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est, ut res quidem mobiles per triennium usucapiantur, immobiles vero per longi temporis possessionem, id est inter praesentes decennio, inter absentes viginti annis usucapiantur et his modis non solum in Italia, sed in omni terra, quae nostro imperio gubernatur, dominium rerum iusta causa possessionis praecedente adquiratur.
non-owner sells and delivers property, the purchaser, besides this causa (pro empto) must not know that it belongs to some one other than the vendor, or that the vendor has no authority to sell ; 'bonae fidei emptor esse videtur, qui ignoravit eam rem alienam esse, aut putavit eum, qui vendidit, ius vendendi habere, puta procuratorem aut tutorem esse' Dig. 50. 16. 109. By Roman law bona fides was required only at the inception of possession, and in sales also at the time of the contract : under the canon and modern civil law it is different.
(4) The possession must continue uninterruptedly during the period fixed by law; in case of interruption (usurpatio) the whole time must commence and run again. The time required by the Twelve Tables was two years for acquisition of immoveables, one for that of moveables.
The exclusion of provincial soil from the operation of usucapio led indirectly to very considerable changes in the law. The ground upon which Justinian tells us usucapio was recognised-ne rerum dominia in incerto essent—was as real a one in the provinces as in Italy; and in them its place was taken by an analogous praetorian institution, longi temporis praescriptio or possessio. By this, if a man possessed land for ten years (or twenty, if the owner lived out of the province), the latter's action for its recovery could, after the lapse of that period, be defeated by a plea (called originally praescriptio, later exceptio) alleging the length of the defendant's possession. The rules already stated as to iusta causa and bona fides, and the positive enactments excluding certain things from this mode of acquisition, were applied here as well as in usucapio ; and there is evidence that by this new institution res mobiles could be acquired (by peregrini) as well as land. It operated at first, as it were, as a Statute of Limitation only, but eventually it conferred ownership, the longi temporis possessor being allowed to bring a real action for the recovery of the object if deprived of it; see Cod. 7. 39. 8. pr.
When Justinian became emperor, the law of Prescription in his dominions consisted really of two heterogeneous portions. Res mobiles could be acquired by the old civil law usucapio in a year ; but practically all the soil of the Eastern Empire was 'provincial,' so that the old biennii usucapio had no application ; its place was supplied by the praetorian longi temporis possessio of ten or twenty years. Justinian reformed the old law as follows: (1) he did away with the old legal distinction between Italian and provincial soil ; (2) altered the periods of time required, as stated in this section, three years instead of one being now necessary for the usucapio of res mobiles ; and (3) upon the
1 Sed aliquando etiamsi maxime quis bona fide rem possederit, non tamen illi usucapio ullo tempore procedit, veluti is quis
liberum hominem vel rem sacram vel religiosam vel servum 2 fugitivum possideat. Furtivae quoque res et quae vi possessae sunt, nec si praedicto longo tempore bona fide possessae fuerint, usucapi possunt: nam furtivarum rerum lex duodecim tabularum et lex Atinia inhibet usucapionem, vi 3 possessarum lex Iulia et Plautia. Quod autem dictum est
furtivarum et vi possessarum rerum usucapionem per legem prohibitam esse, non eo pertinet, ut ne ipse fur quive per vim possidet usucapere possit: nam his alia ratione usucapio non competit, quia scilicet mala fide possident : sed ne ullus alius, quamvis ab eis bona fide emerit vel ex alia causa acceperit, usucapiendi ius habeat. unde in rebus mobilibus non facile 4 procedit, ut bonae fidei possessori usucapio competat. nam
qui alienam rem vendidit vel ex alia causa tradidit, furtum
analogy of Theodosius II's prescription of actions, he enacted that thirty years' possession of property, moveable or immoveable, should confer ownership, whether it admitted of the ordinary usucapio or no, and even in the absence of iustus titulus, Cod. 7. 39. This was called longissimi temporis praescriptio.
§ 1. The mention of the runaway slave in this rather than in the next section ('ancilla fugitiva sui furtum facere intellegitur' Dig. 47.2. 60; cf. Cod. 6. 1. I) is perhaps due to the senatus-consult (Dig. 48. 15. 2) which prohibited alienation of fugitivi, and so might be said in some sense to have placed them in the category of res extra commercium.
