Front Page Titles (by Subject) DIALOGUE Between the Prince of ****and His Confidant, on Certain Essential Elements of Public Administration - The Law of Nations, Or, Principles of the Law of Nature, Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns, with Three Early Essays on the Origin and Nature of Natural Law and on Luxury (LF ed.)
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DIALOGUE Between the Prince of ****and His Confidant, on Certain Essential Elements of Public Administration - Emer de Vattel, The Law of Nations, Or, Principles of the Law of Nature, Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns, with Three Early Essays on the Origin and Nature of Natural Law and on Luxury (LF ed.) 
The Law of Nations, Or, Principles of the Law of Nature, Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns, with Three Early Essays on the Origin and Nature of Natural Law and on Luxury, edited and with an Introduction by Béla Kapossy and Richard Whitmore (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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The first two essays included here, Essay on the Foundation of Natural Law1 and Can Natural Law Bring Society to Perfection Without the Assistance of Political Laws?2 date from the early and formative phase of Vattel’s career and anticipate many of the themes of The Law of Nations. Both essays were originally published in the collection Le loisir phi losoph ique ou pièces diverses de philosophie, de morale et d’amusement (Geneva, 1747). The second dissertation was a response to the Academy of Dijon’s prize competition of 1742.
The third essay, Dialogue Between the Prince of **** and His Confidant,3 was first published in Amusemens de littérature, de morale, et de politique par M. de Vattel (The Hague: Pierre Gosse Junior & Daniel Pinet libraires de S.A.S, 1765, 21–48). It is translated here in English for the first time.
DIALOGUE Between the Prince of ****and His Confidant, on Certain Essential Elements of Public Administration
It was the day of the crowning of the Prince of ****, who had been named as Successor to the Throne. The Count of ****, the Prince’s Confidant, entered the bedroom early in the morning. He found that the Prince had risen, and seeing that he appeared to be very busy, remained a little distance away. When the Prince looked up, the Count began to address him thus:
This is the loveliest day of my life and a very happy one for the **** [people of this country]. You, my Prince, are going to reign over them.
Ah! My dear Count, thank Heaven that today will be really happy for the ****! It will nevertheless be dreadful for me.
How so? You seem to fear something that most men regard as the greatest good fortune, being in a position almost above humanity [la Condition humaine].
The crown is scarcely a benefit destined for the particular advantage of its possessor. I consider it a burden, as difficult an office as it is important.
Ah, my dear Prince! (Allow me to use this expression; nothing is more fitting.) Since you have such an idea of Royalty, I am certain that you will fulfill its functions perfectly.
If the task was less daunting, I would risk promising myself that. But who could cope in dealing with so many important matters that are so varied and so complicated? I believe, however, that I can categorize them under two general headings, the Glory of the Supreme Being and the Happiness of the Nation. There you have the twin objects of my actions and my cares. They are the great ends for every just government.
You could make this fine aim a great deal simpler since both goals are intertwined and are dependent upon each other. In all your steps in the short term, choose the one that pleases you more. Be constant to it and, being an enlightened Prince, you will achieve your other goal.
What you’ve just said, my dear Count, is all very well, and at first sight seems very reasonable. However, I still have something of a problem. I have been told so often that we must sacrifice everything to the Glory of God, that the goods of this world are not those recommended to us by our Religion.
The desire to please God must without any doubt be the great motivation which animates every intelligent Being, and this motivation should be reflected in our deeds. This is what I call “glorifying God.” But this Supreme Being has no need of men. He demands nothing from us for himself, and if he gives us our Laws, it is as an infinitely good and wise Father and for our own good. It would be very easy to demonstrate that for every thinking Being without exception, the paths of sound Religion [saine Religion] and those of real happiness are one and the same. Practicing Virtue is the art of making oneself happy. But now, let us speak about the State, of the Nation as a whole. You understand that Religion can flourish, spread, and be fully effective among men only in the kindly shade of peace, safety, and good order, which in turn can be derived only from the establishment of a well-governed Civil Society.
All this is certain. If men used to live without Laws, or without any form of Government, each living in his own small world, reason and experience show us equally that Religion was not able to make itself heard, be studied, enjoyed, or practiced, in the midst of such awful confusion.
You see then that Religion is very much interested in the prosperity of the State and that you will serve it extremely well by working to encourage this prosperity. Can you conceive of anything more agreeable to the Common Father of all men than to procure the happiness of an infinite number of His Creatures, by maintaining and securing an Establishment under whose shade men can cultivate their Souls, improve their Morals, enlighten themselves, understand their Maker, and serve him by helping their brothers. Allow me in this regard to quote the words of a Pagan Philosopher: Nihil est enim illi principi Deo, qui omnem hunc mundum regit, quod quidem in terris fiat, acceptus, quim concilia catusque hominum jure sociati, qui Civitates appellantur.1 CICERO spoke thus in this fine piece called Scipio’s Dream.
What an admirable Pagan! It is quite shameful that several of our Doctors, with so much help that CICERO did not enjoy, should appear so inferior to him in their reasoning about Morality.
These wise Romans had an excellent maxim. One never saw them separate the interests of Religion from the true welfare of the State. On the contrary, they used to apply themselves constantly to maintain these two great designs in perfect harmony.
Their Religion was false, however. And we, who have happily discovered the true faith, will struggle to reconcile it with the welfare of the State. We shall see it often put into direct opposition to the happiness of the Nation!
In the Roman Republic, the same men presided over Religious Ceremonies and the Affairs of State. They did not recognize the distinction between the Clergy and the Laity. Senators were High Priests, Augurs, performed Altar Rituals, ensured Justice, and commanded Armies. As these were only different Ministries of the Republic, they were often carried out by the same persons.
Should not all citizens, however, irrespective of their social rank, work toward the same goal? Do they not have a common interest, the prosperity of the State?
You should appreciate, Prince, that men carry their passions and their individual interests even into the most sacred matters.
Alas! I know this only too well nowadays. I know too that such men are more false, more difficult to unmask, when they are members of a state which makes them wear a brave face in everyday affairs. How can I identify those who merit my confidence?
In my view, here are the means. When you find a wise Pastor—moderate, charitable, motivated by a true zeal for the good of the Kingdom—listen to him, my Prince, and follow his advice in all matters pertaining to Religion.
But there are others who only speak to me about the sacrifices that are owed to God. They say that everything should give way before the greater interest of the Faith.
Do not listen to such imposing talk. It is all too often used by the fanatic or the hypocrite. True Piety, enlightened Piety, will not hold you to vague and obscure ramblings. It will constantly reveal its Doctrine to you, in happy harmony with the practice of reasonable Morality and sound Politics. Have you not agreed just now that true Religion can never be opposed to the welfare of the State? It is, on the contrary, its most firm support. The God who approves of and protects Civil Societies, would he allow into the Religion he has imparted to mankind, any Dogma, any Practice or any Maxim contrary to the well-being of such necessary institutions? When you see a dogmatic Doctor holding forth in an incomprehensible manner, or who crosses the threshold into vulgarity, and is quite useless in his profession, always refusing to compromise, and pursuing anyone who does not think like him, can you doubt that pride and a domineering nature are his motivating impulses, rather than zeal for a Religion which teaches only sweetness and charity? You will be doing him a kindness if you accuse him of fanaticism. Reject zeal of this kind and guard against such counsels when these people call upon you to use your power to persecute their adversaries.
