Innocenz IV. im Sinne des kirch- 

1 A. a. O., S. 297 ff, wo die wichtigsten Stellen aus Innocenz IV., Job. 
Andreae, Antonius de Butrio und Panormitanus wiedergegeben sind ; dazu 
S. 445 ff, 472. 

2 A. a. O., S. 219 ff., 390 ff., 461 ff, 477 ff. 

3 A. a. O., S. 222 ff, 394 ff, 478 ff. 

4 A. a. O., S. 234 ff, 402 ff., 491 ff. 

326 O. v. Gierke [xvi 

lichen Anstaltsbegriffes entwickelt und dann auf alle korporativen 
Verbande erstreckt wurde. Sie findet die Verbandseinheit in einer 
der Mitgliedergesamtheit transzendenten Wesenheit, einer 
besonderen Verbandspersonlichkeit, die so gut von der 
Versammlung aller Mitglieder, wie von Vorstehern und Beamten 
nur reprasentiert wird. Das Mittel ihrer Konstruktion aber ist eine 
neue Fiktion. Es ist die im Corpus Juris Civilis erst angedeu- 
tete, nun jedoch scharf herausgemeisselte und in den Mittelpunkt 
geriickte fingierte Person, die persona ficta, repraesentata^ 
imaginaria, das erdichtete kiinstliche Individuum ! Bei folgerichtiger 
Durchfiihrung dieser neuen Fiktion verschwindet die Gleichsetzung 
der Gesamtheit der Mitglieder mit der universitas ipsa. Die 
universitas ipsa ist allein das unsichtbare ideale Rechtssubjekt, das 
auch, wenn die Versammlung beschliesst, per alium agit. Damit 
wird die Theorie der Korporationsbeschliisse auf eine hohere Stufe 
gehoben. Denn nunmehr kann die Wirksamkeit aller Ver- 
sammlungsakte in Korporationsangelegenheiten in die Schranken 
einer der Versammlung selbst zugewiesenen verfassungsmassigen 
Zustandigkeit, innerhalb deren allein sie die fingierte Person re- 
prasentiert, gebannt werden. Diese Zustandigkeit wird vor Allem 
durch den korporativen Lebensbereich, aber auch durch die Zu- 
standigkeiten eines Vorstandes oder anderer Vertreter des klinst- 
lichen Rechtssubjektes begrenzt. Dariiber hinaus vermag auch 
der einstimmige Versammlungsbeschluss nichts auszurichten, 
versagt daher erst recht das Majoritatsprinzip, das nur den 
Mehrheitswillen zum Versammlungswillen stempelt. Alle solche 
Fortschritte aber werden mit der Verdrangung der lebendigen 
Verbandseinheit durch das Gespenst der fingierten Personlichkeit 
erkauft. Die neue Herrin der gemeinheitlichen Spharen ist ein 
willens- und handlungsunfahiges Begriffswesen. Sie gleicht dem 
Kinde oder vielmehr, da das Kind einmal mundig wird, dem 
unheilbar Wahnsinnigen. Die Verantwortlichkeit fur unerlaubte 
Handlungen wird ihr abgenommen, sie wird aber zugleich in allem 
Handeln vormundschaftlicher Vertretung unterstellt. Der ger- 
manische Genossenschaftsgedanke wird ausgetilgt. Der Korpora- 
tionsbegriff empfangt eine rein anstaltliche Farbung. 1 

1 Uber den kanonistischen Ursprung der Theorie der persona ficta und 
ihre Bedeutung fur die Lehre vom korperschaftlichen Wollen und Handeln 
vgl. a. a. O., S. 277 ff., 308 ff., 342 ff. 

xvi] Majoritatsprinzip 327 

Die Theorie der persona ficta wurde auch von den Zivili- 
sten angenommen und beherrschte ausserlich die gesamte Jurispru- 
denz der folgenden Jahrhunderte. Sie leistete bei der Umbildung 
alles Verbandsrechtes im Geiste des obrigkeitlichen Staates wichtige 
Dienste. Allein selten wurde sie folgerichtig durchgefiihrt, ging 
vielmehr fast durchweg ein Kompromiss mit der zah festgehaltenen 
kollektiven Auffassung ein. So setzte sich auch in der Lehre 
von den Korporationsbeschliissen immer wieder die Behandlung des 
ubereinstimmenden Willens aller Mitglieder als Willens der Kor- 
perschaft selbst durch. Fort und fort wurde daher, so weit die 
rechtliche Gleichsetzung der Majoritat mit Allen reichte, der 
Mehrheitsbeschluss als Willenserklarung der universitas ipsa 
betrachtet und zwischen dem eigenen Handeln der Gemeinheit 
und ihrem Handeln durch Vertreter unterschieden. 1 Damit ver- 
wickelte man sich in zahlreiche Widerspriiche, gewann aber die 
Moglichkeit, nach Beniirfnis den fortlebenden Gebilden germa- 
nischer Herkunft gerecht zu werden und genossenschaftlichen 
Gedanken Raum zu geben. Erst im neunzehnten Jahrhundert 
machten Savigny und seine Schiiler mit dem Begriffe der fingierten 
Person als eines der verbundenen Gesamtheit fremden kiinstlichen 
Individuums wieder Ernst und legten ihn ihrem Neubau der Lehre 
von den juristischen Personen", wie man nun sagte, zu Grunde, in 
dem auch das Majoritatsprinzip wieder die entsprechende Fassung 

Diese Restauration aber entsprang vor Allem dem Gegensatz 
gegen die naturrechtliche Gesellschaftslehre, die inzwischen 
zur Ubermacht emporgediehen war und das positive Recht liber- 
schwemmt hatte. Denn das Naturrecht trieb die rein kollektive 
Auffassung aller menschlichen Verbande auf die Spitze. Es leitete 
alle Verbande bis aufwarts zum Staat aus der vertragsmassigen 
Vereinigung der von Hause aus freien und gleichen Individuen her 
und konstruierte alles Verbandsrecht als vergemeinschaftetes 
Individualrecht. Ihm war so gut der Staat wie die Ehe und 
jede Erwerbsgesellschaft eine vertragsmassig begriindete societas. 
Der Sozietatsbegriff verschlang den Korporationsbegriff wie den 
Anstaltsbegriff. Nun fordert aber der Vertrag den Konsens aller 

1 A. a. O., S. 363 ff., 390 ff., 402 ff., 425 ff., 461 ff., 491 ff. Die Ver- 
neinung der Deliktsfahigkeit der Korporationen drang nicht einmal bei den 
Kanonisten durch ; a. a. O., S. 343. 

328 O. v. Gierke [xvi 

Kontrahenten. Darum bereitete gerade das Majoritatsprinzip den 
Naturrechtslehrern nicht geringe Schwierigkeiten. Sie halfen sich 
mit der Annahme, dass in den ursprunglichen Gesellschaftsvertra- 
gen einstimmig die kunftige Geltung des Mehrheitswillens in 
Gesellschaftsangelegenheiten vereinbart sei. Die so errichtete 
Gesellschaft konnte dann durch Mehrheitsbeschlusse sich eine 
Verfassung kuren. Dabei konnte bestimmt werden, dass kunftig 
die Gesamtheit durch eine engere Versammlung reprasentiert werde 
und in dieser wieder der Mehrheitswille entscheide. Weiter aber 
musste die als societas aequalis entstandene Gesamtheit, wenn 
die Innehaltung des Gesellschaftsvertrages gesichert werden sollte, 
sich einer Zwangsgewalt unterwerfen und so zur societas inae- 
qualis werden. So erschien denn vor Allem der Staat erst als 
das Produkt eines zweiten Vertrages, durch den die biirgerliche 
Gesellschaft in irgend einer Weise die erforderliche summa potestas 
auf einen imperans libertragen hatte. In der Monarchic hatte sie 
sich einem Einzelherrscher, in der Republik einem Kollektivherrscher 
unterworfen. Und im letzteren Falle war es wieder eine Ver- 
sammlungsmehrheit, der die Gewalt eingeraumt war, so dass man 
sogar nicht davor zuriickscheute, in der Demokratie einen be- 
sonderen Unterwerfungsvertrag zwischen der mit Mehrheit be- 
schliessenden ursprunglichen Gesamtheit und der jeweiligen kiinf- 
tigen Mehrheit Aller zu konstruieren. Aus einem solchen Netze 
von Vertragen Hess man schliesslich einen einheitlichen gesell- 
schaftlichen Korper hervorgehen. Allein dessen Einheit war das 
Werk kiinstlich geschaffner Kollektiv- und Reprasentationsverhalt- 
nisse. Wenn man daher auch den gesellschaftlichen Einheiten 
Personlichkeit zuschrieb, so erhob man sich doch nicht zu dem 
Begriff einer selbstandigen Personlichkeit des Ganzen, sondern 
blieb in den Begriffen einer kollektiven Personlichkeit der Gesamt- 
heiten und einer reprasentativen Personlichkeit der Herrscher 
stecken. Um das Verhaltnis zwischen Volkspersonlichkeit und 
Herrscherpersonlichkeit drehte sich in der naturrechtlichen Staats- 
lehre der grosse, weltbewegende Streit. Die lebendige Staatsper- 
sonlichkeit blieb unentdeckt. Ausgeschaltet aber wurde mehr und 
mehr die Uberindividuelle persona ficta. An ihre Stelle trat das, 
was die Naturrechtslehrer als persona moralis bezeichneten. Unter 
der moralischen Person aber verstanden sie nur eine kollektive 
Personeneinheit. Sie meinten, dass mehrere Menschen in ihrer 

xvi] Majoritatsprinzip 329 

gesellschaftlichen Verbundenheit die Rolle einer einzigen Person 
spielen, wie ja auch umgekehrt ein einzelner Mensch kraft repra- 
sentativer Stellung mehrere Personenrollen spielen kann. 

Verfolgen wir noch etwas naher die naturrechtliche Auffassung 
des Majoritatsprinzips, so findet sich zuerst bei Grotius eine ein- 
gehende Begrundung des Satzes, dass die Geltung der Stimmen- 
mehrheit auf einstimmiger Vereinbarung im urspriinglichen Gesell- 
schaftsvertrage beruhe. 1 Seitdem wurde dieser Satz zum Axiom 
der naturrechtlichen Soziallehre. Hobbes und Locke, Ulrich 
Huber, Pufendorf, Thomasius, Christian Wolff, Nettelbladt 
und Ac hen wall tragen ihn iibereinstimmend vor, 2 Rousseau legt 
ihn zu Grunde 3 und Kant erklart ausdriicklich, dass die in grossen 
Staaten unentbehrlichen Einrichtungen der Mehrheitsentscheidung 
und der Representation nur aus einer ,,mit allgemeiner Zustimmung, 
also durch einen Kontrakt," vollzogenen Annahme gerechtfertigt 
werden konnen. 4 Das Bedenken, dass doch jeder Einzelne zur 
Versagung seines Konsenses berechtigt gewesen sei, beseitigte man 
mit dem Hinweis darauf, dass er damit sich von der Gesellschaft 
ausgeschlossen haben und diese ohne ihn errichtet sein wiirde. 
Hobbes meint, dann hatten die zum Staate verbundenen Anderen 
ihm gegenuber das Kriegsrecht des Naturzustandes, der ja nach 
Hobbes ein bellum omnium contra omnes war, behalten. Die 
meisten Naturrechtslehrer aber bemiihten sich gleichzeitig um eine 
rationelle Rechtfertigung des Majoritatsprinzips, aus der sie eine 

1 Grotius, Dej. b. et p. ii. c. 5, 17. In den friiheren rechtsphilosophischen 
Erorterungen liber den Staat und die anderen publizistischen Verbande wurde 
die Geltung des Majoritatsprinzips nebst den sonstigen Regeln iiber 
Korporationsbeschliisse in Anlehnung an die romanistisch-kanonistische 
Theorie fur jede einmal konstituierte universitas und somit auch fur die 
Volksgesamtheit ohne Weiteres angenommen ; vgl. mein Genossenschaftsr. 
iii. 599 ff., meine Schrift iiber Johannes Althusius, S. 85, Anm. 30, S. 138, 
Anm. 48, S. 215, Anm. 14. 

2 Hobbes, De cive, c. 6, 1-2 ; Locke, ii. c. 8, 96-99 ; U. Huber, De 
jure civ. i. 2, c. 3, 27 ff., ii. 3, c. I, 21-22, !c. 2, 3-4; Pufendorf, 
Elem. i. d. 12, 27, Jus nat. et gent. vii. c. 2, 15-19, c. 5, 6, 
De officio civiS) ii. c. 6, 12; Thomasius, Inst. jur. div. iii. c. 6, 64 ; 
Wolff, Inst. 841-845; Nettelbladt, Syst. 388; Achenwall, Jus nat. 
ii. 24-28. Besonders ausflihrlich Ickstatt, De jure majorum in conclusis 
civitatis communibus formandis^ Opusc. ii. op. i, insbes. c. i, 65-68. Vgl. 
auch Gundling, Diss. de universitate delinquente, 6-8. 

3 Rousseau, Contr. soc. iv. c. 2. Vgl. auch Sieyes, i. 144 ff., 167, 207 ff. 

4 Kant, Werke, vi. 328 ff. 

33 O. v. Gierke [xvi 

bis zum Nachweise abweichender Abreden durchgreifende Vermu- 
tung fiir dessen vertragsmassige Einfiihrung bei jeder Gesellschafts- 
griindung herleiteten. Es sei anzunehmen, dass, wer eine Gesell- 
schaft wolle, auch ihren Fortbestand und ihre Aktionsfahigkeit 
wolle. Zur Erreichung dieses Zieles aber sei die Anerkennung von 
Mehrheitsbeschliissen das geeignetste Mittel. Grotius fiihrt aus, 
dass, da es irgend eine verniinftige Art einheitlicher Geschafts- 
erledigung geben miisse, das Verlangen aber der Unterwerfung der 
Minderheit unter die Mehrheit unbillig ware, nichts iibrig bleibe, als 
der Mehrheit das jus integri beizulegen. Hobbes, Pufendorf, 
Gun dl ing und viele Andere betonen, dass jede zur Sozietat ver- 
bundene Gesamtheit im Stande sein miisse, einheitlich zu wollen, 
dass es aber hierfiir kein besseres Auskunftsmittel gebe, als die 
Gleichsetzung des Mehrheitswillens mit dem Willen Aller. Locke 
geht von dem Begriffe des gesellschaftlichen Korpers aus, der gleich 
jedem Korper durch eine einzige Kraft in einheitlicher Weise bewegt 
werden miisse, und meint, dass hier die bewegende Kraft nur in 
der von der Mehrheit getragenen grosseren Kraft gefunden werden 
konne ; darum entspreche es den Natur- und Vernunftgesetzen, den 
Mehrheitswillen als Willen des Ganzen gelten zu lassen. Auch 
sonst berief man sich ofter auf das Ubergewicht der Mehrzahl an 
ausserer Starke, 1 griff aber auch hier und da auf die germanische 
Vorstellung einer rechtlichen Folgepflicht der Minderheit zuriick. 2 
Rousseau suchte mit seiner beriihmten Unterscheidung der volonte 
generate von der volonte de tons durch einen dialektischen Kunst- 
griff zu erweisen, dass der allgemeine Wille notwendig zugleich der 
verniinftige und gerechte Wille sei, weil er das Besondere und 
Zufallige der in ihm verschmolzenen Einzelwillen nicht in sich 
aufnehme ; allein die Erklarung dafiir, warum dieser allgemeine 
Wille sich mit dem Mehrheitswillen decke, blieb er schuldig, 
begniigte sich vielmehr mit der nichts erklarenden Fiktion der 
einstimmigen Vereinbarung im Urvertrage. Im Grunde hatte ihn 

1 So besonders Ickstatt, a. a. O., der ausfiihrt, bei motiva disparia 
miissten die motiva fortiora entscheiden, der Massstab konne aber nur ein 
ausserer sein. 

2 Daries, Inst. jurispr. univ. 750-762 (an sich ist Einstimmigkeit notig, 
aber es besteht fiir die Minderheit eine obligatio perfecta zum Beitritt). So 
meint auch Pufendorf, wer aus blosser pertinacia sich seinen consensus vorbe- 
halte, hindere den Versammlungsbeschluss nicht, dieser binde ihn vielmehr 
kraft der allgemeinenVorschrift, ut pars se conformet ad bonum lotius. 

xvi] Majoritatsprinzip 33 1 

die Konsequenz der Gedanken, die ihn zur Ablehnung des Repra- 
sentativprinzips fuhrten, auch zur Verwerfung des Majoritatsprinzips 
bewegen miissen. Und zu dieser aussersten Konsequenz des Indi- 
vidualismus schritten dann auch einzelne Naturrechtslehrer vor. 
Sie behaupteten, dass aus dem Naturrecht allein die Forderung 
einstimmiger Beschlusse zu begriinden sei, dass daher in jeder 
Sozietat die Vermutung fur das Einstimmigkeitsprinzip spreche 
und nur kraft besonders vereinbarter Ausnahmen das Majoritats- 
prinzip gelten konne. So z.B. die beiden Schlozer, Vater und 
Sohn. 1 Den Gipfel aber erklomm Fichte, indem er die rechtliche 
Geltung des Majoritatsprinzips schlankweg verneinte und hochstens 
in gewissen Fallen der Mehrheit das Recht zur Ausschliessung der 
Dissentierenden zugestand. 2 

In dem Masse, in dem im neunzehnten Jahrhundert die natur- 
rechtliche Gesellschaftslehre uberwunden wurde, verlor auch ihre 
individualistische Erklarung des Majoritatsprinzips an Ansehen. 
Bleibe/id aber behauptete sich die von ihr angebahnte Wieder- 
belebung des germanischen Genossenschaftsgedankens. Die 
genossenschaftliche Auffassung der menschlichen Verbande drang 
gegenuber der anstaltlichen Staats- und Korporationsauffassung 
wiederum siegreich vor. Darum war auch in Ansehung der 
Mehrheitsbeschliisse der restaurierten romanistisch-kanonistischen 
Theorie kein endgiiltiger Erfolg beschieden. Vielmehr gewannen 
ihr neue Anschauungen, wie sie zuerst von der germanistischen 
Genossenschaftstheorie aus verjungtem germanischem Recht ent- 
wickelt wurden, immer breiteren Boden ab. 

Doch kann ich das bis heute nicht erledigte Ringen der 
gegensatzlichen Auffassungen und die mannigfachen Ausgleichs- 
versuche hier nicht verfolgen. Nur das will ich kurz andeuten, 
welche Gesichtspunkte fur die Wertung des Majoritatsprinzips 
bestimmend sein miissen, wenn die in alien Jahrhunderten 
lebendig gebliebene und im modernen Bewusstsein zur Vorherr- 
schaft gelangte, der juristischen Konstruktion aber erst im Gefolge 
der Genossenschaftstheorie zu Grunde gelegte his tori sch-orga- 
nische Verbandsauff assung durchgefiihrt wird. 

1 A. L. Schlozer, Allg. Staatsr., S. 76 ff. ; Chr. v. Schlozer, De jure 
suffragii in societate aequali, Gott, 1795, 9-M- 

2 Fichte, Naturrecht Einl Nr. III. i. 198, 217 ff., 225 ff. (Werke, iii. 16, 
164, 178 ff., 184 ff). 

33 2 O. v. Gierke [xvi 

Sind die menschlichen Verbande soziale Organismen, bringen 
sie als selbstandige Lebewesen liber dem Einzeldasein das 
Gattungsdasein zur Entfaltung, so treten sie auch fur das Recht 
den Einzelpersonen als Personen hoherer Ordnung gegeniiber. 
Sie lassen sich nicht im Sinne des Naturrechts als blosse Zusam- 
menballungen von Individuen zu kollektiven Einheiten begreifen. 
Sie diirfen aber auch nicht im Sinne der Fiktionstheorieen als 
kiinstliche Individuen von den verbundenen Gesamtheiten los- 
gerissen werden. Vielmehr sind sie reale Gesamtpersonen, 
selbstandige Gemeinwesen mit immanenter Lebenseinheit, orga- 
nische Ganze, die sich aus Einzelwesen aufbauen, aber keineswegs 
mit der Summe ihrer Teile decken. Darum ist nicht bloss das 
aussere, sondern auch 'das innere Leben der Verbandspersonen, 
das ja zugleich ausseres Leben der verbundenen Personen ist, 
Gegenstand der Rechtsordnung. Uber Zusammensetzung und 
Gliederung des Verbandskorpers, Uber dessen Organisation zum 
einheitlichen Ganzen, iiber die Beziehungen der Teile zu einander 
und zum Ganzen entscheiden Rechtsnormen. So entsteht der 
Rechtsbegriff des verfassungsmassigen Organs. Organe sind die 
in einem bestimmten Tatigkeitsbereiche zur Darstellung der 
Verbandspersonlichkeit berufenen Glieder und Gliederkomplexe. 
Sie sind keine Vertreter im Sinne des Individualrechts, sondern 
sichtbare Werkzeuge der unsichtbaren Lebenseinheit des sozialen 
Korpers. Was das Organ innerhalb seiner Zustandigkeit will 
und tut, das will und tut im Rechtssinne die Verbandsperson 
selbst. Durch Organe und nur durch Organe tritt der Staat 
und jeder andere korperschaftliche Verband als wollendes und 
handelndes Gemeinwesen in die Erscheinung. So kann denn auch 
die Gesamtheit aller Mitglieder den einheitlichen Gemeinwillen 
nur insoweit zum Ausdruck bringen, als sie verfassungsmassig in 
ihrer rechtlich geordneten Versammlung oder in sonstigem kollek- 
tivem Zusammenwirken zum Willensorgan der Verbandsperson 
berufen ist. Das Gemeinwesen als solches ist etwas durchaus 
Anderes als die Summe der ihm jeweilig angehorigen Individuen, 
und keine Kunst vermag den ubereinstimmenden Einzelwillen 
den einheitlichen Staats- oder Korperschaftswillen zu entlocken. 
Als Glieder des Verbandes aber konnen die einzelnen Menschen 
nur in ihrem organisierten Zusammenhange das lebendige Ganze 
in seiner rechtlichen Einheit zur Darstellung bringen. Jede Ver- 

xvi] Majorittitsprinzip 333 

sammlung also ist nichts als Organ. Sie ist selbst dann, wenn sie 
alle jeweiligen Mitglieder umfasst und einstimmig beschliesst, nur 
Organ des Verbandes und daher nur im Bereiche ihrer verfassungs- 
massigen Zustandigkeit zur Bildung und Ausserung des Gemein- 
willens befahigt. In gleicher Weise aber ist sie Organ, wenn sie 
kraft der Lebensordnung des Verbandes einen giiltigen Mehrheits-. 
beschluss fasst. Zur Erklarung des Majoritatsprinzips ist also die 
Gleichsetzung der Mehrheit mit der Gesamtheit weder ausreichend 
noch erforderlich. Die Geltung des Mehrheitsbeschlusses als eines 
der verfassungsmassigen Mittel zur Beschaffung einer einheitlichen 
Versammlungsaktion ist lediglich ein Stuck der rechtlich geordneten 
Organbildung. Sie ist ein Element der Organisation eines zu- 
sammengesetzten Organs. 

