n Transactions of the Centre for Business Law - The origin of maritime liens : an ancient law conspectus




It is believed that present day maritime is the result of a long process of development that began in antiquity with its roots in the Rhodian and Roman Law, as continued by the Consulate of the Sea, the Laws of Oleron, and the Hanse League. The origin of maritime liens, however, is less clear. Attempts have been made to show the existence of maritime liens in Graeco-Roman antiquity, mainly on the basis of the use of bottomry loans. Bottomry loans, admittedly based on scanty evidence, are said to have already existed at Ugarit, an ancient cosmopolitan city sited on the Mediterranean coast of northern Syria, and neighbouring states, during the second half of the second millennium BC. In this chapter, I discuss and analyse the Rhodian Sea-Law, ancient Greek Law, and Roman Law, fossicking for the origin of the maritime lien in ancient law.


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