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The Roman Foundations of the Law of NationsAlberico Gentili and the Justice of Empire$

Benedict Kingsbury and Benjamin Straumann

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199599875

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599875.001.0001

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Alberico Gentili and the Ottomans

Alberico Gentili and the Ottomans

(p.127) 7 Alberico Gentili and the Ottomans
The Roman Foundations of the Law of Nations

Noel Malcolm (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers a nuanced reading of Gentili's stance on the Ottoman empire, linking his doctrine of pre-emptive strikes with his stance on religion and theology and his alleged separation between theology and politics. It shows that Gentili — although indeed prepared to give politics a large degree of autonomy from religion in the vein of Bodin and other writers in the politiques tradition — was also at times committed to a strong biblical protestantism. It argues that Gentili, when taking positions close to Bodinian ideas of a strong separation between politics and theology, did so not primarily for reasons having to do with a non-theological ‘humanist’ tradition, but instead for reasons deriving from a body of fairly mainstream theological thought reaching back into the middle ages.

Keywords:   Ottoman empire, pre-emptive strikes, theology, politics, biblical protestantism

‘Silete theologi in munere alieno’—or, as we might colloquially translate it, ‘Theologians, mind your own business’. This is perhaps the most famous sentence written by the great jurist Alberico Gentili. It comes at the end of Book 1, Chapter 12 of his De iure belli (1598), as a final rhetorical flourish rounding off a discussion of relations between western Europeans and the Ottomans—a discussion which firmly insists that ‘there is always a just cause of war against the Turks’.1 On the face of it, there is something rather paradoxical here. Any discussion of the Turks in this period paid special attention to the fact that they were non-Christians; a war against them was not just a war against an aggressor or a rival power, it was a war against infidels. It is natural to assume, therefore, that Christian theologians would think that this provided an extra reason for going to war against them. Yet what Gentili is doing in this passage is declaring that his argument—the argument of a jurist, not a theologian—demonstrates that war is always justified against the Turks, and dismissing the arguments of the theologians, who apparently regard such war as less justifiable, or justifiable less often. This paradox raises some larger questions about the relationship between Gentili’s thinking and the theological traditions of his period.

It has long been observed that Gentili’s work forms part of a pattern of ‘secularization’ of legal and political theory that took place in early modern Europe—a process that is described sometimes in terms of a general weakening of theology, sometimes in terms of a positive move away from theology, and sometimes in (p.128) terms of a stricter distinction between the theological and the non-theological.2 In his classic monograph on Gentili, Professor Diego Panizza observes that ‘theology was losing its traditional role as the main epistemological support for ideologies’, and that law was taking on that role instead.3 Discussing Gentili’s defence of religious toleration and his opposition to wars of religion, Panizza summarizes Gentili’s central argument as ‘the reciprocal autonomy of politics and religion’, and notes that this depended on ‘a restrictive definition of religion, understood as the mere relation between men and God, so that it excluded the sphere of relations between men among themselves, which belonged to politics’.4 He does add an important qualification, which is that Gentili did still insist on the Christian character of his society, and on the priority of divine law with respect to other laws.5 Nevertheless, since the realm of government, politics, human law-giving, war-waging, and peace-making was quite clearly the sphere of ‘relations between men among themselves’, the autonomy of that sphere would imply that almost everything Gentili was concerned with—as lawyer, ideologue, and political theorist—was to be considered in a strictly non-theological or non-religious way.

Richard Tuck, in his study of Gentili, has taken a rather different approach, but has arrived at what seems to be a similar conclusion. According to Tuck, the writers on war and the ius gentium in this period fall into two ‘sharply differentiated traditions’, the ‘humanist’ and the ‘scholastic’ (though he suggests that ‘oratorical’ and ‘theological’ would be better terms, given the extensive use made by the former of the literary and rhetorical writings of the ancient world).6 Gentili, for Tuck, is a classic example of a humanist theorist; and he belongs in that category not merely because of his style of argument or his use of Greek and Roman sources, but because he maintained some distinctive positions that were radically different from those of the theologians. One such position was his view that pre-emptive attacks could be justified; and another was his notion that war could be legitimate in the interests of a wider ‘human society’—that is, that a state could justly go to war to stop another state from engaging in gross violations (p.129) of natural law, such as cannibalism and human sacrifice.7 According to Tuck, the differences between the oratorical humanists and the scholastic theologians of the late sixteenth century were ‘as radical as the differences between Machiavelli and Aquinas’; and, indeed, he finds strong resemblances between the humanists’ thinking and that of Machiavellians, Tacitists, and theorists of raison d’état.8 There is some congruence here with the interpretation of Diego Panizza, who has noted the influence of Machiavelli on Gentili, and has also written that Gentili’s theory of the laws of war was ‘deeply permeated by the culture of ragion di stato of the late sixteenth century’.9 And in this connection one might also note the influence on Gentili (to which Diego Panizza has also alluded in many of his writings) of Bodin and the politique writers of late sixteenth-century France, with their strongly pragmatic approach to human affairs.

