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Accessio and specificatio reconsidered

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Contrary to the dominant opinion of contemporary Roman law studies, accessio and specificatio were not considered in ancient Roman law as independent modes of acquisition of ownership. They became regarded as such only in the 12th Century. In ancient Roman law, what later came to be called accessio caused only an extension of the ownership of the principal thing to include also the accessory without, however, giving rise to a new ownership. On the other hand, what later came to be called specificatio caused the extinction of the object, both from the physical and from the juridical point of view. If, in place of the extinguished thing a new one came into existence it could have been acquired by occupatio.Since the technical juridical terms accessio and specificatio were unknown to the Roman jurists, the cases provided by ancient sources cannot be clearly divided into these categories. Furthermore such classifications, since external to the sources, create superfluous problems. In order to attribute ownership the Roman jurists examined the identity of an object rather than classified cases as accessio or specificatio.The principal texts on which the argumentation is based are: D.–1, D., D. und D.–9.


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