Hugo Grotius (1583–1645)

Peter Haggenmacher

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599752
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

Hugo Grotius (1583–1645)


Hugo Grotius is nowadays essentially remembered as a jurist, more particularly in legal and political philosophy, and, above all, in international law. In his own century, he enjoyed a much wider fame as an outstanding citizen of the Republic of Letters. This chapter suggests that his life can be divided into three periods: his youth as a precocious classicist, lawyer, and rising politician in his native Holland until his life imprisonment (1583–1618); his exile, first in Paris (1621–1631) and later, after an unsuccessful attempt to regain his country, in Hamburg (1632–1634); and finally, his embassy in the service of Sweden at the French court (1635–1645). The work on which Grotius’s posthumous reputation is mainly founded was entitled De iure belli ac pacis (On the Law of War and Peace). It earned him the long-standing title of ‘father of international law’.

Keywords: international law; Republic of Letters; Grotius; French court

Article.  1597 words. 

Subjects: Law ; History of Law ; International Law

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