These characterizations of Gentili may be tested, to some extent, by looking at those arguments in his writings that concern relations with non-Christians or ‘infidels’—of whom, in his day, by far the most important were the Ottoman Turks. At first sight, many of his key positions here, such as his hostility to wars of religion, his belief in the validity of temporal rule by infidels, and his defence of religious toleration (including, even, toleration of Muslims), do seem to be those of someone who had made a clear rejection of, or separation from, theological concerns. But on closer inspection the matter becomes much less clear, since many of his arguments can themselves be found within the theological tradition. And on one issue in particular, that of whether it is permissible to make an alliance with an infidel state, Gentili’s arguments seem positively to conflict with those of the non-theological, pragmatically-minded theorists of his day—indeed, they seem more theologically-minded than those of some of the theologians.

First, the basic question, on which so much else depends: can a ruler such as the Ottoman Sultan be a legitimate ruler of a state, even though he is not a Christian? Gentili is in no doubt that he can. In his study of the law of embassies, De legationibus, he argues that diplomatic relations are possible only with valid states, not with other holders of power such as pirate chiefs, and he specifically says that it is right to exchange embassies with Muslim rulers. In support of this, he puts forward three reasons: first, that it is universal practice; secondly, that the ‘ius’ of religion is not between men and men, but between men and God; and thirdly, that ‘wars should not be waged for the sake of religion’.10 The third of those points might better be described not as a reason but as an implication or consequence of (p.130) the underlying position which Gentili is taking here, namely, that rule by people of other religions is entirely valid, and therefore cannot be challenged on the grounds of their religion alone. Elsewhere in the same work Gentili goes even further than this, and casts doubt on the idea that the Sultan’s rule can even be described as unjust. Commenting on the difficulty of distinguishing between a king and a tyrant, he accepts the notion that the former rules the willing and the latter the unwilling, but insists that the rights of the ruler are the same in both cases. And then he adds: ‘Therefore I am in the habit of laughing at those who cry out against the Turkish Sultan, calling him a tyrant and an unjust ruler.’11

This acceptance of the validity of infidel rule certainly fits Tuck’s description of the ‘humanist’ tradition—which, taking its examples from an ancient world in which there was no clear distinction between true believers and infidels, had little interest in categorizing states in narrowly religious terms. It also matches the views of a writer such as Bodin, who took a very respectful attitude towards the Ottoman empire, and insisted that the rule of the Sultan was not a tyranny but a ‘monarchie seigneuriale’ or ‘lordly monarchy’.12 However, the idea that infidel rule was valid was also thoroughly accepted in the theological tradition: it had in fact been a common opinion since the middle of the thirteenth century, when it was propounded by such influential figures as Thomas Aquinas and Pope Innocent IV. An opposing view, propagated most famously by the canonist Hostiensis (Henry of Segusio), had argued that with the coming of Christ all property and jurisdiction was taken from the infidels and given to Christians, which meant that a ‘holy war’ to recover such powers would always be justified; but this view had been largely rejected by the end of the fourteenth century.13 The standard position thus remained that of Aquinas, who, although he disapproved of infidels acquiring dominion over Christians, accepted that where such dominion already existed, it did so ‘ex iure humano’. Divine ius, he insisted, did not take away or abolish human ius; which meant that infidels did not lose their dominion merely by virtue of being infidels.14 Two sixteenth-century writers whose work was cited very respectfully by Gentili, the theologian Francisco de Vitoria and the canonist Diego Covarruvias, resolutely maintained this Thomist position: Vitoria declared that ‘infidelity does not prevent someone from being a true dominus’, and Covarruvias insisted that ‘it is not possible to declare war justly against infidels merely because they are infidels’.15

(p.131) Gentili’s praise for those two writers—he called them both ‘extremely learned’—came in one of the most important chapters of his De iure belli, the chapter in which he addressed the question ‘Whether a war for religion is just’.16 Here he began by propounding another fundamental principle: the idea that the very nature of true religion precludes its imposition by force, since belief must be voluntary. In support of this principle he cited the authority of Tertullian, Lactantius, and St Bernard, and quoted the famous statement by Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths (as reported by Cassiodorus): ‘We cannot command religion; for no one can be forced to believe against his will.’17 Precisely the same statement by Theodoric was quoted also by Bodin in his discussion of religious toleration in Six Livres de la république; and in the Latin version of that text he added the comment, ‘which reason, given by Cassiodorus, has indeed seemed to me to be the most effective of all reasons for getting rid of those punishments that are imposed under the pretext of religion’.18 However, this view was hardly unknown in the theological tradition—as Gentili’s invoking of Tertullian, Lactantius, Cassiodorus, and St Bernard might well suggest. When Thomas Aquinas addressed the question, ‘Ought infidels to be compelled to believe?’, his primary answer was ‘no’, on the grounds that ‘belief is voluntary’. He did add an important qualification—that they should not be permitted to obstruct Christianity in various ways—and he specifically excluded those who had once been Christians (heretics and apostates), to whom compulsion could be applied.19 In a Europe wracked by wars of religion between Roman catholics and protestants, that last exclusion may have carried huge consequences, so far as the development of theories of toleration was concerned; but the fact remains that the position taken by Gentili on the non-compulsion of infidels had long been firmly established in the theological tradition.

