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On the Occasion of the Acquisition of the First Edition of De iure belli ac pacis by the Peace Palace Library

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image of Grotiana

In November 2010, the Library of the Peace Palace in The Hague acquired a copy of Hugo Grotius’s seminal study on the law of war, De iure belli ac pacis (Paris: Nicolas Buon, 1625). The purchase represents the very rare first state (issue or printing) of the first edition, item no. 565-I in the well-known bibliography of Grotius’s works by Jacob Ter Meulen and P.J.J. Diermanse. This article is an adapted version of a speech held in the Peace Palace on 21 February 2011, when the copy of De iure belli ac pacis was presented to the public. After a short survey of the genesis, printing history and early reception, the article goes into the differences between the three states of the first edition and their significance for the interpretation of Grotius’s work. A provisional checklist of copies in public libraries is added in an appendix.

Affiliations: 1: Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, The Hague, Email:, Email:, URL:


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