Von diesem Standpunkte aus kommtnun freilich dem Majoritats- 
prinzip keine im Wesen der menschlichen Verbande begrlindete 
absolute Geltung, sondern nur ein historisch bedingter relativer 
Wert zu. Die Herrschaft des Stimmenmehrs allein vermag keinen 
Verband und am wenigsten den Staat zur lebendigen Verbands- 
person zu stempeln. Immer bedarf es neben einer mit Mehrheit 
beschliessenden Mitgliederversammlung fiihrender Organe, damit 
ein handlungsfahiges Gemeinwesen zu Stande komme. So weit 
durch eine monarchische Verfassung ein Verbandshaupt zum 
obersten Organ bestellt ist, versteht es sich von selbst, dass keine 
Versammlungsmehrheit fur sich allein den einheitlichen Verbands- 
willen erzeugen kann. Aber auch wo kraft streng demokratischer 
Verfassung der mit Mehrheit beschliessende Inbegriffder Mitglieder 
als oberstes Organ fungiert, offenbart sich nur bei den ihm vor- 
behaltenen letzten Entscheidungen in dem Abstimmungsergebnis 
der Gemeinwille, wahrend andere selbstandige Organe in ihren 
Zustandigkeitsbereichen gleich unmittelbar die Personlichkeit des 
Ganzen zur Erscheinung bringen. Irgendwie wird in jedem sozialen 
Organismus kraft der verfassungsmassigen Funktionenverteilung 
das Majoritatsprinzip durch das Autoritatsprinzip erganzt. Darauf 
laufen auch die in grosseren Verbanden unentbehrlichen reprasenta- 
tiven Einrichtungen hinaus, kraft deren anstatt der regelmassig 
auf den Vollzug von Wahlen beschrankten Gesamtheit der stimm- 
berechtigten Mitglieder engere Versammlungen oder Kollegien, die 
nach organischer Auffassung keineswegs Vollmachttrager der 
Gesamtheit, sondern unmittelbare Willensorgane des Gemeinwesens 

334 O. v. Gierke [xvi 

sind, zur Bildung des Gemeinwillens berufen werden. Gilt fiir ihre 
Beschlussfassungen wiederum das Majoritatsprinzip, so kann es 
unmoglich mehr als ein Organisationsprinzip fiir einen Teil des 
Gesamtorganismus bedeuten. Soweit nun aber das Majoritats- 
prinzip kraft der geschichtlich entwickelten positiven Rechtsordnung 
gilt, hangt von dieser auch sowohl seine Ausgestaltung, wie seine 
Begrenzung ab. Hinsichtlich seiner Ausgestaltung sind man- 
cherlei Einrichtungen darauf berechnet, die Uberwindung der 
wahren Mehrheit durch eine bloss scheinbare Mehrheit zu ver- 
hindern. So die Anforderungen an die Beschlussfahigheit von 
Versammlungen, die Verhaltniswahlen, die Abstimmungs- oder 
Wahlpflicht. Andere Einrichtungen aber zielen auf Ermassigung 
des tibergewichtes der grosseren Zahl ab. Dahin gehoren alle 
Einschrankungen des Kreises der stimmberechtigten Mitglieder, 
alle Abstufungen des Stimmgewichts nach Fahigkeit, Bildung 
oder Besitz durch Klassenbildung oder Pluralstimrnen, alle Gliede- 
rungen der Abstimmung nach Korporationen oder Berufsstanden. 
Sie alle sind, wenn die Gleichsetzung des Gesamtwillens mit dem 
Mehrheitswillen durchgefiihrt wird, verwerfliche Falschungen des 
Gesamtwillens. Dagegen kann die organische Verbandsauffassung 
dem mechanischen Kopfzahlprinzip keine Allgemeingiiltigkeit 
zusprechen. Eine Begrenzung des Majoritatsprinzips liegt in 
den Bestimmungen, nach denen es zu gewissen Beschliissen einer 
verstarkten oder qualifizierten Mehrheit oder gar der Einstimmig- 
keit bedarf. Wird hierdurch oder durch andere Mittel eine Minder- 
heit in den Stand gesetzt, einen Mehrheitsbeschluss zu verhindern, 
so neigt dariiber hinaus gerade das neueste Recht auch zur Aner- 
kennung positiver Minderheitsrechte, die eine Minderheit von 
bestimmter Starke befahigen, in gewissen Fallen wirksam fiir das 
Ganze zu handeln und so als Organ der Verbandsperson zu funk- 
tionieren. Im Sinne der Herleitung des Majoritatsprinzips aus dem 
Wesen der Verbande sind solche Einrichtungen offenbar irrationell. 
Selbstverstandlich wird endlich durchweg die Geltung des Majori- 
tatsprinzips durch die Unantastbarkeit der Sonderrechte begrenzt. 
Hier aber handelt es sich um die Schranken, die im Sinne unserer 
Rechtsordnung aller Verbandsmacht iiberhaupt gezogen sind, weil 
jeder Verband die ihm eingegliederten Menschen nur hinsichtlich 
eines Teiles ihrer Wesenheit in sich schliesst und dariiber hinaus 
ihre freie Einzelpersonlichkeit unberiihrt lasst. Die Sonderrechte 

xvi] Majoritdtsprinzip 335 

aber fallen, auch wenn sie im Verbandsrechte wurzeln, in die den 
Mitgliedern vorbehaltenen Individualbereiche. Darum kann iiber 
sie nicht einmal ein einstimmiger Korperschaftsbeschluss verfUgen. 
Vielmehr ist dazu die Mitwirkung eines individuellen Zustimmungs- 
aktes erforderlich. 

So ist inder Tat fur die historisch-organische Betrachtungs- 
weise das Majoritatsprinzip zwar ein bedeutungsvoller Faktor fiir 
den Aufbau der Verbande, aber fiir sich allein zur Gestaltung 
lebendiger sozialer Korper nicht befahigt. Sein Geltungsbereich 
kann nicht rationell, sondern nur geschichtlich begriindet, sein 
Wert nicht absolut bestimmt, sondern nur nach seiner jeweiligen 
Wirkungsweise im organischen Leben der Gemeinwesen bemessen 




QuiCONQUE connait tant soit peu Phistoire de Pologne, ou qui 
pretend seulement la connaitre, devinera aisement que par Panti- 
these du principe majoritaire nous entendons le trop fameux 
liberum veto. On salt bien en quoi consistait cette institution 
bizarre, unique, semble-t-il, dans son genre : elle donnait a chaque 
depute" le droit de rompre la diete et a chaque gentilhomme celui 
de rompre la ditine. Cependant, les connaissances de la 
litterature europeenne ne vont guere au dela de cette definition. 
Le veto tenait parmi les institutions polonaises une place aussi 
centrale que le principe majoritaire dans la vie constitutionnelle 
des e"tats modernes : il faisait, selon Montesquieu, 1'objet meme 
de la constitution de Pologne. II entraina la ruine de 1'ind^pendance 
de la Pologne, mais non pas celle de sa nationality ni de 
sa civilisation distincte. II plongea le pays dans une affreuse 
anarchic, mais lui-meme n'etait pas 1'anarchie. 

1 Get article resume d'une maniere generate la deuxieme partie d'un livre 
polonais qui va paraitre en 1914 sous le titre : Liberum veto. La premiere 
partie sera consacree a 1'examen de 1'origine et du developpement du principe 
majoritaire, surtout en Angleterre, en France, en Allemagne, en Suisse et en 
Aragon. L'auteur conceit parfaitement rinsuffisance des sources a portee 
d'un specialiste isole, ainsi que la necessite du concours des savants de tous les 
pays, pour aprofondir ce probleme obscur et complique. En communiquant 
cette esquisse au Congres de Londres, nous avons tente d'occasionner une 
discussion internationale sur la majorite" et le liberum veto, sans laquelle les 
efforts des erudits isoles resteront dans ce domaine peu fructueux. Aussi 
nous osons nous adresser par 1'intermediaire de cette publication a tous ses 
lecteurs, pour les prier de nous faire envoyer leurs remarques supplementaires 
ou critiques. En revanche de cette complaisance, nous esperons pouvoir 
offrir une version frangaise de la premiere partie de notre livre a la disposition 
de tous nos collegues qui voudront bien nous fournir quelques contributions. 


xvn] Principe Majoritaire 337 

Au point de vue pratique c'e"tait une folie, mais une de ces 
folies dont on peut dire avec le vieux Polonius : 

Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't. 

Et c'est justement grace a sa propre me"thode de deVeloppe- 
ment, grace a sa propre m^thode d'application pratique et syste"- 
matique, grace a cette me"thode de se combiner pendant 200 ans 
avec 1'existence morale et politique d'une nation, que le veto 
me"rite 1'attention du monde savant de 1'Europe. II le me"rite aussi 
pour une raison plus gene"rale, bien qu'ici secondaire. Inte"ressante 
par elle-meme, 1'histoire du veto reflate a 1'inverse 1'influence de 
ces memes facteurs qui sur un autre terrain ont conduit au 
triomphe du principe du nombre. Jusqu'a un certain moment 
le deVeloppement du liberum veto est identique avec l'e"tablis- 
sement du principe de 1'unanimite", et jusqu'a cette date on se 
demande plutot pourquoi le principe majoritaire ne s'est-il pas 
e"tabli en Pologne, au lieu de se demander d'ou provient le liberum 

Plus tard,< l'e"tendue et la force de son fonctionnement s'e"lar- 
gissent d'une maniere nouvelle et imprevue qui ne re"sulte point des 
causes qui ont agi contre le regime majoritaire. Ainsi d'une 
simple negation il se transforme en 1'antithese de la majorite". 
La premiere phase s'e"tend jusqu'a la moitie" du xvil e siecle, et 
correspond a la phase que le parlement anglais parait avoir 
traversed a la fin du XIIP siecle et a celle que les Etats Ge"ne"raux 
de France avaient traversed sous les premiers Valois. 

Dans 1'espace de cette premiere pe"riode la procedure doit etre 
essentiellement la meme pour le terrain polonais, anglais ou 
espagnol. II s'agit de dcouvrir quelles sont les influences qui 
permettent au plus grand nombre d'imposer ses decisions a la 
minorit^ et de constater si ces influences agissaient pre"cise"ment 
en Pologne. L'induction et la deduction, le raisonnement par 
analogic et a contrario^ concourent ici a decouvrir des rapports de 
cause a effet, pour ne pas dire des lois , d'apres lesquels on peut, 
en observant toutes les precautions, reconstruire meme des faits, a 
d^faut de sources immdiates suffisantes. Nous croyons pouvoir 
nous dispenser d'exposer nos observations sur ce sujet a mesure 
qu'elles se sont pr^sent^es a notre esprit : il sera plus a propos 
d'exposer la these definitive en l'e"claircissant par des exemples. 


338 W. Konopczynski [xvn 

Le point de depart de 1'evolution assez homogene en Pologne 
et dans TEurope occidentale est cet etat primitif ou il n'existe 
aucune regie pour former la volonte generale. La decision incon- 
testable y provient de la concordance effective de toutes les 
volontes, lorsque personne ne proteste, ni au cours des delibe"ra- 
tions, ni pendant 1'execution de ce qui a e"t rsolu. Le point 
final du deVeloppement des institutions chez nous et en Occident 
n'est pas le meme : en Pologne on aboutira a appliquer la regie 
d'unanimite a toutes les deliberations, pendant que le reste de 
1'Europe, excepte 1'Aragon et la Catalogne, adoptera le regime 
majoritaire, a moins qu'il ne se soumette a la royaute etablie. 

Comment expliquer cette difference singuliere ? Et, en general, 
comment se forme partout le principe majoritaire ? 

II ne fut octroye" nulle part, ni emprunte a des Strangers ; tout 
au moins limitation ne fut jamais assez puissante pour dominer 
les vieilles habitudes dereglees. Ce principe ne resulte necessaire- 
ment d'aucune the"orie universellement reconnue ; il ne fut jamais 
1'objet d'une propagande suivie. 

Seules la force normative de 1'habitude et celle du fait accompli 
peuvent nous fournir une explication relle. Tout ce qui se re"pete 
plusieurs fois s'appelle normal, et tout ce qui est normal fait une 
norme. Ceci parait un sophisme ou un sorite mal construit, mais 
c'est par cette voie que le sentiment du droit se re"concilie avec la 
force ouverte de la foule. Voila comment il faut entendre 1'opinion 
qui pretend que le droit de la majorite repose sur la force : il 
repose sur une longue serie d'antece"dents. 

Reste a savoir dans quelles conditions la superiority du plus 
grand nombre devient constante et par consequent normale. II 
faut a cet effet un concours special de conjonctures favorables, 
dont aucune separment ne suffirait pour expliquer la genese du 
principe du plus grand nombre, mais dont les combinaisons semblent 
1'expliquer suffisamment. 

i. D'abord, le vote a la majorite des voix suppose un 
denombrement des suffrages census e"gaux en principe. Les 
groupements primitifs connaissent une coutume rpandue de 
ponderer les suffrages : les volontes des elements nombreux mais 
peu signifiants ont une moindre valeur que celles de quelques gens 
riches, braves et accredites. Au fur et a mesure que les elements 
les plus forts se concentrent en un college special et que les plus 

xvn] Principe Majoritaire 339 

faibles (quoique nombreux) se re"duisent a un autre ou a plusieurs 
autres niveaux, on rencontre dans chaque college a part la question 
du calcul des suffrages de premiere classe, de deuxieme classe, etc. 
Dans Thistoire des elections allemandes la fixation du principe 
majoritaire coi'ncide avec Pdtablissement du college des electeurs. 
II est permis de supposer que dans les Chambres anglaises ce 
principe ne se serait pas tabli aussi facilement sans la division de 
la noblesse en pairs et chevaliers de comtes. 

Or, malgre toute la distance qui separe la Pologne du XVP et du 
XVir siecle de celle de Pe"tat primitif, il ne faut pas oublier que les 
dietes et ditines polonaises e"taient le rendez-vous de la petite 
noblesse ainsi que des grands seigneurs, puissants comme les 
princes de PEmpire, qui ne se sentaient point les e"gaux de la 
petite szlachta. Aussi le liberum veto devint en re"alite, entre les 
mains des grands seigneurs, un instrument de lutte centre la majorite". 

2. Le nivellement des votants une fois accompli, il est in- 
dispensable qu'un certain ordre de deliberations s'etablisse dans le 
groupe en question. Les prce"dents en faveur de la majorite" ou 
centre elle ne pourront se produire sans que tout le monde ne 
voie bien que c'est pre"cisment la majorite qui remporte la victoire 
et que ce n'est pas la minority qui au cours des dbats accede 
insensiblement a la majorite", reconstituant par la les apparences de 

En Pologne le reglement des dietes s'elabora dans la pe>iode 
ou la victoire penchait du c6t du principe de Punanimite. En 
attendant il se forma une notion confuse des resolutions semi- 
obligatoires auxquelles les palatinats mecontents accedaient apres 

3. Rien n'inspire une telle solidarity et une telle discipline que 
le danger menagant PEtat entier ou au moins une de ses corpora- 
tions ; c'est lui qui force a effacer les dissensions intestines et a ne 
tenir aucun compte de Popposition vaincue. 

La Pologne jouissait au XVI e siecle d'une tranquillity absolue 
du c6t de POccident ; sa puissance tenait encore POrient en 
respect : la Rpublique put se permettre de ne pas user de violence 
a Pgard des opposants. Au surplus, la classe dominante, c'est- 
a-dire la noblesse, se vit hors de la concurrence avec les autres 
classes : elle n'avait plus centre qui manifester sa solidarity ou 
dissimuler son peu de discipline interne. Cela a puissamment 

340 W. Konopczynski [xvn 

pousse aux exces les mecontents tant au cours des dietes ou 
die"tines qu'apres leur separation. 

4. Des crises reVolutionnaires, grace a leur caractere peu 
tolerant, attaquent vigoureusement l'inde"pendance des partis et 
des corporations. Elles soulevent dans les partis pre"ponderants des 
passions qui leur font oublier tous les scrupules constitutionnels 
envers leurs adversaires. La Pologne a subi au XVF siecle une 
crise religieuse ; et ce fut justement alors, sous Sigismond 
Auguste, que la majorit protestante donna le branle a la chambre 
des nonces ; quelquefois elle sembla etre prete a faire ce coup de 
force salutaire, dont les suites eussent te" incalculables pour 
1'avenir de la Re"publique. Malheureusement ce coup de force 
manqua la vague protestante recula, et la crise se dissipa sans 
avoir gue"ri PEtat de ses infirmite's. 

5. Suivons ce meme raisonnement. A Ppoque de la reunion 
des premieres ditines et dietes tous les mcontents pouvaient se 
transporter en Volhynie, en Podolie et ensuite en Ukraine. II 
n'existait aucune categoric de gens forces a s'incliner devant les 
decisions de la majorite" pre"ponderante, et pour celle-ci il n'existait 
aucun adversaire la tenant en eVeil. Quand la possibilite de cette 
emigration cessa, le principe se"duisant de l'unanimit etait deja bien 

6. A cette contexture de circonstances imprevues s'en ajoutent 
d'autres qui furent plus ou moins durables mais qui paraissent 
comme fatalement assorties pour de"biliter les dements centralisa- 
teurs du parlementarisme polonais. Le vote electoral ou stricte- 
ment legislatif, de meme que celui sur les questions internationales, 
contribue assez bien a accumuler des pre"ce" dents favorables a la 
formation du regime majoritaire. Les affaires financieres et 
militaires sont moins propres a atteindre ce re"sultat. En effet, la 
majorit peut ais^ment imposer son roi au pays ou son depute^ a 
une circonscription electorale, car les opposants osent rarement elire 
un contre-roi ou meme un contre-dpute\ On peut facilement 
contraindre les mecontents a reconnaitre soit une nouvelle magis- 
trature, soit une nouvelle administration royale, soit un nouveau 
traite" ratifi centre leur gre". Mais il est difficile de lever des 
impdts directs ou de convoquer un arriere-ban, si les opposants 
r^sistent activement, ou meme passivement. En gne"ral, si 1'execu- 
tion d'une decision commune se laisse e"mietter, ou si elle depend 

xvn] Principe Majorit air e 341 

du concours d'lements rfractaires, on risque de crer un antecedent 
prejudicial e a la majorite. C'est justement ce^ qui arriva en 
Pologne sous Sigismond I er (1507-48) au moment ou les destinies 
du parlementarisme subissaient une epreuve dangereuse : les dietines 
particulieres rejeterent coup sur coup les impots, ainsi que la nouvelle 
organisation militaire qui avait ete pr^c^demment agreee a la dicte 
generate par la plupart des nonces, et le gouvernement dut plier 
devant cet obstacle. 

7. La resistance aux mesures financieres des dietes n'aurait 
pas entraine des consequences prejudiciables au parlementa- 
risme central si la majority avait trouve dans le pouvoir royal 
un ferme point d'appui et une garantie de Tex^cution de ses 
decisions, comme cela eut lieu en Angleterre et en France. Ami 
ou ennemi, inspirateur ou adversaire des etats, le pouvoir royal 
donnait partout et toujours de la consistance aux corps deliberants 
et les obligeait de renoncer au principe de 1'unanimite. En Pologne 
cet appui salutaire fit deTaut a la representation nationale. 

8. Enfin, le dernier et peut-etre le plus grand obstacle ne fut 
pas epargne aux dietes de Pologne. Nous voulons dire le mandat 
imperatif, appele chez nous instruction de nonce . Selon une 
opinion assez rpandue, cette entrave aurait pu par elle-meme faire 
fourvoyer la machine parlementaire et crer le liberum veto. On 
sait que la diete g^n^rale se forma grace a la jonction des delega- 
tions des dietines en assembiees provinciales et de ces dernieres en 
un seul corps. En principe les tendances particularistes terriennes 
devaient s'effacer au centre de la province pour disparaitre entiere- 
ment dans la volonte de 1'assembiee pieniere des etats. La realite 
dementit ces esperances. Loin de rompre Tindividualite des dietines, 
les assembiees provinciales leur servirent de bouclier centre Tautorite 
de la nation entiere ; ayant sauve Tindependance des palatinats, 
elles disparurent, comme inutiles. Grace a 1'intervention de ces 
assembiees, les dietines tinrent tete a la diete pendant la crise deja 
signaiee sous les deux premiers rois Sigismonds. Leurs instruc- 
tions , appuyees par la menace d'une resistance a main armee des 
grands palatinats, montrerent une vigueur infiniment plus energique 
que celle dont portent temoignages les cahiers frangais, issus des 
petites circonscriptions eiectorales (bailliages ou senechaussees). 
La diete prit Tair plutot d'un congres de deiegues avec un pouvoir 
limite que d'une assembiee nationale representative et souveraine. 

342 IV. Konopczynski [xvn 

Sans doute, les mandats eux-memes n'auraient jamais empeche 
le regime majoritaire, comme ils ne 1'ont pas empeche en France. 
Mais ce re"sultat fut inevitable faute de tendances permanentes 
centralisatrices au sein de la diete generate, et a defaut de tout 
autre facteur sur lequel la majorite aurait pu s'appuyer. Ainsi 
1'individu, couvert par le mandat impe"ratif, commenga a opposer son 
veto a 1'accord du reste de 1'assembiee, et cela meme dans les cas qui 
n'etaient pas regies d'avance par ^instruction . L'unanimitedes man- 
dats imperatifs se transforma peu a peu en unanimite de personnes. 

Resumons nos remarques anterieures. Le concours de huit 
circonstances, a savoir : 

i, 1'inegalite de fait des personnes participant aux dietes et 
aux dietines ; 

2, 1'elaboration tardive et insuffisante d'un reglement pour 
les deliberations ; 

3, 1'inexistence de toute pression du dehors ; 

4, la faiblesse des conflits intestins ; 

5, la possibility d'e"migration des mecontents en masse dans 
d'autres provinces de la Republique ; 

6, la nature divisible et susceptible d'empechement des pre- 
mieres decisions des dietes ; 

7, la faiblesse du pouvoir executif separ ; 

8, la puissance des dietines et 1'importance de leurs mandats, 
tout cela cre"a vers la fin de la dynastie des Jagellons une imposante 
se"rie d'ant^cedents, apres lesquels le parlementarisme polonais ne 
pouvait sortir de sa stagnation vers le regime majoritaire, qu'au 
prix d'une revolution violente. 

Les trois interregnes apres 1 572 ne firent qu'aggraver Tincertitude 
des principes centripetes et centrifuges dans la constitution de 
la Pologne. Si les palatinats aspiraient a la souverainet et 
pr^tendaient a gouverner la diete, on s'en pouvait tirer, en sub- 
stituant a la forme quasi unitaire de TEtat le fe"de"ralisme pur a 1'instar 
des Provinces -Unies. Une semblable decomposition aurait et^ 
une consequence naturelle 'et saine des instructions imperatives. 
Mais les interregnes acheverent de fermer cette issue. La nombreuse 
noblesse polonaise remportait de ces immenses assembles electorales 
un sentiment rafifermi de son unite. D'un autre c6te, quiconque 
prenait une part personnelle (yiritiiri) a 1'eiection, se considerait a 
juste titre comme titulaire immediat et auteur de la souverainete 

xvn] Principe Majoritaire 343 

nationale : il contractait, conjointement avec ses pairs, les pactes 
fondamentaux avec le roi, done il ne connaissait point d'instance 
intermediate entre lui et le chef d'Etat elu a runanimite". S'il a 
conserve rinte"grite" de sa souverainete" personnelle sur le champ 
electoral, il la gardera d'autant plus facilement centre le plus grand 
nombre a la die" tine. Aussi ce ne fut que depuis 1572 que le 
principe de 1'unanimite' commenga a infecter les ditines. 

