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Trade, Commerce, and the State in the Roman World$
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Andrew Wilson and Alan Bowman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790662

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198790662.001.0001

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Law, Commerce, and Finance in the Roman Empire

Law, Commerce, and Finance in the Roman Empire

(p.53) 3 Law, Commerce, and Finance in the Roman Empire
Trade, Commerce, and the State in the Roman World

Boudewijn Sirks

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the legal aspects of commercial transactions in the Roman Empire. While there was no specific body of Roman commercial law, a group of legal figures, accessible for and applicable against non-Romans, were concerned with issues important for commerce, such as sale, mandate, partnership, loans for consumption, and stipulation. There were also general applications, some of which proved very useful in commerce too (actiones adiecticiae qualitatis), while others were specifically designed for commerce, such as the action against shipmasters. Furthermore, the contract of deposit was ingeniously used to make banking and financing on a large and commercial scale possible, while the chirograph, originally a Hellenistic documentary debt paper, acquired the traits of a commercial paper that made transfer of debts very easy. The chapter considers both the effects of large-scale commerce on the development of Roman law, and the effects of the legal framework on the economy.

Keywords:   Roman trade, Roman economy, Roman law, contracts, Roman bankers

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