But ought I not protect our Religion and fight its enemies?
Of course you must, my Prince. The means, however, must be well chosen. It is an error and bad faith to support Religion by violence and force. Content to force everyone to bend their heads beneath the yoke, false Religion is never impeded by the fear of making hypocrites. But true Religion desires only the happiness of mankind. It scorns enforced submission and lays claim to reign only in our hearts. The Truth alone persuades, it does not enter into souls by violence. And by the same token, when a Pastor does not act in good faith, if he is wise and prudent he would refrain from advising or ever soliciting persecution. The blood of Martyrs from every Sect, every Religion, whether true or false, pours oil upon the flames, a sprinkling which produces in its turn thousands of followers of these Sects. Add to this consideration the frightful evils arising in a State which result from persecution, and I am certain that you will reject all advice from Persecutors with revulsion and deal with them severely.
Praise be to God for helping me to understand so clearly that true Religion does not ever demand anything which is detrimental to the public good. In working for His Creatures, I will no longer be afraid of failing the Supreme Being. The happiness of my People will be my guiding rule. I believe it better for Religion to be in the hands of a Prince, and far safer than leaving it to the wiles of Theologians. If Religion, however, does not entail anything contrary to the well-being of the State, would it be equally true to say that nothing can be of value to the Kingdom unless at the same time it is given the approbation of Religion, or at least tolerated by it? Some would raise many questions with me over this.
I would be very happy if I could alleviate any doubts for you. Whereas in ordinary Morals, SOCRATES and CICERO roundly condemned those who distinguished between the useful and the honest,2 I would want in any ordered State [Etat police] for everyone to indignantly reject this idea, along with those who wish to set Religion against the good of the State, and he who dares boast that what damages Religion is beneficial to Society. The first among these people is the wrong-headed, ignorant, and fanatic Theologian; the second is the false and superficial Politician.
I relish your maxims, my dear Count, and it appears to me that this is how things should be. Help me, though, to resolve some difficulties that occur to me. Take Luxury, for example. People vaunt its utility in a large Kingdom, but without giving in to too much austerity, it would seem that Religion does not approve of it.
Yet, Prince, Luxury is as unsuitable to the good of the State as it is to the purity of Religion.
One reads about it in pompous eulogies and one hears these matters being discussed in daily conversation. They say that in a large State, Luxury is the lifeblood of commerce, industry, and labor. It is a source of riches, through the high regard that foreigners have for elegance and arts of every kind, of which Luxury is the source. You cannot deny that there is something of the truth in all of this.
Before proceeding further, we must first agree on what we define as Luxury. I understand by this term, excessive expenditure that goes beyond normal amounts. I am not talking about the necessary and the useful alone, or yet the convenient or even the agreeable and what decency demands from its depiction according to rank and station. I say also that in the usual course of affairs, this spending exceeds the capacities of anyone who indulges in it and it always carries with it some element of frivolity.
Well! Luxury, as you have just defined it, provides employment for a huge number of workers, enables them to gain their livelihood, makes them richer, and through the prestige that it gives to our tastes and Manufactures, every year brings considerable revenue into the Country.
I can tell you another singular fact. We do not have close at hand, the wherewithal required by Luxury. We lack gold and silver mines and those for precious stones. The delicious wines of our Kingdom are hardly the only things needed for our delicate and sumptuous tables. Hungary, Spain, and the Islands furnish them at great expense, and our much-vaunted fabrics do not stop us from seeking out foreign alternatives. While I would agree that Luxury brings more money into the Country than goes out, more money goes out than is useful.
Nevertheless, riches are very necessary for the defense of the Realm. They supply a large part of our armed forces.
I scarcely know anyone today who doubts it. The Duc de SULLY3 will teach you to put this precept into a proper perspective. When the Kingdom provides you, at much less cost, with larger, more dependable, braver, and more frugal Armed Forces, would you be any less powerful with reduced revenue? But I don’t want to give up easily. Let us consider the Luxury that increases the wealth of the Kingdom and thus furnishes the means to extend its power. The case for that has not yet been made.
I think I understand your line of argument, but do continue.
Firstly, here’s a fine and delicate question to consider: to know if our well-kept and well-cultivated agricultural lands would not provide us with exports as large and with a surer return than all the Manufactures sustained by Luxury. Furthermore, it is clear that Luxury has caused the neglect of the purely useful or necessary arts like the cultivation of the Land and the work of artisans. It depopulates the Countryside, everybody heads for the Towns, where the means are to be found of getting rich quickly and with less of a struggle. The Laboring class, that unique pool of good Soldiers, is thereby diminished. Yet, after all of these facts, I am told that Luxury increases the force of the State!
Oh, my dear Count! You are beginning to alarm me, and I see that those who praise this public menace are shallow Politicians. They have put before me only their most positive contentions.
That is not the half of it. Let us now see this menace in its other guises. Can it be denied that Luxury sustains and strengthens the spirit of softness and frivolity which characterizes this Century? And what damage has it not caused to your Army? How would they under similar circumstances sustain the glory of our forefathers who were hardened to toil, indefatigable on the field of honor, and when peace obliged them to lay down their arms, sought their amusement only in games and exercises where they recaptured the memory of their battles?
Honor, so natural to my Nobility, will sustain our courage. My Nobles will fly from their ablutions straight to the battlefield, and one could hardly accuse them of being driven mad by Luxury.
I do know that, Prince, and have seen it myself. And please Heaven that this bright flame will always burn despite the universal depravity of morals! Though by unique fortune effeminate leanings ought never diminish the courage of our young Warriors, Valor is not the only quality necessary for Soldiers. Wise heads are required to direct all those arms. Certainly too, I do not see how a young Lord can do this, while occupied with his pleasures, his appearance, his accoutrements, jewelry, and baubles. Neither do I see, I can say, how he would be able to acquire the prudence and wisdom so necessary in a General; nor by what happy chance resolve and greatness of spirit would find a place within him in the midst of so many trifles.
History confirms only too well the truth you have uttered. After the Romans had given in to the excesses of Luxury, they fell into soft ways and their warrior virtues did not hold out for long. CAESAR understood only too well the effect of these effeminate morals. At the battle of Pharsala,4 he ordered his Soldiers to strike the enemy in the face. What was in his mind regarding the youth of the city, who were fighting under POMPEY’s orders? Soft living had not yet been able to extinguish the courage of these young Romans. It had sufficient influence on them, though, to make them fear being disfigured even more than death itself.
I too have often seen in our Armies that discomfort, tiredness, and inclement weather spread an almost general despondency and discouragement among the men that the sight of the greater dangers had not been able to undermine. Our Warriors scorn death in battle and on the march, but cannot bear the loss of their equipment.
