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Introduction: Interpretation Is A Science, Is An Art, Is A Science

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Chapter Summary

In 280 BC, Pyrrhus of Epirus attacked the Romans. However, before engaging in such an action, he consulted the oracle of Delphi, as was the custom of the times, hoping that Apollo through the oracle would give him a glimpse of what the future held for him. The realm of interpretation, however, was not the exclusive domain of oracles and seers. The Classical Antiquity is fraught with similar examples of interpretation, or misinterpretation, which in some cases involve 'treaties' of the time. Within the framework of the international legal system, principles of interpretation were gradually formulated, based on the pitfalls of past experiences. It comes as no surprise that Puffendorf, Vattel and Grotius, in their respective seminal works, elaborated a set of maxims on interpretation by reference to the works of ancient writers and orators, such as Cicero, Thucydides and Polybius, and to examples of treaty interpretation of the past.

Keywords: Grotius; International legal system; Interpretation; Puffendorf; Pyrrhus of Epirus; Vattel



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