Das Mittelalter 25 (1):103-118 (2020)

Abstract
Merchants in late medieval Antwerp worked with a number of different representatives: They appointed proxies to trade on their behalf, to collect debts in their name or to represent them in court. If a merchant wanted to authorize another person to act on his behalf, he went to a notary who issued a letter of procuration. The article discusses the role of Roman law in these procurations. It contrasts the procurations issued by the notaries with other models for procurations found in a form book for notaries in Antwerp. The analysis comes to the conclusion that the basic idea of installing a proxy did not rely on Roman law. However, knowledge of Roman law was crucial if someone wanted to be represented in a Roman law court. Furthermore, concepts derived from Roman law were applied when complicated problems or phenomena had to be shortened to a few words. In sum, the practice of including phrases and concepts of Roman law wherever they proved useful can be regarded as a part of the lex mercatoria, the customary law of merchants.
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DOI 10.1515/mial-2020-0008
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