Ah! I see the reason for that. Honor places upon them the obligation to face danger bravely, and unfortunately it cannot shame them for any effeminate posturing as unworthy of a Warrior, worse even than cowardice. Oh, Count! How impatient I am to eradicate the harmful causes of such a shameful weakness! If I could only bring back the times of manly and virtuous simplicity!
You would certainly make the Nation more powerful, more respectable to its neighbors, more redoubtable to its enemies. What is more, you would even make our citizens happier. All these refinements of Luxury become essential for someone immersed in his own pleasure. Their loss would torment him, but their enjoyment does not make him happy. Consider these things, the air of laziness, of boredom and disgust, that nearly always can be discerned in the so-called fortunates of the century.
What am I waiting for to take action? I want to begin my Reign with such a salutary reform.
This enthusiasm is all to the good and is worthy of admiration and of praise! I have no fear of a little vivacity even when engaged in an undertaking where one has to proceed with measured tread. I understand your prudence.
Quite right, Count. I sense that this work will take time, prudence, and appropriate and well-managed measures. Help me to carry it through. You have excited me against luxury. I am asking for your advice in the war that I am going to declare upon it.
You have convinced me, my Prince, that you want to attack this enemy with all the application humanity demands. You intend to put down its tyranny without upsetting its unfortunate victims, without reducing to penury those who perpetuate its existence. When Luxury has put down so many deep roots in a Kingdom, it becomes a deepseated illness that must be given proper treatment. Too strong a medicine will send the ailing body into dangerous convulsions. We are talking about an illness that has several causes and several symptoms, each one of which has to be treated with the appropriate remedy.
I can, for example, forbid a particular product, anything that Luxury draws from abroad. Nothing prevents me from disallowing its use.
I see no objections to such a wise move. In that way, you could save for the Kingdom all the money that those foreign goods lose us. There is another area of Luxury that you could remove without difficulty, and by a single authoritative act that would be remarkably easy to enforce. I am speaking about the inordinate number of useless servants whom people employ merely for show. Nothing prevents your delivering us from this vain and ruinous extravagance. Fix the number of lackeys or other domestic servants people are allowed to employ, in accordance with their rank, and you will stop them from drawing on ploughboys or men from the army. Those of your subjects who are the most healthy and robust will no longer be enticed into lives of idleness and corruption through service in the houses of the rich and powerful.
Would it not be easy to destroy luxury in all its manifestations! But I would be somewhat uneasy about laying down a limit on everybody’s expenditure for the table, furniture, or clothes.
Nothing could be truer, Prince, and you would have to determine how far to go in this regard. I can hardly advise you how to proceed with such Orders in Council. Sumptuary Laws are convenient, essential in a small State and especially in a Republic. In a large Kingdom, however, or in the situation where we find ourselves, you will cause a sort of revolution by fiercely attacking all these trifles to which men are so attached. There are more subtle, indirect ways more suited to circumstances and that I believe are more effective in their results. I place your own example at the top of the list. If a populace has, over a long period of time, been accustomed to follow the example of their Masters, to flatter them and imitate them, should you not wait until the Nation’s eyes and hearts are turned toward you? “Our Kings,” Montaigne wrote, “can do what they please in such external reformations; their own inclination stands in this case for a law. Quidquid Principes faciunt, praecipere videntur.5Whatever is done at court, passes for a rule throughout the rest of France.”6 If your Courtiers see for themselves that the excesses of Luxury and frivolity displease you, one will no longer see them ruin themselves through trivialities. Unconsciously, they will bring themselves back within the bounds of reason and decency. They will set the tone for the Nobility, and the leading citizens and all the nation will soon follow their lead.
It was excellent in the olden days when the Nobility and the most eminent in the kingdom alone held positions where people took notice of them. Today, the country is full of these new men who, while not being admitted to Court, spread a contagious luxury in the cities, mainly in the capital.
It is a good thing that you know about such abuses and that you are aware of their consequences.
Of course I know about them, Count, and I know the remedy. I will cut off the source of these quick-made fortunes, and I will deliver my people from these men who together become their tyrants and corruptors.
Oh, Prince, how you have filled one faithful Subject with joy. In one single stroke, through such a necessary reform in the administration of your finances, you will be giving a new face to this fine Kingdom. We shall no longer see useless limbs bloated with blood and foulness whilst the rest of the body perishes from exhaustion. Wealth will circulate afar in a wider and more sustained manner. Honest abundance will be come from the fruits of our labors, and it will circulate with an equality that conforms to the good of the State, just as it does to justice and common humanity.
I can appreciate what the followers concerned with the favorites of PLUTUS7 tell me, that opulent financiers are an ever-present resource to meet the pressing needs of the State. A vain attraction, capable of dazzling only the poorest eyesight! Is not money distributed more equally always in the hands of the citizens themselves? I would no longer need large amounts. It will flow into my Coffers in abundance when the needs of State demand it. I am confident of being able to provide all I need even during the most trying times when I govern a rich and happy People with wisdom.
I do not doubt it, Prince. You will win the confidence and the hearts of your Subjects. They will happily give you all you demand of them for their defense, and you are going to put them into a position where they can satisfy your needs.
Of course, I want to provide them with all the necessities of life. I sense that in order to secure a comfortable state for them they must refrain from delivering themselves up to ruinous fantasies and from seeking out trivialities that nowise bring them happiness. Here is a very important point for the success of my undertaking. We must mark out the real limits of Luxury and clearly indicate the expenditure that is to be permitted and what we will agree not to forbid. I would not want to reduce my Subjects to petty meanness, force the rich to live as if they were poor, and snuff out the arts and industry.
I had not counted on pushing the reform that far. A great and rich Kingdom should not present itself as a poor State. Such austerity would perhaps not be entirely fitting and might prove to be a dangerous introduction into a state. Praiseworthy magnificence is acceptable when it does not exceed the means of those who indulge in it. The tastes of rich people for truly beautiful things, for the best of the arts, can only be beneficial to the Kingdom. They galvanize industry, and excite genius and talent. Far from your opposing these tastes, expand them yourself, by protecting the Fine Arts so that they serve to heighten the luster of your grandeur. Ensure that they convey a lofty impression of us to the whole world. The magnificence of our public buildings, for example, sits well upon a powerful Nation. They will imbue the State with esteem, gain the respect of foreigners, and contribute to the majesty of the State. The Great will imitate you according to their means, and all the Citizens will follow suit in proportion to their rank. Take care that when men’s inclinations turn them toward praiseworthy undertakings, they are not acting out of fear. The form and effects of their tastes will continue to be characterized by wisdom and solidity.
It has to be done if I am to achieve fully and without opposition my goal of drawing men away from frivolity, and inspiring them to seek wise and wholesome pursuits.
