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Piracy and law in medieval Genoa: the consilia of Bartolomeo Bosco

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This essay contextualizes a series of learned legal opinions, or consilia, authored primarily by the Genoese jurist Bartolomeo Bosco (d. 1437) on the subject of maritime theft, or piracy, by referring to contemporaneous records for the practice of maritime theft in the Mediterranean, archival records in the Archivio di Stato for Bosco's career, and related consilia authored by Bosco. It argues that Bosco's opinions on matters related to the practice of piracy, overlooked despite revived scholarly interest in his work, illustrate the applications and limitations of consilia as practical documents in medieval civic governance, and suggest a divide between commercial and administrative perspectives in the maritime republics of late medieval Europe. Finally, it proposes that Bartolomeo Bosco be numbered among the "economic humanists" of the fifteenth century.


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