Or, vers la fin du XVP siecle trois principes fondamentaux se 
sont e"tablis dans le droit public de la Pologne : 

Personne ne peut devenir roi sans une Election libre et unanime 
par la noblesse ; 

Aucun projet ne deviendra loi sans 1'accord unanime du roi, du 
senat et des nonces terriens donnant leurs votes selon la teneur 
des mandats ; 

Aucune proposition ne pourra etre adopte"e par la die"tine que 
du consentement de tous les gentilshommes qui y sont presents. 
Certainement, ce sont la des principes sans exemple dans 1'Europe 
moderne, excepte dans le royaume d'Aragon et la principaute" 
de Catalogne. Us meconnaissent entierement 1'autorite du plus 
grand nombre ; ils sont ge*ne"raux et absolus. Us convergent 
dans 1'idee d'un libre accord (consensus) embrassant toutes especes 
de decisions collectives. Ils contrastent avec toute sorte de de"cret 
judiciaire (decretd] soumis a la majorite" des suffrages. Ces principes 
agissent, en theorie, dans 1'ordre normal sans restriction, quoique 
en pratique les exceptions n'aient pas e"te rares. 

D'ailleurs, quelque nombreuses qu'aient e"te" ces exceptions, il 
est e"tonnant que la nation ait pu vivre sous une telle constitution 
pendant deux siecles. On recourait, il est vrai, dans les cas 
extremes au lien d'une confederation, c'est-a-dire, a une convention 
qui suspendait Texigence de Tunanimite et soumettait les matieres 
les plus difficiles aux decisions majoritaires appelees sancita. Jean- 
Jacques Rousseau pouvait s'exprimer a ce propos que la Pologne 
vivait en regie dans 1'etat de nature, ou il n'y avait qu'une volonte 
de tous>>, et ne contractait le pacte social qu'en cas d'urgence, pour 
cre"er la volont^ g^nerale)). Toutefois, meme si Ton prend en ligne 
de compte les nombreux abus ou les minorites etaient reduites au 
silence, on ne saurait me"connaitre chez les Polonais au xvi e et au 
XVII 6 siecle une flexibility speciale vers cet accord unanime dont le 
resultat fut les quatre grands Volumina Legum. II est incontestable 

344 ^ Konopczynski [xvn 

que cet ideal sublime d'une union des esprits (unio animorum) 
e"levait les multitudes a une abnegation altruiste ; les generations 
successives apprenaient sous son influence a joindre la liberte et 
l'e"galite" a une fraternite" inconnue ailleurs, et a retenir Pe"goisme 
dont les exces auraient fle"tri et compromis le principe meme 
d'unanimite". Nier tout cela serait perdre de vue Pensemble et le 
principal pour se restreindre au particulier. 

Mais tout honneur accorde" aux altruistes, il ne convient pas de 
fermer les yeux sur Penvers de la me"daille. Nous avons mentionne" 
les Volumina Legum. Us sont vraiment volumineux, mais ils le 
seraient dix fois davantage si cette forme de decision difficile et 
presque impossible n'eut pas gene" 1'initiative des nonces ou des 
dietines. Evidemment il n'y avait qu'une seule voie pour obtenir 
1'accord : c'e"tait de heurter de front toute la chambre, de tenir 
ferme, de s'opposer a toute autre initiative, jusqu'a ce qu'on eut 
accede aux propositions ainsi violemment soutenues. L'entetement 
vaut mieux que toutes les raisons. Les instructions exigeaient 
souvent des choses incompatibles ou difficiles a concilier ; et meme 
si elles ne le faisaient pas, elles en demandaient trop a la fois, et 
parfois plus qu'il n'e"tait possible de faire aboutir pendant les six 
semaines prescrites par la loi. De la une obstruction re"ciproque 
ouverte ou insidieuse ; de la des tentatives de releguer tout ce qu'il 
y avait de plus important a la fin des seances, afin de Pintroduire 
par surprise ou contrebande ; de la vers la cloture des stances des 
abus multiples de la part de la majorite", abus sans lesquels PEtat 
serait reste" souvent sans defense ni ressources. 

Peu a peu les contradicteurs trouverent un moyen efficace pour 
resister aux tentatives d'oppression ou de suppression : on n'avait 
qu'a demander acte de sa protestation, ou bien, d'apres le terme 
courant en Pologne : a porter un manifeste au greffe. D'abord ce 
fut tout un parti mecontent qui fit signer sa protestation par une 
foule d'opposants, puis des individus commencerent a suivre cet 
exemple. Enfin, meme a Pepoque de la pire anarchic, le veto par 
e"crit, quoique signe" par un seul nonce, resta Porgane des factions 
et non pas des individus. En vain le gouvernement chercha-t-il a 
refuser Pacte de protestation. Si le greffe a Varsovie ou a Grodno 
etait ferme", il y en avait quantite" d'autres a la ported des mecontents. 

On vit de plus en plus souvent les dietes se dissoudre sans 
avoir obtenu aucun resultat. L'union des esprits demeurait Pideal 

xvn] Principe Majoritaire 345 

de la nation, mais en re"alit on n'avait qu'a choisir entre la 
violation de ce qu'on appelait la libert doree ou le prejudice 
de 1'Etat. La nation ne voulait pas se decider en faveur du 
fe"de"ralisme pur et simple, et elle ne savait pas comment instituer 
la forme unitaire de la Republique. Strictement, 1'infructuosite 
des dietes ne r^sultait pas encore d'une anarchic: c'tait la negation 
suivie du principe majoritaire qui conduisait le plus re"gulierement 
du monde a la paralysie de 1'Etat. L'anarchie fut plutdt le fruit 
que la racine du liberum veto. Le public voyait assez bien les 
dangers du desordre, les e"crivains politiques sonnaient le tocsin, 
mais toutes leurs exhortations ne pouvaient rien centre les 
tendances des deux forces sociales opposes a la reTorme : les 
magnats et la petite noblesse. Les premiers, ennemis naturels 
de 1'Etat, ne pouvaient que perdre leur influence sous le regime 
majoritaire; 1'autre craignait en ce cas de perdre son repos et 
ses prerogatives au profit de 1'lttat ; elle se contentait de sa 
toute-puissance passive et apparente, sans aspirer a une libert plus 
active, mais pe"rilleuse. 

Du haut de sa liberte absolue la noblesse polonaise regardait 
avec de"dain ce qui s'appelait liberte publique en Europe, sans la 
prerogative du veto. Au cours du XVII 6 siecle elle voyait avec 
inquietude la lutte partout victorieuse de la royaut de droit divin 
contre les privileges des classes sociales. Elle voyait la moindre 
faiblesse du cot du peuple encourager les monarques a des 
empietements. Hongrois, Tcheques, Allemands, Danois, Sudois, 
sans parler des Espagnols et des Frangais, tous les peuples du 
continent europe"en qui s'e"taient pretes a la regie majoritaire 
tomberent au cours de ce siecle sous le joug de la monarchic 
absolue. La Grande-Bretagne paraissait plonge"e dans des guerres 
civiles. En presence de telles experiences pouvait-on ne pas avoir 
Pillusion que 1'unanimite et le veto constituaient Punique garantie 
contre Pesclavage ? 

Mais le torrent de la vie ne s'arrete pas. Le deVeloppement 
qui tendait a e" lever 1'individu au-dessus de 1'Etat n'avait pas 
encore atteint son terme. Dans la sphere de la conquete des 
libert^s, comme partout, le mieux reste 1'ennemi du bien. Ayant 
re"alis la negation simple du principe majoritaire, le parlemen- 
tarisme polonais se prcipita dans son antithese. 

Car c'est ainsi qu'il faut qualifier logiquement la pratique qui 

346 IV. Konopczynski [xvn 

s'introduit aux dietes de Pologne depuis la moitie du XVir siecle, 
ainsi que la thorie juridique qui devait 1'exprimer. Pendant 
cette deuxieme phase le liberum veto commence a decapiter des 
assemblees entieres, et non pas seulement leurs projets. On 
commence a rompre les deliberations. Comment y est-on parvenu? 
Quelle a et6 ici la methode de notre folie parlementaire ? 
L'explication se trouve, d'un cote, dans le conflit des interets 
provinciaux dont nous avons parle* plus haut, de 1'autre dans la 
structure originaire des dietes. On a pre"tendu que la premiere 
rupture de diete eut lieu en 1652. En verite cette diete a fonctionne" 
jusqu'a son terme legal, et ne fut dissoute qu'a cause d'une opposition 
legitime a la prolongation des seances. Ce n'est pas ce qu'on 
peut appeler une rupture. Mais ce fait arrive en 1652 eut un 
retentissement dans tous les palatinats. II demontra clairement 
que les Etats de la Republique etaient prts a tout sacrifier pour 
1'amour des droits individuels. Alors on fit un pas de plus en 
avant. On se mit a protester et a quitter la salle des seances 
avant la fin de la diete. Les optimistes pouvaient attendre 
patiemment jusqu'au dernier jour ; les pessimistes qui prevoyaient 
que le contradicteur ne se laisserait pas flechir rentraient chez eux 
desesperant du succes de la diete. 

D'ou venait ce desespoir ? Pourquoi ne sanctionnait-on pas au 
moins cette partie des projets qui n'etait contestee par personne ? 
C'est qu'aucun projet ne pouvait passer loi avant la cloture 
solennelle des Etats. La diete polonaise ressemblait a un congres 
ou la noblesse obtenait la sanction de ses demandes en echange 
du consentement qu'elle donnait aux projets legislatifs du roi, et 
surtout en echange des contributions publiques. Si une partie des 
contractants proteste et s'absente de Tacte de conclusion, tout le 
marche est nul et de nul effet : voila pourquoi dans sa nouvelle 
phase le liberum veto> lance contre telle ou telle proposition, a une 
force retroactive contre tous les actes de la diete. 

Bientot tous les palatinats embrasserent 1'opinion que chaque 
particulier avait le droit de fermer la bouche a Passembiee de 
ses egaux. La contagion devint generate, elle inonda tous les 
territoires, renversant toutes les digues. Le moindre gentilhomme 
s'arrogea le droit non seulement de paralyser les decisions, mais 
aussi d'empecher de les mettre aux voix. Le veto envahit meme 
les territoires qui avaient cru s'en garantir en admettant dans 

xvn] Principe Majoritaire 347 

les Elections le vote majoritaire : inutilement alle"guait-on cette loi 
locale, quand le contradicteur ne permettait pas meme d'ouvrir les 
debats ! En 1688 la diete ge"ne"rale fut rompue pour la premiere 
fois avant rejection du marshal : on pourrait dire qu'alors la libre 
voix du citoyen eut plus de valeur que le reglement de la diete ! 

Le veto devint une puissance sans bornes, e"le"mentaire, ante"- 
rieure a toute constitution, une idole, un tonnerre dans les mains 
de milliers d'insense's. 

Et voila 1'antithese du principe majoritaire a son apogee. 

Baissons le rideau sur les consequences destructives et igno- 
minieuses de sa domination. Ce triste tableau n'est que trop bien 
connu ; on 1'expose fre"quemment et de parti pris, pour suggrer 
1'impression que la Pologne s'est tue"e elle-meTne avant qu'on eut 
1'idee d'abre"ger son agonie. Jusqu'a quel point et jusqu'a quelle 
e"poque le veto domina-t-il la Pologne du consentement des Polonais, 
et d'autre part, depuis quand fut-il soutenu par la force e"trangere, 
pousse"e jusqu'a la menace de la guerre? c'est une question qui 
n'appartient pas a 1'examen juridique et historique de son origine 
ni de son application. 

Mais nous nous sentirions coupable d'avoir confirme une 
faussete", si nous ne rappelions ici le fait notoire que malgr 
Paveuglement de la soci^te" polonaise avant le partage, malgr les 
insinuations envenime'es des voisins, on avait trouve le chemin 
qui conduisait tout droit du labyrinthe de la libert dore"e vers 
la liberty publique moderne. On Pavait trouve", ce chemin, a la 
lumiere des flambeaux de la litte"rature ^clair^e du XVIir siecle ; 
on avait os^ y marcher, encourag par Pexemple de cette nation 
unique qui seule avec nous et avec les Hongrois, mais beaucoup 
mieux que nous autres, avait su conserver le tresor de ses liberts 
au milieu des royauts e"tablies, par Texemple de la nation 
anglaise. Prenant pour modele les lois de 1'Angleterre, la Con- 
stitution du 3 mai 1791 a aboli dfinitivement le veto en de"pit des 
garanties e"trangeres, mais au gre de tous les Polonais. Elle n'a 
pas sauve l'indpendance de la Rpublique, mais elle est arriv^e 
justement a temps pour sauver 1'ame nationale et pour donner un 
dementi aux falsificateurs d'histoire qui nous imputent un suicide. 




AFTER Gratian, in the eleventh century, separated the study 
of Canon Law from that of practical theology, Canon Law 
formed, with Roman Law (utrumque ius\ the foundation of legal 
studies in the universities of the Middle Ages. 

The famous Decretum of Gratian, the Concordia Discordantium 
Canonum, a private work, which had obtained recognition in 
the whole Church, was the object of a series of commentaries 
(Summae or Stromae) by the ' Decretists,' who were followed by 
the ' Decretalists,' the commentators of the official collections of 
Decretals, which formed the second part of the Corpus Juris 

This great scientific elaboration of Canon Law corresponded to 
its importance in mediaeval life. Canon Law covered at that time 
a much larger field than in later periods. It was international, it 
was Christian and therefore universal, and it was essentially con- 
servative. For these reasons it exercised a very wide influence 
upon the development of legal theories in the Middle Ages all over 
the Western world. 

The theory of sovereignty and of the relationship between 
Church and State, as well as the various political theories, were 
largely determined by the Canonists, as the Rev. A. J. Carlyle 
has demonstrated recently in his learned book, The Political 
Theories of the Middle Ages. But at the same time private law, 
the systems of land tenures, and especially the marriage law 
this last considered by the Church as her exclusive and absolute 
domain were under the direct influence of Canon Law. Inter- 


xvin] Ecclesiastical Law 349 

national law and the law of procedure took their fundamental ideas 
and principles from Canon Law ; and for the reason that many 
crimes were subject to ecclesiastical jurisdiction on account of the 
element of ' sin ' connected with them, the law of the Church had a 
decided influence on the development of penal law. The social 
action of the Church, the extension of her property, the monastic 
institutions and the philanthropic work connected with them, 
dominate the social and economic history of the Middle Ages, 
and carry into all branches of mediaeval life the influence of the 
legal elements of ecclesiastical ideas. 

Perhaps in no other period of history have the doctrines 
of the Canonists influenced so deeply and directly the formation 
of the law of the Church as at this time, when Rolando Bandinelli, 
the eminent decretist, was elected Pope under the name of Alex- 
ander III., and Sinibaldo Fieschi, the famous decretalist, ascended 
the papal throne as Innocent IV. 

At that time Canon Law emanated chiefly from the Papal 
authority. But when the occidental schism weakened the position 
of the Popes and created the necessity for an appeal from the con- 
tending Pontiffs to a higher authority, in order to re-establish the 
unity of the Church, the so-called reformatory Councils of Pisa 
(1409), Constance (141 1-18), and Basel (1431) tried to substitute the 
authority of the Council for that of the Popes in ecclesiastical 
legislation, and to assert the position of the bishops against the 
supremacy of the Popes and of the Roman Court. 

But if those Councils did not succeed in establishing an 
episcopal system against the Roman supremacy, their canons 
were partly accepted by the State in France and Germany. The 
Popes were obliged to make concessions to the sovereigns, under 
the form of privileges granted to them by the various Concordats 
of the end of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the 
sixteenth century. 

Thus, at the end of the Middle Ages, the States took up an 
independent attitude towards the Church, and a radical change 
was brought about in their position as regards ecclesiastical matters 
by the Protestant Reformation. 

The Reformed Churches accepted the supremacy of the State 
(ius circa sacra), granting to sovereigns a large ius inspiciendi et 
cavendi in their internal organizations. At the same time, owing 

350 A. Galante [xvm 

to the fact that the State authorities were confronted by different 
denominations, the ecclesiastical legislation of the States developed 
on lines independent of the single denominations, and in con- 
sequence of that, there arose, besides the strictly denominational 
canon law, an ecclesiastical law of the State, which only gradually 
and with great difficulty applied the principles of religious liberty. 

Thus a new field opened out to the scientific study of Canon 
Law. After the decline of the Commentators of the Decretals, 
whose last works show a lack of scientific individuality and an 
excessive predominance of casuistry and merely practical techni- 
cality, with the revival of humanistic studies France is the leading 
country in the study of Ecclesiastical Law, and the French school 
can boast of a series of great canonists, from Cujas to Thomassin, 
whose works are strictly connected with the special relationship of 
State and Church in France. 

The defence of the Libertates Ecclesiae Gallicanae, which had in 
the Assemblies du Clerge very effective means of safeguarding 
episcopal rights, led to the formation of a complete system of 
Droit civil ecclesiastique, which was only temporarily interrupted 
by the French Revolution. 

The Council of Trent (1545-63), the greatest legislative work 
of the Catholic Church in modern times, marks a decided return to 
mediaeval theories of papal supremacy. The whole Council was 
presided over by Papal Delegates, all the proposals for its decisions 
came from Rome, and the canons of the Council were formally 
approved and promulgated by the Pope. 

At the same time the new legislation of the Council of Trent, 
covering a very extensive field and regulating matters of vital 
importance for the State, as was the case with the marriage law, 
brought new life into the Canon Law and the studies connected 
with it. 

Cardinal Bellarmino (1542-1621) and Franciscus Suarez (1548- 
1617) affirmed the papal supremacy in a new form, sustaining the 
potestas indirecta of the Popes in temporal matters ; and the seven- 
teenth century witnessed the completion of the Annals of Caesar 
Baronius (d. 1607) and of the Italia Sacra of Ferdinando 
Ughelli (d. 1670), while Antonio Augustino, with his great works, 
represents for Spain the humanistic revival of the study of 
Canon Law. 

xvmjj Ecclesiastical Law 35 1 

In the struggle between the Papacy and different States in the 
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in France, in Spain, and in 
Italy, the defenders of the Erastian theories developed a whole 
system of ius circa sacra of the State towards the ecclesiastical 
institutions, and the episcopal theories found a vigorous support in 
the writings of Zeger van Espen (d. 1728), and in the famous De 
statu ecclesiae, which John Nikolaus von Hontheim (d. 1790) 
published in 1763 under the pseudonym of Febronius. 

In Austria those Erastian theories were accepted by Eybel, 
Pehem, Riegger, and Rautenstrauch, and prepared the way for the 
great ecclesiastical reforms of Maria Theresa and Joseph II. 

Besides the political writings on Canon Law, this period 
also produced the canonistic works of Prospero Lambertini 
(Benedict XIV), the researches of the Bishop of Oneglia, Stefano 
Berardi, and of the brothers Ballerini of Verona on the sources of 
Canon Law ; also the Prompta Bibliotheca of Ferraris and the 
Theatrum of De Luca, the first encyclopaedic works covering the 
whole field of Canon Law. 

The revival of the scientific study of Ecclesiastical Law in the 
nineteenth century is due to Germany, where Karl Friedrich 
Eichorn in his Grundsatze des Kirchenrechts der katholischen und 
der evangelischen Religionspartei in Deutschland (Gottingen, 1831) 
applied to Canon Law the principles of the historical school of 
Savigny, and gave a systematic exposition of Canon Law based 
on its natural structure, breaking the tradition of the division into 
personae, res et actiones, which, since Lancellotti, had dominated the 
treatment of Ecclesiastical Law. 

Thus the merely dogmatic study of Canon Law was abandoned, 
and greater importance given to the historical development of 
ecclesiastical institutions. 

The next phase of the study of Ecclesiastical Law in Germany 
is closely connected with the works of Friedrich von Schulte, Paul 
Hinschius, and Emil Friedberg, the most eminent canonists of the 
period of the so-called Kulturkampf. 

Friedrich von Schulte, who later was one of the founders of the Old 
Catholic movement, edited a series of the Summae of the Decretists, 
and recorded in a monumental work (Geschichte der Quellen und 
Literatur des kanonischen Rechtes von Gratian bis auf die Gegen- 
wart, Stuttgart, 1875 sq.) the works on Canon Law after Gratian. 

35 2 ^4 - Galante [xvm 

To Paul Hinschius, the editor of the Pseudoisidor, canonistic 
science owes the largest and most exhaustive treatise on Church 
Law (System des Kirchenrechts, 6J volumes, Berlin, 1868-96), which, 
although not completed, will remain for many years to come the 
basis for historical researches into ecclesiastical institutions. 

Of the multifarious works of Friedberg special mention must be 
made of his great edition of the Corpus luris Canonici^ after the 
first Editio Lipsiensis by Emil Ludwig Richter. 

Thus the tradition of the study of Canon Law was kept in 
Germany, where, even in distinctly Protestant States, Canon Law 
was as it still is a subject of lectures and examinations not 
only in the theological, but also in the legal Faculties ; and 
the German school of Canon Law had a direct influence on the 
revival of the canonistic studies in Italy. 

In consequence of the theories of separation of Church and 
State expressed by Cavour in his famous formula Libera Chiesa in 
libero Stato (' A Free Church in a Free State '), and only partially 
applied in Italian ecclesiastical legislation, the Theological Faculties 
at the State Universities in the Kingdom of Italy were suppressed 
in 1873, and the teaching of Canon Law at the legal faculties, 
although not formally abolished, was practically abandoned for 
many years. 

The revival of the study of Ecclesiastical Law in Italy was due 
to Francesco Scaduto, who wrote the first exhaustive treatise on 
modern Italian ecclesiastical law (Manuale del diritto ecclesiastic^ 
2 ed., Turin, 1894), and to Francesco Ruffini, whose work on 
Religious Liberty has recently been translated into English. They 
were, with their various writings, the pioneers of a flourishing 
school of Canon Law which has now been restored to the curri- 
culum of all legal faculties in Italy. 

In France researches into Canon Law were directed mainly to 
the study of the droit civil ecclesiastique. Canon Law was not taught 
at the legal faculties as an independent subject, but was included 
partly in the histoire du droit and in the droit administratif. 

Among the most valuable contributions of French science to 
canonistic subjects in modern times we must record the work of 
Professor Esmein on * Marriage ' (Le Mariage en droit canonique, 
Paris, 1891 sq.), and the different works on canonistic subjects of 
the Ecole de hautes etudes. 

xvin] Ecclesiastical Law 353 

In Austria the old tradition of the study of Canon Law has been 
kept up at the theological and legal faculties of all the Universities. 
To the last generation of Austrian canonists belonged Maassen, 
the author of the great history of the sources of Canon Law in the 
earlier centuries of the Middle Ages (Geschichte der Quellen und 
Literatur des kanonischen Rechtes im Abendlande bis zum Ausgang 
des Mittelalters, vol. i., Graz, 1870), and I may point out that one 
of the most prominent canonists of Austria, Max von Hussareck, is 
at present Minister for Public Education in Vienna. 

In Germany, after the period of the settlement of the Kultur- 
kampf, the study of Canon Law, which had received such important 
assistance from the kindred studies of German law and ecclesi- 
astical history (I need only recall the masterly chapters of Gierke's 
Genossenschaftsrecht dealing with ecclesiastical corporations, and 
Hauck's Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands), seemed for a moment to 
stagnate as an independent science. It was then that Ulrich Stutz 
with his Geschichte des kirchlichen Benefizialwesens von seinen 
Aufdngen bis auf Alexander III. (Berlin, 1895) marked a new de- 
parture in the German studies of Canon Law. With a wider applica- 
tion of historical methods than had previously been made, and with 
great erudition, Stutz pointed out in a decisive way the importance of 
proprietary churches in the development of the ecclesiastical institu- 
tions of the Middle Ages, and in a series of various studies investi- 
gated the different aspects of the private property of churches. His 
work gave a new impetus to the historical researches on Canon Law. 