You have reached the second matter I wanted to put to you, Prince, and which together should serve as a means of destroying Luxury and set a limit on the kinds of magnificence that can be admitted. Regulate the tastes of your subjects and everything will follow. To regulate their tastes, give them a fine education. This is the soundest basis of all good order in a State, the fecund source of its advantages, which lead in turn to its success. Just as a poor education is the polluted source from which all public misfortunes flow. I tremble when thinking about the effect that the present system has upon young people of quality today. What can you expect from a young man who has been fed on and molded by frivolity, who has sought after pleasures, is taken with elegant dress, and concerned with how he looks and with cultivating effeminate manners. Far from becoming embarrassed, he derives all his glory from these miserable things. He calls it “good manners,” and he looks down on anyone who is not able to be, or who does not want to be, as frivolous as he is. It gives me no joy to say this, and I do not make any exaggeration in stating that these “good manners” will lead a powerful state to its ruin. “These are superficial errors,” said MONTAIGNE,8 and warned us “but they are of ill augury, and enough to inform us that the whole fabric is crazy and tottering, when we see the roughcast of our walls to cleave and split.”
I promise you, my dear Count, that I will begin by banning these so-called “good manners” at my Court. The breath of contempt will soon make these puerilities vanish into thin air. And as a result, the ambition of the Fathers will answer me through the education that they provide for their children. I will let it be known far and wide that throughout the course of my reign, no one will be able to aspire to any position unless he has made himself capable of filling it.
May you enjoy a long reign over a nation that you will make glorious! You will make it happy, and you will not fail to be happy yourself.
You are my lucky augur, my dear Count. The first words I have heard since ascending the Throne are those from a faithful Servant. May Heaven grant that I never listen to any others.
Biographical Sketches of Authors Referred to by Vattel
Ammianus Marcellinus (ad 330–95): A Greek from Antioch, Ammianus served as a soldier in the Roman army. He later wrote a history of Rome and on “civilitas,” the moral and institutional restraints that an emperor ought to observe. His work Res gestae libri was published in thirty-one volumes, of which only the last eighteen survive.
Anson, George (1697–1762): First Baron Anson, admiral and naval reformer, appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in 1757. He is notable for his work A Voyage Round the World (1748), in which he recounted his experiences circumnavigating the globe.
Appian (or Appianus) (ad ca. 95–ca. 165): Known as Appian of Alexandria, he earned recognition for his rhetorical skills in pleading cases in Rome and was appointed Procurator Augusti of Egypt in 147. He wrote Roman History in twenty-four books, of which thirteen survive. His work gives accounts of various peoples and countries up to their incorporation into the Roman Empire.
Aristotle (384–322 bc): Greek philosopher, polymath, and student of Plato, he wrote on everything from anatomy to rhetoric. His major works—Physics, Metaphysics, On the Soul, Politics, Nicomachean Ethics, Rhetoric, and On the Heavens—have had a long-lasting influence on the development of every aspect of Western philosophical thought.
Arrian (L. Flavius Arrianus) (ad ca. 92–ca. 175): Of Greek origin, born in Nicomedia (now Izmit, west Turkey), he was important in the Roman administration and became proconsul of Baetica. He is best known for his work as a historian; of his many books, his Anabasis Alexandri is the oldest-surviving complete account of the campaigns of Alexander the Great.
Augier de Marigny, François (1690–1762): French writer known for the Histoire des Arabes (1750), which covers 636 years of the Islamic world, from the first successors of Mohammed in the seventh century to 1258 when the last caliph was toppled from power by the Tartars. His work was based on the writings of the Coptic bishop Severus.
Aulus Gellius (ad ca. 125–ca. 180): Studied grammar and rhetoric in Rome and philosophy in Athens, eventually holding judicial office in Rome. His work Noctes Atticae, comprising twenty books, was in the form of a “commonplace” book, in which he noted things of interest, including notes on grammar, geometry, philosophy, and conversations.
Bacallar y Sanna, Vicente (Marquis de San Felipe) (1669–1728): Spanish nobleman and author. His works included Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire d’Espagne sous le règne de Philippe V (1756) and Monarchia Hebrea (1745).
Bellay, Martin Du (1495–1559): Born in Langey, France. Bellay’s work Les mémoires de Mess. M. Du Bellay was originally started by his older brother Guillaume, who was a successful general and diplomat for Francis I. After Guillaume’s death, Bellay incorporated his brother’s writing into his own to form a single work.
Bernard, Jacques (1658–1718): Born in Nions, Dauphiné, Bernard was a French theologian trained at Geneva. After preaching reformed doctrines in France, he left for Gouda in the 1680s, where he became pensionary minister. His Abrégé de l’histoire de l’Europe appeared monthly between 1686 and 1688; it was followed by Lettres historiques (1692–98) and his continuation of Bayle’s Nouvelles de la république des lettres (1699–1710, 1716–18). From 1705 he was minister of the Walloon Church at Leiden.
Bilain, Antoine (d. 1672): French jurist who wrote on French foreign policy. His books presented legal arguments in support of Louis XIV’s claims against neighboring powers.
Bodin, Jean (1530–96): Born in Angers, France. Bodin was a jurist, natural law philosopher, and advocate of free trade. Part of the circle of the Duc d’Alençon, he also served as a delegate in the Third Estate of the Estates-General, working with D’Hôpital advocating religious tolerance between extremist Protestants and Catholics. He wrote La démonomanie des sorciers (1580), but it is his book of political theory, Six livres de la République (1576), on the nature of sovereignty, that established his reputation.
Boizard, Jean: Early eighteenth-century writer about whom little is known, except that he was the royal treasurer for a time in France. His book Traité des monnoyes (1714) explains monetary systems, financial terms, the variety of forms of money, and how money is made.
Bontekoe, Willem (1587–1657): Born in Hoorn, Holland, Bontekoe was a boat captain in the Dutch East India Company who compiled a journal of his eventful journey to Sumatra. His story, Voyages of the Dutch to the East-Indies (1646), recounted shipwrecks and adventure on the high seas and became a best-seller, going through many editions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Bougeant, Guillaume Hyacinthe (1690–1743): Born in Quimper, Brittany, he became a Jesuit priest and taught classics at the Colleges of Caen and Nevers. His work Amusement philosophique sur le langage des bêtes (1737) caused his exile from Paris. However, his historical works on the Thirty Years’ War and on the Treaty of Westphalia reestablished his reputation. His three comedies in which he satirized Jansenists were widely translated.
Bourbon Condé, Anne Geneviève de (1619–79): The only daughter of Henry II, prince of Condé, she moved in court circles and was involved in the factional religious politics of the day. She instigated the first and second Frondes and was a lifelong enemy of Mazarin. An avowed Jansenist, she gave up court life in 1653 and retired to a convent in Port Royal. She wrote Abrégé du memoire de Madame la Duchesse de Longueville.
Buddeus [Budaeus], Johann Franz (1667–1729): Born in Anklam, Pomerania. German Lutheran theologian, professor of Greek and Latin at Coburg (1692), professor of moral philosophy at Halle (1693), and professor of theology at Jena (1705). His writings most commented-upon across Europe were Historia juris naturae et synopsis juris naturae et gentium iuxta disciplinam Hebraeorum (1695) and Elementa philosophiae practicae (1697).
Bullinger, Heinrich (1504–75): One of the key figures of the Reformation in Zurich and a close ally of Zwingli, whom he succeeded in 1531 as head of the Zurich congregation. Bullinger published widely, including histories of the Reform (1564), the Swiss Confederation (1568), and Zurich (1573–74).
