Chapter ID: CBB218491137

Propter Conversationem Diversarum Gentium: Migrating Words and Merchants in Medieval Pisa (2019)


The Republic of Pisa was an international economic power as early as the 11th century. Its prosperity led to the early development of typical communal institutions (consules) as well as to the drafting of the most ancient and exhaustive examples of written ius proprium that have survived until today: the Constitutum Legis (CL) and the Constitutum Usus (CU). The latter included a list of city customs, with particular reference to feudal, commercial and maritime law. At the time of Pisa’s supremacy, i.e. until the second half of the 13th century, merchants from the Republic could be found all across the Mediterranean. Pisa itself too was a melting pot of different ethnicities and cultures, so much so that was described as a new ‘Babel’ by the monk Donizo of Canossa. This paper aims at analyzing the law and language used for commenda-like contracts by the merchants of Pisa in order to verify possible foreign influences. The very foreword of the CU, in fact, states that Pisa ‘earned’ its own customs (suas consuetudines non scriptas habere meruit) thanks to the ‘dialogue’ with people coming from different parts of the world (propter conversationem diversarum gentium).

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Book Stefania Gialdroni; Dauchy, Serge,; Cordes, Albrecht (2020) Migrating words, migrating merchants, migrating law: trading routes and the development of commercial law. unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Cordes, Albrecht
Cohen, Mark R.
Keller, Evelyn Fox
Tomasi, Lucia Tongiorgio
Latterell, Catherine G.
Nuckolls, J. B.
Nuova Rivista di Storia della Medicina
Annual Review of Anthropology
Archives of Natural History
Bollettino di Storia delle Scienze Matematiche
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal
Edizioni ETS
Bedford/St. Martin's
Commercial law
Leonardo da Pisa
Mach, Ernst
Ricci, Matteo
Wittgenstein, Ludwig
Lussana, Filippo
Time Periods
19th century
21st century
Early modern
16th century
17th century
Pisa (Italy)
Università di Pisa
Museo di Storia Naturale dell'Università di Pisa

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