For the historical study of ecclesiastical institutions Stutz 
founded in 1902 the collection of Kirchenrechtliche Abhandlungen 
(Stuttgart, Enke), in which have appeared up to the present time 
no fewer than eighty volumes by different authors, dealing with 
the most various branches of the historical development of ecclesi- 
astical institutions in different countries, and mainly in Germany. 

Those researches, in which scholars of different denominations 
have taken part, united by that impartiality of scientific investiga- 
tion, which must be the base of any study of Canon Law worthy 
of the name of science, have brought into prominence the import- 
ance of local elements in Canon Law, and have contributed to the 
formation of the ' ecclesiastical legal history ' advocated by Stutz. 
His foundation of the Canonistische Abteilung of the Zeitschrift 
der Savigny-Stiftung (1911), with contributions by canonists of 

2 A 

354 ^* Galante [xvm 

different nationalities in their own language, has created an inter- 
national medium of communication for the historical study of 
Canon Law. 

Side by side with this historical investigation of Canon Law has 
proceeded the study of the strictly legal questions connected in the 
various countries with ecclesiastical institutions, and what may be 
called the * comparative ' study of ecclesiastical law, i.e. the study 
of the ecclesiastical legislation in different States, so that the field 
of canonistic research has been greatly enlarged in modern times. 
Besides, a series of historical publications threw new light on 
ecclesiastical institutions, and in this connexion may be quoted the 
new Regesta Pontificum by Kehr, the great collection of materials 
on the Council of Trent edited by the G^rrcsgesellschaft^ and the 
reports of the Papal Nuncii from different countries published during 
the last few years by various historical institutes. 

At the conclusion of this brief survey of the development of the 
study of Canon Law, in which of course I have only been able to 
outline the main current of researches, without including all the 
individual contributions to the progress of our science, I should like 
to say a few words on the particular condition of the study of Canon 
Law in England. 

Through the Middle Ages Canon Law had been one of the chief 
elements of the legal studies in the English Universities, and was 
the subject of scientific research. In England, as on the Continent, 
Canon Law was 'one of the great civilizing and humanizing in- 
fluences of the Middle Ages.' When Henry VIII banished Canon 
Law from the academical studies of England he dealt a deadly 
blow to canonistic science in England. Although we can see in 
the Ecclesiastical Polity of Hooker an attempt to give a scientific 
basis to the legal institutions of the Church of England, Canon Law as 
an independent science was abandoned, and the legal side of ecclesi- 
astical matters was dealt with mainly from a practical point of view. 

And yet perhaps no other country presents so much interest 
for the study of Ecclesiastical Law as Great Britain, not only on 
account of the mediaeval elements which are still alive in her 
ecclesiastical institutions, but also for the variety and magnitude 
of ecclesiastical questions, so prominent in English public life. 
We only need to remind ourselves of the question, still sub judice^ 
of Welsh Disestablishment and its connexion with innumerable 

xvin] Ecclesiastical Law 355 

questions of legal history, and we may recall that the 'Royal 
Commission on the Church of England and other Religious Bodies 
in Wales and Monmouthshire' of 1906 was obliged to declare the 
impossibility of proceeding to a legal-historical examination of the 
ecclesiastical foundations in Wales. 

Some parts of Canon Law, in regard to England, have been 
dealt with in the histories of English Law (for example, by 
Pollock and Maitland, and Holdsworth), and many valuable con- 
tributions to legal history of ecclesiastical institutions in England 
are contained in local histories and in the historical records of 
bishoprics, chapters, parishes, etc. Also, among the English works 
of general interest for canonists, we must remember Phillimore's 
Ecclesiastical Law. Still, it would be most desirable that the study 
of the legal history of the English ecclesiastical institutions should 
be taken up in England on a wider, more comprehensive scale, and 
the results of those investigations would be most important, not 
only for the legal history of England, but for the history of the 
development of Canon Law in general. 

The interest created by Maitland's book, Roman Canon Law in 
England, showed to a larger public the great importance of the 
study of Canon Law for England. 

1 should like, in conclusion, speaking in this old Hall of 
Lincoln's Inn, so full of ecclesiastical and legal memories, to 
express the hope that England, the country which has given to 
international science Lyndwood, Hooker, Stubbs, and Maitland, 
may revive her old canonistic traditions and take a vigorous share 
in the modern researches of Canon Law, 



[Conf. Jacobson, * Das kanonische und kirchenrechtliche Studium sonst tmd 
jetzt, in Italien, Frankreich, in den Niederlanden, Belgien und Deutschland' 
(Zeitschrift fur Kirchenrecht, L, 1861); Schultc, < if her die Bedeutung und 
Aufgabe des Kirchenrechts ' (Archiv fur kathol. Kirchenrecht, L) ; Gross, 
Zur Begriffsbestimmung und WUrdigung des Kirchenrechts, Graz, 1871 j 
F. Ruffini, * Lo Studio e il concetto odierno del diritto ecclesiastico ' (Rivista 
italiana per le scienze giuridiche, 1892); Friedberg, Dot canonische Recht 
und das Kirchenrecht (Festrede), Leipzig, 1696 (printed also in the Deutsche 
Zeitschrift fur Kirchenrechf) ; Stutz, Die kirchliche Rechtsgeschichte (Rede), 
Stuttgart, 1905 ; Galante, ' Diritto ecclesiastico e storia locale ' (in the Reports 
of the International Historical Congress of Rome ', 1903).] 



CONSIDEREE dans son essence Pide"e de Pfitat est une concep- 
tion normative : c'est la notion de ce que doit etre le rapport entre 
le souverain et les sujets, et non seulement la notion du pouvoir 
coercitif que 1'Etat a sur les particuliers. C'est done dans le sens 
normatif qu'on lui donnait jadis, d'apres les principes d'une civilisa- 
tion anterieure a la n6tre, que je traiterai de l'ide"e de 1'Etat et de 
son Evolution en Russie. 

Cette Evolution a pris une direction qu'il est facile de pre"ciser : 
au commencement du XVP siecle l'ide"e de 1'Etat russe est plutot 
religieuse que se"culiere ; au commencement du XVIIP elle devient 
plutdt se"culiere que religieuse. Tout en suivant ce de"veloppement 
dans ses grandes lignes, je ne pretends pas, du reste, en donner ici 
une exposition complete. Pour y parvenir il ne suffirait pas de 

[ noter les theories qui contribuerent a cette metamorphose; il 

) faudrait s'arreter plus longuement, que je n'ai pu le faire, aux 

institutions et aux e'venements qui dterminerent le cours re"el de 

ces id^es en Russie depuis les troubles du XVII siecle jusqu'aux 

reTormes du XVIIP. 

La conception de la civilisation qu'on se faisait en Europe au 
moyen age donnait une preeminence marquee a la religion, telle 
que 1'entendait TEglise chr^tienne ; mais pour syst^matiser les 
verites divines concedees aux lai'ques et les impr^gner de sa doctrine 


xix] LIdde de F Etat en Russie 357 

elle se servait de la scolastique. Quoique 1'figlise grecque se soit 
trouve dans une position moins propice que PEglise latine pour 
jouer ce role, elle cultiva, pourtant, ces ides non sans succes et 
contribua a leur propagation dans des pays lointains. 

La Russie, qui, sous le rapport clerical, dpendait au moyen 
age du patriarche de Constantinople, a naturellement prouv 
cette influence ; mais elle n'en profita qu'avec un grand retard. La 
Dialectique de Jean Damascene, dans laquelle il tachait d'adap- 
ter Pancienne logique des coles a la doctrine de 1'Eglise, par 
exemple, a te traduite en langue slave , et ses copies russes 
datent du xv e siecle. L'un des admirateurs de Jean Damascene, 
dej'a efHeur par la Renaissance, Maxime le Grec, prconisait 
aussi la logique en tant qu'elle servait a la gloire de Dieu 
et enflammait Tame d'amour pour le Tres-Haut, c'est-a-dire 
en tant qu'elle n'etait pas contraire aux paroles divines et 
se conformait a elles. 1 En suivant ces regies, PEglise grecque 
pouvait mettre a profit meme la scolastique latine : Maxime 
le Grec n'en tait pas exempt ; les erudits de Kiev, tels que 
SteTan Javorskij, par exemple, en userent largement dans leurs 

Une doctrine analogue ne tarda pas a se former en Russie 
dans le domaine des ides morales et politiques, soumises, elles 
aussi, aux dogmes de 1'Eglise : c'est du sein de l'glise grecque 
que sont sortis les premiers doctrinaires de PEtat russe, et c'est 
du point de vue orthodoxe ou pravoslave , et en conformite avec 
plusieurs ides byzantines, notamment avec celle du basileus, 
vicaire orthodoxe de Dieu et autocrate, regnant par le Christ 
qui Pinspire et le guide, qu'ils formulaient les principes de 
cet Etat. 

L'ide religieuse de PEtat formee a Byzance tait deja quelque 
peu connue en Russie a P^poque de Vladimir le Saint et de 
ses successeurs ; mais elle ne s'est dveloppe"e qu'en Moscovie. 
Bien des circonstances contribuerent a son developpement, par- 
ticulierement celles qui, dans leur ensemble, produisirent la d- 
cadence de PEmpire byzantin et la formation de PEtat moscovite, 

1 loaHHi, J^aMacKHHi,, fliajteKmum, pyc. nep., M. 1862, pp. 9, 10, 104, 
106-107, 1 08 ; cf. A. Co6ojieBCKift. Hepeeodnafi jiumepamypa MOCKOBCKOU 
Pycu, 2 H3A-, CUB., 1903, pp. 20, 281. MaKCHMt TpeKi,, CouuneniH, Kas., 
1859-1862, i. pp. 462-464. 

358 A. Lappo-Danilevskij [xix 

de son unit6 et de son indpendance ; mais en considrant la 
porte"e subsequente de ces theories, c'est plut6t leurs principes que 
leur genese qu'il importe de noter. 

L'une d'elles, celle de Philophe'e du couvent d'6lazar, d^velop- 
pait une these que le me"tropolite Zocime avait deja avance"e en 
1492. Philophe ia formulait au point de vue religieux et 
providentiel, bas sur les Saintes Ecritures : toutes ses e"pitres 
sont imbues de 1'idee de la Providence, grace a laquelle tout ce 
qui arrive dans 1'univers n'arrive que par la volont de Dieu, 
Cre"ateur de toutes choses, et pour le bien de 1'humanite". C'est a 
ce point de vue, renforc par les allegories de I'Apocalypse, que 
Philophe'e crivit ses e"pitres au grand due Basile III et au tsar 
Jean IV : il y propose, de meme que dans son e"pitre au clerc 
Moune"khine, sa doctrine sur le defacement providentiel du centre 
de la chre"tiennet de Rome a Byzance, et de Byzance a Moscou, 
ou il s'est fix definitivement, et sur la mission providentielle de ce 
nouveau foyer du monde pravoslave. C'est de cette mission qu'il 
de"duit le r61e historique de"sign par Dieu a 1'Etat moscovite, 
comme centre de reunion des divers royaumes de la chre"tiennet 
pravoslave ; les prerogatives de 1'elu de Dieu du tsar, unique 
reprsentant du pouvoir, qui doit observer et maintenir les 
traditions pravoslaves dans 1'Orient chretien, ses devoirs et ses 
droits envers ses sujets, etc. 1 

La theorie de Philophee n'^tait pas de"nue de grandeur: au 
point de vue orthodoxe ou pravoslave on pouvait 1'appliquer aux 
relations internationales et au regime interieur ; mais elle ne 
developpait pas les principes de gouvernement et de sujtion ; 
c'est dans des doctrines plus spciales qu'on pouvait trouver ces 

Une theorie, base sur Porthodoxie la plus stricte et visiblement 
influenced par les id^es byzantines celle de Joseph Sanine con- 
siderait, par exemple, le tsar comme 1'elu de Dieu et le gardien 
supreme de 1'orthodoxie, et en dduisait ses devoirs et ses droits, 
de meme que sa responsabilit envers Dieu. L'abb de Woloko- 
lamsk comparait le pouvoir du tsar a celui de Dieu, et parlait de 
Pobissance que lui devaient ses sujets comme de celle qui se 
pratique envers Dieu ou dans les cloitres ; pour prouver ses theses 

1 B. MajnmHHi, Cmapew Ejieasapoea Mouacmupu (Duaooeu u eio 
nocjianin, KieBi, 1901 r., Ilpmr., pp. 36-66. 

xix] LIdde de rEtat en Russie 359 

il s'en rapportait, entre autres, a Pautorite" des empereurs byzantins, 
notamment a celle de Constantin et de Justinien. 1 

Une the"orie moins rigoureuse, de"veloppe"e par Maxime le Grec, 
introduisait les e"le"ments de la justice ou de la prawda particuliere- 
ment dans le domaine de la juridiction. Comme St-Thomas 
d'Acquin, il distingue les vertus th^ologiques des vertus morales et 
place a leur tete la vertu de la justice (justitia) ou de la prawda. 
Quoique Maxime le Grec n'ait pas donne" de definition du concept 
de la prawda, qu'il considere tantdt au point de vue religieux et 
me'taphysique, tantdt au point de vue de la morale chre"tienne, il 
en de"duit les devoirs et les droits du souverain, particulierement 
dans le domaine de la juridiction : le prince doit observer la 
prawda et la de"fendre dans ses cours de justice, ce qui mene a 
la paix inte"rieure et a la force exte"rieure . Le prince qui plaide 
la cause de la prawda regne conjointement avec Dieu, qui est 
Justice, et ne gouverne que comme son intermediate ; cela donne 
a son pouvoir un e"clat surnaturel et une puissance morale, et lui 
reserve le droit d'exiger la soumission absolue de ses sujets. 2 

Les doctrines de Philophe"e, de Joseph et de Maxime que ces 
derniers enoncaient, d'ailleurs, non sans reserves, ont joui d'une 
grande popularite parmi les lettre's moscovites : le tsar Jean IV 
lui-meme en a largement profite ; elles ont certainement subi 
quelques deVeloppements et quelques modifications poste*rieures ; 
mais elles n'ont pas e"te" supplante"es a cette e"poque par d'autres 
systemes. Jean Peresvje"tov, par exemple, avait certainement 
donne* une conception diffe"rente de 1'autorit^ redoutable du 
souverain envers ses sujets et avait indique", de meme qu'Ostrorog, 
quelques problemes que TEtat moderne devait resoudre : il recon- 
naissait 1'importance du principe a chacune selon ses ceuvres et la 
n^cessit^ des lois e"crites ; il proposait d'abolir les offices h^r^ditaires 
et de re"mune"rer les fonctionnaires ; il insistait sur 1'organisation des 

1 IOCH(J)T> Bojioi],KiS, TIpocerbmumeM, Kaa. 1896, 3 ed., pp. 488, 544- 
551; pour les restrictions que Joseph Sanine faisait, en parlant des rois 
heretiques, voir ib. pp. 286-288, et M. J^LUKOHOBI., Bjiacmb MOCKOOCKUXK 
rocydapeiiy CUB., 1899, pp. 26, 95, 103. 

2 MaKCHM-B rpeKi>, Couunenifi, v. i. pp. 142, 385, v. ii. pp. 152, 157-184, 
209, 210, 286, 319-357, v. iii. p. 237, etc. D'ailleurs, quelques elements de 
cette theorie se trouvent deja dans Le Discours sur la justice et ? injustice de 
PIsmaragde de la 2 e redaction)) (xv. sc.); mais ils n'y sont pas developpes 

360 A. Lappo-Danilevskij [xix 

finances et de Parme"e. Malgre" la haute porte"e de ses ide"es, les 
projets de Pe"resvje"tov ne regurent pas la notorite dont joufesaient 
les theories de Philophee et de ses e"mules : celles-ci ont prevalu au 
XVI 8 siecle et ont e"te" transmises au XVII 6 . 

Cependant ces doctrines pravoslaves sur Plitat ne donnaient 
qu'une ide transcendante du rapport entre le souverain et les 
sujets ; elles s'exposaient, en outre, a quelques restrictions de la 
part des partisans ze"le"s de PEglise, qui rehaussaient Pautorite" 
spirituelle et r^clamaient Pobe"issance du monarque aux admonitions 
de ses repre"sentants ; elles ne s'accordaient pas avec les serments 
que quelques-uns des tsars devaient preter aux bojares a Pe"poque 
des troubles ; elles ne preVoyaient pas le role que devaient jouer 
les assemblies des etats (semskii ssobory) au commencement du 
XVII e siecle. 

II est vrai qu'au temps des troubles les Russes e"prouverent le 
sentiment de la difference qu'il y a entre PEtat et la forme du 
gouvernement ; mais ils avaient alors des raisons pour croire que 
PEtat moscovite ne pouvait conserver son unite" et sa force qu'en 
restant fidele aux formes traditionnelles du gouvernement : le tsar 
Mihai'l Fe"dorovicz trouva un appui dans les e"tats ge"ne"raux pour 
re"tablir Pordre dans le pays, et les theories anciennes continuerent 
a y circuler, meme dans la seconde moitie" du XVir siecle. 

Le tsar Alexej Mihajlovicz, par exemple, usait volontiers de 
ces theories, sans y apporter, du reste, de changements essentiels ; 
ne"anmoins il accepta la disposition que le concile de 1667 avait 
prise et qui consistait a conserver au monarque son autorite" supreme 
dans les affaires de Plitat, tout en la rservant au patriarche dans 
les affaires de PEglise ; mais, apres la deposition de Nicone, ce de"- 
doublement du pouvoir ne pouvait durer : il portait atteinte a Punit 
de PEtat et fut de"finitivement aboli par Pierre le Grand. 

Ce n'est qu'indirectement par Pintroduction de la scolastique, 
a laquelle le tsar Alexej Mihajlovicz avait accorde" sa protection, 
que ces theories pravoslaves ont rec^u leurs complements dans les 
ide"es, sorties du sein des colleges des je"suites, dont le re"seau 
couvrait deja la plus grande partie de la Pologne. 

Comme je Pai remarque plus haut, la religion orthodoxe 
grecque n'interdisait pas Pusage de la scolastique latine : et c'est 
justement pour deTendre les droits de Pliglise pravoslave qu'on 
en usa a Kiev ; mais la scolastique latine, qu'on transplantait des 

xix] U Idee de I'Etat en Russie 361 

colleges des je"suites polonais a Kiev, et de Kiev a Moscou, 
contenait quelques principes de morale et de droit qui, de cette 
maniere, pe"ne"trerent dans le milieu des lettre"s moscovites. 

Ces principes se reliaient, au fond, a la doctrine de St-Thomas 
d'Acquin, et, par son intermediate, a quelques ide"es d'Aristote ; 
ils caracte"risaient en Moscovie l'e"poque de transition de Pide"e 
religieuse a 1'idee seculiere de l'tat. 

L'un des lettre"s moscovites de ce temps-la, Simeon Polotzkij, 
par exemple, s'en tenait a cette doctrine mixte. II rattachait les 
origines de 1'Etat et du pouvoir souverain non seulement a la 
volont divine, mais a la tendance naturelle qu'ont les hommes 
a s'assembler en societ : les hommes, les cits et les royaumes 
dependent re"ciproquement les uns des autres dans les choses 
mate"rielles et spirituelles ; ils e"prouvent aussi le besoin de se"curit 
qui les pousse a se donner un chef, car une socie"t sans chef tend 
a sa ruine. II se repre*sentait le souverain non seulement comme 
celui qui mene ses sujets aux vertus divines , mais comme celui qui 
vaque a leur bien commun ; il pre"sumait que le prince doit 
re"gner non seulement d'apres les pre"ceptes de la vertu, de la 
prawda^ mais aussi d'apres les principes de la justice distributive 
et commutative, qu'il distinguait, selon un schema assez re"pandu 
dans les manuels de ce temps -la, de la justice vindicative. En 
deVeloppant ces principes Sime"on Polotzkij ,donnait une espece 
de speculum principis christiani, dans lequel on peut trouver 
quelques regies analogues a celles d'Agapithe le diacre dans son 
"EK&O-IS Ke<aAat>v Trapati/ertKcui/ et entrevoir,peut-etre, quelque influence 
du traits De regimine principum, particulierement dans les restric- 
tions du pouvoir temporel en faveur du pouvoir spirituel que Simeon 
Polotzkij fait plutdt sous-entendre que formuler ouvertement. 1 

1 CHMGOHT. IIojion;Ki8, Sanucxu, MS. de la Biblotheque de la Typographic 
du Synode a Moscou, N 1791, 4078, ff. 199 sq. ; Bepmoipadi, MHOIO- 
Wrbmnuu, MS. conserve au departement des manuscrits de la Bibliotheque 
de PAcademie Imperiale des Sciences de St-Petersbourg, N 19, Preface, 
ff. 57v.-58v., 9ov., 3o6v.-3o8v., 363v., 375-375V., 466v.-477. Le moine 
Simeon Polotzkij avait fait ses Etudes k Kiev et au college des jesuites de 
Wilno ; il s'etablit a Moscou, probablement en 1663. Les notes qu'il avait 
prises au college de Wilno, d'un cours de morale, c'est-a-dire de monastique , 
d'economique et de politique, qu'il y avait suivi, le recueil de pieces qu'il 
a intitule Le Jardin multiflore ( Vertograd Mnogozwetnij ) et dirferents 
autres ecrits prouvent qu'il s'dtait quelque peu familiarise avec les doctrines 
de St-Thomas d'Acquin et d'Aristote. Cf., d'ailleurs, p. 359 note i. 

362 A. Lappo-Danilevskij [xix 

Ces theories ont ete reprises par Tun des plus fervents Sieves de 
Simeon Polotzkij, grand amateur de la scolastique et quelque peu 
connaisseur d'Aristote par Silvestre Me"dvdje> ; mais la doctrine 
de la justice n'a regu des deVeloppements sensibles que dans les 
cours de the"ologie caiques sur la Somme de St-Thomas d'Acquin. 

En effet, on distinguait, d'apres la Somme, les vertus morales 
des vertus the"ologiques et on y comprenait la prudence, la justice, 
la vaillance et la temperance ; mais on considerait la prudence 
comme une vertu intermediate entre les vertus the"ologiques et 
morales, ce qui permettait de placer la justice a la tete des vertus 
morales ; et on en traitait conjointement avec le droit. 

C'est done grace aux cours de the"ologie, et particulierement a 
leur partie intituled de jure et justitia, que les notions juridiques 
commencerent a s'infiltrer dans notre litterature. 

L'un des repr^sentants les plus caracteristiques de cette con- 
ception fut certainement un professeur de the"ologie a 1'academie 
de Kiev, qui y lisait, en 1696-1697, un cours contenant un 
tractatus theologicus de justitia. L'auteur, selon toute apparence 
Stefan Javorskij, donne dans son traite la definition de la justice 
autrefois formulae par Ulpien et rec^ue par St-Thomas d'Acquin, 
et tache d'etablir sur ce principe le rapport du souverain et des 

Stefan Javorskij delibere sur la justice commutative et 
distributive d'apres Aristote, St-Thomas d'Acquin ^et quelques 
auteurs scolastiques plus regents ; mais il admet, en outre, une dis- 
tinction posterieure, quoique deja inclue dans la Somme, de la justice 
legale et de la justice vindicative, notions qu'il pouvait puiser, par 
exemple, dans le traite de son confrere polonais Mlodzianowskij. 

D'apres cette the"orie la justice commutative regie les rapports 
prives des hommes, les autres justices les rapports re"ciproques du 
souverain et des sujets. 

