Usucapio pro herede in The Institutes of Gaius

Kamil Sorka

Abstrakt

Roman legal sources concerning usucapion in place of an heir (usucapio pro herede) are not numerous. We will only fi nd a relevant fragment in the second commentary of Gaius’ Institutiones and a short text Pro herede vel pro possessore in the 41st book of Justinian’s Digesta. The paper focuses on the exegesis of the fi rst of the sources. According to the institution of usucapion in place of an heir, anybody who possessed any goods belonging to an inheritance could acquire the inheritance within a year. Therefore, the main purpose of the institution seemed to be determining who was going to be responsible for continuing the domestic worship (sacra familiaria). When the sacra had lost their social signifi cance, usucapio pro herede changed its subject to the goods that belonged to an inheritance, not the inheritance as such. In classical Roman law, usucapion in place of an heir started to be considered a dishonourable legal institution. Emperor Hadrian marginalised usucapio pro herede through a decree of the senate sponsored by him. The senatus consultum made usucapion possible to reverse by the actual heir. Emperor Marcus Aurelius introduced a new crime, the crimen expilatae hereditatis, which consisted in taking over goods that belonged to someone else’s inheritance. However, usucapio pro herede was never abolished in a legal act.

Słowa kluczowe: usucapion, usucapio, heir, inheritance, goods belonging to an inheritance, acquisition, Roman legal sources, Gaius
References
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