The same point emerges rather strikingly when we consider a closely related issue, namely, whether the practice of the Islamic religion should be tolerated within a Christian state. In Book 1, Chapter 10 of De iure belli, on the question of whether a sovereign may take military action in order to maintain religion among his own subjects, Gentili follows the politique line laid down by Bodin: waging war on any of one’s subjects for such a reason cannot be justified, except when those subjects’ religious beliefs or practices are harmful to the state.20 This leads to a more general defence of religious toleration, in which Gentili presents empirical evidence to show that such toleration itself does not cause the state any harm. And among the examples he puts forward are the following: ‘Are not Jews (p.132) and Christians publicly tolerated under Turkish rule? And under the rule of the Roman pope, Turks, Jews, Greeks, and Jewish synagogues and Greek churches, are tolerated in Rome and Ancona.’21 While invoking the example of religious toleration in the Ottoman empire was indeed a standard procedure for writers such as Bodin, this immediate juxtaposition with papal practice looks almost like a calculated piece of impudence at the popes’ expense. And yet it was a simple statement of the truth: Orthodox Greeks, Jews, and even Muslims (‘Turks’ here) were tolerated in Rome and, as Gentili was well placed to know, Ancona. The reasons for this toleration policy were largely commercial: the Papacy had developed Ancona as a trading centre to rival Venice, and much of the Anconitan trade was with the Ottoman territories of the Balkans and the Levant. Greek merchants obtained special trading privileges there in 1513, and the same privileges were extended to all subjects of the Sultan by 1518; by the 1520s Florentine merchants were selling their cloth to Turkish merchants in Ancona, instead of taking it to Turkey themselves, and in the words of one early historian (Saracini), ‘the Turks lived in this city with more security than they did in their own countries’.22 For most of this period, Jewish merchants were also treated with great consideration; in 1535 a remarkable charter of privileges gave the Jews of Ancona full powers to make and enforce contracts, released them from the obligation to wear badges or attend Christian sermons, and instructed the local (Christian) butchers to sell them meat ‘and kill it in the Jewish way’.23 In 1553 the Jews of Ancona received permission to build a new synagogue, in addition to the two they already had.24 As for the Muslim Turks who stayed in Ancona, there is no record of their having built a mosque, but they may well have used an ordinary house as a mescid or place of prayer, and their freedom to practise their own religion had been fully guaranteed several years before Gentili himself fled the region for fear of religious persecution. (Had he been a Muslim, rather than a protestant, it might have been easier for him to remain in the Marche.) In 1573, a bull issued by Pope Gregory XIII promised Muslims freedom of religion, jurisdictional immunity, and fiscal exemptions; it even permitted them to build mosques, so long as they were far from Christian churches.25

(p.133) That bull was clearly aimed at visiting merchants, not ordinary subjects. But it was not merely an opportunistic response to a commercial situation; it had deeper roots in both theology and canon law. Traditionally, the Roman Catholic Church had taken roughly similar attitudes towards the Muslims and the Jews, but with differences that worked to the advantage sometimes of the former, and sometimes of the latter. On the one hand, canon law regarded the Jews as more culpable than the Muslims, because they had failed to acknowledge the Messiah even though they were in full possession of the Law and the Prophets.26 On the other hand, when Aquinas set out to answer the question ‘Are the rites of the infidels to be tolerated?’ he wrote that Jewish worship should be tolerated because it represented a prefiguration of Christianity, whereas other infidel religions should not, except insofar as tolerating them would serve to avoid some evil, such as a threat to civil peace.27 That last qualification was just sufficient, nevertheless, to allow the development of a quite pragmatic attitude towards the toleration of Islam: by the early seventeenth century, a respected theologian such as the Carmelite Thomas a Jesu (Diego Sánchez de Avila) could write that if ‘Saracens’ living in a Christian state practised their own, traditional rites, they could be tolerated ‘in order to avoid more, and worse, ill-effects—that is, to protect the common peace of the state, to avoid conflicts and hatreds, and to make it easier to convert them’.28 The classic texts of canon law had in fact said very little about Islam (apart from one decretal of Clement V, issued at the Council of Vienne, which forbade the call to prayer and complained of Muslims visiting their holy tombs); one of the few passages that did discuss the treatment of Muslims in general terms invoked a principle of reciprocity, saying that if the ‘Saracens’ did not persecute their Christian subjects, Christian rulers should not persecute their own Saracens. And this in turn was linked to the injunction that we must love our neighbours, ‘simply because they share in our [human] nature’, to which the gloss added: ‘therefore the Jews and the Saracens are our neighbours, and we should love them.’29

