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Royal Police Ordinances in Early Modern Sweden

The Emergence of Voluntaristic Understanding of Law


Toomas Kotkas

Royal Police Ordinances in Early Modern Sweden offers a comprehensive account of the legal regulation of 16th- and 17th-century Swedish society. In comparison to present-day usage, during the early modern period the term ‘police’ had a broader meaning. It referred to ‘good societal order’ covering a variety of areas of societal life such as public finances, commerce, professions, infrastructure, public health and poor relief, public morality, public security, and so on.
Through an analysis of a large body of ordinances Toomas Kotkas claims that in 17th-century Sweden a new, voluntaristic understanding of law emerged. Royal police ordinances were no longer perceived merely as a means of enforcing older medieval law but instead as an instrument of directing society towards aspired-to goals.

Hugo Grotius Mare Liberum 1609-2009

Original Latin Text and English Translation

Robert Feenstra

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.