The March Hare

When Hugo de Groot and John Selden engaged in their famous disputation over the freedom / dominion of the seas in the early seventeenth century they were laying the foundation for a new science of international law. Before then, before the ‘modern’ period of history, there were indeed rules governing some relations between princes and on the conduct of war (status of heralds on the battlefield, rights to sack cities which had resisted siege).

But when the age of princes gave way to the age of States conduct became governed by bureaucracy rather than personal relations between monarchs. In that context a more systematic regulation was needed.