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The Roman Foundations of the Law of Nations – Alberico Gentili and the Justice of Empire - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Roman Foundations of the Law of Nations: Alberico Gentili and the Justice of Empire

Benedict Kingsbury and Benjamin Straumann


This book makes the under-explored argument that modern international law was built on the foundations of Roman law and Roman imperial practice. A pivotal figure in this enterprise was the Italian Protestant Alberico Gentili (1552–1608), the great Oxford Roman law scholar and advocate, whose books and legal opinions on law, war, empire, embassies, and maritime issues framed the emerging structure of inter-state relations in terms of legal rights and remedies drawn from Roman law, and built on Roman and scholastic theories of just war and imperial justice. The chapters examine the theory and pr ... More

Keywords: modern international law, Roman law, Roman imperial practice, Alberico Gentili, Vitoria, Bodin, Grotius, Hobbes, Roman private law, Roman public law

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780199599875
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599875.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Benedict Kingsbury, editor
Murry and Ida Becker Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for International Law and Justice at New York University School of Law
Author Webpage

Benjamin Straumann, editor
Alberico Gentili Fellow at New York University

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1 Introduction: The Roman Foundations of the Law of Nations

Benedict Kingsbury, and Benjamin Straumann

Part I A Just Empire: The Roman Model

Part II Gentili and the Law of War

12 Punishment and the ius post bellum

Alexis Blane, and Benedict Kingsbury

Part III Law Between, Beyond, and Within Sovereigns