En effet, la justice distributive fixe les devoirs de la com- 
munaute (communitas) envers les personnes privees : elle e"tablit ce 
a quoi chacune d'elles a droit, comme membre de la communaute". 
La justice le"gale fixe les devoirs des personnes privies envers la 
communaut6 ce que chacune d'elles doit faire pour le bien 
commun de la communaute dont elle est membre ; ce nexus 
legal est une sujetion formelle, si celui qui devient membre de la 
communaute exprime consciemment sa volonte d'en faire partie, ou 

xix] L y Idde de r&at en Russie 363 

reste traditionnel, s'il ne fait qu'admettre sa suje"tion, dont 1'acte a 
e"t accompli ante>ieurement par ceux qui ont t6 admis par la 
communaute" et reconnu par elle. Done, chaque sujet doit veiller 
au bien commun (respicere bonum commune titulo nexus ad 
communitatem). D'ailleurs, les devoirs de la communaute" ou de 
ses membres deviennent respectivement des droits ; la communaute", 
par exemple, possede le pouvoir, fonde* sur le nexus le"gal et sur la 
loi naturelle (firmata lege naturalt), c'est-a-dire le droit d'exiger des 
citoyens le sacrifice de leur bien et meme de leur vie pour la chose 

A 1'instar de la justice distributive et de la justice le"gale, la 
justice vindicative a en vue l'inte"rt de la communaute', mais elle le 
preserve, en en e*cartant le mal (nocumentum) par des peines qu'elle 
inflige a ceux qui les me"ritent ; elle les inflige honnetement 
pour preVenir les dommages, ou pour punir ceux qui les ont 

Comme on le voit, SteTan Javorskij remonte aux principes de 
1'Etat, fbnde"s sur la justice ; et c'est deja en combinaison avec le 
droit naturel qu'il Papplique au regime des personnes et des biens ; 
il en traite non sans 1'influence de St-Thomas d'Acquin et d'autres 
the"ologiens, par exemple, de Becanus. D'apres cette the"orie, les 
hommes, de par leur nature (ex natura), sont tous e"galement libres : 
1'homme ne peut etre [naturellement] 1'esclave d'un autre homme ; 
mais il peut le devenir grace au droit des gens, s'il est fait 
prisonnier dans une guerre juste ou en vertu de la loi positive (lex 
positivd) ; il peut aussi devenir esclave de son propre gre\ De 
meme la proprie'te' n'est pas fondle sur le droit naturel, mais sur le 
droit des gens (ius gentium\ c'est-a-dire sur le consentement des 
hommes, qui diviserent les biens. Du reste, cette division corres- 
pondait aux exigences de la raison, et en ce sens au droit naturel : 
car 1'homme a plus de soin de son propre bien que du bien commun, 
et dans l'e"tat primitif chacun pouvait deTendre aux autres d'user 
du bien commun, ce qui devenait une source de collisions perpe"- 
tuelles, qu'on ne pouvait faire cesser que par la division des biens. 

II m'est impossible d'entrer dans les deVeloppements que donne 
Stefan Javorskij de ces principes : il delibere, de meme que 
Mlodzianowski, sur l'objet et le sujet de la justice ; il disserte, 
pareillement a Becanus, sur les applications des principes de la 
justice commutative et de la justice vindicative aux cas juridiques, 

364 A. Lappo-Danilevskij [xix 

et traite, dans sa Casuistique des donations, des testaments et 
des contrats ; des devoirs du juge, de 1'accusateur , des te"moins 
et du coupable ; des arrets judiciaires, de la restitution des 
droits, etc. 

J'espere tout de meme que les remarques que j'ai faites suffisent 
pour conclure que Stefan Javorskij donne dans son cours de 
the"ologie une espece de traite syste"matique de jurisprudence 
ge"ne"rale, de provenance scolastique, mais d'une assez large porte"e : 
il commence a appliquer les principes du droit naturel du moyen 
age dans le domaine du droit civil, mais ne s'en rapporte pas a 
ce droit dans celui du droit public et n'y remonte presque pas pour 
en deduire le rapport du souverain et des sujets. 1 Ce que je 
voudrais noter encore c'est que ces idees commenc^aient a s'infiltrer 
dans la pratique : la legislation moscovite du temps du tsar Fe"odor 
AlexejeVicz n'y etait pas tout a fait trangere. Le celebre oukase 
de 1682 (janv. 12, v.s.) sur 1'abolition des droits de rang et de 
pre"seance des families nobles, c'est-a-dire du mjestniczestvo> en 
porte les traces. Dans 1'allocution que le tsar avait adresse"e aux 
etats assembles, et qui a e"t inclue dans 1'acte de 1'abolition, il 
disait qu'il avait re$u son sceptre de la main de Dieu pour prendre 
soin de tout ce qui concerne le bien commun et d'e"carter tout ce 
qui lui porte atteinte ; c'est de ce point de vue qu'il abolissait le 
mjestniczestvo, comme nuisible au bien commun de 1'fitat . 2 

Comme on le voit, le tsar Fe"odor Alexeje"vicz avait deja 
quelque notion theorique du bien commun de 1'Etat ; il 1'^rigeait 
en principe de sa reTorme, et lui donnait une valeur qu'il n'a acquise 
definitivement qu'aux temps de Pierre le Grand. 

L'idee religieuse de 1'Etat en Russie a done subi une Evolution, 
grace a laquelle elle se reliait a 1'id^e s^culiere de TEtat. 

Plusieurs autres facteurs ont contribue" a cette secularisation ; 
je n'en releverai ici que ceux qui ont influe' plus bu moins directe- 
ment sur Involution de nos id^es politiques du XVII e siecle. 

D'abord, c'est le mouvement litteraire issu du milieu des 

1 Tractatus theologid collegia Kiioivo-Mohileano traditi et explicati, 
Tractatus de iustitia^ MS. de la Kievo-Petcherskaja Lawra, N vii. 40. 

2 Codpanie locyd. ^paM. u doi., P. iv. N 130 ; cf. IIoji. Co6p. 3aK., t. ii. 
N 905, PP- 373-374- 

xix] LIdde de lit at en Russie 365 

Les judai'sants (zidowstwoujouchczii) ont jou en Russie au 
XV e -XVI e siecles un r61e analogue a celui des averroi'stes du Xlll e : 
ils nous ont donne" une logique et une politique, inclue dans le 
trait^ Secreta secretorum. Ce trait a e"t probablement connu 
en Russie dans une version juive (et non pas arabe ou latine), 
re"dige"e en Allemagne : c'est de la qu'elle a pu etre importee dans 
la Russie de 1'Ouest et se propager en Moscovie. 

Les Secreta secretorum, faussement attribus a Aristote, ont, 
certes, un caractere medieval fort prononc : ils ne sont pas 
denudes de superstitions, proposent toutes sortes de conseils sur 
l'utilit de 1'astrologie, sur les proprie"te"s miraculeuses ou salutaires 
des pierres pre"cieuses et des plantes, etc.; mais ils contiennent 
aussi quelques principes plus rationnels que ceux qui avaient 
habituellement cours dans notre litte"rature du XVP siecle. Les 
Secreta secretorum prdnent, par exemple, les principes de la 
raison, grace a laquelle les patens meme ont pu connaitre et 
e"tablir quelques regies de justice et d'honnetete utiles a 1'ordre 
public. Les Secreta secretorum introduisent ces principes rationnels 
dans la politique : elle aussi doit etre fonde'e sur la raison et sur la 
justice qui en de"coule ; c'est d'apres ces principes que le prince doit 
gouverner ses sujets. 

L'occultisme des Secreta secretorum pre"sentait, probablement, 
beaucoup plus d'inte"ret pour nos lecteurs que leur rationalisme, ce 
qui explique, probablement, leur propagation en Russie : nous n'en 
connaissons pas moins de dix copies, dont deux appartiennent 
meme au XVIII 6 siecle. 1 

D'ailleurs, outre ce mouvement collateral, il est facile de constater 
que la Renaissance et la Re"forme ont certainement influe" sur 
Involution de l'ide seculiere de PEtat en Russie. 

C'est grace a 1'influence de la Renaissance que la philosophic 
pratique s'est quelque peu diffe"rencie de la religion et a commenc 
a servir de base plus inde"pendante aux theories politiques. 

Du reste, les humanistes du xvi e siecle, tels que 1'^crivain 
polonais Petricij, par exemple, se reprsentaient la philosophic 

1 Aristotelis philosophorum maximi Secretum Secretorum ad Alexandrum 
de regum regimine, etc.; j'avais a ma portee 1'edition : Bononiae, 1516, de la 
Bibliotheque royale de Dresde ; 1'ancienne traduction russe a e^e* publiee par 
M. Speranskij ; v. M. CnepancKiS, Apucmomejieeu Bpama, IlaM. flpee. 
. u Hcnyc., N clxxi. CIIB., 1908. 

366 A. Lappo-Danilevskij [xix 

pratique dans un schema qu'Aristote avait deja admis dans ses 
ouvrages, et qui e"tait depuis longtemps regu dans la scolastique. 
Us y distinguaient trois parties : la premiere traitait de la morale 
individuelle, en ge"ne"ral (monastica seu solitaria) ; la seconde des 
regies de la vie domestique (economica seu domestica) ; la troisieme 
des principes de la vie en commun, politique ou civile (politico, 
seu civilis). 

Ces diverses parties, qui survivent encore dans le systeme de 
Chr. Wolf, se retrouvent dans notre littrature du XVIP siecle. 

II est vrai qu'elle n'est pas originale, et qu'elle ne fait que repro- 
duire des traductions ou des ouvrages polonais, par exemple, le 
DesideriuS) dialogue sur 1'amour de Dieu, e"crit par un catholique, 
mais dans un esprit mystique de morale individuelle ; VEconomique 
d'Aristote, interpreted par Petricij, les pre"ceptes que Lorichius 
proposait aux princes et autres chefs , etc. 1 Tous ces traits ont 
e"t6 traduits en russe d'une maniere assez satisfaisante ; mais ces 
traductions ne sont pas toujours de fideles reproductions des 
originaux. La traduction des Loci communes de Lorichius, par 
exemple, ne contient, pour la plupart, que des regies pratiques 
concernant l'e"ducation du chef, et des moyens secrets et 
astucieux qu'il a a sa disposition pour gouverner ses sujets. 

Je ne ferais qu'indiquer ici en passant que plusieurs ide"es sur les 
principes du gouvernement se trouvent encore dans des dissertations, 
d'ailleurs aussi peu originales, sur les causes de la decadence des 
empires, par exemple, dans une compilation de Ssadowskij, con- 
tenant quelques idees d'Aristote et d'autres auteurs sur la matiere, 
notamment de Chokier, etc. - Cette compilation a subi au moins deux 
redactions, et fut assez prise"e par nos lecteurs du XVIF et du com- 
mencement du XVIII 6 siecle. 

Quoique la reTorme n'ait pas eu le temps de s'affermir en 
Pologne et d'y Jeter des racines plus ou moins profondes, elle a 

1 Espejo de Religiosos^ Burgos, J. Junta, 1548; trad, latine de 1616 
(Desiderosus, dialogus . . de expedita ad Dei amorem vita) ; trad, polonaise 
de G. Wilkowskij, 1589 (beaucoup de reeditions) ; trad, russe du moine 
Theophane du monastere du Miracle de 1'archange Michel, faite en 1688 et 
imprimee a Moscou en 1785. S. Petrici, Oekonomiki Aristotelesoivej . . . 
ksi$gi dwoje^ 2 ed. Krak., 1618 ; trad, russe au Musee public de Rou- 
mjanzev a Moscou, N 627, R. Lorichius, Loci communes de institutione 
prinripum> Marburg, 1558; trad, polonaise, Crac, 1558; trad, russe, MS. 
appartenant au monastere Florichtcheva Poustyn , N 138/712. 

xix] LIctte de r lit at en Russie 367 

eu quelque influence sur plusieurs hommes de lettres polonais, par 
exemple sur Frycz (Modrzevskij), auteur du fameux traite" de la 

Frycz a passe plusieurs anne"es a tudier les lettres dans les 
centres protestants de la civilisation allemande, a Wittemberg et a 
Nuremberg, et est entre* en relations personnelles avec Mlanchthon 
et ses collegues ; cela a eu quelque influence sur son ouvrage. L'auteur 
du traite de la Republique reste, il est vrai, catholique, mais il veut 
profiter de quelques idees promues par la ReTorme, pour re"organiser 
le monde catholique et 1'Iitat. 

Grace a cette largeur de vues Frycz a pu introduire dans sa 
politique non seulement les ide*es d'Aristote, mais les premiers 
Elements du droit naturel, e'labore' principalement par les e"crivains 
protestants, entre autres par Me"lanchthon et ses emules. Frycz y 
raisonne sur l'e"galite naturelle des hommes (du moins sous quelques 
rapports), et en de"duit que 1'exemption des nobles de la peine de 
mort applique"e aux classes rurales est injuste; il y de"montre que les 
principes de cette justice doivent servir de fondement aux mceurs 
et aux lois ; il y recherche les origines de 1'Etat, et le relie (non 
sans quelques inconsequences) a 1'acte de translation du pouvoir que 
les hommes ont remis (deferebant] a celui qu'ils estimaient le plus pru- 
dent et le plus juste, se soumettant ainsi non pas a 1'homme, mais a 
la raison, c'est-a-dire, a la loi naturelle . . . ; il y proclame, en con- 
squence de ces principes, que le pouvoir du roi est e"tabli pour le 
bonheur de ses sujets, qu'il est soumis aux lois de meme que ses 
sujets, que la loi doit etre Equitable pour tous, que (d'apres une the"orie 
chere a Cice"ron) le gouvernement mixte est le meilleur, etc. 

C'est dans Petition polonaise de 1577 du traite" de Frycz qu'on 
peut trouver le deVeloppement de toutes ces ide"es (excepte" le livre 
sur PEglise) ; la traduction russe du traite", faite d'apres cette Edition 
et presque complete, est Tune des meilleures que nous posse"dons 
en ce genre ; elle remonte probablement au XVII 6 siecle ; quoique 
elle ne soit connue que d'apres une copie du XVIII 6 , et porte les traces 
d'un remaniement poste'rieur. 1 

1 Andreae Fricii Modrevij Commentariorum de Republica emendanda libri 
quinque, I ed. (incomplete) Crac. Laz. i 5 5 I ; je me suis servi de 1'edition de 
Basileae, 1554; traduction polonaise, edition de I 577, drukowano w Losku, 
avec des additions ; le MS. de la traduction russe, faite probablement du 
polonais, se trouve dans la collection de manuscrits du Comte Ouvaroff, 
N 790. Le livre De Ecclesia est omis dans les traductions latine et russe. 

368 A. Lappo-Danilevskij [xix 

II est done possible de conclure, que la Renaissance, et meme 
la ReTorme, ont eu quelque influence sur nos ide"es politiques par 
I'interm^diaire de la Pologne ; mais les ides essentielles de la 
ReTorme, et la litte'rature poste"rieure qui se rapportait au droit 
naturel et a la jurisprudence pratique, nous sont parvenues grace 
aux relations directes de la Russie avec 1'Europe, et principalement 
avec 1'Europe protestante. 

C'est justement cette tendance qui a trouve" un adversaire decide" 
dans la personne de Crizanicz, mule de Possevin et partisan secret 
de l'glise grecque unie. 

Crizanicz puise ses principes presque exclusivement dans la 
civilisation catholique : il n'est pas exempt des traditions scolas- 
tiques ; meme dans ses theses politiques il s'en rapporte plut6t a 
St-Thomas d'Acquin qu'a Aristote, aime mieux Bellarmin que 
Mariana, et prefere Juste Lipse a Paruta et Botero a Bodin. 
Crizanicz voulait inoculer cette culture aux peuples slaves, et par- 
ticulierement aux moscovites ; il pensait que la monarchic tait la 
forme de gouvernement la plus propice a la propagande des ides 
qu'il s'e"tait decide" a introduire en Russie. 

Relativement a la fin religieuse, que Crizanicz se proposait 
d'atteindre, son traite" politique n'e"tait qu'un moyen, par lequel il 
croyait pouvoir gagner les bonnes graces du tsar, en lui disant des 
choses utiles et agrables . C'est pourquoi il se gardait bien d'y 
toucher aux matieres religieuses et cle>icales, et donnait ainsi a son 
contenu un caractere sculier. 

D'ailleurs, ce caractere se renforgait par la tendance nationaliste 
que Crizanicz recommandait aux peuples slaves et aux moscovites, 
en particulier dans leur politique sculiere. 

Quant au rapport entre le souverain et les sujets, Crizanicz 
preTere se le repre"senter sous la forme d'une monarchic absolue, qu'il 
reconnait, de meme que Juste Lipse, comme la meilleure forme de 
gouvernement celle qui doit donner le plus de forces a la nation ; 
mais en distinguant la monarchic le"gitime, institute par Dieu, de la 
tyrannic, il admet tout de meme une espece de pacte entre le mo- 
narque et ses sujets qui les garantit des exces de son pouvoir. A la 
maniere de Faust d'Aschaffenburg, qui dissertait assez longuement 
sur le iuramentum subiectionis, Crizanicz parle des serments ou 
des promesses , que le souverain et les sujets se pretent ou se 
donnent mutuellement, mais sans leur attribuer la valeur supple"- 

xix] LIdde de r&tat en Russie 369 

mentaire d'obligations naturelles : ces serments consistent en ce que 
le monarque jure au peuple qu'il accomplira ses devoirs et prendra 
soin du bien commun, et que ses heritiers, a leur couronnement, 
en feront de mme ; et que le peuple jure, a son tour, apres le 
monarque, de lui etre obe"issant et fidele. Tout en pensant que le 
pouvoir monarchique le"gitime avait e"te" institue par Dieu, ne 
fusse que par Pinterme'diaire du peuple, et que le monarque n'tait 
responsable qu'a Dieu, les hommes n'ayant pas le droit de le juger 
et de le punir, Crizanicz ne croit pas pouvoir appliquer ces principes 
sans quelques restrictions : il les formule, probablement non sans 
Pinfluence des theories de quelques -uns de ses confreres sur la 
souverainete" du peuple dans les choses temporelles ; il trouve que 
cette suje"tion a des bornes : elle peut etre enfreinte, si le monarque, 
malgre" ses promesses, devient un here'tique, ou livre son pays au 
pouvoir des Strangers, de mme que s'il se transforme en tyran, que 
Dieu peut punir par Pinterme"diaire du peuple ; elle ne subsiste plus 
envers l'e"tranger, qui s'est empare" du pouvoir. Dans ces cas-la le 
peuple peut se choisir un autre monarque, avec lequel il ^change 
de nouvelles promesses ou de nouveaux serments. 1 

Du reste Crizanicz n'a pas reussi a obtenir la confiance et le 
credit qu'il voulait acque"rir aupres du tsar, et a entraver la pro- 
pagation des ide"es nouvelles sur PEtat, meme en Moscovie. Une 
illustration assez curieuse de Pinfiltration de ces ide"es, ou plutdt 
des Merits qui les contenaient, nous presente la bibliotheque d'un 
hollandais russifie" Andr Vinius. 

Le djak moscovite Andre" Vinius s'e"tait e"tabli a Moscou, mais 
il avait conserve" des relations avec son pays natal, nomme'ment 
avec Witsen, le docte bourguemestre d' Amsterdam. 

Vinius etait un grand amateur de livres : sa bibliotheque pre"- 
sentait un assortiment d'ouvrages assez vane's, mais choisis non sans 
quelque discernement ; elle contenait, par exemple, des Merits sur 
la religion, la philosophic, les belles-lettres, le droit, etc. ; parmi les 

1 J. Crizanicz, Razgowori ob wladdtelstwu^ MS. de la Bibliotheque de la 
Typographic du Synode a Moscou, N I799/43Q?, ft 33$, 345, 744-745, 
778, etc. ; texte public par Bezssonov, v. i. pp. 276-278, 281, 310 sq., 331, 
334, 402 sq. ; v. ii. pp. 29 sq., 49-80, 168-169, 239-240, etc. Voir aussi la 
notice de 1641, le rapport de Crizanicz a Levakovicz de 1646-1647 et quelques 
autres documents, publics par M. Bjelokourov ; v. C. BiMOKypOBt, HZT> 
dyxoenuu wcmnu MocKoecnaio OdiM/ecmea xvii. B., M. 1903, pp. 87-126, 
144, 173-179, etc. 


37 -^- Lappo-Danilevskij [xix 

ouvrages sur la jurisprudence et la politique pre"dominaient ceux 
qui se rapportaient principalement a la litte>ature hollandaise et 
allemande du XVl e -XVII e siecles. On pouvait y trouver quelques 
trace's concernant le droit naturel, par exemple, celui de Grotius 
De jure belli ac pads et les Annotata de son antagoniste a Felde ; 
les Enarrationes de Kling et le Richterbuchelein (Gerichtsblichelein) 
de Vigel, tous deux ayant quelque rapport au droit naturel, et 
meme le programme du cours sur la jurisprudence que Thomasius 
lisait en 1699 a Halle. On pouvait y rencontrer aussi quelques 
manuels relatifs a la jurisprudence allemande pratique, par exemple, 
le Viridarium juridicum_ de Gilhausen, la Synopsis politicarum 
doctrinarum de Besoldus, etc. 1 

La presence de ces ouvrages dans la bibliotheque du djak 
moscovite, qui devint Tun des collaborateurs de Pierre le Grand, 
peut servir d'indice des interets qui commengaient a poindre : dans 
ce temps-la 1'idee se"culiere de 1'Etat s'introduisait dej'a en Moscovie ; 
en somme, sa the"orie se reliait au droit naturel, mais elle ne s'est 
affermie dans les esprits que grace a la secularisation ulte"rieure de 
l'ide"e de 1'Etat, promue par la doctrine de Pintere^t de 1'Etat et 
manifested dans le Polizeistaat. 

L'idee utilitaire de 1'Etat a traverse", du reste, une pe>iode de 
transition avant d'acquerir le caractere foncierement seculier et 
politique qui lui est propre. 

En effet on peut indiquer, au XVII 6 siecle et au commence- 
ment du XVIIP, quelques doctrines mixtes, orthodoxes et utili- 
taires; par exemple, celles d'Ordine-Nachtchokine et de Possochkov. 

Ordine-Nachtchokine, homme d'Etat Eminent du temps d'Alexej 
Mihajlovicz, professait, par exemple, une doctrine dans laquelle 
les concepts de Moscou, comme centre du monde pravoslave et 
de la prawda, se combinaient avec le concept du profit du souverain 
(gossoudarevo djelo\ qu'il identifiait avec le profit de 1'Etat (gos- 
soudastwennyja djela). C'est au point de vue utilitaire, et non 
seulement religieux qu'Ordine-Nachtchokine preTere, par exemple, 
la monarchic au regime republicain qui produit toutes sortes 
d'erreurs et de perturbations*; c'est au meme point de vue qu'il 

1 Catalogue de la bibliotheque d' Andre Vinius, MS. de la Bibliotheque 
Imperiale des Sciences de St-Petersbourg, N xxi/a3 ; transcriptions russes 
dans le Cabinet de Pierre le Grand , Archives de 1'Etat, Bxo^;. N 42, ff. 37- 
70, et N 9 2, ff. 321-357. 

xix] LIdde de lEtat en Russie 371 

considere les rapports du souverain et des sujets, qu'il exige plus 
d'inde"pendance pour les pouvoirs interme"diaires et plus d'initiative 
dans le self-government des villes, qu'il recommande 1'introduction 
de plusieurs institutions europe"ennes, etc. 

