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LegalismProperty and Ownership$
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Georgy Kantor, Tom Lambert, and Hannah Skoda

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198813415

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198813415.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 July 2021

People as Property in Medieval Dubrovnik

People as Property in Medieval Dubrovnik

Chapter:
(p.235) 9 People as Property in Medieval Dubrovnik
Source:
Legalism
Author(s):

Hannah Skoda

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198813415.003.0010

This article addresses a particularly troubling form of property: slavery in fifteenth-century Dubrovnik. The practice of slavery depended upon law: its articulation lay at the intersection of the Roman law of the ius commune, canon law, local customary and statute law, and natural law. The texture of these different legalistic frameworks provided ways of articulating the problems, discursive and ethical, of treating people as property. The essay explores these tensions by looking at slave contracts, and practices of manumission: slaves could purchase their freedom with their own property (peculium). Both manumission and peculium were inflected by favor libertatis, the acknowledgement that the rigidity of law was a problematic way to deal with people. Further tensions are explored in the context of the criminal liability of slaves. Finally, the essay turns to the range of contracts from outright slavery to indentured labour, and asks how this spectrum problematizes concepts of property.

Keywords:   Slavery, Medieval Dubrovnik, Ius Commune, Canon Law, Roman Law, Natural Law, Peculium, Contracts, Manumission

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