Scholars interested in the history of laws governing production and trade usually start with the late Middle Ages: commercial law arose in the increasingly flourishing urban centres of Italy and Europe after the year 1000 A.D. Anything preceding that period was substantially ignored (with the exception of Roman law) and considered a remnant of ancient times, incapable of expressing a creditable system of economic rules and meaningfully influencing future developments. Yet the legal practices of Near Eastern and Greek societies were far from primitive and indeed featured mature and even significantly elaborate approaches, which can be defined unreservedly as modern. This book attempts to fill this knowledge gap, collects and organizes otherwise difficult-to-find material, provides a broad overview of that period’s societies, and highlights their conceptual and even technical links with current legal systems.
Marco Cian teaches Commercial Law at the Universities of Padua and Innsbruck.