The Wars of the Romans

The Wars of the Romans : A Critical Edition and Translation of De Armis Romanis

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Was the Roman Empire just? Did Rome acquire her territories through just wars, and did Rome's rule exert a civilizing effect, ultimately beneficial for its subjects? Or was Roman imperialism a massive injustice - the bellicose conquest and absorption of countless peoples and large swaths of territory under false pretences, driven by greed and a lust for domination and glory? In The Wars of the Romans (1599), the important Italian jurist and Regius Professor of Civil Law at Oxford University Alberico Gentili (1552-1608) argues both sides of the debate. In the first book he lays out the case against the justice of the Roman Empire, and in the second book the case for. Gentili's polemic and highly engaging work helped pioneer the use of Roman law and just war theory in what became a leading international law approach to the enduring questions of the justice of empire. Writing in the wake of the first wave of European colonial expansion in the Americas, and relying on models of the controversy about Roman imperialism from Cicero to Lactantius and Augustine, Gentili developed the arguments which were to become pivotal in normative debates concerning imperialism. In this work Gentili, a consummate Roman law scholar, frames the moral and practical issues in a combination of Roman legal terminology and the language of natural law, a combination which was to prove highly influential in the literature from Grotius onward on natural law, the law of nations and what eventually became international more

Product details

  • Hardback | 424 pages
  • 160 x 236 x 34mm | 780.17g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English, Latin
  • 0199600511
  • 9780199600519
  • 1,568,565

Review quote

The three contributors have given us a modern edition of a Renaissance text well worth reading and studying. It is well executed in every respect, and I heartily congratulate them on a job well done. Professor Dana Sutton, University of California, Irvine, Bryn Mawr Classical Review The editors are to be congratulated without reservation for their cardinal - and beautiful - accomplishment. Andreas Wagner, European Journal of International Law, vol. 23 no. 3 The Wars of the Romans is a wonderful book, fills a long-standing lacuna in the study of Gentili, and should be a foundation text in all studies of this very influential thinker. After all, Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes supported Gentili's humanist doctrines, which now have a text that will make his work more accessible to all. Edmund P. Cueva, The Sixteenth Century Journalshow more

About Alberico Gentili

Professor David Lupher is the Chair of the Classics Department at the University of Paget Sound. He is the author of Romans in a New World: Classical Models in Sixteenth-Century Spanish America (University of Michigan Press, 2003).show more

Table of contents

Introduction ; Translator's Introduction ; BOOK 1 ; Indictment of the Injustice of the Romans in Warfare ; BOOK 2 ; Defense of the Justice of the Romans in Warfare ; APPENDIX ; Gentili's Dedicatory Epistle to Essex, in De iniustitia bellica Romanorum actio, Oxonii, Excudebat Iosephus Barnesius, 1590show more