6

I can't find where this text comes from:

Ambulatoria enim est voluntas hominum usque ad vitae supremum exitum.

I can't find the author on the internet. What is the source of this phrase?

8

The phrase is actually slightly different:

ambulatoria enim est voluntas defuncti usque ad vitae supremum exitum.

This means:

For the will of a dead man is changeable until his final departure from life.

This comes from the Digest (or Pandects):

The Digest, also known as the Pandects (Latin: Digesta seu Pandectae, adapted from Ancient Greek πανδέκτης pandektes, "all-containing"), is a name given to a compendium or digest of Roman law compiled by order of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) emperor Justinian I in the 6th century (AD 530-533). It spans 50 volumes, and represented a reduction and codification of all Roman laws up to that time.

The full passage is Dig. 34.4.4.:

Quod si iterum in amicitiam redierunt et paenituit testatorem prioris offensae, legatum vel fideicommissum relictum redintegratur: ambulatoria enim est voluntas defuncti usque ad vitae supremum exitum.

This particular quote is compiled from the writing of Ulpian (c. 170-223). I am not sure if this particular quote is extant beyond the transmission from the Digest.

This appears to have gained some popularity as a legal maxim regarding will-writing: a Google search reveals several hundred results from old legal books. The basic idea is that a will can be changed as long as the person in question is alive.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.