Document Type


Publication Date



law merchant, lex mercatoria, Middle Ages, customary law

Subject Category

Commercial Law | Common Law | Law | Legal History, Theory and Process


This short reaction piece to an article by Emily Kadens asks why a long-refuted story of an alleged uniform medieval lex mercatoria is still being maintained. The answer is that the story serves not as an actual history but instead as a foundation myth. Attempts to falsify the myth with historical data are therefore futile: the myth derives its value not from its truth value but from its symbolic power.