The barratry of the shipmaster in Early Modern Law: Polysemy and Mos Italicus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Barratry’ is a polysemic term: it means deceit, bribe, simony, and fraud of the shipmaster. This article seeks to trace the origins of the word and to explore its different meanings, focusing especially on the influence that older meanings had on the development of more recent ones. This operation is of particular importance to understand the meaning of barratry that would appear for last – that of fraud of the shipmaster. By the time civil lawyers started dealing with maritime barratry, they were already well familiar with the other meanings of the term. This probably favoured the adaptation process, but it also left a deep mark on its outcome: the weight of those other meanings of the same term had a significant influence on the qualification of maritime barratry, an influence otherwise difficult to explain.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Legal History Review
Issue number1-2
Early online date18 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2019


  • barratry
  • fraud of the shipmaster
  • early modern civil lawyers


Dive into the research topics of 'The barratry of the shipmaster in Early Modern Law: Polysemy and Mos Italicus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this