(English) Colloquium: The School of Salamanca on Slavery. From ius gentium to ius civile

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  • Date: Mar 10, 2021

  • Time: 14:30 – 16:00

  • Organisation: Christiane Birr, José Luis Egío, Andreas Wagner

  • Location: video conference

  • Room: For further information please contact salamanca@rg.mpg.de

After a several month break, the Colloquium of the research project ‘The School of Salamanca’ kicks off with a presentation by Prof Dr Francisco Cuena Boy (Faculty of Law, Universidad de Cantabria) entitled ‘The School of Salamanca on Slavery: from ius gentium to ius civile.’ Focusing on the theologian-jurists of the School of Salamanca (16th and 17th centuries), Cuena Boy problematises the traditional historiographical account according to which slavery is an institution of the law of nations. Contrary to this common assumption, Cuena considers slavery an institution tied to the ius civile of a specific nation: it was the Spanish and Portuguese ius proprium that permitted slavery and regulated its practice according to different laws and norms. The Spanish and the Portuguese would spread a civil law model of slavery, based on Roman law, throughout the world and not, as is commonly assumed, a legal model of slavery supposedly based on the ius gentium Nevertheless, this model would have been favoured by the new concept of the law of nations promoted by the masters of the Iberian universities: no longer a sociological or descriptive concept like that of the Corpus Juris Civilis, but rather a dogmatic and normative concept giving the law of nations (and with it, European slavery) a universal validity and a normative character.

The colloquium will be held in Spanish.

The colloquium will take place as a video conference. For more information, please send an email to: salamanca@rg.mpg.de.


  • Andreas Wagner is a philosopher and DH adviser. Since 2013, he is working for the project "The School of Salamanca" and, beginning in January 2017, for the Max Planck Institute of European Legal History in Frankfurt.

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