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On this page: Lecythus – Legatio Libera – Legatum

LEGATUM.

of the place which each guest occupied, is given under triclinium. (Becker, Gattus, vol. i. p. 42, &c.) [L. S.]

LECYTHUS(X^/cv0os),asraall narrow-mouthed vessel, the principal use of which was to hold oil, for anointing after the bath, and in the palaestra. It was sometimes of leather, but more often of earthen-ware. Numerous terra-cotta vessels of this sort exist, of an oval shape, holding about a pint, generally painted a plain dark brown or black, but sometimes a bright colour, while a few ex­ amples are adorned with beautifully executed paint­ ings. Most of them are the productions of the Athenian potteries. (Horn. Od. vi. 79 ; Krause, Gymn, u. Agon. vol. i. p. 189, and in Pauly's Real-Encyclop'ddie, s. v.} [P. S.]

LEGATIO LIBERA. [leqatus, p. 678, b.]

LEGATUM is defined (Dig. 30. s. 116) to be " delibatio here.ditatis qua testator ex eo quod uni-versum heredis foret alicui quid collauim velit." This singular succession presupposes a universal succession, for if there is no heres ex testamento or person loco heredis, there can be no legacy. A Legatum then is a part of the hereditas which a testator gives out of it, from the heres (ab herede) ; that is, it is a gift to a person out of that whole (universum) which is diminished to the heres by such gift. Accordingly the phrase " ab herede legare " thus becomes intelligible. (Dig. 30. s. 116 ; " ei testamento legat grandem pecuniam a filio," Cic. pro Cluent. 12.) A legatee could not be charged with the payment of a legacy out of what was given to him, a rule of law which was thus expressed, " A legatario legari non potest." A legatum was something given according to the Jus Civile, and therefore could only be given in civilia verba, and in Latin. [testamentum.]

The word " Legatum," from the verb lego, con­tains the same element as Lex. Lego has the sense of appointing or disposing of a matter, as in the phrase " legatum negotium " (Plaut. Cas. i. 1. 12) ; and it is used in the Twelve Tables to ex­press generally a testator's disposition of his pro­perty (uti Ivyassit, &c.). Ulpian accordingly explains the word Legatum by referring to its etymology, and likening a Legatum to a Lex pro­perly so called. " A Legatum," he says, " is that which is left by a testament, legis modo, that is, imperative; for those things which are left pre-cativo modo, are called Fideicommissa." (Frag. tit. 24.) A legatee was named legatarius; those to whom a thing was given jointly (conjunctini) were collegatarii. A legacy which was legally valid or good, was legatum utile; a void legacy was inutile. A legacy which was given absolutely or unconditionally, was said to be given pure; one which was given conditionally was said to be given sub conditione. The expression purum legatum, an unconditional legacy, also occurs. (Dig. 36. tit. 2. 8. 5.)

Gains apologizes for treating of Legata in that part of his Institutional work in which he has placed them. In the first ninety-six chapters of his second book he treats of the acquisition of property in Res singular to which class legacies belong. But as the matter of legacies is not intelligible without reference to the matter of hereditas or universal succession, he places the law of legacies (haw jtiris material) immediately after that of hereditas.

There were four Civil forms in which a legacy

675

LEGATUM.

could be left: Per Vindicationem, Per Damna-tionem, Sinendi modo, Per Praeceptionem.

A legatum per vindicationem was given in these words: " Hominem Stichum Do, Lego ;" or the words might be with reference to the legatee, " Capito, Sumito, Sibi Habeto." A legatum per vindicationem was so called with reference to the legal means by which the legatee asserted his right to the legacy against the heres or any possessor, which was by a vindicatio or an Actio in rem ; for as soon as the Hereditatis aditio had taken place, the legatee had the Quiritarian (ex jure Quiritium) ownership of the legacy. The two schools raised a question as to this, Whether under such circum­stances, the legatee obtained the Quiritarian owner­ship of the thing before he had consented to take it. The opinion of the Proculiani who contended for such consent, was confirmed by a Constitution of Antoninus Pius (Gains, ii. 195). It was con­sistent with the nature of the Per Vindicationem, that those things only could be so given, in which the testator had Quiritarian ownership: and it was also necessary that he should have such owner­ship both at the time of making his will and at the time of his death ; otherwise the legacy was void (inutile). But there was an exception in respect of things " quae pondere, numero, men-sura constant," as wine, oil, corn, and the pre­cious metals in the form of coin (pecunia nume-rata\ in regard to which it was sufficient if the testator had the Quiritarian ownership at the time of his death. By a senatusconsultum of the time of Nero, it was enacted that if a testator left a thing as a legacy, which had never been his, the legacy should be equally good as if it had been left in the form most advantageous to the legatee (optima jure), which form was the Legatum per damnationem. But if a testator gave a thing of his own by a testament, which he afterwards alienated, it was the best opinion that the legacy was inutile by the Jus Civile, and that the Senatusconsultura did not make it good. If the same thing was given to more than one person either jointly (con-junctim) so as to make them collegatarii, or se­verally (disjunctim\ each took an equal share. A legatum was given conjunctim thus : " Titio et Seio hominem Stichum do, lego;" dkjunctim* thus: " Titio hominem Stichum do, lego ; Seio eundem hominem do, lego." If one collegatarius failed to take, his portion went to the others. In the case of a conditional legacy left per vindicationem, the schools were divided in opinion: the Sabiniani said that it was the property of the heres during the pendency of the condition ; the Proculiani said that it was " res nullius."

The form of the Per damnationem was this: Heres meus Stichum servum meum dare clamnas esto ; but the word Dato was equally effective. A thing which belonged to another (alicna res) could be thus left, and the heres was bound to procure the thing for the legatee or to pay him the value of it. A thing not in existence at the date of the will might be left by this form, as the future pro­duce of a female slave (ancilla). The legatee did not acquire the Quiritarian ownership of the legacy by virtue of the hereditatis aditio: the thing still remained the property of the heres, but the effect of the legatum was to establish an obligatio be­tween the heres and the legatee, who could sue for it by an Actio in personam. If it was a thing Mancipi, the legatee could only acquire the Quiri-

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