Hugo Grotius and the classical law of civil war

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This article explores the writings of Hugo Grotius on the law of civil war. First, the article takes a look at what Grotius wrote about the Dutch revolt, the civil war during which he himself lived and which he helped to legitimise. Second, the article notes how in legal practice the Dutch revolt also provided a valuable early precedent for the later scholars of the law of civil war, who were more concerned with questions of revolutionary prize jurisdiction and the problem of recognition. Third, the article explores the elements relating to these questions of civil war in Grotius’s volitional law of nations as presented in De iure belli ac pacis. These provided Grotius’s most enduring legacy for the later scholars on the law of civil war.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-427
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • 513 Law
  • civil war
  • law of nations
  • prize law
  • right of legation
  • Dutch revolt
  • privateers


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