Shipwrecks, Legal Landscapes and Mediterranean Paradigms

Gone Under Sea


Now available in Open Access thanks to the support of the University of Helsinki.

This book changes our understanding of the Roman conceptions about the sea by placing the focus on shipwrecks as events that act as bridges between the sea and the land. The study explores the different Roman legal definitions of these spaces, and how individuals of divergent legal statuses interacted within these areas. Its main purpose is to chart and analyse the Roman conception of the maritime landscape from the Late Republican until the Severan period. This book integrates maritime history and ethnography with the physical remains of past maritime systems, such as shipwrecks, ports, villages, fortifications, and documented legal rulings.
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Emilia Mataix Ferrándiz, Ph.D. (2014) Universidad de Alicante/Università degli studi di Palermo; Ph.D. (2018) University of Southampton/Université Lyon 2-la lumière, is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki and a research fellow at the Käte Hamburger kolleg Münster. She has published books and many articles on Roman law, archaeology, and maritime topics including the co-edited volumes Roman Law and Maritime Commerce (2022) and Seafaring and Mobility in the Late Antique Mediterranean (2022).
"Mataix Ferrándiz’s book makes substantial contributions to our understanding of the Roman maritime cultural landscape [...] Here, Mataix Ferrándiz’s work stands out for its maritime cultural landscape approach, which builds from analyses of Roman laws to place more emphasis on the relationship between Romans and the sea. Lastly, in discussing abandoned goods on foreign shores, Mataix Ferrándiz’s work joins a conversation about merchant liability and ownership in the Mediterranean—this includes studies of the Geniza merchants by Avner Greif and more recently by Jessica Goldberg—and advances our understanding of Roman property and ownership at sea. The book also excels at making maritime law accessible to the reader. Altogether, Shipwrecks, Legal Landscapes and Mediterranean Paradigms provides a new understanding of Roman laws at sea, the people they governed, and how these people saw their maritime world." Sarah T. Wilker, Stanford University, BMCR 2023.07.07
List of Roman Jurists Cited
Note on Translations

Introduction: Shipwrecks and Maritime Cultural Landscapes

1 The Beginnings of a Mediterranean Paradigm
 1.1 Introductory Remarks: Some Notes about the Sea in Ancient Thought
 1.2 Ius Naufragii, or the ‘Righteous’ Plunder
 1.3 But This Is Vis! When the Shore Meets the Sea
 1.4 De Incendio Ruina Naufragio Rate Nave Expugnata: A Roman Turn in the Conception of Shipwrecking

2 The Nature of the Actio De Naufragio
 2.1 Outline of the Behaviours Included in the Actio De Naufragio
 2.2 The Spatial Dimension of the Actio De Naufragio
 2.3 Processual Remarks

3 The Sea Gives, and the Sea Takes: On Ownership
 3.1 The Sea And Its Power
 3.2 When Humans Mediate in the Ownership of Things
 3.3 Ownership between Land and Water: Mental and Legal Chorographies

4 It Happened at Sea
 4.1 Seizing Space by Using Legal Institutions
 4.2 Establishing Parallels with Land Case Studies

5 Causing Intentional Harm at Sea
 5.1 Shipwrecking Far after the Enactment of the Edictum De Naufragio
 5.2 Intentional Wreckage


Translation of the Title D. 47.9.: De Incendio Ruina Naufragio Rate Nave Expugnata
List of Sources Cited
This book is primarily aimed at academics, scholars, and researchers. However, it will also be accessible for postgraduate students, and undergraduate students studying ancient history and Roman law.
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