On the key issues considered so far—the validity of infidel rule, and the question of religious toleration—Gentili’s views have thus turned out to be congruent not only with those of pragmatic and non-scholastic writers such as Bodin, but also with standard positions taken by catholic theologians. The ‘humanist’ principles set out by Richard Tuck have seemed, in these matters, to have little or no part to play. Those principles may be more directly relevant, however, to the arguments Gentili used when he described the conditions under which it was justified (p.134) to go to war against infidels. In two chapters of De iure belli—Book 1, Chapter 16 (on defending the subjects of another state against their sovereign), and Book 1, Chapter 25 (on the virtuous [‘honesta’] cause of war)—Gentili strongly affirmed the principle which Tuck has described as belief in ‘the natural society of the human race’. ‘To me’, he wrote, ‘those subjects of other rulers do not seem to be outside that kinship of nature and of the society of the world’; and he went on to quote a passage from Seneca’s De beneficiis which argued that the entire human race formed a single society.30 Accordingly, when he came to consider the virtuous causes of war, he wrote that it was right to go to war in order to put a stop to gross breaches of the laws of nature, ‘for these are sins against the nature of the human race’.31 This certainly fits the ‘humanist’ template as presented by Richard Tuck. However, although Gentili made several general references to Seneca and Cicero in this connection, when he came to specify more precisely the crimes or sins that merited such treatment, he wrote (in the sentence immediately preceding the one just quoted): ‘And therefore I give greater approval to the opinion of those people who say that the Spaniards have a just cause for the war they wage against the Indians, who engaged in wicked sexual relations and bestiality, and who ate the flesh of human beings who had been slaughtered for that purpose.’32 The marginal reference he gave at this point was to the neo-scholastic theologian Vitoria; and this argument did indeed form one of the ‘legitimate titles’ of war presented in Vitoria’s De Indis, where the practices of human sacrifice and cannibalism were singled out. As Vitoria wrote: ‘I say that, even without the authority of the pope, the Spanish rulers may forbid the barbarians to practise any wicked custom or rite, because they may defend the innocent from an unjust death. The reason for this is that God ordered every person to care for his neighbour, and all of them are our neighbours.’33

The theological authors had thus developed, on this point, their own direct equivalent of the humanist theory of the natural society of the human race; and Gentili was happy to cite them. Later in the same chapter he did express his disagreement with Covarruvias, who, in contrast to Vitoria, had argued that since the suppression of idolatry was not a sufficient justification for going to war, the suppression of these other sins (bestiality, etc.) could not suffice either, since they were less heinous than idolatry in the eyes of God. (It should be noted here that Covarruvias’ rejection of these causes of war arose not because he believed less (p.135) strongly in the ‘humanist’ notion of duties to all men, but because he tried to take more strictly the implications of his theological argument against religious war.) In response to Covarruvias, Gentili gave a carefully modulated statement of his view on the relationship between religion and human ius. Religion itself was something natural, he wrote, and therefore a war could justly be waged against people guilty of atheism, as it was in itself a gross crime against nature. But within the context of a given religion, any false beliefs or impious practices were injuries against God, not against man or human nature.34 Here we see a clear expression of that attitude which Panizza has described as the reciprocal autonomy of religion and politics: Gentili does not deny for a moment that idolatry, for example, is a sin, and he can also accept that it is a graver sin than any crime against human beings, but he insists that it operates, so to speak, in a different jural dimension.

Where Gentili differed from both Covarruvias and Vitoria was in his rejection of the argument that war could be justified by a country’s refusal to admit preachers of the Christian faith.35 This he dismissed—very much in the style of the Machiavellian, Guicciardinian, and ragion di stato tradition—as a ‘pretext’ or ploy.36 Vitoria’s argument was, it should be said, scrupulously qualified: he wrote that infidels could not be expected to convert to Christianity immediately on hearing the Gospel preached, that the preaching of it must be supported by probable arguments and exemplified in the virtuous lives of the preachers, and that if, after all this, the infidels still refused to convert, their refusal was not a just cause of war. The sticking-point, for Vitoria, came only if the authorities of the infidel state refused even to allow the preachers to come and preach in the first place.37 In some formal sense, this argument resembled other scholastic arguments, based on natural law, which Gentili was happy to accept: for example, the claim that war could be justified by refusal to allow transit, or refusal to permit trade. But preaching the Gospel was not an activity that arose simply from human nature, as travel and trade did; and so it is understandable that Gentili made a clear separation between these cases.

