25 November 2022

WORKSHOP: Towards a Lexicon of Medieval and Early Modern Commercial Law (Padua, 2 DEC 2022; online)


(Image Source: MICOLL)

The ERC CoG20 MICOLL will analyze the development of commercial law by means of a tool almost ignored in this field: historical linguistics. The borrowing and transfer of legal terms will be carried out through a comprehensive and systematic investigation of medieval and early modern legal sources, in particular commercial letters, contracts and statutes. Even though legal historians tend to deny the effectiveness of a body of customary laws uniformly adopted across medieval and modern Europe, the “myth” of the ancient lex mercatoria continues to provide historical legitimacy to the supporters of corporate self-regulation. According to a widespread historiographical topos, merchants all over the world “spoke the same language” when it came to what was important for them: to make profits. As legal institutions are represented by technical legal words, an analysis of the terms merchants actually used is a powerful and never attempted way to verify the impact of merchants’ migrations on the development of commercial law, which had, in its turn, tremendous effects on social and economic history.

The first workshop of the project aims at creating a dialogue between historians, jurists, linguists, and engineers to set up a lexicon which is intended to be, at the same time, extremely accurate and user-friendly.

The Workshop website and program:

MORNING SESSION: Chair – Prof. Silvia Di Paolo (Roma Tre University)

9:00 Greetings by Prof. Manlio Miele (Head of Department of Private Law and Critique of Law, University of Padua)

9:15 Greetings by Prof. Nicoletta Maraschio (Professor Emeritus, University of Florence; Honorary President of the Accademia della Crusca)

9:30 Greetings and introduction by Prof. Stefania Gialdroni (University of Padua): When Legal History Meets Historical Linguistics: Challenges, Goals, and Outcomes of the ERC CoG MICOLL

10:00 Dr. Jake Dyble (University of Padua): “From Port to Port and Fair to Fair”: Migrating Institutions Beyond Lex Mercatoria. Discussant Prof. Dave De ruysscher (Tilburg University)

10:45 - 11:15 Coffee Break

11:15 Dr. Denise Bezzina (University of Padua): Rethinking the Commenda (Genoa, Venice, 12th-13th Centuries). Discussant Prof. Albrecht Cordes (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main)

12:00 Dr. David De Concilio (University of Padua): L’importanza di ciò che non migra. Il caso del mutuo nelle repubbliche marinare tra diritto e lingua (XII-XV secolo). Discussant Prof. Raffaele Volante (University of Padua)

13:00 - 14:30 Lunch Break

AFTERNOON SESSION: Chair – Prof. Beatrice Pasciuta (University of Palermo)

14:30 Dr. Francesca Fusco (University of Padua): Per un repertorio degli italianismi del commercio nel tedesco: il contributo del DIFIT. Discussant Prof. Federigo Bambi (University of Florence)

15:15 Dr. Davide Basaldella (University of Padua): L’influsso delle varietà italoromanze settentrionali sul lessico commerciale tedesco. Considerazioni preliminari. Discussant Prof. Daniele Baglioni (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice)

16:00 - 16:15 Coffee Break

16:15 Dr. Fabio Giachelle (University of Padua): Towards a collaborative glossary construction. Discussant Prof. Maria Fusaro (University of Exeter)

17:00 Prof. Giorgio Di Nunzio (University of Padua): A FAIR Trade: The Road of Merchants Paved With LOD

17:30 Conclusion by Prof. Emanuele Conte (Roma Tre University)

18:00 End of Workshop

To join the meeting online send an email to 

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