The poetic ocean in Mare Liberum
Ben-Dor, Oren (eds.)
Law and Art: Justice, Ethics and Aesthetics.
Restricted to Repository staff only
This essay traces the effect of literary quotation in Hugo Grotius’s Mare Liberum (The Free Sea) (1609). It places this reading in the context of broader legal, political and historical debates over the entailments of this famous text, and particularly considers the impact of these inter-textualities on Grotius’s arguable secularism and debated imperialism. The essay suggests that Grotius’s deployment of lines and scenes from Roman poetry and drama—by Lucretius, Vergil, Seneca and Ovid— articulate an elliptical, residually-moral vision of the ocean that troubles his legal thesis on the freedom of the seas.
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