Bynkershoek, Cornelius van (1673–1743): Born in Holland. Writer on international maritime law, publishing De dominio maris in 1702. He also wrote on and specialized in diplomatic rights and public law and proposed the “three-mile limit rule,” which stated that a nation may claim sovereignty over a territorial distance of three miles from shore, roughly the distance a cannon could then shoot.
Caesar (Gaius Julius Caesar) (100–44 bc): Roman political and military leader who played a key role in changing the Roman Republic into an empire, an act which famously precipitated his murder. He wrote several memoirs of his different successful military campaigns, including De bello Africo, De bello Alexandrino, and De bello Gallico.
Callières, François de (1645–1717): Born in Thorigny, France, Callières was sieur de Rochelay et de Gigny and private secretary to Louis XIV, as well as a diplomat and man of letters. A member of the Académie Française, he published eight books, including De la manière de négocier avec les souverains (1716), which was considered a preeminent guide to diplomacy.
Camden, William (1551–1623): English antiquarian, archaeologist, and headmaster of Westminster School. He wrote Britannia, the first comprehensive, county-by-county topographical survey of Great Britain, and Annales rerum gestarum Anglicarum et Hibernicarum regnante Elizabetha (1615), a detailed historical account of the reign of Elizabeth I.
Campanella, Tommaso (1568–1639): Born in Calabria in southern Italy, Campanella became a Dominican monk in 1583. He was well known for his heterodox theological beliefs and radical political views. His opposition to Spanish rule in Italy led to a life of intermittent imprisonment. His most famous work, La città del sole, written during imprisonment, was published in Italian in 1602 and in Latin as Civitas solis in 1623.
Champier, Symphorien (1471–1538): Born in Lyons, France. Doctor of medicine and cofounder of the College of the Doctors of Lyon with François Rabelais. Categorie medicinales, on the logic of medical analysis and argumentation, is the best known of his many works.
Charlevoix, Pierre François Xavier (1682–1761): Born in St. Quentin, France, Charlevoix was a Jesuit teacher and explorer who wrote chronicles of his traveling adventures. His work Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle France was among the earliest written descriptions of North America.
Chauvelin, Henri-Philippe (Abbé) (1716–70): Little is known of Chauvelin except that he was canon of Our Lady of Paris and adviser to the Parlement of Paris. The lengthy title of his work translates as “Tradition of the facts which express the system of independence that the Bishops opposed, in the various centuries, with the invariable principles of the sovereign justice of the king on all his subjects indistinctly; and need for letting act the secular judges against their companies, to maintain the observation of the law, and the public tranquillity.”
Chevalier, Nicolas (1650–1720): Little is known about him other than that he wrote Histoire de Guillaume III, roi de la Grande Bretagne, a biography of King William III of England.
Choisy, François Timoléon de (1644–1724): Born in Paris. An extravagant cross-dresser and flamboyant character in Louis XIV’s court who later underwent a religious conversion, he was ordained and became the abbé of Choisy. He was author of six historical and religious works, but it was his Mémoires (1737), a salacious account of his years at court, that proved his most popular publication.
Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero) (106–43 bc): Born in Arpinium, Italy. An orator, statesman, political theorist, and philosopher of ancient Rome. He was famous for his skillful prosecutions in court, for his views on the rhetorical arts, and for defining philosophy as an education in citizenship.
Commines, Philippe de (1447–1511): Flemish diplomat and writer who served in the courts of Burgundy and France. In his Mémoires de Messire Philippe Commines (1552), he analyzed the contemporary political scene with the aim of instructing the reader in statecraft. He was an advocate of political machination over military action.
Crevier, Jean Baptiste Louis (1693–1765): Born in Paris. Professor of rhetoric at the College of Beauvais for twenty years. He produced major works on Roman history, two editions of Livy, and Rhétorique français (1767).
Curtius Rufus, Quintus: First-century ad historian and the author of Historiae Alexandri Magni, a biography of Alexander the Great in ten books that focused on character rather than events.
Daniel, Gabriel (1649–1728): Born in Rouen, France. A Jesuit, Daniel was appointed historiographer of France by Louis XIV. Among philosophical, theological, and historical treatises, he wrote the epic Histoire de France (1713) in seventeen volumes, which was quickly translated into four languages.
de la Vega, Garcilaso (1539–1616): Born in Cuzco, Peru. Although he left Peru for Spain and was conscripted into military service at a young age, his writings on Inca life, history, and subsequent Spanish conquest earned him the sobriquet “El Inca.” He was the first Spanish writer to sympathize with the Inca plight.
Demosthenes (384–322 bc): Athenian orator and statesman. He was instrumental in his city’s uprising against Alexander the Great. Defeat forced him into exile, where he took his own life. The corpus of his work that survives amounts to sixty-three texts, including many of his political and judicial orations.
Diodorus Siculus (ca. 80–20 bc): Greek historian from Agyrium in Sicily (hence “Siculus”) whose forty books, of which only fifteen survive, provide a history of the world from mythical times to 60 bc
Duport du Tertre, François-Joachim (1716–59): Born in St. Malo, France, he was a Jesuit priest and historical writer. He left the priesthood to become an independent author and wrote the Abrégé de l’histoire d’Angleterre (1751) and Project utile pour le progrès de la littérature (1756).
Etterlin, Peterman (d. 1509): Swiss chronicler and historian of Lucerne. Served as a captain in the wars against Charles of Burgundy (1474–77).
Eutropius (ad ca. 320–ca. 390): A Roman, Eutropius held the office of secretary in Constantinople at the height of the Byzantine era, working under both Emperors Julian and Valens. His book Eurtopii breviarium ab urbe condita is a ten-book compendium of the history of Rome.
Frederick II of Prussia (Frederick the Great) (1712–86): An “enlightened despot” from the Hohenzollern dynasty, he was responsible for transforming Prussia from a small kingdom into a European power through a series of military conquests. He wrote several works, including Anti-Machiavel (1739) and Instructions militaires du roi de Prusse pour ses généraux (1762).
Gramond, Gabriel-Barthélemy de (1590–1654): Born in Toulouse, France. Little is known of this author except that he was a nobleman and adviser to the president of the Parlement of Toulouse.
Grotius, Hugo (1583–1645): Born in Delft. A jurist in the Dutch republic, a great and prolific humanist scholar, an European diplomat, and an ecumenical theologian. His works include De iure praedae (1605) and De jure belli ac pacis (1625), by which he was seen to have laid the foundations of international law, and De veritate religionis Christianae (1627).
Guicciardini, Francesco (1483–1540): Born in Florence, Italy. A statesman and a political and historical writer, he worked for the Medici popes and was appointed governor of Modena, Reggio, and Parma. Among his many histories and political discourses, the History of Italy (Storia d’Italia) (1537–40) established his reputation.
Heiss von Kogenheim, Johann: Of German origin. Although precise details of his life are unknown, in the late seventeenth century he was the resident historian at the court of Louis XIV.
