6th International Seminar „Roman Maritime Law”

Department of Roman Law is pleased to invite you to take part in the 6th International Seminar "Roman Maritime Law", devoted to various aspects of Roman law of the sea and of the maritime activity of the Romans. The event will take place online, on 19th April, 2024.

The meeting will be attended by researchers who explored these issues in their research. It is intended to provide an opportunity to discuss issues of relevance to historical and legal research, but important for the present. A seminar is an accompanying event to the 12th National Maritime Law Conference "New technologies law in maritime economy" (http://prawo-morskie.pl/).


Seminar Program


9:45-10:00 Welcome and Opening Speeches:

Marcin Michał Wiszowaty, Associate Professor, Vice-Dean of  Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Gdańsk

Dorota Pyć, Associate Professor, Head of the Department of Maritime Law, Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Gdańsk

Jacek Wiewiorowski, Associate Professor, Head of Roman Law Department, Chair of Civil Law, Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Gdańsk


10:00-10:25                        Zuzanna Benincasa, Associate Professor, University of Warsaw: What do they have in common swine carried off by wolves and res ex naufragio?

Abstract: I will analyse the text of D. 41.1.44 from the 19th book of Ulpianus' commentary ad edictum.  The Severan jurist refers to Pomponius who analysed the case of pigs carried off by wolves and then saved by the courageous neighbour and his hunting dogs. The controversy reported by the jurist concerned the ownership of the saved pigs. When discussing that case Pomponius referred to three cases as a possible argument in the discussion: a wild animal, the property of which existed only as long as the owner  had control over it, a thing carried off by the wild bird and finally a thing perished in a shipwreck.


10:25-10:50                        Peter Candy, Assistant Professor, University of Cambridge: What was the actio oneris aversi?

Abstract:  D.19.2.31 contains a reply to a question of law which is attributed in Justinian’s Digest to the late-Republican jurist P. Alfenus Varus. At the beginning of the text, we are told that several people had delivered grain under contract to a certain Saufeius which was shot into common pile in the hold of his ship; and that after Saufeius had returned grain to one of them the ship went down. The question is asked if the others can proceed against Saufeius in respect of their share of the grain by raising an action for onus aversum. In a previous article, I studied the text for its stylistic qualities, especially its chiastic structure and the inferences about authorship that could be made on that basis. In this paper I intend to investigate further the nature and content of the otherwise unattested actio oneris aversi. To do so I divide the discussion into three parts: (1) Representing the text in light of my conclusions about authorship; (2) Additional considerations about the logical and rhetorical structure of the responsum; and (3) Investigation of the nature and content of the actio oneris aversi by comparison with the commission of the English tort of conversion in so-called ‘Wheat cases’. My conclusion is that the action lay for ‘conversion’ of a cargo, possessing similar features to an action for conversion in the common law.


 10:50-11:15                        Łukasz Marzec, Assistant Professor, Jagiellonian University: When courts were fighting for jurisdiction: a case of the English Court of Admiralty

Abstract: Court of Admiralty, a significant element of the English judicial system operated mostly outside the sphere of common law. Many judges were doctors of civil law and had no closer contact with common law jurisdiction. To some extent Roman law was a base for deciding maritime cases. It offered quick and effective procedure, suitable to fit mercantile cases. In a complicated political situation in 17th century, common law court blocked decisions of the Court of Admiralty, trying to take the jurisdiction over. The fierce battle between courts was a result of different political directions, but at the same time, the desire to decide lucrative commercial maritime cases.


11:15-12:00                        Discussion/ Coffee Break


12:00-12.25                        Lyuba Radulova, Assistant Professor, Sofia University “Sv. Kliment  Ohridski”: Greek and Roman customs declarations? Observations on the difference in the professio procedures


Abstract: The paper’s starting point is an important study by Pascal Arnaud, dedicated to some passages of Lex portus Asiae. On the basis on some philological considerations he proposes new integrations to the text which induce him to propose an interesting hypothesis about a possible difference in the Greek and Roman customs declaration procedures. The aim of the present study is to reexamine the sources in order to check if it is really possible to distinguish a homogeneous Greek practice from a homogeneous Roman one or it would be better to consider the idea of the coexistence of different local practices some of which continued to exist also under the Roman domination.


 12:25-12:50                        Anna Tarwacka, Professor, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw: Maritime risks in loans for use 

Abstract: The loan for use or commodatum was a contract in which the commodatary was given a thing to use for free for a certain period of time. The aim of this paper is to examine the sources relating to maritime risks in such contracts, the limits of the commodatary's responsibility and the possible ways of avoiding the risk by limiting the scope of the commodatary's use of the thing.


12:50-13:15                        Jacek Wiewiorowski, Associate Professor, University of Gdańsk: ‘Mare Tharsium’ and the Dating of the Notitia Dignitatum

Abstract: All the surviving versions of the Notitia Dignitatum usually dated around 400 CE are copies of the Codex Spirensis, an illuminated Carolingian copy of the late antique original. In the manuscripts copied from the Spirensis between 1426/7 – 1550/51, the information concerning particular dignitaries is in most cases preceded with sheets depicting their insignia and some of them possess the depictions of marine areas. The paper analyzes the importance of those representation regarding the disputable question of the dating of the list, which in the light of recent studies could have been prepared much later than is usually accepted.


13:15-14:00                        Discussion 

14:00                             Closing speech: Jacek Wiewiorowski, Associate Professor, University of Gdańsk


All members and friends of our Faculty community, as well as scholars and students representing other academic communities and societies are invited and very welcome to attend.

Link to the Seminar (MS-TEAMS):


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Submitted on Friday, 8. March 2024 - 10:58 by Marcin Wiszowaty Changed on Friday, 19. April 2024 - 10:05 by Marcin Wiszowaty