'Of Laws of Ships and Shipmen': Medieval Maritime Law and Its Practice in Urban Northern Europe

By Edda Frankot | Go to book overview

5
Written Law:
Local Developments in Lawmaking

As the Scottish translations of the Rôles d’Oléron have never before been studied, these texts will be analysed in some detail in this chapter in order to establish, first, whether they were translated from the French or the Flemish; second, whether there were several translations into Scots; and, finally, whether the Scottish texts are faithful translations of the original or whether significant changes were made which may suggest local variations in the customs contained in the Rôles d’Oléron. Given that local developments did take place in Kampen, Lübeck and Danzig, where sea laws were drawn up whose use remained for the most part restricted to these towns, some attempt is necessary to determine whether the contents of these laws were influenced by legal developments elsewhere, or vice versa. The Kampen Town Law, the Lübeck Sea Law and the Danzig judgements will be compared to the laws considered closest to them, that is to say the Ordinancie, the Hamburg Ship Law and the Waterrecht respectively. As regards Lübeck and Danzig, the other laws that originated in these towns will also be considered. A comparison of the individual developments of these three towns will subsequently help to explain the different ways in which the town councils utilised other laws or were influenced by developments elsewhere to create their own sea law collections.


The Scottish translations of the Rôles d’Oléron

Because Scottish translations of the Rôles d’Oléron have, up until now, only been acknowledged by Angelo Forte, it is necessary to research at least some of the details of this translation.1 First of all, it needs to be determined whether the Scottish texts were translated from the French original or from its Flemish translations. Thus a terminus post quem can be given for the translation and it can also be determined what route the texts of the sea law followed: did they come directly from France, via Flanders or perhaps via England? Second, a comparison between the Scottish texts and between these texts and the Rôles d’Oléron will allow us to establish whether there were indeed several translations, which is suggested by the fact that two of the texts were at some point copied together although they included the

1 Forte, ‘“Kenning be kenning”’, 57.

-110-

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'Of Laws of Ships and Shipmen': Medieval Maritime Law and Its Practice in Urban Northern Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Maps vi
  • Abbreviations vii
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1- A History of Maritime Law in Northern Europe 6
  • 2- Shipwreck, Jettison and Ship Collision in Maritime Law 27
  • 3- The Five Towns Introduced 53
  • 4- Written Law- Urban Collections of Sea Law 81
  • 5- Written Law- Local Developments in Lawmaking 110
  • 6- Legal Practice- The Administration of Maritime Justice 144
  • 7- Legal Practice- Maritime Proceedings at the Urban Courts 166
  • Final Conclusions 199
  • Bibliography 202
  • Index 216
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