This treatise investigates the emergence of the early modern law of nations, focusing on Alberico Gentili’s contribution to the same. A religious refugee and Regius Professor at the University of Oxford, Alberico Gentili (1552–1608) lived in difficult times of religious wars and political persecution. He discussed issues that were topical in his lifetime and remain so today, including the clash of civilizations, the conduct of war, and the maintenance of peace. His idealism and political pragmatism constitute the principal reasons for the continued interest in his work. Gentili’s work is important for historical record, but also for better analysing and critically assessing the origins of international law and its current developments, as well as for elaborating its future trajectories.
The twenty studies collected in this volume focus on the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern world. The method leads from technical investigations on William Durant the Younger (ca. 1266-1330) and Hermann Conring (1606-1681) through reflection on the nature of historical knowledge to a break with historicism, an affirmation of anachronism, and a broad perspective on the history of Europe. The introduction explains when and why these studies were written, and places them in the context of contemporary historical thinking by drawing on Wittgenstein's
Philosophical Investigations. This book will appeal to historians with an interest in historical theory, historians of late medieval and early modern Europe, and students looking for the meaning of history.