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Where one person has a right over property of another, which he can assert by legal remedy against any one who interferes with its exercise, and not merely against the owner of the property, he is said to have a ius in re aliena, and his right belongs to those which are “real” or in rem. By the existence of such a right the legal position of the owner is diminished in value: his ownership, which otherwise would be unrestricted, is curtailed, not in duration, but in extension. The presumption of law was in favour of the freedom of property, and the burden of proving his right over it lay on the other party: hence, when a thing was sold as optima maxima, this was legally understood to mean that it was warranted free from any real rights in persons other than the owner (Dig. 50, 16, 90, and 169). Two classes of such rights are known to Roman law: one recognized by the old Ius Civile, and termed servitutes; the other of praetorian origin, and known by specific names—viz. Emphyteusis, Pignus, and Superficies. See the articles under these heads. Servitutes are either personal or praedial. Of the first class are habitatio or the right of living in another person's house; and operae servorum or animalium, the right of using his slaves or animals. Among praedial servitutes are that oneris ferendi, the right to use a wall or edifice of his neighbour as a support for his own; proiciendi, the right to allow one's balcony to project over his neighbour's land; cloacae immitendae, the right of running a drain through a neighbour's premises, etc. The modern term for servitutes is “easements.” See Schonemann, Die Servituten (1866); Molitor, La Possession et les Servitutes en Droit Romain (1851).

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