Ordine-Nachtchokine n'e"tait pas le seul a e"mettre de ces ide"es : 
on pourrait trouver un melange analogue dans les ouvrages de 

La doctrine de l'inte"rt de 1'Etat commengait meme en ce temps- 
la a se differencier des autres : Vinius, qui est probablement 1'auteur 
d'un curieux projet sur les e"tablissements de charite", y expose 
quelques-uns de ses e" laments : au point de vue du profit du 
souverain , qu'il entend principalement dans le sens mercantile, et 
du bien commun, il exige que les sujets s'instruisent et travaillent 
pour ne pas manger en vain leur pain quotidien . En lisant ce 
. projet on dirait que c'est Pierre le Grand qui parle : en tout cas, il 
s'est tres bien assimile' cette conception utilitaire de 1'Etat, et a 
grandement contribue" a son affermissement. 1 

Pierre le Grand ne pouvait, eVidemment, rompre avec les 
anciennes traditions moscovites : dans ses ordonnances et autres 
Merits il cite les theories du tsar et de 1'etat pravoslaves, et men- 
tionne le principe de la prawda^ particulierement dans ses applica- 
tions a la justice ; mais c'est une ide"e seculiere et utilitaire, celle de 
1'interet de 1'Etat, qu'il prone le plus souvent. 

C'est bien la conception de 1'interet de 1'Etat, intimement 
lie"e a celle de la police , et non pas la notion e"troite de la 
raison d'Etat, que Pierre le Grand admet pour principe de sa 

Cette ide"e, effleure"e par Seckendorff, pr^curseur des polic^istes 
du XVIir siecle, s'^tait d^ja incorpor^e dans la monarchic absolue 
de Louis XIV et se pratiquait par Colbert ; elle se d^veloppait en 
Prusse dans le Polizeistaat, particulierement depuis 1'ordonnance 
du roi Fre"de"ric Guillaume [ er du 2 juin 1713 ; elle n'e"tait pas tout 
a fait ^trangere aux hommes d'etat russes du XVII 8 siecle ; et 
c'est plutdt de la pratique que de la the'orie, peu e'labore'e d'ailleurs, 
que Pierre le Grand a naturellement pulse" 1'id^e utilitaire de 1'Etat. 

Pierre le Grand en a meme fait le principe dominant de son 
systeme, et s'en rapportait a ce principe, conforme a sa nature active 

1 06^ odWfecmeeuuoM-b npuspnniu ea Pocciu, H3,n. npn 
A. CToroMt, CUB., 1818 r., P. i. pp. 31-39. 

372 A. Lappo-Danilevskij [xix 

et a son gout novateur, pour motiver la plupart de ses reTormes. 
Le tsar ne distinguait pas le profit (polza) du souverain du 
profit de 1'Etat , et identifiait ces concepts avec ceux de l'inte"ret de 
1'lLtat; le reglement ge"ne"ral des colleges, par exemple, explique 
ce qu'il faut entendre par ce terme : l'interet c'est le profit ou 
Putilite" du souverain et de 1'Etat. 1 

D'apres ce principe le tsar et son gouvernement devait prendre 
soin du bien-etre de la population, utile & 1'Etat ; c'est en vue de 
1'utilite" commune qu'il devait le"gife"rer, gouverner, policer, pro- 
te"ger et juger ses sujets ; d'autre part, les sommations du pouvoir, 
dont il disposait envers ses sujets, devenaient d'autant plus irre"- 
fragables, qu'ils se profe"raient au nom de ce principe ; les sujets 
lui devaient une obe"issance incontestable. 

Cependant, tout en renforc.ant les traditions du pouvoir auto- 
cratique qu'il avait la possibility d'exercer sans contrainte, Pierre le 
Grand ne pouvait conside"rer 1'inte'ret de 1'Etat comme un principe 
juridique de sa constitution ; en 1'interpr^tant comme il 1'entendait 
lui-meme, il n'en faisait, au fond, qu'une regie de sa politique ; au 
nom de 1'lLtat, de son inte"rt et du bien-etre ge"ne"ral qu'il lui sub- 
ordonnait, le tsar tablissait ses relations avec ses sujets meme dans 
les details de leur vie prive*e. 

D'ailleurs, en prenant inte"ret la civilisation plut6t protestante 
que catholique, Pierre le Grand a favorise" lui-meme la propagation 
de quelques notions du droit naturel, dans lequel on pouvait trouver 
les dements d'une conception juridique de 1'Etat : il a fait faire, par 
exemple, une traduction russe du petit traite" de Pufendorff sur les 
devoirs de 1'homme et du citoyen, et a contribue" a 1'expansion de 
quelques ide"es de Hobbes, conformes a ses fins politiques. 

L'un des collaborateurs de Pierre le Grand le gouverneur de 
Kiev, Golitzyne organisa meme toute une se>ie de travaux, con- 
sistant a traduire les principaux ouvrages sur le droit naturel et la 
politique ; The"ofane Prokopowicz y prenait part, avec quelques 
eleves de l'acade"mie de Kiev. C'est grace a cette organisation que 
les grands traite"s de Grotius, de Pufendorff, de Locke et de bien 
d'autres moralistes et politiques du XVIF et du XVIII 6 siecles 
ont paru dans des traductions russes. Ces traductions ne sont pas 
toujours completes : elles pre"sentent quelquefois des coupures ou 
des abreViations faites non sans quelque conformite avec le but 
i. Co6p. 3aK., v. vi. N 3534. 

xix] L Idde de r &tat en Russie 373 

que les traducteurs se proposaient de donner un apergu gne"ral 
de telle ou telle doctrine. 

Une notice pre"liminaire que je trouve a la tete de la traduction 
russe de 1'essai de Locke sur le gouvernement pre"sente quelque 
inte"ret : cette notice donne une ide"e de ce qu'on entendait alors par 
le droit naturel, et est congue ainsi qu'il suit. Chacun doit connaitre 
[les principes] d'apres lesquels il doit vivre en socie"te" civile en con- 
formite' avec les lois naturelles. ... II est ne"cessaire de distinguer 
diffe'rents genres de relations civiles : celle du mari et de la femme ; 
celle des parents et des enfants ; celle des maitres et des esclaves ; 
celle de plusieurs families demeurant ensemble et subordonnes a 
une meme loi. Bien des auteurs ont e"crit sur ces matieres, mais 
les modernes en ont traite" avec plus de perfection que les anciens ; 
ils ont e"lucide" et affermi les principes de la morale et de la vie civile. 
Grotius et Pufendorff en sont les fondateurs ; plusieurs autres leur 
ont succe"de", mais ne s'accordent pas entre eux. D'ailleurs, tous 
sont d'accord que la morale et la vie civile sont fondles sur les 
devoirs que chacun a envers soi-meme et envers les autres. Les 
devoirs de chacun envers soi-meme reposent sur le principe : connais- 
toi toi-me'me ; les devoirs de chacun envers les autres sur le principe : 
ne fais pas aux autres ce que tu ne voudrais pas qu'on te fasse. 
La divergence des opinions ne se fait jour que quand on commence 
a raisonner sur 1'^tablissement de la societe" civile, sur les lois qui 
en ont etc* le fondement, et sur le pouvoir, auquel elle doit e"tre 
subordonne"e. En effet, les uns pensent que les hommes ont t 
obliges, pour se soustraire aux agressions et a la ruine, de se 
subjuguer au plus fort et de vivre sous les lois, qu'il voudrait 
bien leur donner. D'autres supposent que les hommes se sont 
spontane"ment rassemble's en societe", ayant en vue leur inte*ret 
et leur tranquillite", pour conserver leur liberte", leur proprie'te' et 
leur vie de toute agression et violence ; que grace a une entente 
commune ils se sont faits des lois et se sont choisis un gardien de 
ces lois, qui devait vivre selon elles et n'avait pas de pouvoir sur la 
liberte", la proprie'te' et la vie des citoyens. D'aucuns pensent enfin 
que les hommes, rassemble's en vue de ces fins, ont donne" les lois, 
qu'ils se sont faites, a garder non pas a un seul homme, mais a 
plusieurs, car un seul est plus apte a se tromper que plusieurs. 1 

1 MS. de la traduction russe de 1'ouvrage de J. Locke sur <tle gouverne- 
ment civil , a la Bibliotheque Imperiale de St-Petersbourg, F. ii. 41. 

374 <d- Lappo-Danilevskij [xix 

C'est dans ces conceptions differentes que le droit nature! 
a eu quelque propagation en Russie au commencement du XVIIP 
siecle. Pierre le Grand et son collaborateur The"ofane Prokopo- 
vicz ont particulierement prise" la the"orie de Hobbes, qu'il e"tait 
facile d'adapter au pouvoir autocratique du tsar; Golitzyne et 
Tatichczev ont pre"fe"re" les ides de Grotius et de ses e"mules, et en 
ont profite", de fagons diffe"rentes, dans leurs projets de 1730. 

Pierre le Grand et The"ofane Prokopovicz ont expose" leur doc- 
trine principalement dans le traite" intitule" Prawda voli monarchej, 
c'est-a-dire, Du droit que le monarque a de se designer un 
successeur . Les principes de ce traite", hormis les Saintes ^critures, 
sont pulse's en grande partie des ouvrages de Hobbes. On peut y 
remarquer surtout cette influence, par exemple, dans la disserta- 
tion sur 1'origine du pouvoir absolu, dont le monarque est 
revetu non seulement par la grace de Dieu, mais aussi par 
le peuple qu'il inspire ; le peuple s'est destitue" de sa 
volonte" commune et 1'a donne"e au monarque ; investi de ce 
pouvoir souverain, le monarque absolu n'est responsable qu'a 
Dieu ; il n'est pas subordonne" aux lois qu'il donne a ses sujets ; 
il les execute sans contrainte par son bon vouloir ; et meme s'il les 
transgresse, il ne peut etre juge" par ses sujets, s'il n'a pas e'te' 
e"lu a condition d'observer certaines clauses restrictives, qu'il a 
expresse"ment accepte"es. Le monarque russe, dont le pouvoir n'a 
pas e"te" limite" par des clauses, est done absolu, et la Prawda 
voli monarchej lui attribue la summa potestas, que Theofane 
Prokopovicz de"finit, d'apres la formule de Grotius, comme celle dont 
les actes sont independants de tout autre pouvoir supe"rieur, en sorte 
qu'ils ne peuvent etre annulle*s par aucune autre volont humaine . 1 

Dans la formule de 1'autocratisme que donnent les reglements de 
I'arm6e et de la marine de Pierre le Grand on retrouve ces e"le"ments, 

1 H. Grotius, De jure belli ac pads, lib. i. cap. 3, 7. IIpaB,na BOM 
MOHapmeft, CIIB., 1726, ff. n, 15, i6-i6v., etc. Theophane Proko- 
povicz a probablement puise ses idees non seulement dans les traites de 
Hobbes, Grotius, etc., mais aussi dans celui de T. F. Buddaeus intitule : 
Exercitatio juris naturalis de successoribus primogenitorum, Halle, 1695 ; 
voyez ses Selecta juris naturae et gentium, 1717. II est vrai que 
Theophane Prokopovicz introduit dans sa formule I'ide'e du bien commun : 
le peuple s'est destitue de sa volonte en faveur du monarque pour qu'il le 
gouverne pour le bien commun ; mais c'est plutot comme motif ou comme 
fin, que comme clause, expressement acceptee par celui qu'on revetait du 
pouvoir absolu. 

xix] Uldde de rtat en Russie 375 

exprime"s, du reste, dans les termes de la decision du rigsdag 
sue"dois de 1693 ; mais la formule russe contient un mot, qui 
porte peut-etre, si je ne me trompe pas, les traces de 1'influence 
des ides de Hobbes ou de Pufendorff: d'apres cette formule le 
souverain gouverne non seulement selon sa volont, mais 
comme il le trouve le plus convenable (blagomnjenie). Or, 
Hobbes admettait que le souverain peut user de son pouvoir, 
comme il le trouve le plus convenable (expedient) pour la conser- 
vation de la paix et de la scurit commune ; et Pufendorff expri- 
mait aussi une idee analogue en disant que le monarque dispose du 
pouvoir absolu, grace auquel il peut gouverner d'apres son propre 
jugement ... en tant que l'e"tat present des choses parait 1'exiger. 1 

Et c'est justement de cette maniere que Pierre le Grand pouvait 
relier la the"orie du pouvoir absolu du monarque a la doctrine de 
l'inte~ret de I'lttat. 

II serait facile de dduire de ces propositions quelques con- 
clusions concernant les prerogatives du monarque la subordination 
de 1'Eglise a 1'Etat ; la suppression des institutions qui pouvaient 
gener le pouvoir autocratique, de la douma des bojares, des 
assemblies des e"tats (zemskii ssobory\ etc. ; mais je n'ai pas la 
possibility d'entrer dans ces developpements. 

D'ailleurs, les prerogatives du monarque, indues dans la formule 
prcite"e, ne demandaient pas d'elucidations aussi e"tendues que ses 
devoirs. La Prawda voli monarchej les dduit des lois inscrites 
par le Cre"ateur dans le coeur des hommes, ce qui donnait la 
possibility de les relier aux lois naturelles ; les reglements et les 
ordonnances les rattachent plutot a la doctrine utilitaire de 1'Etat. 

Quoiqu'il en soit, c'est en se basant sur la theologie naturelle, 
et particulierement sur la politique utilitaire, qu'on pouvait se faire 
une idee du monarque comme du premier serviteur de 1'Etat. 
Pierre le Grand a assez clairement exprim cette pense, en disant 
qu'il n'e"pargnait pas sa personne pour l'utilit commune de 1'Etat . 

C'est d'apres des principes analogues que Pierre le Grand 
concevait les droits et les devoirs de ses sujets : l'tat leur concede 
des droits dont quelques-uns remontent meme au droit naturel, 
mais la plupart se conforme aux services qu'ils lui rendent ; car ils 

1 Th. Hobbes, Leviathan, Pt. ii. ch. 17 (Works, ed. W. Molesworth, v. iii. 
p. 158). S. Pufendorff, De officio hominis et civis, lib. ii. cap. ix. 5. Ho A. 
Co6. 3a,K. v. v. N 3006 (ch. iii. 20) ; v. vi. N 3485 (liv. v. ch. i. 2, glose). 

376 A. Lappo-Danilevskij [xix 

doivent incontestablement servir au bien de l'tat ; ils deviennent 
ses serviteurs, c'est-a-dire ceux du monarque, comme son repre"- 
sentant, et ils lui en sont responsables. 

Cest un melange analogue d'ide"es rationnelles et utilitaires qu'on 
retrouve dans plusieurs autres principes, assimile's par Pierre le 
Grand, par exemple, dans celui de le"galite". 

L'ide"e de 1'ordre rationnel avait peut-etre quelque peu influ 
sur le principe de le"galite" de Pierre le Grand, qu'il n'a pas re"ussi, 
d'ailleurs, a deVelopper syste"matiquement dans un code des Ibis : 
il distinguait les lois perpe" tuelles des lois temporelles, le gouverne- 
ment de 1'administration de la justice, les divers organes qui la 
pratiquaient, les uns des autres, etc. ; mais la doctrine de l'inte"ret de 
1'foat donnait encore plus de force a ces principes : rien n'est plus 
indispensable au gouvernement de 1'Etat, disait Pierre le Grand, que 
1'observation des lois ; c'est en correspondance avec cette doctrine 
utilitaire qu'il proclamait, par exemple, la ne"cessit de son systeme 
de surveillance fiscale et de la justice administrative qu'il commengait 
a distinguer de celle qui administrait les torts particuliers . 

Ce m^me principe de tegalite" re"clamait eVidemment 1'observation 
obligatoire des lois par tous les particuliers, qui ne pouvaient s'en 
de"dire par leur ignorance. 

Du reste, Pierre le Grand n'e"tait pas en e"tat de donner a son 
principe de le"galite" des bases solides : comme monarque absolu il 
pouvait toujours s'immiscer dans toutes les affaires, et son regime 
bureaucratique tenait a sa merci les particuliers. 

Ce n'est que dans le domaine de la justice que ce principe a 
regu une valeur plus inde"pendante. Le Tableau de la procedure 
civile, compose" sous 1'influence du code de Saxe, se reTere meme 
au droit naturel, qui en est la base , car, d'apres le droit naturel, 
chacun a le droit de se conserver et de se defendre des attentats 
des autres ; mais ce principe n'y est pas de" veloppe", par exemple, 
dans ses applications a la proprie"te". C'est plut6t la doctrine utili- 
taire du Polizeistaat qui re"servait plus d'independance a la 
justice. Le tsar preTe>ait donner des regies generates aux cours de 
justice que d'intervenir dans les cas particuliers qu'elles devaient 
juger d'apres ces regies; mais, en conside>ant tout ce qui est 
nuisible a PJitat comme un crime, il donnait la possibility d'appli- 
quer ce point de vue utilitaire et politique a la procedure criminelle ; 
en definitive, il restait lui-meme, pour bien des cas, 1'instance 

xix] L Idde de rtat en Russie 377 

supreme ou unique, par exemple, dans sa chancellerie secrete , et 
pouvait toujours soumettre a son propre jugement tout ce que bon lui 
semblalt, et rendre ses decisions conforme'ment a ses fins politiques. 

D'ailleurs, le principe de l^galite* dans 1'administration de la 
justice garantissait 1'inviolabilite" des personnes et des biens et leur 
droit dese deTendre des attentats des autres , mais avec les reserves, 
implique'es dans le regime politique, que je viens d'indiquer. 1 

La doctrine de 1'Etat, base sur le droit naturelde Hobbes, recelait 
done une grave lacune qu'elle ne re"ussissait pas a combler par les 
notions supplementaires de"duites de Pide"e utilitaire de 1'Etat : cette 
the"orie n'etablissait pas ce rapport juridique entre le souverain et les 
sujets, que Grotius pre"supposait de"ja dans son corpus voluntate con- 
tractum, et que ses e'mules ont essaye" d'elucider dans leurs traits. 

Et c'est ce que quelques politiques russes ont su appre"cier : 
Golitzyne et Tatichczev en profiterent dans leurs projets de la 
constitution de 1730, quoique de manieres diffe" rentes. 

Golitzyne ne s'est mis a e"tudier le droit naturel qu'apres un 
assez long stade preparatoire, que je n'ai pas le temps d'elucider 
ici : pendant son se"jour en Italic il a pu connaitre quelques ide"es 
de Machiavel, de Paruta et de Boccalini, qu'il pouvait lire dans les 
originaux, et quelques traditions du Conseil des dix de Venise ; 
mais c'est plutdt a Kiev, et peut-etre non sans 1'influence de Thofane 
Prokopovicz, qu'il s'inte"ressa aux trace's de Grotius, de PufendorfF 
et de Locke, qu'il a fait traduire a Pacade"mie de Kiev. 

II est vrai qu'au nombre de ces traductions Golitzyne en a fait 
faire plusieurs qui ne concernaient pas le droit naturel, comme celles, 
par exemple, des ouvrages de Furius, de Clapmaier, de Lange, de 
Richelieu, de Fredro, de Bessel et de Schroeder sur les regies de la 
politique; que parmi les trace's qui rentraient dans le domaine du 
droit naturel, il ne distinguait pas assez les classiques des ouvrages 
secondaires, tels que ceux de Vernulaeus ou de Cellarius, de Faust 
et de Felwinger ; mais, mme dans ses ouvrages de seconde main, 
comme, par exemple, dans celui de Felwinger, qui s'en rapportait 
a Grotius, Golitzyne pouvait deja puiser quelques idees sur la 
the"orie contractuelle de 1'Etat. 2 

. Co6p. 3aK., v. v. N 3006, P. i. ch. i. i, 7 et 8. 
2 Bufid. 3an., 1861, v. iii. p. 320. Mamep. dan ucmopiu 

v. iv. pp. 135, 178-190. KH. H. TojumHiTB, Hoeua dannufi o 
KH. ft. M. rojiuy/una, M. 1 900. 

378 A. Lappo-Danilevskij [xix 

D'ailleurs, Golitzyne connaissait probablement quelque peu les 
ouvrages classiques sur le droit nature!, qu'il pouvait tudier grace 
aux traductions manuscrites de sa bibliotheque. La traduction du 
trait^ de Grotius, par exemple, du reste incomplete, porte peut- 
etre les traces de son usage : elle a a ses marges quelques croix, 
faites a 1'encre. 1 La traduction du traite" de Pufendorff, peu original, 
mais syste"matique, en donne beaucoup plus de preuves : cette 
traduction, faite non sans quelques abreViations, du reste assez 
heureuses, est marquee de croix justement aux endroits qui pou- 
vaient inte"resser un homme et un politique tel que Golitzyne : les 
marges du livre vii., qui traite de 1'origine et de la constitution des 
socie"te"s civiles et des Etats, des fondements de la souverainete, des 
droits et des devoirs du souverain, des diverses formes de gouverne- 
ment et des diverses manieres d'acque"rir la souverainete", par 
exemple, sont bariole"es de croix. D'ailleurs, les textes relatifs a 
la the"orie des deux conventions ge"nerales, grace auxquelles la societe" 
civile se forme, pre"sentent sous ce rapport une particularity curieuse : 
ce n'est pas le 7, celui qui traite de Tengagement de chacun avec 
tous les autres, mais le 8 (correspondant au 7 de la traduction) 
qui est marque" de croix ; or, ce paragraphe traite de la seconde 
convention, c'est-a-dire de celle qui se fait apres 1'engagement de 
chacun avec tous les autres a se joindre ensemble pour toujours en 
un seul corps, et qui consiste en ce que, apres avoir choisi une ou 
plusieurs personnes a qui Ton confere le pouvoir de gouverner la 
societe", ceux qui sont revetus de cette autorit supreme s'engagent 
a veiller avec soin au bien public, et les autres, en mme temps, leur 
promettent une fidele obe"issance. 2 

Les theories de Pufendorff sur la distinction du pouvoir souverain 
et du pouvoir absolu, sur la monarchic limited qu'il en deduisait, 
sur les promesses solennelles et particulieres que les Princes font 
en acceptant cette autorite" borne"e, sur la clause commissoire 
d'apres laquelle le roi est declare" d^chu de la couronne, s'il peche 
centre ces lois, sur 1'etablissement d'un conseil sans le consente- 
ment duquel le roi ne puisse rien faire en matiere des choses dont 

1 MS. de la Bibliotheque Imperiale de St-Petersbourg, F. ii. 36. Cette 
traduction, d'ailleurs incomplete, ,a ^te executee d'apres Pedition d'Amsterdam 
de 1712, par les etudiants de Tacademie de Kiev, Oronovskij et d'autres. 

2 S. Pufendorff, De jure naturae et gentium, lib. vii. cap. 2, 7 et 8 ; cap. 
vi. 9 et 10, etc. MS. de la traduction russe, a la Bibliotheque Imperiale de 
St-Petersbourg, F. ii. 26. 

xix] Uldde de r lit at en Russie 379 

on ne veut pas le laisser absolument le maitre, ou bien sur d'autres 
institutions analogues pouvaient eVidemment inte>esser Golitzyne : 
il tait imbu d'ide"es aristocratiques ; il sympathisait probablement 
au role que les bojares et ses ancetres en particulier avaient jou aux 
Elections de Basile Schoujskij et de Mihafl Romanov ; lui-mme 
avide du pouvoir que les membres du conseil s'e"taient arrog 
quelquesfois, il e"tait tout prt a re"diger la convention qu'il voulait 
conclure entre Anna Ivanovna et le peuple, repre"sente" par le conseil, 
et qu'il avait probablement pourvue dans sa redaction definitive 
d'une clause commissoire . 

