Roman Law in the State of Nature: The Classical Foundations of Hugo Grotius' Natural Law (Ideas in Context 108)

Roman Law in the State of Nature: The Classical Foundations of Hugo Grotius' Natural Law (Ideas in Context 108)

By: Benjamin Straumann (author)Hardback

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Roman Law in the State of Nature offers a new interpretation of the foundations of Hugo Grotius' natural law theory. Surveying the significance of texts from classical antiquity, Benjamin Straumann argues that certain classical texts, namely Roman law and a specifically Ciceronian brand of Stoicism, were particularly influential for Grotius in the construction of his theory of natural law. The book asserts that Grotius, a humanist steeped in Roman law, had many reasons to employ Roman tradition and explains how Cicero's ethics and Roman law - secular and offering a doctrine of the freedom of the high seas - were ideally suited to provide the rules for Grotius' state of nature. This fascinating new study offers historians, classicists and political theorists a fresh account of the historical background of the development of natural rights, natural law and of international legal norms as they emerged in seventeenth-century early modern Europe.

About Author

Benjamin Straumann is Alberico Gentili Fellow at New York University School of Law. He is the editor, with Benedict Kingsbury, of Alberico Gentili's The Wars of the Romans: A Critical Edition and Translation of De armis Romanis (2011). With Nehal Bhuta and Anthony Pagden, Straumann edits the new series in the History and Theory of International Law for Oxford University Press.


Introduction; 1. Natural law in historical context; 2. A novel doctrine of the sources of law: nature and the classics; 3. Proving natural law: the influence of classical rhetoric on Grotius' method; 4. Social instinct or self-preservation?; 5. Justice for the state of nature: from Aristotle to the Corpus Iuris; 6. Grotius' concept of the state of nature; 7. Natural rights: Roman remedies in the state of nature; 8. Natural rights and just wars; 9. Enforcing natural law: the right to punish; Epilogue; Bibliography; Index.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781107092907
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 286
  • ID: 9781107092907
  • weight: 520
  • ISBN10: 1107092906

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