Already in the 11th century, Pisa, one of the four Maritimer Republics, was an international economic power. Its prosperity led to the early development (1080s) of typical communal institutions (consules) as well as to the drafting of the most ancient and most exhaustive examples of written ius proprium that have survived until nowadays: the Constitutum Legis (CL) and the Constitutum Usus (CU). The drafting of both texts began in 1155 but only the second one entered in force with no doubt in 1160. It included the customs of the city, with particular reference to feudal law, commercial and maritime law. Otherwise, the CL contained the procedural, family and inheritance law based first on Lombard law and afterwards on Roman law, as the analysis of the three surviving manuscripts demonstrates. At the time of Pisa’s supremacy, i.e. until the second half of the 13th century, merchants from the Republic could be found everywhere: from Sardinia to Catalonia, the Middle East and North Africa (especially Alexandria and Tunis). On the other hand, Pisa itself was a crossroads of ethnicities and cultures: at the beginning of the 12th cent. it appeared as a new Babel to the monk Donizo of Canossa. Considering the travels of merchants from Pisa as well as the convergence in the city of foreign traders, this paper aims at analyzing the law and language used by the mercatores in Pisa and the possible influences coming from abroad at hand of the CU, as its very foreword states that Pisa “gained” many unwritten customs “propter conversationem diversarum gentium per diversas mundi partes”, i.e. thanks to the “dialogue” with people of different parts of the world.
Gialdroni, S. (2020). Propter conversationem diversarum gentium: migrating words and merchants in medieval Pisa. In A.C. Stefania Gialdroni (a cura di), Migrating Words, Migrating Merchants, Migrating Law. Trading Routes and the Development of Commercial Law (pp. 28-53). Leiden/Boston : Brill.