Herodotus (fifth century bc): Born in Halicarnassus, in Asia Minor. Called the “Father of History” for his detailed account of the Greco-Persian wars from 500 to 479 bc
Hobbes, Thomas (1588–1679): English philosopher and author of many works concerning ethics, politics, history, and human nature, such as De cive (1642), De corpore (1655), De homine (1658) and Questions Concerning Liberty, Necessity, and Chance (1656). Leviathan (1651), his major work, cemented his reputation, which has endured.
Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) (65–8 bc): Born in Venusia, Italy. Leading Roman lyric poet and satirist in the time of Augustus. The themes of his odes and epistles were love, friendship, and the pleasures of life. His works included Satires (35–30 bc) Epodes (30 bc) and three books of Odes (23 bc).
Joinville, Jean de (ca. 1224/5–1317): French nobleman from Champagne, medieval historian, crusader, friend and servant of Louis IX, the French king canonized in 1297. Joinville’s history of this king was completed in 1309 at the request of the then queen, Jean of Navarre.
Justinian I (Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Justinianus) (ad 483–565): Known as the last Roman Emperor, he was ruler of the Eastern Empire and is notable for his conquests and for re-taking Rome and the Western Empire from the Ostrogoths. His lasting legacy was the great codification of Roman law.
Lacombe, Jacques (1724–1811): French lawyer and author. His writings included histories of northern Europe and of Queen Christina.
Lancelotti, Giovanni Paolo (1522–90): Italian jurist and historian.
La Pimpie Solignac, Pierre Joseph de (1687–1773): Little is known of this French author except that he served on the staff of King Stanislas of Poland. He wrote Les amours d’Horace (1728), which was an attempt to recreate the life and times of Horace, and L’histoire générale de Pologne (1752).
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm (1646–1716): German philosopher and polymath who served the house of Hanover as court counselor, diplomat, librarian, and much else. Of his prodigious writings on virtually all areas of philosophy, science, mathematics, technology, law, and history, only a few were published in his lifetime, most importantly Essais de théodicée (1710).
Le Vassor, Michel (1646–1718): French Protestant, historian, and critic of Louis XIV. Through his various writings and membership in the circle of Pierre Jurieu, he underscored the instability in the European state system caused by aspirations to universal monarchy.
Livy (Titus Livius) 59 bc–ad 17): Born in Patavium, Italy. Historian and historical interpreter on a grand scale, rejecting the contemporary method of yearly chronological history. He focused instead on themes, such as public morality, and on periods of thought, exemplified by his epic work of Roman history, comprising one hundred forty-three books.
Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus) (ca. 94–ca. 49 bc): Roman poet, philosopher, and Epicurean. His poem De rerum natura was accredited with influencing Virgil and naturalizing Greek philosophical ideas and discourse in the Latin language.
Machiavelli, Nicolò (1469–1527): Florentine political philosopher, musician, poet, and playwright. Famous for such works as The Prince (1505) and Discourses on Livy (1519). Accused of justifying reason-of-state in politics, he sought to show how republics could maintain themselves in early modern Europe.
Mariana, Juan de (1536–1624): Born in Talavera, Spain. A Jesuit and a Spanish historian whose work was noted for its accuracy and style. His major work, Historiae de rebus Hispaniae (1592–1605), consisted of thirty books; his other important work, De rege et regis institutione (1598), debated whether it was lawful to overthrow a tyrant. He concluded that it was, which led to his imprisonment by the Inquisition.
Matthieu, Pierre (1563–1621): French historian and poet, popularizer of Charron and Montaigne and chronicler of the history of the French court and kingly life.
Mézeray, François Eudes de (1610–83): Official historiographer of France and in 1649 admitted to the Académie Française. He wrote summaries of French and Latin chronicles in his three-volume Abrégé chronologique (1667).
Molesworth, Robert (First Viscount Molesworth) (1656–1725): Supporter of William of Orange and a prominent member of the Irish Privy Council, he was very much involved in the European political scene, which he commented upon in his various writings.
Montaigne, Michel de (1533–92): Born near Bordeaux. French Renaissance scholar and statesman during the Wars of Religion. The first edition of his famous Essays was published in 1580 and a later edition in 1588.
Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de (1689–1755): Born near Bordeaux. French nobleman, magistrate, and prolific author. His Lettres persanes (1721) brought him to prominence in European literary circles. His magisterial reflection on the nature of law and the likely future of France, De l’esprit des lois (The Spirit of the Laws) (1748), became one of the most influential works of the century.
Montgon, Charles Alexander de (1690–1770): The Abbé de Montgon was a French diplomat and the secret agent of King Philippe V of Spain. His Mémoires de M. l’Abbé de Montgon (1748–49) in ten volumes reveal his machinations regarding the succession to the thrones of Spain and France and his negotiations with Portugal. His duplicity was discovered and he was condemned to exile. His memoirs proved a significant source in European diplomatic history.
Monthenault D’Egly, Charles Philippe de (1696–1749): Wrote Histoire des rois des deux Siciles (1741).
Nevers, Louis de Gonzage, Duc de (1539–95): Leading French Catholic soldier in the Wars of Religion, whose memoirs related his experiences in battle.
Noel, Alexandre (also Natalis Alexander) (1630–1724): Born in Rouen, France. Dominican priest and professor of theology, he lectured on theology, philosophy, and ecclesiastical law at the Sorbonne before becoming archbishop of Rouen. He was a Thomist and his writings, Selecta historiae ecclesiasticae capita (1676–86) in twenty-six volumes and Selecta historiae veteris testamenti (1689), comprised a pioneering study of comparative religion.
Ockley, Simon (1678–1720): Born in Exeter, England. Ockley was a British Orientalist and fellow of Jesus College Cambridge, where he lectured on Arabic history. He translated many Arabic texts into English. His central work was the two-volume Conquest of Syria, Persia, and Egypt by the Saracens (1708–18).
Ossat, Arnauld d’ (1536–1604): Born in Gascony, France. Bishop of Bayeux and a French diplomat, he played a major role in negotiating the reconciliation of Henry IV in 1595 with the Holy See. He was named Conseiller d’Etat in 1587 and served Henry IV in Italy.
Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) (43 bc–ad 17): Born in Sulmonia, Italy. Roman poet who wrote about love and mythology. His themes and style were influential in art and literature throughout the Renaissance. Much of his work has survived, such as Amores (10 bc) in five volumes and Heroides (5 bc), consisting of twenty-one letters. Metamorphoses (ad 8), describing the creation and history of the world, remains his most famous work.
Papon, Jean (1507–90): Lieutenant general of Ballifs de Forez.
Pas, Antoine de (Marquis de Feuquieres) (1648–1711): An important figure in the French military. His Mémoires sur la guerre (1730) recounted his battle experiences serving Louis XIV.
Pecquet, Antoine (1704–62): Held the position “premier commis” in the French ministry of Foreign Affairs during the reign of King Louis XV. He wrote Discours sur l’art de négocier (1737), later published as De l’art de négocier avec les souverains, par M. Pecquet (1738).
Pineau-Duclos, Charles (1704–72): French biographer and novelist. He was secretary of the Académie Français and succeeded Voltaire as the official historiographer of France.
Pliny the Younger (Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus) (ad ca. 63–ca. 113): Born in Comum, Italy. Roman magistrate serving as senator, quaestor, tribune, praetor, consul, augur, and ambassador between ad 81 and ad 110. His numerous letters (Epistulae) described Roman life in the first century.
