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‘La dernière ancre de leur finesse’: Truce and Peace Treaties as Criteria for bellum justum in Early Modern Europe

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Chapter Summary

In several letters to Pierre Jeannin and Élie de La Place de Russy, Henry IV urged his diplomats to achieve a solid truce for twelve years including an explicit acknowledgement of free trade on all seas and warned them not to accept a mere prolongation of the current armistice for another year. Truces between Christian powers and the Ottoman Empire had frequently been concluded out of unnecessary religious scrupulousness forbidding full-scale peace treaties with non-Christian sovereigns. Political theorists since Machiavelli have amply treated the possible ways of one-sided revision or non-observance of peace treaties. In a famous and frequently quoted chapter of his De Principatibus, Machiavelli had compared the wise statesman to a lion terrifying his opponents, but at the same time to a fox whose intelligence and prudence allowed him to avoid the hidden traps of diplomacy.

Keywords: Henry IV; Machiavelli; Ottoman Empire; peace treaties; Pierre Jeannin; truce treaties



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