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Report No. 110

III. Wills in other Countries During Ancient Times

2.12. Will in Germany and Greece in ancient times.-

According to Tacitus, the will was not in use among the ancient German tribes. The will is, on the other hand, recognised by Sabbinical and Mohammedan Law. At Athens, under the legislation of Solen, a will could be made only where the testator left no children.

Eleven out of the twelve extant creations of Isacus are on claims to an inheritance. In some cases, Isacus argues in favour of the validity of the will, in others, he argues against it. (The Romans were essentially a will making people. An immense space in the Corpus Juris is occupied with testamentary will. The whole of part V of the Digest (Books XXVIII (28)-VONI (36) deals with the subject). Aristotle's will, we are told1, shows his concern for every relative and dependant, not the least for the emancipation of his slaves.

1. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 2, p. 393.

2.13. Wills in countries under Roman influence.-

History furnishes many examples of wills executed by distinguished persons in countries under Roman influence. The Egyptian dynasty of the Ptolemies was founded by a Greek, one of the generals of Alexander-the-Great. Ptolemy X was the last legitimate descendant of the line. Having no legitimate progeny of his own, he left a will in which he bequeathed his kingdom to Rome. Caesar and some other Roman senators wanted to accept the bequest and to actually annex Egypt, but the political opposition was strong and the .project had to be abandoned1.

1. Rene A. Wormser Wills That Made History, (1962) 48 ABAJ 1148.

2.14. Will of Louis, the Pious.-

Nearer to our times, Louis, the Pious divided his realm by will among his three surviving sons-Lothair, Charles ("the Bold") and Louis ("the German"). Unhappy about the division which their father had made, the three sons immediately broke into armed conflict at his death. When the dust settled, the final division of the Empire presaged the permanent separation of France, Italy and Germany and created a borderland which (including Alsace) was to become a source of strife for centuries. Louis ("the German") got what is substantially West Germany now: Charles ("the Bold") got France; and Lothair received the imperial title of Northern Italy and the Frankish heartland, the Central Area to the North Sea1.

1. Rene A. Wormser Wills That Made History, (1962) 48 ABAJ 1148, 1149.

The Indian Succession Act, 1925 Back

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