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The emergence of resicum in the western Mediterranean, 18th centuries

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The Latin term ‘resicum’, from which all the words meaning ‘risk’ in European languages derive, appears in Italy in the middle of the 14th century, borrowed from Arabic. It spreads rapidly, in various Latin and vernacular forms, on the shores of the western Mediterranean. Its original meaning refers to the risk borne by a commercial operation, initially maritime, but also rapidly on land. It is in the same direction that it is described by the learned authors who express it using the classical Latin ‘periculum’. The reflection on this topic among the authors of the late 18th century, in particular Pierre de Jean Olivi, makes it possible to see the intellectual sphere which gave rise to the first forms of insurance, which appeared in the following decades: the anticipation of a random result, its assessment in the present case and its possible disposal.

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