Plumard de Danguel, Louis-Joseph (John Nickolls, pseud.) (1722–77): Born in Mans, France, de Danguel was a political economist whose essay Remarques sur les avantages et les désavantages de la France et de la Gr. Bretagne (1754) was a comparative study of the condition of workers, agriculture, taxation, and the fishing industry.
Plutarch (Mestrius Plutarchus) (ad 40–ca. 120): Born in Chaeronea, Greece. Biographer and essay writer as well as an ambassador for Chaeronea at Rome. In total he wrote forty-four biographies and seventy-eight works on moral, political, philosophical, and scientific topics in essay or dialogue form.
Polybius (ca. 200–118 bc): Born in Megalopolis. An officer of the Achaean League, he is considered reliable as a historian because of his presence at the destruction of both Carthage and Corinth. In Rome at the end of the Punic Wars, he wrote the Histories, comprising forty books, in which he attempted to trace the causes of the rise of Rome and the Mediterranean world from 220 to 146 bc
Prévost, Antoine François (Abbe Prévost) (1697–1763): Born in Hesdin, Artois. Prévost served as Jesuit priest for many years before leaving the church and fleeing to London and Utrecht. These experiences formed the basis of his Mémoires et aventures d’un homme de qualité (1728) and Le philosophe Anglais (1731), the seventh volume of which became the novel Manon Lescault (1731), which was forbidden in France as a scandalous work.
Pufendorf, Samuel (1632–94): Born in Chemnitz, Saxony. A German jurist and historian, he was seen, along with Grotius, as one of the major voices in defining natural law and jurisprudence in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. While a professor at Heidelberg, he introduced natural and civil law into the curriculum. He also served Charles XI of Sweden and the elector of Brandenburg.
Quintilian (Marcus Fabius Quintilianus) (ad ca. 40–ca. 96): Born in Calahorra, Spain. The first professor of any subject to hold an official appointment in Rome. In his Institutio oratoria he described how to train men for leadership and what qualities they should possess, advocating the importance of rhetoric and education.
Rebmann, Hans (or Johann) Rudolf (1566–1605): Born in Bern, Switzerland. Rebmann was a poet noted for writing in the German vernacular.
Rohan, Henri, Duc de (1579–1638): Born in Blain, Brittany. A favorite of Henry IV, he made his name as a soldier and leader of the Huguenot forces and died after being wounded in battle. He wrote Le parfait capitaine (1631) and Traité du gouvernement des treize cantons (1630s) in which he applied the lessons of Caesar’s military tactics to contemporary warfare.
Schodeler, Wernher (1490–1541): Born in Bremgarten (Bern), Switzerland. Little is known about him except that he was a town clerk who spent much of his time writing the Eidgennössische Chronik, an illuminated chronicle of Switzerland. It was published ca. 1535, six years before he died of the plague.
Selden, John (1584–1654): Born in West Tarring, Sussex. Scholar, jurist, and legal antiquary who studied law and became keeper of records at the Inner Temple and a member of Parliament. His various works included Titles of Honour (1614), De diis Syris (1617), History of Tithes (1618), Mare clausum (1618)—a rejection of Grotius’s Mare Liberum concerning sovereignty of the sea—and De jure naturali et gentium juxta disciplinam Ebraerorum (1640).
Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (ca. 4 bc–ad 65): Born in Cordova, Spain. Undogmatic Stoic and polymath, politician and courtier, eventually tutor of Nero. He was forced to commit suicide at the age of seventy after falling from Nero’s favor. His extensive oeuvre comprises essays on ethics and natural phenomena, as well as nine tragedies.
Sextus Aurelius Victor (ad ca. 320–90): Little is known about his life except that he was prefect of the Roman province of Pannonia Secunda, present-day Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia. Four works that have been published together as Historia Romana have been ascribed to him, although his authorship remains contested.
Sharaf Ad-Din ˛Ali Yazdi (d. 1454): A Persian historian from Yazd, in Samarkand. He was well known to Shāh Rokh Mirza, who was the fourth son of Tamerlane and the ruler of Central Asia. His main work was The History of Timur-Bec, Known by the Name of Tamerlain the Great (London, 1723).
Simler, Josias (1530–76): Born in Kappel, Switzerland. A Swiss theologian and classicist, Simler was professor of theology in Zürich and penned the first known study of the Alps in De Alpibus commentarius (ca. 1574). His De Helvetorium republica (1576) focused on Swiss constitutional issues.
Socrates (ca. 470–399 bc): Athenian philosopher and teacher. Socrates served as a soldier in the Peloponnesian War and was later appointed to the Athenian Assembly. His life and writings are known through the works of Plato, Aristotle, and Xenophon, among others.
Solís y Rivadeneira, Antonio de (1610–86): Born in Alcala de Henares, Spain. Dramatist, poet, and historian of the conquest of Mexico. His Historia de la conquista de México (1686) covered the initial journey of Juan de Grijalva in 1518 to Cortes’s defeat of Montezuma in 1520. His work celebrated the achievements of the conquistadors.
Stettler, Michael (1580–1642): Citizen of Bern and one of the most influential historians in seventeenth-century Switzerland. His works included the famous Chronikon oder Grundliche Beschreibung der fürnembsten Geschichte und Thaten.
Stumpf, Johannes (1500–78): Originally from Bruchsal, in Germany, he studied at Heidelberg. Stumpf converted to Protestantism during the early 1520s and became an ally and close friend of Zwingli.
Sully, Maximilien de Béthune, Duc de (1560–1641): Born in Rosny. French Protestant and nobleman who fought in the Wars of Religion before serving Henry IV in numerous offices, becoming well known for fostering agriculture and commerce. His famous Mémoires were published in 1638, with additional volumes appearing posthumously in 1662.
Tacitus (Publius Cornelius Tacitus) (ca. ad 55–117): Roman orator and historian of imperial Rome, he became prefect consul under Nerva in 97. His Annals and Histories examined the reigns of Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero.
Tertullian (Florens Quintus Septimius Tertullianus) (ad ca. 155–230): Born in Carthage. He was the first notable Latin theological thinker of early Christianity and a church leader, whose work later influenced St. Thomas Aquinas. Known as the “Father of the Latin Church,” he introduced the term “Trinity” into Christian eschatology. His many works included De testimonio animae, De monogamia, De patientia, and De spectaculis, which were polemical, moral, and ascetic treatises.
Thou, Jacques Auguste de (1553–1617): French historian who moved in the court circles of Henry III. He was appointed “président à mortier” in 1596 and was instrumental in negotiating the Edict of Nantes with the Protestants. He later replaced Sully in the Conseil des Finances. His Historia sui temporis (1620), in eighteen books, focused on the history of his own time, especially the Wars of Religion.
Thucydides (ca. 454–399 bc): Born in Athens. His unfinished History of the Peloponnesian War, comprising eight books, became famous as the earliest surviving work of contemporary history that was factual and avowedly devoid of mythical and religious inspiration.