Neither the argument about preaching, which Gentili rejected, nor the argument about gross crimes against natural law, which he accepted, could be applied with any certainty to the Ottomans. It is a notable fact that although Gentili was fiercely hostile to the Ottoman empire, and although he did (as we shall see) criticize the behaviour of the Turks as belligerent, he did not argue that the Ottomans’ treatment of their own subjects was so contrary to natural law as to warrant an attack on them by external powers. (As we have seen, he was in the habit of ‘laughing’ at those who denounced the Sultan as a tyrant and an unjust ruler.) Instead, his main justification for war against the Turks was that it was necessary for the sake of pre-emptive self-defence. His chapter on this theme (p.136) (Book 1, Chapter 14) was entitled ‘De vtili defensione’, as opposed to the one on acting to defend oppressed foreign subjects (Book 1, Chapter 15), which was called ‘De honesta defensione’; Renaissance moral theory typically contrasted ‘honestum’ and ‘utile’, the virtuous and the profitable or expedient, but the distinction between them, in political theory, was often far from clear. Pre-emptive self-defence was, for Gentili, merely an application of the general principle of self-defence, which was a basic principle of justice. According to Richard Tuck, the belief that pre-emptive warfare was justified was a peculiarity of the humanist tradition, and one of the things that differentiated it most sharply from that of the theologians; but, once again, when we look at the theological writers, the evidence begins to seem less clear-cut. It is true that Aquinas’ brief exposition of just war theory made no explicit mention of pre-emptive strikes; it is also true that later scholastic writers usually summarized their teaching on ‘vindicative’ war with the phrase ‘for an injury received’—which might be thought to refer only to injuries that had already been committed, not ones that were potential or in the offing. But scholastic natural law theory was the very opposite of a rigid list of absolute requirements; it was a flexible system, in which judgement had to be used to apply principles in different ways in different circumstances. (Hence the importance it attributed to the virtue of prudence or practical wisdom—a virtue which, as Aquinas emphasized, included ‘solicitude’ or watchfulness for the future.)38 When Vitoria summarized Aquinas’ just war theory, he wrote that ‘the cause [sc. justification, purpose] of a just war is to ward off and vindicate an injury’; his word for ‘ward off’ there, ‘propulsare’, could mean ‘repel’ or ‘avert’, but since an injury (in the jural sense) cannot be physically repelled, his thinking may well have included the notion of ‘averting’ in the sense of preventing.39

Unlike the writers in the ragion di stato tradition, however, the theologians were very cautious about the conditions under which preventive action might be justified: they required the war-wager to be in possession of firm evidence that the injury was planned and impending. Gentili did not ignore this problem; early on in his chapter on pre-emptive defence he agreed that ‘a just cause of fear is required; suspicion is not enough’, and thereafter he wrestled with the difficulty of forming any general rule. At the end of the chapter, he admitted that the criteria were still rather obscure, and that the mere power of a foreign state, or the fact that its territories had grown larger, would not necessarily count as just causes of going to war against it.40 Two things are fairly clear, though. On the one hand, his criteria were certainly more lax than those of the theologians: he (p.137) insisted that ‘That defense is just which takes preventive action against dangers that have already been planned and prepared—and even against ones that have not been planned, but are likely or possible’.41 On the other hand, his whole pattern of thought here was still compatible with scholastic natural law theory, since his pre-emptive warfare was conceived strictly as an application of the principle of defence. It is difficult to find any trace in Gentili’s work of the Roman and ‘humanist’ notion, discussed by Tuck, that ‘war could legitimately be made for imperial power and glory’.42 Even in the self-consciously rhetorical defence of the Romans’ wars of expansion which he presented as the second half of his De armis Romanis, Gentili stuck to natural law principles, defending the rape of the Sabines on the grounds that the Sabines had denied the Romans a basic human necessity (wives), and justifying various wars against the tribes and statelets of Italy on the grounds of pre-emptive defence.43

This, then, was the fundamental argument on which Gentili based his call to arms against the Ottoman empire. In his chapter on pre-emptive war he asked, rhetorically: ‘Would not all states be absolutely justified in opposing the Spaniards here and the Turks there, who are planning and preparing to extend their rule everywhere?’44 Here Gentili was endorsing the attitude taken towards Habsburg Spain by his patron the Earl of Essex and other members of the ‘war party’ at the Elizabethan court, and suggesting that it applied equally well to the Ottoman empire.45 (Gentili’s discussion of the English intervention in the Netherlands, although included in his chapter on going to the assistance of the oppressed subjects of other sovereigns, in the end justified Elizabeth’s policy not only on those grounds but also in terms of pre-emptive defence against the growth of Spanish power).46 That the English state was threatened in any direct way by Ottoman expansion would have been hard to maintain, however; and so Gentili added an observation which in some ways weakened his case, while attempting to render it more general: ‘It is indeed true that the Turk does not cause injury to many states, and neither does the Spaniard; nor is either of them capable of doing so. But they do to some; and he who causes injury to one, threatens to do so to more.’47 In an (p.138) earlier chapter, Gentili had offered a much stronger version of the same pre-emptive argument. Rejecting the idea that war against the Turks was either a war for the sake of religion or a war dictated by ‘nature’, he had written: ‘But there is war with the Turks—because they act as our enemies, and lie in wait for us, and threaten us, and always seize our possessions by means of every form of perfidy of which they are capable. Thus there is always a just cause of war against the Turks.’ No, he admitted, they should not be attacked when they were quiescent, promoting peace, and ‘making no preparations against us’. But, exclaimed Gentili, ‘When do the Turks behave like that? Silete theologi in munere alieno.48 This famous remark was thus made specifically in connection with his argument about pre-emptive war: the theologians whose advice he rejected were those whose criteria for justified pre-emption were much stricter than Gentili’s, and who thought that any non-belligerent state that was not actually and ascertainably preparing an attack must be treated as if it were peaceful. In this context, the phrase does not really bear all the significance that later interpreters of Gentili have tried to give it; ‘in munere alieno’ here does not mean the whole business of political theory or just war theory, but refers rather to the sort of political knowledge—about the true nature of Ottoman behaviour and Ottoman policy—which, once properly taken into account, would show up the inadequacy of one particular set of claims that the theologians made.

