Understanding the Sources of Early Modern and Modern Commercial Law

Courts, Statutes, Contracts, and Legal Scholarship


The contributions of Understanding the Sources of Early Modern and Modern Commercial Law: Courts, Statutes, Contracts, and Legal Scholarship show the wealth of sources which historians of commercial law use to approach their subject. Depending on the subject, historical research on mercantile law must be ready to open up to different approaches and sources in a truly imaginative and interdisciplinary way. This, more than many other branches of law, has always been largely non-state law. Normative, ‘official’, sources are important in commercial law as well, but other sources are often needed to complement them. The articles of the volume present an excellent assemblage of those sources. Anja Amend-Traut, Albrecht Cordes, Serge Dauchy, Dave De ruysscher, Olivier Descamps, Ricardo Galliano Court, Eberhard Isenmann, Mia Korpiola, Peter Oestmann, Heikki Pihlajamäki, Edouard Richard, Margrit Schulte Beerbühl, Guido Rossi, Bram Van Hofstraeten, Boudewijn Sirks, Alain Wijffels, and Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz.
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Biographical Note

Heikki Pihlajamäki is Professor of Comparative Legal History at the University of Helsinki. He has published extensively on the legal history of Scandinavia, Europe, and America, including Conquest and the Law in Swedish Livonia (ca. 1630 – 1710): A Case of Legal Pluralism in Early Modern Europe (Brill, 2017). Albrecht Cordes is Professor of Medieval and Early Modern Legal History, and Civil Law at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. His research is especially focused on the history of commercial law, Hanseatic legal history, and the history of conflict resolution. Serge Dauchy is Research Director at the CNRS (Lille-France) and Professor of Legal History at the University Saint-Louis of Brussels. His main research topics are the history of civil procedure, comparative history of central courts, and the history of Québec. Dave De ruysscher, Ph.D. (2009), is Associate Professor at Tilburg University and at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Being legal historian and lawyer, he specializes in the history of commercial and private law of the early modern period and the nineteenth century.

Table of contents

List of Illustrations Notes on Contributors 1 IntroductionHeikki Pihlajamäki, Albrecht Cordes, Serge Dauchy and Dave De ruysscher 2 Mercantile Conflict Resolution in Practice: Connecting Legal and Diplomatic Sources from Danzig c. 1460–1580Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz 3 Justitia in Commerciis: Public Governance and Commercial Litigation before the Great Council of Mechlin in the Late Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth CenturyAlain Wijffels 4 Honore et utile: The Approaches and Practice of Sixteenth-century Genoese Merchant CustomRicardo Galliano Court 5 The Abandonment to the Insurers in Sixteenth-century Insurance Practice: Comparative Remarks and (A Few) Methodological NotesGuido Rossi 6 Historiographical Opportunities of Notarized Partnership Agreements Recorded in the Early Modern Low CountriesBram Van Hofstraeten 7 How Normative were Merchant Guidebooks? Of Customs, Practices, and … Good Advice (Antwerp, Sixteenth Century)Dave De ruysscher 8 Sources of Commercial Law in the Dutch Republic and KingdomBoudewijn Sirks 9 The Files and Exhibits of the Imperial Chamber Court and Aulic Council as Sources of Commercial LawAnja Amend-Traut 10 Legal, Moral-Theological, and Genuinely Economic Opinions on Questions of Trade and Economy in Fifteenth- and Early Sixteenth-century GermanyEberhard Isenmann 11 The Birth of Commercial Law in Early Modern Sweden: Sources and HistoriographyHeikki Pihlajamäki 12 Svea Court of Appeal Records as a Source of Commercial Law: The Founding Year of 1614Mia Korpiola 13 Tracing the Speculation Bubble of 1799 in Newspapers, Court Records, and Other SourcesMargrit Schulte Beerbühl 14 The Rise of Usages in French Commercial Law and Jurisprudence (Seventeenth-Nineteenth Centuries): Some ExamplesEdouard Richard 15 On the Origins of the French Commercial Code: Vicissitudes of the Gorneau DraftOlivier Descamps 16 Court Records as Sources for the History of Commercial Law: The Oberappellationsgericht Lübeck as a Commercial Court (1820–1879)Peter Oestmann Index of Names Index of Places Index of Subjects


All interested in the history of commercial law, legal history, economic history, and history of the early modern period.