The De armis Romanis and the Exemplum of Roman Imperialism

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Book Chapter

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Publication Title

The Roman Foundations of the Law of Nations : Alberico Gentili and the Justice of Empire




This chapter calls into question any fundamental unity between the De iure belli and the De armis Romanis. It cites numerous examples casting doubt on the ascription of an unwavering pro-Roman stance to Gentili, and points to similarities between the De iure belli and arguments put forward by the ‘Accusator’, Picenus, in the first book of De armis Romanis. The chapter stresses the Ciceronian pedigree of the De armis, drawing attention to the important similarities to what was known of Cicero's (partly lost) recreation of the Carneadean debate in the third book of his De re publica, and suggests that Gentili might very well have intended to supply a supplement to the celebrated debate with his De armis Romanis. It is argued that there are important breaks and substantive discontinuities between the De iure belli and the De armis, which are explained by situating the two works in different aspects of Gentili's biography and career.


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