§ 2. The relation between the enactment of the Twelve Tables and the lex Atinia (which apparently was passed about the middle of the second century B. C.) seems to have been that the latter, while repeating the prohibition of the former, added that the vitium furti should be purged as soon as the object returned to the possession of the owner, Dig. 41. 3. 4. 6; 50. 16. 215: see on § 3 inf.
The lex Plautia (B. C. 59) and the lex Iulia (probably of Augustus) were less stringent than the other two statutes. The latter had said that stolen property should in no case be thus acquired, even by an innocent holder for value ($ 3); the former merely excluded the violent dispossessor himself, and not his innocent transferee or other person. They related practically to land only, for this did not come within the operation of the Twelve Tables and lex Atinia, see on § 7 inf.
§ 3. The vitium furti was purged, and the thing recovered the capacity of being acquired by usucapio, by returning into the hands of its owner ($ 8 inf. ; cf. Bk. iv. 1. 12) or of his agent to his knowledge. Hence if a man steals his own property (e. g. from a usufructuary or bona fide eius committit. Sed tamen id aliquando aliter se habet. nam si heres rem defuncto commodatam aut locatam vel apud eum depositam existimans hereditariam esse bona fide accipienti vendiderit aut donaverit aut dotis nomine dederit, quin is qui acceperit usucapere possit, dubium non est, quippe ea res in furti vitium non ceciderit, cum utique heres, qui bona fide tamquam suam alienaverit, furtum non committit. Item si is, 5 ad quem ancillae usus fructus pertinet, partum suum esse credens vendiderit aut donaverit, furtum non committit : furtum enim sine affectu furandi non committitur. Aliis quoque 6 modis accidere potest, ut quis sine vitio furti rem alienam ad aliquem transferat et efficiat, ut a possessore usucapiatur. Quod autem ad eas res, quae solo continentur, expeditius pro-7 cedit, ut quis loci vacantis possessionem propter absentiam aut neglegentiam domini, aut quia sine successore decesserit, sine vi nanciscatur. qui quamvis ipse mala fide possidet, quia intellegit se alienum fundum occupasse, tamen, si alii bona fide accipienti tradiderit, poterit ei longa possessione res adquiri, quia neque furtivum neque vi possessum accepit, abolita est enim quorundam veterum sententia existimantium etiam fundi locive furtum fieri et eorum, qui res soli possident, principalibus constitutionibus prospicitur, ne cui longa et indubitata possessio auferri debeat. Aliquando etiam furtiva vel vi 8 possessa res usucapi potest : veluti si in domini potestatem
possessor) usucapion is not hindered, Dig. 47. 2. 20. 1. It is deemed to have returned to his hands as soon as he knows who has got it, and is consequently able to bring a real action for its recovery : 'in lege Atinia in potestatem domini rem furtivam venisse videri, et si eius vindicandae potestatem habuerit, Sabinus et Cassius aiunt' Dig. 50. 16. 215. It is uncertain whether the vitium was purged by the property being restored to the possession of him from whom, though not its owner, it was stolen, e.g. the bona fide possessor, usufructuary, or pledgee; Dig. 41. 3. 4. 6 distinctly says no, but 49 of the same Title contains a genuine exception.
$ 6. For other cases see Dig. 41. 8. 4, Paul. sent. rec. 5. 2. 5, Cod. 7. 33. I.
§ 7. Justinian altered the law, as it is here stated, by Nov. 119. 7, by which he enacted that a bona fide possessor of land by transfer from a mala fide possessor should become owner by usucapio in ten or twenty years only if all the facts were known to the dominus ; otherwise thirty years' possession was required.
reversa fuerit. tunc enim vitio rei purgato procedit eius usu9 capio. Res fisci nostri usucapi non potest. sed Papinianus
scribit bonis vacantibus fisco nondum nuntiatis bona fide emp
torem sibi traditam rem ex his bonis usucapere posse : et ita 10 divus Pius et divus Severus et Antoninus rescripserunt. No
vissime sciendum est rem talem esse debere, ut in se non habeat vitium, ut a bona fide emptore usucapi possit vel qui
ex alia iusta causa possidet. 11 Error autem falsae causae usucapionem non parit. veluti si
quis, cum non emerit, emisse se existimans possideat: vel cum
ei donatum non fuerat, quasi ex donatione possideat. 12 Diutina possessio, quae prodesse coeperat defuncto, et
heredi et bonorum possessori continuatur, licet ipse sciat praedium alienum : quodsi ille initium iustum non habuit, heredi et bonorum possessori licet ignoranti possessio non prodest. quod nostra constitutio similiter et in usucapionibus observari
§ 9. Bona vacantia is property of a deceased person who leaves no successor, civil or praetorian, Dig. 49. 14. 1. 2; 44. 3. 10. I, Cod. JO. 10.
