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The Roman Foundations of the Law of NationsAlberico Gentili and the Justice of Empire$
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Benedict Kingsbury and Benjamin Straumann

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199599875

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599875.001.0001

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The Corpus iuris as a Source of Law Between Sovereigns in Alberico Gentili’s Thought

The Corpus iuris as a Source of Law Between Sovereigns in Alberico Gentili’s Thought

(p.101) 6 The Corpus iuris as a Source of Law Between Sovereigns in Alberico Gentili’s Thought
The Roman Foundations of the Law of Nations

Benjamin Straumann

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines with the way Alberico Gentili dealt with the problem of the sources of legal norms that hold between independent polities. It begins with a brief look at Gentili's doctrine of domestic sovereignty, understood as the organization of public authority within the state, since it is the implications of political theories of domestic sovereignty that seem to drive the assumptions made on legal authority in the international realm. The second part of the chapter illustrates the consequences of Gentili's doctrine for his view of international legal sovereignty, understood as the recognition of political entities as juridical equals. The third part of the chapter focuses on Gentili's justification of the application of Roman law as found in the Institutes and the Digest to those political entities on the international plane. The chapter concludes by noting some implications it might have for the question of the importance of the humanist and theologian traditions for early modern international legal thought.

Keywords:   law of nations, humanist, domestic sovereignty, legal authority, international legal sovereignty, Roman law

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