C'est done une the*orie fort analogue a celle de Pufendorff sur 
la seconde convention , et non la doctrine de la souverainete" du 
peuple et du pouvoir le"gislatif de Locke, dont le trait a e"te* aussi 
traduit sous les auspices de Golitzyne, que nous retrouvons dans son 
projet de la constitution de I73O. 1 

Cette the"orie e"tait applicable non seulement a 1'origine des 
socie"te"s, mais a un interregne dans le genre de celui qui pre"ce"da 
1'election d'Anna Ivanovna en 1730: et Golitzyne voulait prouver 
aux membres du conseil, assembles dans la nuit du 18 and 19 
Janvier, qu'on e"tait en plein interregne. 

Dans ses projets Golitzyne ne parle point de la premiere con- 
vention : il n'avait pas 1'intention de convoquer une assemble 
ge"ne"rale pour re"gler la forme du gouvernement, et se bornait, 
probablement, a conside>er le conseil des grands (werhov- 
niki), a 1'instar du conseil des electeurs de 1'empire germanique, 
comme reprsentant le peuple russe. En tout cas les clauses 
de 1730 ont e"t re"dige"es par le conseil (avec trois personnes 
qui n'y appartenaient pas), et les e"tats supe>ieurs de 1'empire n'ont 
e"t convoque"s que pour decider la question s'il fallait confier le 
pouvoir a Anna Ivanovna. 

D'ailleurs, Golitzyne concevait le rapport entre Anna Ivanovna 
et tous les e"tats de 1'empire comme une convention formelle : elle se 
re"duisait a la promesse solennelle et particuliere de la princesse 
d'observer les clauses qui limitaient son pouvoir monarchique, entre 
autres la clause commissoire, et a la promesse des e*tats qui 

1 MS. de la Biblioth&que Imperiale de St-Petersbourg, F. ii. 41. La 
traduction russe du traite de Locke est, peut-etre, la meilleure de celles qui 
ont 6t6 faites sous les auspices de Golitzyne ; Theofane Prokopovicz y a, 
peut-etre, pris part. Golitzyne a pourvu son exemplaire de sa signature, ce 
qui donne lieu a supposer qu'il y attachait quelque prix. 

380 A. Lappo-Danilevskij [xix 

s'engageaient a une fidele ob&ssance envers elle. Ce pacte devait etre 
valide" par deux actes corre"latifs : les conditions*, signers par Anna 
Ivanovna et le serment (celui des 16 clauses), fait par ses sujets. 

Les clauses de cette convention correspondaient en grande 
partie non seulement aux theories de Pufendorff et d'autres juristes, 
mais a la constitution sue"doise, c'est-a-dire au serment du roi et a 
la forme du gouvernement de 1720. Cependant, je ne pense pas que 
Golitzyne y ait pulse* tout le contenu de sa pens^e intime : il murissait 
ses ides depuis une trentaine d'anne'es sous diverses influences ; dans 
les actes sue"dois de 1720, sur lesquels Pick a pu lui donner quelques 
renseignements opportuns, il trouva des formules tout pretes, qu'il 
a pu utiliser a la hate apres la mort inattendue de Pierre II. 1 

C'est done en se basant, du moins en partie, sur l'ide"e juridique 
ou contractuelle de 1'Etat, que Golitzyne a e'labore' la convention de 
1730, qui devait servir a ses fins politiques. 

Cependant, la the'orie de Golitzyne pretait le flanc a de se>ieuses 
objections ; il supposait que le conseil des grands repre*sentait le 
peuple ; mais c'est justement ce qu'il fallait prouver ; et la noblesse 
(le schljahetstwo) assemble a Moscou pour les fetes qui devaient 
avoir lieu a 1'occasion du mariage de feu 1'empereur Pierre II, ne 
voulait pas y croire ; elle craignait I'oligarchie des grands et ne 
pouvait avoir confiance en Golitzyne, malgre' les quelques conces- 
sions qu'il a du lui faire. 

L'un de ses adversaires politiques les plus eclaire"s, Tatichczev, 

1 R. KopcaKOBi), Boy/apenie uMnepampimu AHHU loannoenu, Kas. 
1880, pp. 179-188. D'ailleurs, la question sur 1'origine et la signification du 
plan de Golitzyne, que je n'ai pas la possibilite d'analyser ici en detail, est 
encore sujette a controverse ; voir les conceptions differentes de MM. H. Hjarne, 
Ryska Konstitutions- project ar 1730 efter svenska forebilder, dans Hist. 
Tidskrift, 1884, pp. 189-272, et II. MHJUOKOBT), BepxoBHHKH H uuiaxeTCTBO 
dans Kn ucmopiu pyccKoii unmeajiuieHWu, CUB., 1902, pp. 1-51 ; A. 
AjzeKcfceBi,, Jleieuda o6?> ojimapxuHecKUXT> mendeHiiiinx* eepxoeuaio mauuaio 
coen>ma ; CUMHUH nepconu e* eepxoenoM^ maunoM'b coerbrnvb^ etc., 
M. 1896, 1898 ; et W. Recke, Die Verfassungsplane der russischen Oligar- 
chen im Jahre 1730 und die Thronbesteigung der Kaiserin Anna Ivanovna, 
dans Zeitschrift fur osteuropdische Geschichte^ Bd. ii. D'ailleurs, meme ceux qui 
supposent, comme lefont, parexemple, MM. Filipov et Recke, que les rapports 
qui s'etaient deja etablis entre le pouvoir souverain et le conseil apres la dis- 
grace de Menchikov avaient beaucoup d'analogies avec les conditions de 1730, 
pensent que celles-ci donnaient au conseil de jure ce dont il disposait deja de 
facto ; mais c'est justement ce qu'il importe d'elucider ; v. W. Recke, op. tit., 
#., p. 39- 

xix] LIdde de r lit at en Russie 381 

s'attacha a d6montrer, en s'en rapportant a la raison et au droit 
natural, que sa theorie pe"chait par la base. 

Tatichczev avait e"tudie" le droit naturel beaucoup plus 
syste"matiquement que Golitzyne : il connaissait les principes 
e"tablis par Grotius et Pufendorff ; mais, en outre, il s'e"tait assimile" 
quelques ide"es de Wolff et de Thomasius ; ceux de leurs traits 
qui taient Merits en allemand lui taient accessibles : tout en 
rattachant au Cre"ateur des hommes la loi naturelle qui leur est 
inne'e, il tire, parexemple, son principe fondamental Pamour 
rationnel de soi-meme et quelques - unes de ses applications 
principalement de la doctrine de Thomasius, interpreted par Walch. 

Tatichczev distingue le droit naturel de la loi civile, a laquelle 
il doit servir de fondement, et disserte sur la convention qui a eu 
lieu entre les hommes pour former une socie"te" civile ; d'ailleurs, il 
ne fait qu'effleurer Tordonnance par laquelle les hommes, re"unis 
en communaute", reglent la forme du gouvernement D, en parlant, 
par exemple, des changements que celui-ci subit au cours de 
1'histoire, des gouvernements re"guliers et irre"guliers, de meme que 
des gouvernements mixtes ; mais dans son e"crit de 1730 qu'il com- 
posait non sans se rappeler la forme du gouvernement de 1720, il 
se base, comme Golitzyne, particulierement sur la theorie de la 
seconde convention, celle qui a lieu entre le souverain et les sujets ; 
d'ailleurs, en Pappliquant un peu plus strictement, il parvient tout 
de meme a formuler des conclusions diff^rentes. 1 

Dans son e"crit sur le gouvernement politique Tatichczev 
raisonne comme il suit. Ce n'est qu'au monarque e"lu ou he"re"ditaire 
que nous avons pret serment de fide"lit et d'ob&ssance, et que nous 
avons confe"re" le pouvoir le"gislatif ; or, si le monarque meurt sans 
laisser de successeur, sa mort dispense les sujets de leur serment ; 
la souverainete" revient done a la communaute' qui dispose du pouvoir 
le"gislatif : comme dans l'e"tat naturel, les citoyens deviennent tous 
gaux les uns envers les autres. La mort du souverain met aussi 
fin aux pouvoirs interme"diaires, dont sont revetues les institutions 
subalternes ; et tant que le nouveau souverain ne les confirme dans 

1 B. TaTumeBi,, Pasioeop* o noMsn naym u ynujiuu^ H3,n. H. Ilono- 
BHM'B, M. 1888, pp. 19-27, 54, 128-150. Tatichczev s'efforce de prouver 
que 1'amour rationnel de soi-meme est commun aux deux subdivisions de la loi 
divine , c'est-a-dire aux lois naturelles et aux lois traditionnelles et ecrites, 
indues dans les Saintes Ecritures, tout en distinguant ces lois des lois que 
les hommes se donnent a eux-memes, c'est-k-dire des lois canoniques et civiles. 

382 A. Lappo-Danilevskij [xix 

leurs pouvoirs ou n'en institue d'autres avec des pouvoirs corres- 
pondants, personne n'a de pouvoir sur les autres. Comme 1'Etat, 
d'ailleurs, ne peut subsister sans gouvernement, meme pendant un 
court espace de temps, la communaute" concede a ses organes les 
pouvoirs dont chacun d'eux disposait d'apres les lois pre"ce"dentes ; 
mais sans la volonte* de la communaute', expresse"ment formulae, 
ces organes ne peuvent s'arroger de pouvoirs supe" rieurs ; il est done 
eVident qu'ils ne peuvent user du pouvoir le"gislatif, que la com- 
munaute' ne cede qu'au souverain, et que le conseil des grands 
n'avait pas le droit de le'gife'rer sur la constitution de 1'empire et 
de limiter la monarchic absolue par des clauses. Ce n'est done que 
la communaute, represented en partie directement par ses membres, 
en partie par des de*pute"s qui, selon la loi naturelle, se choisit le 
souverain, et non quatre ou cinq personnes, qui veulent le faire 

Du reste, Tatichczev n'objectait pas a Election d'Anna 
Ivanovna ; il pouvait meme la concilier avec la resolution que les 
tats supe"rieurs de I'empire avait prise, et que personne ne con- 
testait. En effet, la doctrine du droit naturel admettait la possi- 
bilite" d'un consentement tacite de la communaute", et c'est ce que 
Tatichczev avait pre'cise'ment en vue en disant que personne ne 
contestait 1'election d'Anna Ivanovna. Mais en admettant cette 
election, Tatichczev repliquait centre les clauses de Golitzyne et 
lui opposait son projet d'une assembled constituante des reprsen- 
tants du szljahetstwo. D'ailleurs, il y pre"conisait la monarchic* 
comme la forme de gouvernement la plus utile a la Russie, et se 
declarait pour 1'agrandissement presque exclusif des droits politiques 
de la noblesse, qui devait, du moins en partie et temporairement, 
prendre part au gouvernement supreme du pays, et recevoir un 
accroissement notable de ses privileges. 1 

Ce projet, qui avait me"rite", d'ailleurs, 1'approbation de plusieurs 
de ses collegues, prouve que Tatichczev faisait, au fond, la faute 
qu'il imputait a Golitzyne : pour appliquer correctement la thorie 
de la convention il devait prouver que le szljahetstwo avait le droit 
de repre"senter toute la communaute" et de"finir ses clauses avec 
moins d'inde"cision. 

1 B. TaTHmesi., Ilpouseojiwoe u couiacnoe pascywdenie u Munnie 
codpaewaiocu uuifixemcmea pycwaio o npaejieniu locydapcmeennoM?,, dans 
le Recueil Yxpo , M. 1859, pp. 369-379. 

xix] Uldde de rJELtat en Russie 383 

Les deux publicistes, comme on le voit, adaptaient, chacun a sa 
fagon, le droit naturel a leurs fins politiques et s'efforgaient de 
les justifier par cette the"orie : ils e"taient presque Strangers a Pide"e 
de la souverainete" nationale, et ne voulaient profiler de Pide"e de 
la seconde convention que dans les limites circonscrites par les 
interets des classes dirigeantes ; mais tout de meme ils avaient une 
ide"e juridique de PEtat, et concevaient le rapport du souverain et 
des sujets, du moins en the"orie, comme une convention immanente 
a l'tat. 

II surfit de ce coup d'ceil jette" sur Phistoire de Pide"e de 1'Etat 
en Russie pour apercevoir 1'esprit nouveau qui commen^ait a la 

II est vrai que Phistoire de cette ide"e en Russie pendant cette 
pe"riode de transition n'avait pas encore acquis le caractere d'une 
Evolution bien continue et progressive : les chainons de cette chaine 
ne rentraient presque pas 1'un dans 1'autre ; chacun d'eux de"pendait 
plutotdu mouvement general et correspondant des idees europeennes 
que du chainon pre"ce"dent, et ne de"terminait que tres faiblement 
le chainon poste"rieur. C'etait done une Evolution intermittente 
et meme quelques fois assez accidentelle, sans caractere individuel 
bien prononce" ; mais c'e"tait ne"anmoins une Evolution et meme un 

En effet, Pid^e du rapport entre le souverain et les sujets qu'on 
se faisait en Russie a Pe"poque des reTormes avait subi quelques 
changements qui en te"moignent : on commen^ait a se repr^senter 
ce rapport, qu'on croyait autrefois transcendant, comme immanent 
a 1'Etat, et a puiser les elements de ce concept du droit naturel ; on 
s'inte"ressait particulierement a la th^orie de la convention, et on 
pouvait dja y appre"cier Pid^e de ce que devait etre ce rapport, sa 
valeur formelle et juridique, et non seulement son contenu re"el et 
sa fin utilitaire ; et, malgre" le regime autocratique que prcisaient 
les reglements , on essayait meme parfois de mettre cette ide"e en 
pratique, du reste, avec des restrictions et des inconsequences qui 
discreditaient la the"orie et donnaient beau jeu a ses adversaires 





ICH mochte Ihre Aufmerksamkeit fiir wenige Augenblicke auf 
einen Abschnitt in der Verfassungsgeschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts 
lenken, einen Abschnitt in der Geschichte der lange Zeit hindurch 
vergeblichen Bestrebungen, Deutschland, das seit dem Untergange 
des alten heiligen romischen Reiches zu einem geographischen 
Begriff geworden war, von neuem staatlich zu einigen. Diese 
Bestrebungen fanden bekanntlich einen Hohepunkt in dem von der 
Frankfurter Nationalversammlung unternommenen Versuch einer 

Auch dieser Versuch ist ja traurig gescheitert. Aber er spielt 
trotzdem nicht nur in der politischen und geistigen Entwicklungs- 
geschichte des deutschen Volkes eine ausserordentlich wichtige 
Rolle, sondern er darf auch die lebhafte Aufmerksamkeit desjenigen 
beanspruchen, der die allgemeine Verfassungsentwicklung der 
Neuzeit sich zu vergegenwartigen sucht. 

Denn wenn diese ohne Zweifel ihrem wesentlichen Inhalt nach 
sich als die schliesslich in alien zivilisierten Staaten vollzogene 
Rezeption der in England bodenstandig erwachsenen Grundsatze 
des konstitutionellen Staatsrechts darstellt, so kommt auf diesem 
Gebiet moderner Geistesgeschichte und die Entwicklung des 


xx] Siebzehnerentwurf von 1848 385 

Rechts lasst sich letzten Endes nicht anders als Geistesgeschichte 
erfassen jenem Versuch trotz seiner Ergebnislosigkeit eine nicht 
geringe Bedeutung zu. 

Die Versammlung der Paulskirche hat zu einer so griindlichen 
Aussprache liber die Probleme des konstitutionellen Staatsrechts 
gefiihrt, sie hat Manner von so tief begriindeter theoretischer 
Einsicht und doch vielfach auch so reicher praktischer Erfahrung 
zu Worte kommen lassen, dass ihre Verhandlungen als ein hochst 
vielseitiger, an Geist und Kenntnissen wenigstens in Deutschland 
nicht wieder erreichter parlamentarischer Ausdruck der damaligen 
Staatseinsicht angesehen werden kb'nnen. 

Die staatsrechtliche Tatigkeit der Frankfurter Nationalver- 
sammlung fand ihren Mittelpunkt in ihrem Verfassungsausschuss. 
Und dessen Arbeiten wiederum schlossen sich auf das engste an 
den Verfassungsentwurf an, den noch vor dem Zusammentritt der 
Nationalversammlung die siebzehn sogenannten Manner des allge- 
meinen Vertrauens ausgearbeitet hatten. 

Diesen Entwurf mochte ich zum Gegenstand meiner Bemer- 
kungen machen, unter anderem deshalb, weil mir fur ihn einige 
bisher unoekannt gebliebene gleichzeitige Aufzeichnungen vorliegen, 
die wie ich glaube manche bezeichnende Lichter auf ihn fallen 

Jene Manner wurden auf einen Beschluss des durch die Februar- 
revolution gewaltig aufgeriittelten Bundestags von den einzelnen 
deutschen Regierungen nach Frankfurt geschickt, damit sie dort der 
Bundesversammlung als Vertrauensmanner der in ihr vertretenen 
siebzehn Staatenstimmen bei der nun auch von ihr endlich beab- 
sichtigten Revision der Bundesverfassung mit gutachtlichem Beirate 
an die Hand gingen. Allein die Siebzehn denn diese Bezeich- 
nung blieb ihnen, da bei der Abstimmung stets jene Stimmenzahl 
massgebend war, wenn auch die Versammlung selbst niemals genau 
aus siebzehn Mitgliedern bestand, denn (5sterreich und einige der 
zu Gesammtstimmen vereinigten kleinsten Staaten schickten 
mehrere Vertreter, wahrend umgekehrt Baiern die langste Zeit 
hindurch unvertreten blieb die Siebzehn setzten sich sofort iiber 
jenen beschrankten Auftrag hinweg und machten sich an die Aus- 
arbeitung eines eigenen Entwurfs fur die kunftige Verfassung 

Dieser Entwurf, nach seinem einflussreichsten Miturheber wohl 

2 C 

386 J?. Hubner [xx 

auch derDahlmannsche Verfassungsentwurf genannt, ist die erste 
ausgeflihrte Skizze der heutigen Verfassung des deutschen Reiches. 
In den Verhandlungen der Siebzehn fand die erste und fur die 
Zukunft, die nahere und die fernere, massgebend gebliebene 
Erorterung der schwierigen staatsrechtlichen Fragen statt, deren 
Losung die Voraussetzung der schon damals als unbedingt not- 
wendig erkannten, aber erst sehr viel spater erreichten Umwandlung 
Deutschlands aus einem losen Staatenbund in einen festen Bundes- 
staat bildete. So heftet sich jenes allgemeine verfassungsgeschicht- 
liche und staatsrechtliche Interesse, das iiberhaupt das Frankfurter 
Verfassungswerk erweckt, in ganz besonderem Masse an die 
Verhandlungen der Siebzehn und den von ihnen aufgestellten 



Als unmittelbare Quellen, aus denen sich ein Einblick in die 
Tatigkeit der Vertrauensmanner gewinnen lasst, standen bisher als 
wichstigste die bekannt gewordenen offiziellen Berichte zur Ver- 
fligung, die einige der Siebzehn liber die Tatigkeit der Versammlung 
an ihre Regierungen gerichtet haben. So der ausflihrliche des 
hannoverschen Vertreters, Professors Zachariae, 1 und der knappe 
aber sehr charakteristische von Ludwig Uhlan d, 2 dem wiirttem- 
bergischen Vertrauensmann. Auch Dahlmann verdanken wir 
einige wichtige Bemerkungen liber das Werk der Siebzehn und 
seinen Anteil daran. 3 

Von erheblichem Wert ist ferner die eingehende Erorterung, die 
Gervinus, der Vertreter der freien Stadte, liber den Entwurf un- 

1 Bericht iiber die Berathungen des Entwurfs des deutschen Reichsgrund- 
gesetzes im Schoosse des Collegiums der 17 Beigeordneten zum deutschen 
Bundestage, von Professor Zachariae ; de dato Frankfurt, den 30. April 1848. 
Actenstiicke zur neuesten Geschichte Deutschlands (mit besonderer Beziehung 
auf Hannover). Erstes Heft. Hannover, Helwingsche Hof-Buchhandlung, 
1848, S. 122-46. 

2 Veroffentlicht nach dem im Schiller-Museum zu Marbach befindlichen 
Original von Walther Reinohl, Uhland als Politiker (Beitrage zur Partei- 
geschichte herausgegeben von Adalbert Wahl, 2). Tubingen, Mohr, 1911, 
S. 182-5. 

3 Anton Springer, Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann. Zweiter Teil, Leipzig, 
Hirzel, 1872, S. 220-23. 

xx] Siebzehnerentwurf von 1848 387 

mittelbar nach seiner Veroffentlichung in einer langen Reihe von 
Artikeln in der von ihm herausgegebenen Deutschen Zeitung 
erscheinen Hess. 1 Diese Abhandlung verteidigte die Arbeit der 
Vertrauensmanner gegen die ausserordentlich zahlreichen Angriffe, 
die alsbald von fast alien Seiten gegen sie gerichtet wurden. Auch 
diese Kritiken wird man fur die Wiirdigung des von den Siebzehn 
Geleisteten nicht ubersehen diirfen, so unbefriedigend und unfrucht- 
bar die grosse Mehrzahl von ihnen auch ist. Die in Gestalt von 
selbstandigen Flugschriften erschienenen verzeichnet in irgend 
erreichbarer Vollstandigkeit das wertvolle Sammelwerk von 
Wentzcke; 2 die bedeutendsten unter ihnen sind die von Otto 
Abel, 3 Schaumann, 4 Heinrich von Sybel, 5 dem Prinz-Gemahl 
Albert von England 6 und Bunsen. 7 

Bei weitem am unergiebigsten sind die diirftigen offiziellen 
Protokolle, die liber die Sitzungen der Siebzehn damals veroffent- 
licht worden sind. 8 Dazu kommt, dass sie von den dreizehn 
Sitzungen, die der eigentlichen Verfassungsberatung gewidmet 
waren, elf vollkommen iiberspringen und nur die erste und letzte 
von ihnen zahlen und bekannt machen. 

Diese unerfreuliche Liicke konnen wir aber nunmehr aus dem 

1 Deutsche Zeitung^ Nr. 121-30, 136, 137, 140-45. Heidelberg, i. 24, 
Mai 1848. 

2 Paul Wentzcke, Kritische Bibliographic der Flugschriften zur deutschen 
Verfassungsfrage 1848-1851. Halle, Niemeyer, 1911. 

3 Otto Abel, Das neue deutsche Reich und sein Kaiser. Berlin, Hertz, 
1848. Wentzcke, Nr. 199. 

4 A. F. H. Schaumann, Kurze Randglossen zu dem Entwurf eines 
deutschen Reichs-Grundgesetzes (Aus der Minerva besonders abgedruckt). 
Jena, Braun, 1848. Wentzcke, Nr. 221. 

5 Heinrich von Sybel, Vber das Reichsgrundgesetz der X VII Vertrauens- 
manner. Marburg, Elwert, 1848. Wentzcke, Nr. 238. 

6 (Prinz-Gemahl Albert von England,) Meinungsdusserung eines Prinzen 
iiber den Entwurf der Siebzehner. Wentzcke, Nr. 240. 

7 Christian Karl Josias Bunsen, Die deutsche Bundesverfasstmg und ihr 
eigenthiimliches Verhaltniss 211 den Verfasstmgen Englands und der Vereinigten 
Staaten. Zur Prufung des Entwurfs der Siebzehn. Sendschreiben an die 
zum deutschen Parlament berufene Versammlung. Frankfurt a. M., Suchs- 
land, 1848. Wentzcke, Nr. 247. 