The difference between this sweeping declaration in Book 1, Chapter 12, and the more modest argument in Book 1, Chapter 14, that if the Ottomans injured one state they might do it to others, raises, however, a different point, which may situate Gentili somewhere a little closer to a ‘theological’ position. In that more modest argument, Gentili considered the Ottomans merely from the point of view of England, a distant and rather obviously unthreatened state. But in the earlier passage, when he discussed something resembling a natural enmity between ‘us’ and the Turks, the point of view he adopted was that of Christendom; in the only previous passage mentioning the Turks in that chapter, he had discussed the treatment of a Turk who entered ‘our’ territory, and a Christian who entered theirs.49 It seems, then, that the categories of ‘Christian’ and ‘infidel’—or, in this case, ‘Turk’, which was also used in this period simply to mean ‘Muslim’—still had some significance for Gentili’s political and legal theory.

The strongest example of this, and in many ways the most puzzling feature of Gentili’s whole pattern of argument about the Ottomans, arises in De iure belli, Book 3, Chapter 19, which is entitled ‘Whether it is right to enter into an alliance with people of a different religion’.50 Here he accepts that various forms of cooperation with infidels are allowed, including commerce; so a commercial (p.139) treaty, whether particular or general, is, he argues, perfectly acceptable. Some other kinds of formal engagement are also permitted by him, so long as they are on unequal terms: thus it is lawful to make treaties that bind infidel states to you as your tributaries, and it is also permissible to enter into a contract of hire, under which they agree to supply soldiers to fight on your behalf. However, Gentili insists that a treaty of alliance, in which a Christian power agrees to fight together with an infidel power against another infidel power, is not lawful—so, a fortiori, it must be illicit to ally with infidels to fight against Christians. Referring to the Italian protestant theologian Peter Martyr Vermigli, he declares: ‘I agree with the most learned theologian of our age, who says that it is never right to make a military alliance with infidels.’ And, in accordance with this doctrine, he condemns the alliance made between, on the one hand, the Ottoman empire and, on the other, Francis I and several subsequent kings of France.51

This absolute rejection of alliances with infidels, even for the purpose of fighting against other infidels, is surprising for more than one reason. A late sixteenth-century author who had drunk deep from the wells of ragion di stato theory, and who admired the pragmatic and realistic approach of Bodin, should not have been overly troubled by the notion of an alliance with the Ottomans. Bodin certainly was not: in his chapter on alliances and treaties, Book 5, Chapter 6 of the République, he argued that treaties with pagans and idolaters were no less binding, ridiculed the Emperor Charles V for complaining about Francis I’s alliance with the Ottomans when he himself had sent an ambassador to make an alliance with the Persians, and noted also that many other states (Poland, Venice, Genoa, Ragusa) had made similar arrangements with the Ottoman empire.52 Cooperation with the Ottomans was a fact of life; in addition to formal alliances, it came in many other shapes and sizes, and sometimes included collaborating with them—or, at least, inciting them—against Christian powers. To give just a few examples: Filippo Maria Visconti had encouraged the Turks to attack Venetian possessions in the 1420s and 1430s; Florence had given the Sultan intercepted Venetian letters during the wars of the 1460s; Venice itself had negotiated with Sultan Bayezit II for help against the League of Cambrai, and had encouraged the Turks to attack Austria in the 1520s and southern Italy in the 1530s.53 These were merely instances of the sort of statecraft that the political writers and historians of the Cinquecento understood so well, applications of the principle that ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’. The theory of the ‘balance of power’ was being developed during precisely this period, and Gentili himself was one of its (p.140) leading exponents. In his chapter on pre-emptive defence, he quoted the famous statement by Lorenzo de’ Medici, ‘that the affairs of the rulers of Italy should be balanced by equal weights’, and immediately drew the conclusion that Spanish power must be counter-balanced in Europe: ‘Unless there is something that can withstand Spain, Europe will indeed fall.’54 What could counter-balance the might of Habsburg power? Since the 1520s, the kings of France had considered that question and had found that there was just one obvious answer: the power of the Ottomans.55 For Gentili it must have been awkward (to say the least) to find that, of his two most feared expansionist powers, one was needed to redress the balance against the other.

