Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences

Living Edition
| Editors: Dana Jalobeanu, Charles T. Wolfe

Grotius, Hugo

  • Johan OlsthoornEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-20791-9_457-1


Related Topics

Natural law; Samuel von Pufendorf


A preeminent early modern humanist, Hugo Grotius (1583–1645) managed to combine a high-profile international career in politics with acclaimed scholarly achievements across numerous fields – including in ethics, law, theology, history, and philology. Today, Grotius is best known for his contributions to international law and the ethics of war.

Grotius’s Works and Significance

A leading statesman in the newly independent Dutch Republic, Grotius was imprisoned for treason when his Arminian faction lost out to the Calvinists in 1618. After a spectacular prison-break, he spent the remainder of his life in Paris working as a top-diplomat for the French and Swedish crown (Nellen 2014).

Grotius’s first contribution to international law is his juvenile Mare liberum(1609) – the ninth chapter of an otherwise unpublished treatise on the law of prize and booty. In that text, he pleaded for the freedom of trade...

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  1. Nellen H (2014) Hugo Grotius: a lifelong struggle for peace in church and state, 1583–1645. Brill, LeidenCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Olsthoorn J (2018) Grotius and the early modern tradition. In: May L (ed) Cambridge handbook of the just war. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 33–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PhilosophyKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

Section editors and affiliations

  • Dana Jalobeanu
    • 1
  • Charles T. Wolfe
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of PhilosophyUniversity of BucharestBucharestRomania
  2. 2.Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, Sarton Centre for History of ScienceGhent UniversityGhentBelgium