MICOLL’S First Workshop: University of Padua, 2 December 2022

20 November 2022

The first workshop of MICOLL is coming soon! It will be an interdisciplinary event where our post-docs will discuss their research with experts of their respective fields, coming from all over Europe.

Towards a Lexicon of Medieval and Early Modern Commercial Law

1st Workshop of the ERC CoG20 MICOLL

Padua, 2 December 2022, Caffé Pedrocchi (Sala Egizia)

It will be possible to join the meeting online upon request at micoll.dpcd@unipd.it.



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 center of this project will be Venice, for several centuries the mandatory stop for merchandise coming from the East and directed to northern Europe, from where men and goods would reach other trading centers. Our time-frame spans from the “commercial revolution” of the 11th century to the beginning of the modern period, when the new dynamics of transoceanic trade left Venice at the periphery of a world that was changing its very dimensions.  Did merchants actually use the same legal terms in different geographical areas? And, above all, did they grant these words the same legal meaning? MICOLL will answer these questions by means of a “Lexicon of medieval and early modern commercial law”.

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.



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

9:00 : Greetings by Manlio Miele (Head of the DPCD, Padua)

9:15: Greetings by Nicoletta Maraschio (Florence – Honorary President of the Accademia della Crusca)

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

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

10:45: Coffee Break

11:15: Denise Bezzina (Padua): Rethinking the Commenda (Genoa, Venice, 12th-13th Centuries).Discussant Albrecht Cordes (Frankfurt a.M.)

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

13:00: Lunch Break

AFTERNOON SESSION: Chair – Beatrice Pasciuta (Palermo)

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

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

16:00: Coffee Break

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

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

17:30: Conclusion by Emanuele Conte (Roma Tre)

Organizing Committee: Stefania Gialdroni, Davide Baldella, Denise Bezzina, David De Concilio, Jake Dyble, Francesca Fusco, Fabio Giachelle