Even more awkward was the fact that, by the time he was writing, the use of the Turks to counter-balance the Habsburgs had started to be an element of a specifically protestant foreign policy. In 1579 Queen Elizabeth had sent a friendly letter to the Sultan, in support of efforts by English merchants to obtain special trading privileges in Istanbul, and part of the attraction of this trade to the Sultan was that the English were willing to send iron and steel for the Ottoman armaments industry.56 During the Dutch revolt, the slogan ‘liever Turks dan Paaps’ (‘Better Turkish [i.e. Muslim] than Popish’), which referred in the first instance to the conditions of religious toleration in the Ottoman empire, had led to some popular symbolism, such as the production of crescent-shaped medallions, identifying the Ottomans as quasi-allies of the protestants.57 In 1605–1606, during the Habsburg-Ottoman war, the Calvinist Hungarian magnate István Bocskay led a revolt against the Habsburgs and was proclaimed ‘King of Hungary’ by the Sultan; this was the first sign of a geopolitical tendency in central Europe which would link Calvinist and Ottoman interests (most notably in the early phase of the Thirty Years’ War, when the Elector Palatine sought Ottoman assistance through his ally Gábor Bethlen), and which would even acquire a special name, ‘Calvinoturcism’.58 Alberico Gentili was a passionate protestant who, in one of his early works, had set out to prove in great detail that the Papacy was the (p.141) Antichrist predicted in the Book of Revelation; at the start of that treatise, he had rejected the claim that the Antichrist should be identified with Islam instead, pointing out that the ‘priests’ of the Turks, unlike those of Rome, never imposed their law on people’s consciences.59 Here was at least a tiny germ of potential Calvinoturcism in Gentili’s thinking; and yet his statements about relations with the Ottomans simply ruled out any kind of strategic alliance with them, even against the Antichrist of Rome.

That Rome itself was opposed to such alliances—and, indeed, had been opposed to them long before the coming of protestantism—is not surprising. The idea that it was sinful for Christian powers to ally themselves with infidels has been traced back at least as far as the ninth century, when Pope John VIII ordered Naples, Salerno, and Amalfi to abandon their ‘impium foedus’ (wicked alliance) with the Saracens.60 This principle had also been used to set strict limits on trade with infidel states. In 1179 a canon of the Lateran Council forbade the export to them of arms, iron, and wood for ship-building; the list was extended in later papal decrees, and from the late fifteenth century onwards it was included in the bull In Coena Domini, a compilation of general excommunications which was re-promulgated at frequent intervals.61 These prohibitions were, of course, frequently ignored or circumvented in practice. But it is worth noting that they were also undermined in theory by catholic legal writers who were quite willing to argue that there were conditions under which it was permissible to form an alliance with, or seek military assistance from, infidel powers. In the early fourteenth century, the eminent jurist Oldradus de Ponte, an advocate at the papal court in Avignon, issued a ‘consilium’ on the question, ‘May a Christian, without sinning, use the help or assistance of infidels in his own defence?’ His answer was a definite ‘yes’, for which he adduced a variety of arguments, including Biblical precedents and the analogous case of being permitted, under special circumstances, to communicate with the excommunicated. But his primary argument was based on simple necessity, and the need for self-preservation: ‘for what anyone does in defence of his body is considered to have been done as a matter of right, especially if he cannot otherwise protect himself…One cannot be blamed for wanting to save one’s own skin in any way whatsoever.’ (Indeed, he added, ‘Not only can we make war upon our enemies in alliance with infidels and deceivers, but we can use deceit in doing so.’)62 The collection of Oldradus’ ‘consilia’ was frequently (p.142) printed in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, and was respectfully cited by jurists.63 One such writer, Tiberio Deciani or Deciano, who lectured on civil law at Padua up until his death in 1582, was singled out by Gentili; indeed, much of Gentili’s own discussion of the issue in Book 1, Chapter 19, of De iure belli is framed as a reply to Deciani’s ‘consilium’ or ‘responsum’ on the question, ‘Whether secular rulers may justly enter into an alliance with infidels, and use their assistance to preserve their kingdoms and principalities’. Deciani cited Oldradus as an authority, pointing out that his argument defended the use of infidel alliances by Christian rulers even against other Christians. He also appealed to Biblical examples; but his main argument was, once again, that of necessity and self-preservation: ‘all laws and all iura allow the defence of one’s body and one’s possessions…therefore a ruler will be permitted to preserve the peace and tranquillity of his state by any means whatsoever, including war, and peace, and alliances, especially when his state cannot be preserved in any other way.’64

Once again, readers of Gentili are confronted with a paradox. Alberico Gentili, the ‘secularizing’ and ‘humanist’ theorist, insists that it can never be right to make an alliance with infidels. Tiberio Deciani, the pious catholic jurist steeped in the canon law tradition, argues that it is sometimes permissible. And the reasoning on which Deciani depends is not some convoluted piece of peculiarly catholic theology, which Gentili could not have accepted. Rather, it is a simple principle of necessity and self-preservation. We might associate such a principle, in this period, with the Machiavellian tradition, and with theorists of pragmatism and realism; Richard Tuck associates it with both humanism and reason of state. But in Deciani’s case it is drawn from a medieval legal tradition that is rooted directly in the Digest.65 Whatever its sources or nature, one might expect Gentili to have accepted it, given his comments in several of his writings on special cases where special measures were called for. In his disputation on lying, published in 1599, he defended the use of an ‘officious lie’ in cases of ‘great necessity’, and insisted that the law should be considered in the light of its ultimate aim, citing the maxim, ‘Salus populi suprema lex esto’ (‘Let the safety of the people be the supreme law’).66 In De armis Romanis, published in the same year, he declared: ‘That which is not (p.143) permissible by law is made permissible by necessity. Necessity has no law, but it itself makes a law. Necessity makes something approvable that was otherwise to be disapproved of.’67 And in De iure belli he applied this principle, albeit under stricter conditions, to cases involving the deception of one’s enemies by means of trickery, simulation, and lying.68 The idea that things which were normally illicit could become licit in cases of necessity was thus perfectly familiar to him; and yet he refused to apply it to the case of an alliance with an infidel power. This requires us to look more closely at the arguments he deployed when making that stubborn refusal.