§ 10. Apparently a general statement of the rule which $S 1-9 are intended to exemplify.
$ 11. The commentators use the phrase titulus putativus for cases of this sort. Justinian's statement of the law must be taken subject to the exception that a titulus putativus will support usucapio where the error is excusable, Dig. 41. 10. 5. 1; 41. 4. II. Conversely, usucapio will operate where there is a iusta causa unknown to the possessor, Dig. ib. 2. 2.
The rule has no application when there is a mere mistake in the causa, as where the transferor means to give, and the transferee to buy, Dig. 41. 3. 31. 6, ib. 44. 4 ; see Tit. 20. 30 inf., and cf, note on Tit. I. 40 supr. ad fin.
$ 12. Accessio temporis or possessionis, the reckoning together, as one possession, the otherwise unbroken possession of a man and his successor in title for purposes of usucapio, had been allowed very early, if not always, between a deceased person and his heirs, on the ground of their fictitious identity, which was so consistently realised that (as is remarked in the text) if the deceased was in condicione usucapiendi, no mala fides on the part of the heir on succeeding vitiated the possession. Under the contrary supposition, not only could the heir not reckon the deceased's possession, but could not acquire by usucapio even if his own possession had commenced bona fide, Dig. 41. 3. 15. pr., and though the heirs' alienee in § 4 supr. could acquire in this manner, he could not do so himself, Dig. ib. 5. 3. The same principles were applied to the bonorum possessor, but not the legatee.
constituit, ut tempora continuentur. Inter venditorem quoque 13 et emptorem coniungi tempora divus Severus et Antoninus rescripserunt.
Edicto divi Marci cavetur eum, qui a fisco rem alienam 14 emit, si post venditionem quinquennium praeterierit, posse dominum rei per exceptionem repellere. constitutio autem divae memoriae Zenonis bene prospexit his, qui a fisco per venditionem vel donationem vel alium titulum aliquid accipiunt, ut ipsi quidem securi statim fiant et victores existant, sive conveniantur sive experiantur : adversus sacratissimum autem aerarium usque ad quadriennium liceat intendere his, qui pro dominio vel hypotheca earum rerum, quae alienatae sunt, putaverint sibi quasdam competere actiones. nostra autem divina constitutio, quam nuper promulgavimus, etiam de his, qui a nostra vel venerabilis Augustae domo aliquid acceperint, haec statuit, quae in fiscalibus alienationibus praefatae Zenonianae constitutioni continentur.
DE DONATIONIBUS. Est etiam aliud genus adquisitionis donatio. donationum
By usucapionibus at the end of the section is meant Justinian's new system of usucapio.
§ 13. In the case of singular as distinct from universal succession accessio possessionis does not seem to have been allowed in the old civil law usucapio except between vendor and vendee, and that not until the rescript mentioned in the text. In the corresponding praetorian system (longi temporis possessio) it was permitted if the justice of the particular case seemed to require it: 'de accessionibus possessionum nihil in perpetuum neque generaliter definire possumus, consistunt enim in sola aequitate' Dig. 44. 3. 14. pr. Under Justinian it was allowed in all cases between the usucapion possessor and his predecessor in title (Dig. 41. 4. 2. 17 and 20; 44. 3. 15. 1-6, Cod. 7. 31) provided there had been no break, vacuum tempus, Dig. 44. 3. 15. I.
§ 14. For Zeno's constitution see Cod. 7. 37. 2. Under the older law there had been three abnormal cases of usucapio, in which the ordinary rules were suspended in respect either of bona fides, titulus, or length of the possession, viz. usucapio lucrativa or possessio pro herede, practically abolished by a senatus-consult of Hadrian's time (SC. Iuventianum), Gaius ii. 52-58; usureceptio lucrativa, ib. 59; and usureceptio ex praediatura, ib. 60. 61.
Tit. VII. Donatio was perhaps treated by the older jurists as a distinct