8 Sie sind gleichlautend veroffentlicht worden in der Frankfurter Ober- 
postamts-Zeitung, Nr. 102-108, 124, 131. Frankfurt, U.-I7. April, 3., 10. 

Mai 1848 und in der zweiten Lieferung der von Jucho veranstalteten amtlichen 
Ausgabe der Verhandlungen des deutschen Parlaments ; danach sind sie 
abgedruckt in Roth und Merck, Quellensammlung zum deutschen bffentlichen 
Recht\ Erster Band, Erlangen, 1850. 

2C 2 

388 R. Hubner [xx 

Nachlasse eines der Vertrauensmanner in sehr erwunschter Weise 
ausfullen. In den von dem Geschichtsschreiber Johann Gustav 
Droysen hinterlassenen Papieren hat sich namlich einmal ein wie 
es scheint ganz vollstandiges Exemplar des sogenannten Separat- 
protokolls " gefunden, das der eine Stimmfuhrer der sechszehnten 
Stimme, der in Nachfolge Uhlan dszum Schriftfiihrer bestellte Petri 
gerade besonders iiber jene mit der Verfassungsberatung ausge- 
fullten dreizehn Sitzungen gefuhrt und beglaubigt hat und das in 
lithographischer Vervielfaltigung an alle Vertrauensmanner verteilt 
worden zu sein scheint. 

Droysen hat sich aber weiter, abgesehen von einem iiber den 
Anfang seiner Frankfurter Zeit gefiihrten Tagebuch ", in dem an 
vielen Stellen auch die Tatigkeit der Siebzehn beriihrt wird, iiber 
deren Verhandlungen besondere protokollartige Aufzeichnungen 
gemacht, die sich gleichfalls, wie auch jenes Tagebuch ", in seinem 
Nachlass erhalten haben. Sie sind ganz ahnlich gehalten, wie die 
von ihm kurz darauf offiziell gefiihrten und spater in ihrem ersten 
Teil veroffentlichten Protokolle des Verfassungsausschusses der 
Nationalversammlung. Nur ist ihnen erklarlicherweise, da sie nur 
fiir den Privatgebrauch bestimmt waren, die fiir eine Veroffent- 
lichung angebrachte Durchsicht und Glattung nicht zu Teil 
geworden. Sie behandeln die Verfassungsberatungen mit be- 
sonderer Ausfiihrlichkeit und ergangen gerade durch ihre freiere 
Art die offiziellen Petrischen Protokolle auf das erfreulichste. 
Denn ohne Vollstandigkeit zu beabsichtigen und erreichen zu 
konnen, folgen sie, offenbar unmittelbar wahrend der Beratungen, 
oft in fliegender Eile, stets in kleinster und engster Schrift auf 
grosse Folioblatter niedergeschrieben, bei alien wichtigeren Gegen- 
standen dem Gang der Verhandlung von Rede zu Rede und werden 
so zu unmittelbaren Zeugnissen des oft hitzigen Kampfes der 
Meinungen. 1 

1 Ich beabsichtige demnachst die Protokolle Petris und die Aufzeich- 
nungen Droysens als Anhang zu einer diesen Vortrag etwas naher ausfuhrenden 
Studie iiber den Verfassungsentwurf der siebzehn Vertrauensmanner heraus- 
zugeben. Damit soil auch ein synoptischer Abdruck des Dahlmannschen 
Vorentwurfs und des fertigen Entwurfs verbunden werden, da die Texte, die 
C. Varrentrapp in den von ihm herausgegebenen Kleinen Schriften F. C. 
Dahlmanns, Stuttgart, 1886, S. 378-90, veroffentlicht hat, nicht ganz genau 
sind und es von Wert sein diirfte, das gesammte Material an einer Stelle zu 

xx] Siebzehnerentwiirf von 1848 389 


Werfen wir zunachst einen kurzen Blick auf den ausseren Gang 
der Verfassungsberatungen im Schoosse der Siebzehn, 1 so hatten 
bereits die offiziellen Protokolle ersehen lassen, dass gleich in der 
zweiten Sitzung (am 5. April) eine Kommission zur Ausarbeitung 
eines Verfassungsentwurfs niedergesetzt wurde, in die man vier 
Mitglieder unter Hinzuziehungdes Vorsitzenden Max von Gagern 
wahlte : es waren Dahlmann, der schon damals beriihmte 
Geschichtsschreiber und Bonner Professor, der das Konigreich 
Preussen vertrat ; Albrecht, der Vertreter der 15. Stimme, Pro- 
fessor der Rechte in Leipzig, einer der bedeutendsten deutschen 
Rechtsgelehrten, mit Dahlmann in weiten Kreisen des Volkes 
wegen ihrer Beteiligung an dem mannhaften Auftreten der 
,, Gottinger Sieben " verehrt und bewundert ; dann Bassermann, 
der Abgesandte Badens, einer der im Vordergrund stehenden 
Wortfiihrer der liberalen Patrioten. Wilhelm Jordan, der spatere 
geschatzte Dichter, der als viertes Kommissionsmitglied gewahlt 
worden war, schied bald iiberhaupt aus dem Kreise der Siebzehn 
aus. Allein diese Viermannerkommission auch das ist seit 
langem bekannt uberliess die Arbeit im wesentlichen ihren zwei am 
meisten dazu geeigneten Mitgliedern, Dahlmann und Albrecht. 
Bereits nach 9 Tagen (in der 9. Sitzung am 15. April) konnte der 
Kommissionsentwurf der Versammlung der Vertrauensmanner 
vorgelegt werden. Welchen Gang die Verhandlungen riun des 
weiteren nahmen, zeigen deutlich die Petrischen und Droysen- 
schen Aufzeichnungen. Der Vorentwurf wurde zunachst einer ersten 
Lesung unterzogen, die sich meist, wenn auch nfcht ohne Aus- 
nahmen, der Reihenfolge seiner Artikel und Paragraphen anschloss, 
nicht selten aber streitige Satze vorlaufig zuriickstellte oder auch 
an die Kommission zuriickverweis, damit sie auf Grund des statt- 
gehabten Meinungsaustausches eine neue Fassung ausarbeite. 
Einmal, bei Beratung liber den vom Reichsgericht handelnden 

1 Eine Tabelle iiber die Daten sammtlicher Sitzungen und den Abdruck 
der iiber sie gefuhrten Protokolle soil der S. 388 Anm. I in Aussicht gestellten 
Studie beigefugt werden, wie auch dort ein Verzeichnis der Vertrauensmanner 
gegeben werden wird. 

39 -# Hiibner [xx 

Abschnitt,wurde eine neue Kommission aus den Juristen Albrecht, 
Bassermann undZachariae zur weiterenVorbereitungdesGegen- 
standes gebildet. Todt, der Vertreter des Konigreichs Sachsen, 
wurde mit der Ausarbeitung der auf das Reichsfinanzwesen bezlig- 
lichen Bestimmungen betraut ; doch fanden seine ins Einzelne 
gehenden Vorschlage schliesslich keine Aufnahme in den Entwurf. 
Die Debatten verliefen sich wohl gelegentlich wenigstens nach 
dem Urteil Droy sens ins Kleinliche. Aber im allgemeinen das 
lassen Droy sens Niederschriften deutlich erkennen, wie es sich ja 
auch bei der geistigen Bedeutung vieler der Siebzehn von selbst 
versteht sind sie offenbar wlirdige Vorlaufer der glanzendsten 
Tage der Paulskirche gewesen. Bei manchen Gelegenheiten 
steigerten sie sich zu lebhaften dramatischen Szenen, so vor allem 

auch darin die Redekampfe der Nationalversammlung voraus- 
nehmend bei der Beratung liber das Reichsoberhaupt. Auch 
ganz am Schluss, als der endgiiltig redigierte Gesammttext 
in letzter Lesung angenommen worden war, kam die erregte 
Stimmung noch einmal zum Ausdruck : Uhland verlangte, dass 
die nur durch Mehrheitsbeschluss erfolgte Annahme des Entwurfs 
ausdriicklich bei der Veroffentlichung bekannt gegeben werde. 
Nach offenbar scharfen Erorterungen entsprach man diesem 
Verlangen und zwar in derWeise,dassDahlmann beauftragt wurde, 
eine entsprechende Bemerkung in das Vorwort aufzunehmen, das 
er auf Wunsch der Versammlung, wenn auch erst nach einigem 
Strauben verfasste, und mit dem dann der Entwurf gedruckt 
worden ist. 




Nicht nur liber den ausseren Gang der Verhandlungen, sondern 

was wichtiger ist auch liber die Beweggrlinde, von denen sich 
die Siebzehn bei ihrem Werke leiten liessen, geben uns die neuen 
Materialien, besonders die Droysenschen Niederschriften, naheren 

Freilich zeigt ja schon der fertige Verfassungsentwurf an sich, 
welcher Geist in der Versammlung herrschte. Aber wir sehen 
doch jetzt erst deutlich, wie schon hier der vielfaltige Meinungs- 

xx] Siebzehncrentwurf *von 1848 391 

gegensatz zu Tage trat, der nur allzu bald das versuchte 
Einigungswerk als aussichtslos erscheinen Hess. 

Im allgemeinen freilich hatten unter den Siebzehn durchaus 
diejenigen Anschauungen das Ubergewicht, die spater wahrend 
der Nationalversammlung in der Partei des sogenannten rechten 
Zentrums oder der erbkaiserlichen Partei ihre Vertretung fanden. 
Das kann nicht iiberraschen, da nicht weniger als acht der 
Vertrauensmanner spater zu den Mitgliedern dieser Partei gehorten 
(Bassermann, Dahlmann, Droysen, M. v. Gagern, Gervinus, 
Schmerling, Wippermann, Zachariae); einige freilich nur 
voriibergehend, andere aber als massgebende Leiter (Bassermann, 
Dahlmann, Droysen). Von denjenigen Vertrauensmannern, die 
nicht in das Parlament eintraten, gehorten Albrecht und wohl 
auch Gabelentz, Jaupund Petri der gleichen Richtung an. Dem- 
gegenuber fand der demokratisch-liberale Standpunkt eigentlich 
nur in Ludwig Uhland eine allerdings sehr ausgesprochene und 
hartnackige Vertretung. Er verband sich bei Uhland zugleich mit 
einer eifersuchtig partikularistischen Gesinnung ; bei anderen war 
umgekehrt diese Gesinnung in immerhin verschieden starker 
Auspragung das Ergebnis konservativer, selbst reaktionarer 
Anschauungen, so bei dem Sachsen Todt, dem Hannoveraner 
Zachariae, dem Mecklenburger Stever. Die radikale, eine 
deutsche Republik erstrebende Zeitstromung kam in der Siebzehner- 
versammlung nicht zu Wort, auch Uhlands Anschauungen gingen 
nicht so weit nach links. 

Aber schon die vertretenen Gegensatze genligten, um wieder- 
holt und vor allem in der grossen Debatte liber das Reichsoberhaupt 
zu einem heftigen Zusammenstoss zu fiihren. Zwar war die 
Versammlung in dem Wunsche nach einer monarchischen Spitze 
des Reichs einig. Aber der demokratische und der konservative 
Partikularismus,auch hier durch Uhland und Zachariae vertreten, 
wollte nur einen Wahlkaiser zugestehen. Der Erbkaiser konnte 
in der ersten Lesung nur mit acht gegen ftinf Stimmen, 1 in der 
ganz fiir den Schluss aufgesparten zweiten Lesung, an der alle 
Stimmen mit einziger Ausnahme der bairischen teilnahmen, nur mit 
neun gegen sechs durchgesetzt werden ; die 1 6. Stimme (Hohen- 

1 Nach der in Droysens lithographiertes Exemplar des Entwurfs der 
Vorkommission (es scheint zweifelhaft, ob von ihm selbst) eingetragenen 
Bleistiftangabe ergibt sich fiir die erste am 17. April in der elften Sitzung 

39 2 R- Hubner [xx 

zollern, Liechtenstein, Reuss, -Schaumburg-Lippe, Lippe und 
Waldeck) war bei der ersten und offenbar auch bei der zweiten 
Lesung gespalten. Selbst Bassermann wurde erst in letzter 
Stunde gewonnen. 

Die Frage des Oberhauptes war derjenige Punkt, an dem 
sich die Gefahrlichkeit der Klippen, zwischen denen es hindurch- 
zusteuern gait, am scharfsten offenbarte. Deutschland sollte, das 
war damals der Wunsch des ganzen Volkes, ein einheitliches 
Staatswesen werden, denn der Staatenbund, die Negation eines 
solchen, hatte seine Unzulanglichkeit zur Geniige und zum (Jber- 
druss erwiesen. Einen Bundesstaat also musste man errichten. 
Aber wie sollte und konnte man mehr als dreissig Monarchien, 
darunter zwei europaische Grossmachte, einer zentralen Bundes- 
gewalt unterstellen, da doch nach heiliger Uberlieferung des 
Bundesrechts nichts unverletzlicher war, als die Souveranitat der 
Einzelstaaten ? Das war eine Aufgabe, wie sie die Weltgeschichte 
noch niemals gestellt hatte. Die in ihr liegenden Schwierigkeiten 
iiberstiegen selbst diejenigen, die bei der Begriindung des grossen 
amerikanischen Bundesstaates, der Vereinigten Staaten, zu liber- 
winden gewesen waren. 

Dahlmann und seine Gesinnungsgenossen stellten es schon in 
dem Siebzehnerentwurf klar hin und sprachen es schon in den ihm 
geltenden Beratungen scharf aus, dass an die Spitze Deutschlands 
nicht nur ein erblicher, sondern auch ein machtiger Kaiser treten 
miisse. Daher gaben sie dem Reiche eine weite Kompetenz, in 

vorgenommene Abstimmung liber die Erblichkeit folgendes Stimmenver- 
haltnis : 

Es stimmten 

gegen die Erblichkeit fur die Erblichkeit 

Zachariae Gagern 

Todt Gervinus 

Langen Droysen 

Willmar Stever 

Uhland Gabelentz 

Jaup fur die halbe 16. Stimme Schmerling 


5i* Dahlmann 

Petri fur die halbe 16. Stimme 

* Irrtiimlicherweise wird in dieser Spalte auch Bergk angefuhrt ; er fehlte bei der 
Abstimmung. Auch Bassermann fehlte. Ebenso war Baiern auch hier unvertreten. 

xx] Siebzehnerentivurf von 1848 393 

alien wesentlichen Stiicken die gleiche, die heut unserem Reiche 
zusteht : das Verzeichnis der dem Reich uberwiesenen Angelegen- 
heiten, das unsere Reichsverfassung enthalt, lasst deutlich die 
Herkunft aus dem entsprechenden Verzeichnis des Dahlmann- 
schen Entwurfs erkennen. 

Und wenn die Siebzehn in einer damals gebrauchlichen Redewen- 
dung ihre Verfassung erklaren liessen, dass die Fiille der Reichs- 
gewalt in dem Reichsoberhaupte und dem Reichstage vereinigt " 
sei ( 4), so gaben sie anders wie die heutige Reichsverfassung 
dem Kaiser die voile Stellung eines konstitutionellen Monarchen 
mit alien einem solchen zustehenden Befugnissen. Sie gaben 
ihm was auf anderem Wege auch im heutigen Reich verwirk- 
licht worden ist vor allem die voile Verfiigung iiber die milita- 
rische Macht : hier war es besonders dem energischen Eingreifen 
Droysens zu verdanken, dass dem Kaiser das Ernennungsrecht 
nicht bios (wie Dahlmanns Vorentwurf gewollt hatte) hinsichtlich 
der hoheren, sondern schlechthin aller Offiziere iibertragen wurde. 

Und ferner machte der Entwurf den Kaiser wesentlich 
abweichend von der heutigen Regelung zu einem neben dem 
Reichstag gleichberechtigten Faktor der Gesetzgebung. Erst 
durch seine Verkiindigung, so wurde festgesetzt, sollten die 
Beschliisse des Reichstags verbindliche Kraft erhalten. Man 
nannte das damals ungenau das Vetorecht. Der Monarch", so 
schreibt Droysen, offenbar das Ergebnis der hierauf gerichteten 
Beratungen zusammenfassend, erhalte diese grosse Befugnis ; 
hoffen wir, dass wir es iiben mit derselben Diskretion wie Englands 

Die Selbstandigkeit der Reichsgewalt, ihre den Einzelstaaten 
iibergeordnete Souveranitat fand auch darin Ausdruck, dass der 
Entwurf, an die amerikanische Lehre von der iiberragenden Kraft 
der Verfassung ankniipfend, alle mit dem Reichsgrundgesetz in 
Widerspruch stehenden Rechtsquellen des deutschen Bundes und 
der deutschen Einzelstaaten ausser Kraft setzte und damit mittelbar 
auch den kiinftigen Erlass solcher Bestimmungen unmoglich 
machen wollte. Wenn damit auch noch nicht der unbedingte 
Vorrang der Reichsgesetze vor den Landesgesetzen ausgesprochen 
war wie dies in unserer Reichsverfassung geschehen ist, so 
konnte doch Bassermann nicht ohne Grund schon jene Aufhe- 
bung einen Staatsstreich " nennen ; denn sie traf die bisher fur 

394 & Hiibner [xx 

unantastbar gehaltene Souveranitat der Einzelstaaten an ihrer 

Wenn Dahlmann und die Seinen kein Bedenken trugen, die 
Einzelstaaten in dieser Weise zu Gunsten des Reichs zu beschranken, 
so waren die meisten von ihnen hierzu nur in der festen Zuversicht 
entschlossen, dass Preussens Konig der Kaiser des neuen Deutsch- 
lands werden und dass damit Preussen das, was es als Einzelstaat 
aufzugeben habe, als deutsche Vormacht reichlich ersetzt erhalten 
werde. Immerhin gab doch auch in dieser Versammlung ein so 
gliihender preussischer Patriot wie Droysen seiner auch schon 
anderwarts geausserten Befriedigung darliber Ausdruck, dass 
Preussen noch nicht durch eine Verfassung in zentraler Weise 
konstituiert worden sei, denn ein solches einheitliches Preussen 
wiirde Deutschland unmoglich machen. 1 

Lagen bei der Kompetenzverteilung zwischen Reich und 
Einzelstaaten und ebenso beim Oberhaupt wenigstens die 
verschiedenen gangbaren Wege von vornherein klar vor Augen, 
so dass man nur zu entscheiden hatte, welchen die Mehrheit 
einzuschlagen wiinschte, so tappte man bei der Gestaltung des 
Reichstags vollig im Dunkeln. Man war zwar einig, dass nach 
englischem Vorbild das Zweikammersystem anzunehmen und also 
ein Oberhaus und ein Unterhaus zu schaffen sei. Auch fiir die 
Bildung des Unterhauses standen die leitenden Gesichtspunkte 
ohne weiteres fest. Aber wie und woraus sollte das Oberhaus 
eingerichtet werden ? Das war hier wie uberall, wo man die aus 
Englands eigenartigen geschichtlichen Zustanden erwachsene 
Einrichtung nachahmen wollte, eine verzweifelte Frage. Die 
verschiedensten Vorschlage wurden gemacht ; die Debatten zogen 
sich in schleppende Lange. Was schliesslich beschlossen wurde, 
namlich ein Oberhaus, in das die regierenden Fiirsten und die 
Vertreter der vier freien Stadte, sowie aus dem Kreise der 
bewahrten Verdienste des Vaterlands " auf Zeit gewahlte Reichs- 

1 Vgl. G. Droysen, Johann Gustav Droysen, Erster Teil, Leipzig und 
Berlin, 1910, S. 347 ff. Friedrich Meinecke, Weltburgertum und National- 
staat. Studien zur Genesis des deutschen Nationals taates. Zweite durch- 
gesehene Auflage, Miinchen und Berlin, 1911, S. 352 ff. Durch die im Text 
beriihrte Stelle in Droysens Niederschrift erledigt sich die von Meinecke 
a. a. O. S. 356 aufgeworfene Frage, ob Droysen auch im Siebzehnerausschuss 
seine Gedanken iiber das Aufgehen Preussens vertreten hat, wohl zweifellos 
in bejahendem Sinne. 

xx] Siebzehnerentwurf von 1848 395 

rate eintreten sollten, konnte kaum befriedigen ; mit Recht hat 
Dahlmann selbst spater die betreffenden Bestimmungen des 
Entwurfs als eine ungliickliche Kombination bezeichnet, die der 
Verbesserung unumganglich bediirfe. 1 Hier hat erst Bismarcks 
Genialitat in der Einrichtung des Bundesrats den einzig moglichen 
Ausweg gefunden. 

Gliicklicher sind die eigenartigen Bestimmungen des Siebzehner- 
entwurfs liber das Reichsgericht, das freilich eine ganz andere 
Stellung erhalten sollte, als sie der gegenwartige hochste deutsche 
Gerichtshof in Leipzig einnimmt. Es sollte einerseits eine Fort- 
setzung der alten sogenannten Bundesaustragalinstanz bilden 
und als solche Streitigkeiten zwischen den Einzelstaaten und auch 
sonstige ofTentlichrechtliche Streitigkeiten entscheiden, andrerseits 
gewisse schwerste Kriminalfalle aburteilen und schliesslich auch 
als politischer Gerichtshof fiir die Verhandlung von Ministeran- 
klagen dienen. Hier waren offensichtlich Einrichtungen der alten 
Reichs- und Bundeszeit mit Gedanken des englisch-amerikanischen 
Verfassungsrechts verbunden. 

Ein naheres Eingehen hierauf wiirde zu weit fiihren, wie denn 
auch iiber die im ganzen knappen Bestimmungen liber die ,,Grund- 
rechte des deutschen Volkes ", die der Entwurf der Zeitstromung 
folgend verzeichnete, nur das bemerkt werden soil, dass auch hier 
vor allem der Gedanke an die herzustellende Einheit, Einheit auch 
in rechtlicher Beziehung, im Vordergrund stand. Deshalb wurde 
ausdriicklich ausgesprochen, dass diese Grundrechte auch zugleich 
der Verfassung jedes einzelnen deutschen Staates zur Norm 
dienen sollten. 

Einer kiinftigen deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte, die wir 
zumal fiir die neueren Zeiten noch schmerzlich entbehren, oder 
einer Geschichte des Frankfurter Parlaments, die gleichfalls leider 
noch ungeschrieben ist, muss es vorbehalten bleiben, dem Ver- 
fassungsentwurf der siebzehn Vertrauensmanner seine Stellung in 
der allgemeinen Entwicklung der staatsrechtlichen Anschauungen 
zuzuweisen und die Rolle des naheren zu schildern, die er in der 
Geschichte der deutschen Einheitsbestrebungen und Verfassungs- 
kampfe gespielt hat. 

Hier sollte nur ein kurzer Hinweis auf die neuen demnachst 
1 Springer, a. a. O. S. 225. 

396 R. Hubner [xx 

bekannt zu machenden Materialien gegeben werden, die demjenigen, 
der jene Aufgabe in Angriff nehmen wird, wenigstens nach 
manchen Richtungen hin von Wert sein dlirften. 

Ich freue mich, dass es mir vergonnt war, den Siebzehnerentwurf 
gerade bei dieser Gelegenheit und an dieser Stelle zu besprechen. 
Fiihrt doch die Entwicklung des modernen Staatsrechts in letzter 
Linie stets in dieses Land und in diese Stadt ! 


Printed by R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, Edinburgh. 


Acme Library Card Pocket 

Under Pat. "Ref. Index File."