The purpose of this article is to assess the nature and proper context of Grotius's imitation of Tacitus. It starts by establishing how the Tacitean style is characterised in the literary criticism around 1600. It then explores the qualities of Grotius's imitation from both the seventeenth-century and the modern perspective. It concludes that Grotius's imitation shows Tacitus's style in a characteristically seventeenth-century mirror, in that it emphasises Tacitean syntax, brevity and choice of words (the stylistic micro-level), as well as political edge and iudicium, but overlooks the narrative and structural qualities of the longer lines of composition in Tacitus's works, that are recognised in modern interpretations.
This paper aims at showing that all scholars writing on De iure praedae should refer to the extant manuscript of the work, or to the new electronic edition when it becomes available, to check the passages they use in their arguments. The printed text as edited by Hamaker, though generally reliable as a nineteenth-century edition, must now be considered outdated because of its suppression of all previous stages of the text, as well as its replacement of the original punctuation with a new one, which more than once does affect the meaning of the text. Moreover, Hamaker's edition gives no authentic image of the sources of Grotius's thought. Secondly, signalling a need for more detailed textual research on IPC, the present paper calls attention to Grotius's extensive changes in chapter 10, and to the contribution which philological approaches might make to answering questions such as that regarding IPC's intended audience.