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(797 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] In Roman law, the legacy (from legare: ‘to pronounce a binding declaration of will’, lex ). The possibility of bequeathing someone property through testamentary disposition ( Will) to the detriment of the heir was acknowledged in the XII Tables (5,3). There were two main types: 1) By legatum per vindicationem (arranged by: Titio hominem Stichum do lego, ‘to Titius I give and bequeathe the slave Stichus’) the legatee acquired the ownership of the bequeathed object directly with the succession and was able to claim this object from the h…

Minimum share

(320 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] As wills passing over sons were not admissible in classical Greek law ( diathḗkē B.), the question of minimum share did not arise. Even in Roman law, however, a law of minimum share for close relatives developed only slowly. At the beginning of the development there was the right of mandatory heirs ( Succession, laws of III E) to invalidate the will entirely or receive at least a part of the estate in case they were passed over ( praeteritio ). Against disinheritance ( exheredatio ) the mandatory heirs were powerless. A true right of minimum share did exist for a patronus

Vacantia bona

(169 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] An heirless estate ( Bona ). In the Republic, the members of the gens of a deceased person had a right of acquisition (Gai. Inst. 3,17); if they did not exercise it, anybody could take possession of the estate and obtain it by usucapio ('adverse possession') (Gai. Inst. 2,52-58). If in a will ( Testamentum ) an heir was appointed, but had become unavailable, the will and all its dispositions were ineffective. From the lex Iulia et Papia (18/9 BC) onwards the VB fell as a caducum ('forfeited') to the state, which also fulfilled the provisions of t…

Wills and testaments

(3,807 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] [1] (Religion) see Bible; Christianity; New Testament Apocrypha; Septuagint; Testamentary literature; Vulgate (Religion) see Bible; Christianity; New Testament Apocrypha; Septuagint; Testamentary literature; Vulgate Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) [German version] [2] History of law (History of law) Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) [German version] I. General Testament (from the Latin testamentum in the sense of the final will made before witnesses; see below IV.) denotes a unilateral 'last will and testament' (or, in common E…

Mortis causa capio

(120 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] In Roman law, any ‘acquisition mortis causa ’not based on succession or legacy (Inheritance law III. H.): (1) gift mortis causa ( donatio ); what someone (2) received in fulfilment of a condition of a will or (3) on the condition that a third party (not the executing party) would die, or in exchange (4) for waiving an acquisition under inheritance law or (5) for an application for provisional safeguarding of an estate in favour of an unborn child ( missio in possessionem ) (Dig. 39,6,38; 31 pr./2; 8 pr.; 12). Manthe, Ulrich (Passau) Bibliography Kaser, RPR 1, 765; 2, 567  P. Voci,…


(767 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] The fideicommissum (literally: ‘entrusted to faith’), which from the 2nd cent. BC (Ter. Andr. 290-298) appeared alongside the legatum (legacy), was a request of the testator to an heir or legatee to pass on the inheritance in part or total to a third party. Since a fideicommissum was not subject to the same restrictions as the civil law of succession, it was used to make a bequest to a person who would otherwise not be eligible to be an heir or to receive a legacy (non-citizens; women according to the lex Voconia,  Laws of succession III. D.; the unmarried and the chil…


(180 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] The lex Papia Poppaea (AD 9), by economic pressure, indirectly forced marriage and the having of children by taking away from unmarried persons the entire capability of inheriting ( capacitas) for a bequest that fell to them in the course of an inheritance, and half the ability to work for married couples without children; married partners amongst themselves had capacitas for one tenth only ( Decuma). The bequest fell, as caducum (‘forfeited’ possessions), to those men named in the testament who had children, otherwise (since Caracalla always) to t…


(556 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] A person who died without leaving a valid testament. Under Roman ius civile the estate of the deceased firstly devolved upon the   sui heredes , or else upon the agnatic relatives of the next degree ( agnati proximi). According to the Law of the Twelve Tables (5th cent. AD), s ui became heredes in the case of succession, agnati only acquired property ( familia, XII 5.4) and became successors through   usucapio ; in classical Roman law (1st-3rd cent. AD) agnates became successors through   aditio hereditatis . From the 2nd cent. BC on, agnatic relat…


(66 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] Siblings with a common father ( uterini share the mother). According to Roman civil law consanguine sisters had a legal right of inheritance while agnatic relatives of a higher degree of relationship (aunts, nieces etc.) were excluded from intestate inheritance (Gai. Inst. 3,14; Inst. Iust. 3,2,3a).  Agnatio;  Succession, law of Manthe, Ulrich (Passau) Bibliography H. L. W. Nelson, U. Manthe, Gai Institutiones III 1-87, 1992, 65f.

Ademptio legati

(51 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] The revocation of a formal legacy, initially only by formal declaration ( non do; heres ne dato) in a will, from the 2nd cent. AD also possible by informal exercise of will (e.g. disposal of the object) (Dig. 34,4).  Legatum Manthe, Ulrich (Passau) Bibliography Kaser, RPR I, 755


(121 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] (=  decima sc. pars). The law of Papia Poppaea (AD 9) limited to one-tenth of the inheritance (with additional allowances for children) the capacity ( capacitas) of spouses in manus-free marriage to inherit from the testament of another. A wife in manus- marriage was, however, sua heres entitled to inherit the entire estate [2].The limit was abolished in AD 410 (Cod. Iust. 8,57,2). Apart from inheritance law, the tithe occurs as subject of a vow (Varro, Ling. 6,54; Dig. 50,12,2,2) and as the tax on crops from provincial land [1].  Caducum Manthe, Ulrich (Passau) Bibliograp…
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