Hugo Grotius Mare Liberum 1609-2009

Original Latin Text and English Translation

The quadricentenary of Hugo Grotius’ Mare liberum (1609-2009) offered the opportunity to publish a reliable critical edition – combined with a revised English translation – of Grotius’ first publication in the field of international law.
Starting from a comparison with the autographic manuscript, Robert Feenstra undertook a verification of the text of the first and only authorised edition – in particular of the numerous marginal references – resulting in many corrections and further annotations. In his ‘Editor’s Introduction’, he explains the history of the later editions of the Latin text and the translations of Mare liberum. Jeroen Vervliet’s ‘General Introduction’ aims at providing a better understanding of the circumstances in which Hugo Grotius wrote this work; it elucidates the legal argument used by Grotius, and the reaction of his contemporary opponents.

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Robert Feenstra (1920) was professor of Roman law at Leiden University from 1952 to 1985. He has been engaged in Grotian studies for more than forty years. He was president of the Grotius Committee of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in the 1980s, a period which included the quadricentenary of Grotius’ birth in 1983. On that occasion he started work on a new critical edition of De jure belli ac pacis, which finally appeared in 1993 and served as a model for the present edition of Mare liberum.

Jeroen Vervliet (1960) studied history and law at the University of Amsterdam and is currently Director of the Peace Palace Library in The Hague, which preserves a world-famous collection of works by Hugo Grotius.
General Introduction by Jeroen Vervliet
1 The Political Setting and Origins of Mare liberum
1.1 Mare liberum, published anonymously at the time of the conclusion of the truce in 1609
1.2 The assignment to Hugo Grotius by the Zeeland Chamber of the Dutch East India Company in 1608
1.3 The seizure of a Portuguese carrack in the Straits of Singapore in 1603
1.4 The sequel amongst the directors of the Dutch East India Company
1.5 A policy brief by Hugo Grotius, 1604-1606
2 Legal Argument in Mare liberum
3 Aftermath. Bilateral Negotiations and a Battle of Books around Mare liberum
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Colonial conferences in London and The Hague (1613-1615)
3.3 William Welwood’s An Abridgement of All Sea-Lawes (1615)
3.4 Hugo Grotius’ Defensio capitis quinti maris liberi (1615)
3.5 De justo imperio Lusitanorum Asiatico (1625) by Seraphin de Freitas
3.6 Hugo Grotius’ De jure belli ac pacis (1625)
3.7 John Selden’s Mare clausum (1635)
3.8 Epilogue
Editor’s Introduction by Robert Feenstra
1 Existing Editions of Mare liberum
2 Mare liberum and De jure praedae
3 Translations of Mare liberum
4 The Recently Edited Old English Translation by Richard Hakluyt
5 R ecent Research on Manuscript Leiden BPL 917
6 The Objectives of the Present Edition
7 The Verification of the References in the Margin and the Problem of Linking Them to the Text
8 The List of Sources
9 The Choice of the Editions Mentioned in the List
10 S ome Final Remarks on the Authors Cited
Edition of the Latin Text and English Translation
Abbreviations Used for References in the Editor’s Introduction,
in his Notes and his List of Sources
List of Sources
Index of Sources Not Mentioned in the List
Roman and Canon Law Sources
Ancient Non-Legal Sources
General Index
Legal history, History of international law, Public international law, Grotius studies, 17th century intellectual history, Dutch history, Colonial history, Humanism
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