1. ACQUISITION OF OWNERSHIP OF THINGS
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BOOK FORTY-ONE ACQUISITION OF OWNERSHIP OF THINGS 1 GAIus, Common Matters or Golden Things, book 2: Of some things we acquire ownership under the law of nations which is observed, by natural reason, among all men generally, of others under the civil law which is peculiar to our city. And since the law of nations is the older, being the product of human nature itself, it is necessary to treat of it first. 1. So all animals taken on land, sea, or in the air, that is, wild beasts, birds, and fish, become the property of those who take them, 2 FLORENTINUS, Institutes, book 6: as also their offspring born when they are ours. 3 GAIUS,Common Matters or Golden Things, book 2: What presently belongs to no one becomes by natural reason the property of the first taker. 1. So far as wild animals and birds are concerned, it matters not whether they be taken on one's own or on someone else's land. Of course, a person entering another's land for the purpose of hunting or fowling can, if the latter becomes aware of it, lawfully be forbidden entry by the landowner. 2. Any of these things which we take, however, are regarded as ours for so long as they are governed by our control. But when they escape from our custody and return to their natural state of freedom, they cease to be ours and are again open to the fist taker, 4 FLORENTINUS, Institutes, book 6: other than those tamed creatures which are in the habit of going and returning. 5 GAIUS,Common Matters or Golden Things, book 2: An animal is deemed to regain its natural state of liberty when it escapes our sight or, though still visible, is difficult of pursuit. 1. The question has been asked whether a wild animal, so wounded that it may be captured, is already ours. Trebatius approved the view that it becomes ours at once and that it is ours so long as we chase after it; but, if we abandon the chase, it ceases to be ours and is open to the first taker. Hence, if, during the period of our pursuit, someone else should take the animal, with intent to profit thereby, he is to be regarded as stealing from us. The majority opinion was that the beast is ours only if we have actually captured it because many circumstances can prevent our actually seizing it. And that is the sounder opinion. 2. Bees, again, are wild by nature and so those which swarm in our tree are, until housed by us in our hives, no more regarded as ours than birds which make a nest in our tree. Hence, if another should house or hive them, he will be their owner. 3. Again, honeycombs which they make can be taken by anyone with no question of theft though, as said earlier, one entering upon another's land can be lawfully barred by the owner who becomes aware of it. 4. A swarm which flies away from our hive is deemed still to be ours so long as we have it in sight and its recovery is not difficult; otherwise, it is open to the first taker. 5. The wild nature of peacocks and doves is of no moment because it is their custom to fly BOOK FORTY-ONE 1 ACQUISITION OF OWNERSHIP OF THINGS 1 GAlUS, Common Matters or Golden Things, book 2: Of some things we acquire ownership under the law of nations which is observed, by natural reason, among all men generally, ofothers under the civil law which is peculiar to our city. And since the law of nations is the older, being the product of human nature itself, it is necessary to treat of it first. 1. So all animals taken on land, sea, or in the air, that is, wild beasts, birds, and fish, become the property of those who take them, 2 FLORENTINUS, Institutes, book 6: as also their offspring born when they are ours. 3 GAlUS, Common Matters or Golden Things, book 2: What presently belongs to no one becomes by natural reason the property of the first taker. 1. So far as wild animals and birds are concerned, it matters not whether they be taken on one's own or on someone else's land. Of course, a person entering another's land for the purpose of hunting or fowling can, if the latter becomes...


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