Tribbechov, Adam (1641–87): Born in Lübeck, Germany. German theologian. Professor of moral philosophy, then of history, at the new University of Kiel, later church administrator in Gotha. His writings included De philosophia morum inter barbaros praecipue orientales (1666) and De doctoribus scholasticis et corrupta per eos divinarum humanarumque rerum scientia (1665).
Tschudi, Aegidius (also Giles) (1505–72): Born in Glarus, Switzerland. He devoted himself to the Counter-Reformation, using his authority as chief magistrate. He is better known as a historian of the Swiss Confederation, although his work was published posthumously. Beschreibung Galliae Comatae (1758) was a topographical, historical, and antiquarian description of ancient Helvetia; his major work, Chronicon helveticorum (1734–36), related Swiss history from 1001 to 1470.
Turretini [Turretin] [Turretinus], François (1623–87): Born in Geneva of Italian descent. Pastor of the Italian church at Geneva, where he used his position to redefine Calvinist orthodoxy. He was appointed professor of theology in 1653, and his polemic Institutio theologiae elencticae in three parts (1679–85) was used as a standard text in Reformed circles.
Valerius Maximus: Early-first-century Roman author. Little is known about him except that he was a professional rhetorician. His book Factorum et dictorum memorabilium, dedicated to Tiberius, was a collection of anecdotes and miscellany about Roman history for the use of orators.
Varro, Marcus Terentius (116–27 bc): Born in Rieti, Italy. A Roman scholar, writer, and supporter of Pompey in the civil wars of the Triumvirate, reaching the offices of tribune and then praetor. After Pompey’s defeat he was granted a pardon by Caesar and in 47 bc was appointed to run the public library planned by Caesar. He wrote hundreds of works, of which only two survive, De Lingua Latina in twenty-five books and Rerum rusticarum libri III, on agricultural topics.
Velly, Paul François (Abbé) (1709–59): Prolific French historian and theological author.
Vertot, René-Aubert de (1655–1735): Born in Benetot, Normandy. A Capuchin abbé and prolific historian with histories of, among other matters, the Knights of Malta and the revolutions in Sweden and Portugal.
Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro) (70–19 bc): Born in Mantua, Italy. The most famous of his works is the Aeneid, an epic poem on the history of Rome comprising six books. Other works included the Eclogues and Georgics.
Vogel, Franz Adam (d. 1749): Born in Colmar. Lawyer and grand-juge of the Swiss Guard stationed in France. Author of Code criminal de l’empereur Charles V (1735).
Vopiscus, Flavius: In 59 bc he was tribune to the plebs and involved with the factions against Cataline, becoming praetor in 54 bc
Wattenwyl (French spelling is Watteville), Alexander Ludwig von (1714–81): Born in Berne, Switzerland, of a patrician family, Wattenwyl became a magistrate and historian and was one of the first to attempt a modern history of the Swiss Confederation based on original source material. Between 1763 and 1766 Wattenwyl participated in the reform-oriented Helvetic Society, where he defended anti-Rousseauian positions. Wattenwyl’s views on Bernese constitutional history were summarized in his posthumously published Über die Staatsverfassung der Stadt und Republik Bern (Schweizerisches Museum, 1783). He was also the author of Histoire de la Confédération helvétique (1754).
Wicquefort, Abraham de (1598–1682): Born in Amsterdam. A Dutch diplomat to France, in 1675 Wicquefort was accused of high treason after selling secret dispatches to the English ambassador. He escaped the death penalty; however, all his goods were confiscated, and he was imprisoned in Lowenstein, where he wrote The Embassador and His Functions (1716) about his experiences.
Witt, Johan de (1625–72): Born in Dordrecht. In 1650 he became leader of the deputation of Dordrecht to the States of Holland. He later ruled the Republic of United Provinces and was assassinated by his enemies in the Orange party, whom he had opposed throughout his political career. He wrote a book on mathematics, Elementa curvarum linearum (1659) and Waardije van lyf-renten naer proportie van los-renten (1671), on political economy.
Wolff, Christian (1679–1754): Born in Breslau, Silesia. A German philosopher and polymath, he composed a vast philosophical system comprehending all sciences, first in German, then in Latin, and dominated philosophy in Germany and beyond for decades in the middle of the eighteenth century.
Xenophon (ca. 428–353 bc): Born in Ephesus. Soldier, mercenary, and historian. His history Hellenica focused on events of 411 to 362 bcAnabasis (The Inland Expedition [of Cyrus]) is a record of his travels in the expedition against the Persians and was used as a field guide by Alexander the Great.
Works Referred to by Vattel
Writings on Vattel
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[1. ] Emer de Vattel, Essay on the Foundation of Natural Law and on the First Principle of the Obligation Men Find Themselves Under to Observe Laws (Essai sur le fondement du droit naturel, et sur le premier principe de l’obligation où se trouvent tous les hommes, d’en observer les lois), translated by T. J. Hochstrasser.
[2. ]Dissertation on This Question: “Can Natural Law Bring Society to Perfection Without the Assistance of Political Laws?” (Dissertation sur cette question: “Si la loi naturelle peut porter la société à sa perfection, sans le secours des loix politiques?”), translated by T. J. Hochstrasser.
[3. ] Emer de Vattel, Dialogue Between the Prince of **** & his Confidant, on certain Essential Elements of Public Administration (Dialogue entre le prince de **** & son confident, sur quelques parties essentielles de l’administration publique), translated by K. Goodwin.
[1. ] “For to the Supreme God who governs this whole universe nothing is more pleasing than those companies and unions of men that are called cities.” [[Cicero’s Somnium Scipionis (Scipio’s Dream) formed a digression within the sixth book of his De republica (On the Republic), in which the consul who commanded at the destruction of Carthage in 146 bc, Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus (185–129 bc), meets the adopted grandfather who had defeated Hannibal in the Second Punic War, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (236–184 bc).]]
[2. ] Cicero, de Offic. lib. II. cap. 3. & lib. III. cap. 3.
[3. ] See his Memoires. [[Vattel was most likely using the Mémoires de Maximilien de Béthune Duc de Sully, principal ministre de Henry le Grand (London [Paris], 1752).]]
[4. ] [[Julius Caesar defeated General Gnaeus Pompey, his fellow member of the Triumvirate and the Roman consul, in 48 bc at Pharsala, the ancient city of Thessaly in northeastern Greece.]]
[5. ] [[“What princes themselves do, they seem to prescribe.” Quintilian, Declamationes, 3.]]
[6. ]Essays, Book I, Chap. XLIII. [[Vattel was using Les essais de Michel de Montaigne, nouvelle edition, London, 1724, 3 vols. Montaigne’s essay “Des lois somptuaires” (“Of Sumptuary Laws”) contained a critique of the dangerous influence of the frivolous manners of the French court (Montaigne’s Essays in Three Books, trans. Charles Cotton, London, 1743, 325–28).]]
[7. ] [[God of wealth and money in Greek mythology.]]
[8. ]Ibid. See at the end. [[Montaigne’s “Des lois somptuaires” (“Of Sumptuary Laws”), Montaigne’s Essays, trans. Charles Cotton (London, 1743), 327.]]