Frisone, Maritime law in Southern Italy


Ordinamenta et consuetudo maris of Trani: the first model of maritime law in Southern Italy?

Domenico Matteo Frisone (Bologna)

During the Middle Ages, different customs and ordinances played a role in codifying the famous Consulate of the Sea. This body of laws has been seen, since 1370, as a  landmark in the resolution of issues related to commercial law. Most of these customs and ordinances were written in Italy, like the Constitutum Usus of Pisa.   It is interesting to consider, nonetheless, whether less famous cities like Trani enjoyed a leading position in Medieval Italy, having been marginalized by a historiographical tradition that has focused overwhelmingly on maritime Republics.

This paper is organised into three main sections. The first section aims to verify the presence of the fundamental conditions for the birth of the Ordinamenta throughout the course of the eleventh century. The second part focuses on the analysis of the historiographic debate which developed around the dating dilemma concerning the Ordinamenta Maris. Analysing the studies of keen supporters and tenacious detractors of the first dating (1063), a collection of their discordant opinions has been made in order to classify them into linguistic, political arguments and other parameters. After a short overview of the previous comparative studies about the Ordinamenta and an introduction of the text from Pisa, the last section will focus on establishing analogies between the two texts.