Chapter

Declarations of War and Truce Agreements

Theodor Meron

in Henry's Wars and Shakespeare's Laws

Published in print December 1993 | ISBN: 9780198258117
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681790 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198258117.003.0004
Declarations of War and Truce Agreements

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The Duke of Exeter, who served as a representative and an ambassador for the King to French court, delivered an ultimatum to the King of France — which concerned Henry V's inheritance and right to the crown of France, how the law of nations and the law of nature presented the legal basis for such a claim, and the possible war that would be brought about if the French royal court does not comply with such a request — that by-and-by led to what Shakespeare dramatically portrayed as a declaration of war. During the Middle Ages, the prerequisite for the declaration of war involved either a formal declaration or letters of defiance since both served the same purpose. This medieval system also entailed internal measures such as deliberations and consultations and external procedures such as an ultimatum, the latter of which was needed when ideas for peaceful solutions been exhausted.

Keywords: Duke of Exeter; ultimatum; King of France; claim to the crown; declaration of war; Middle Ages; letter of defiance; legal basis; deliberations

Chapter.  7274 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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