“Law, Language, and Geography: Charting the History of Commercial Terms”: MICOLLS’s 2nd Workshop

27 November 2023

The second workshop of the MICOLL project, “Law, Language, and Geography: Charting the History of Commercial Terms”, will take place at the Goethe-Universität of Frankfurt am Main on the 1st December 2023.

Migration is one of the great challenges of our era, but one that has been with us since ancient times. Today, it is usually seen as a problem but history tells us that, once it provided opportunities. This is particularly evident when we look at the “migration” of merchants over the centuries and the great adavantages they brought to the economy. In fact, all the most powerful and flourishing trading centers are (and were) melting pots of people coming from different parts of the world.

Recent historical research has analyzed the encounter, over the course of history, of “cultural” or “cross-cultural brokers”. Mechanisms of inter-religious contacts, cross-fertilization and communication have been studied through sources provided by people living in a cultural environment different from their own. Merchants have been defined “latent brokers”, i.e., agents whose impact on another culture was the by-product of an activity that had other aims. The analysis of this activity can help us to shed new light on this impact but only if we find out whether, and to what extent, the inter-weaving of cultures and ethnicities really influenced everyday life. Law, and in this case commercial law and practices, constitute a privileged point of view from which to evaluate this influence.

The objective of the 2nd Workshop of the ERC CoG MICOLL consists in discussing the impact on the development of commercial law of the migration of German merchants (focus on Nuremberg and Lubeck) towards Italy (focus on Genoa and Venice) and vice versa, in the period between the 11th and the 17th century.  Particular attention will be devoted to the two main outputs of the project: an online “Lexicon of medieval commercial law terms” and two digital maps of two main overland routes connecting Italy with Germany (Venice-Lübeck). One map will be designed for the academic world and will contain all the references to legal-historical documents (MICOLL-Map); the second one will be designed for a wider audience and will contain images and information about the lives and journeys of merchants (MM-Map).

It is possible to follow the workshop via Zoom. This is the LINK: https://unipd.zoom.us/j/84071999358?pwd=ekIvR3FGUDVZWEFiZWRuc2xwYTMyUT09.

MORNING – Law and Language (Chair: Albrecht Cordes, Frankfurt)

9:00: Greetings: Albrecht Cordes (Frankfurt)

9:15: Introduction: Stefania Gialdroni (Padua)

9:45: Keynote speaker: Anja Amend-Traut (Würzburg): “Commercial expert opinions of Nuremberg provenance. From individual cases to generalized use”

10:30: Coffee break

11:00: Davide Basaldella and Francesca Fusco (Padua): “The Structure of the MICOLL-Glossary: Models, Problems, and Proposals” + Discussion

11:45: Denise Bezzina (Genoa) and David De Concilio (Padua): “Defining the Corpus: Genoese and Venetian Sources for the MICOLL-Glossary” + Discussion

12:30: Lunch Break


AFTERNOON – Law and Geography (Chair: Maria Fusaro, Exeter)

14:00: Visit to the Max Planck Instiute for Legal History and Legal Theory with Stefanie Rüther

14:30: Keynote speaker: Heike Hawicks (Heidelberg): “Eberhard von Künßberg’s Legal Word Geography and the Cartographic Recording of Language Use a Hundred Years Ago – Inventory and Perspectives of his Scientific Legacy”.

15:15: Fabio Giachelle and Jake Dyble: “Linking Historical Evidence to Digital Maps: Progress Report on the MICOLL-Map” + Discussion

16:00: Coffee Break

16:30: Chiara Lo Giudice and Stefania Gialdroni (Padua): “IUSTITIAM: Places, Spaces, and Iconographies of Mercantile Justice in Europe” + Discussion

17:15: Keynote speaker: Magnus Ressel (Frankfurt): “The transit passes over the mountains as a system of communicating tubes. The example of the Venetian-Tyrolean toll-politics from 1650 to 1675”

18:00: Heikki Pihlajamäki (Helsinki): Concluding Remarks