Gentili’s response to Deciani’s key argument was curiously inadequate. To Deciani’s statement that ‘all laws and all iura allow the defence of one’s body and one’s possessions’, he replied: ‘This reason is worthless here. For it does not follow that those iura permit defence of any kind whatsoever, by any means whatsoever’.69 Here he merely contradicted, but did not disprove, Deciani’s statement that ‘therefore a ruler will be permitted to preserve the peace and tranquillity of his state by any means whatsoever’; Gentili gave no reason at this point for saying that such an alliance was excluded from the range of those exceptional measures that could be justified by necessity. Only several pages later did he return to the issue and present a reason of his own: ‘Such an alliance cannot be contracted with an infidel against a Christian, because it involves bringing against just enemies—who observe religion, custom, and the laws of war—those who are of an opposing religion, and who fail to observe, and are for the most part contemptuous of, every custom and every ius of war.’70 Here at least was a conceptual distinction of some interest—between a ‘just enemy’ and an unjust one. The line of thought seems to be that although much lower standards of justice or morality apply in conditions of war (standards, for example, that allow forms of trickery and deception that would be impermissible in peace-time), nevertheless there is a minimum standard, that of the ‘just enemy’, and those who fall below that standard cannot be trusted in any way. This would seem to set up a purely prudential argument: if they cannot be trusted, there is no point in making any sort of alliance with them. But Gentili’s argument goes beyond that, and emphasizes the wrongness of allying with such people against Christians—whom he assumes, more or less a priori, to belong to the ‘just enemy’ category.

This extra element of Gentili’s theory is not properly explained—at least, not in jural terms. Something like a psychological or descriptive explanation is offered (p.144) earlier in the treatise, when he discusses ‘virtuous defence’ (that is, the altruistic defence of the subjects of other states). There he observes that the feeling of fellow humanity on its own is seldom sufficient to move people to action on behalf of others outside their state; additional motives are needed, and, of these, religion is by far the most powerful.71 This descriptive point may well explain why it is that Christians are reluctant to enter alliances that pit infidels against other Christians; but it does not really deal with the normative question, about whether such alliances may in some circumstances be justified nevertheless. And it might be added that if Gentili’s argument had been conducted essentially at the descriptive level, it might have been obliged to come, like Bodin’s, to a very different conclusion—since the empirical evidence, admitted in passing by Gentili, was that Muslim rulers did sometimes act justly and morally in their external dealings (he cited the story of a king of Morocco who gave aid to the king of Castile out of a sense of common humanity), and that the Ottoman Sultans did not go to war on a whim but sought ‘good causes’ for doing so.72

In the end, then, we find Gentili coming back to an essentially theological position. The argument is not that most infidels, as a matter of fact, fail to meet the standards of the ‘just enemy’, which would imply that in most cases alliances with infidels are wrong. Rather, the argument is that alliances with infidels are always wrong, and they are wrong because they are infidels. An argument of an absolute and unconditional nature was needed to support this position, and that argument was supplied to Gentili by theology, drawing directly on Holy Scripture. The standard Biblical examples of treaties with unbelievers (Joshua with the Gibeonites; the Maccabees with the Romans and the Spartans) were dismissed, on the grounds that God had shown his disapproval of them; instead, Gentili referred to the severest statements in the Pentateuch about driving out the nations of unbelievers from Canaan, and quoted the uncompromising injunction of Exodus 23:32, ‘Thou shalt make no covenant with them’.73 Gentili clearly thought that such theological arguments were of essential relevance, and prepared the ground for them when he announced, at the beginning of his discussion: ‘This is partly a theological issue, which has been treated by theologians, and partly a civil issue, which has been treated by our lawyers.’74 But how exactly did this theological-civil combination come about in the mind of someone who had so clearly distinguished between the area of ius and iniuria between man and God on the one hand, and that between man and man on the other? His reference to the theologian Peter Martyr Vermigli (cited above) was to a discussion of this question in Vermigli’s Loci communes, which contained a strong rejection of any alliance with infidels for any purpose (even to save a Christian state in peril), and put forward just one argument: alliances of this sort might lead to the creation of (p.145) mixed Christian-infidel armies, and in such an army ‘the pure religion and idolatry are mixed together’.75 Here, at least, was a clear theological argument; but it concerned idolatry, which, as Gentili had argued when rejecting the idea that the suppression of idolatry could be a just cause of war, was strictly a matter between man and God, and not a proper determinant of relations between one society and another.

So we are left with a sense that, although Gentili’s separation between theology and politics was quite far-reaching by the standards of its day, it was not absolute; commitment to a strongly Biblical protestantism remained an active element in his whole pattern of thought. Other elements of that pattern do indeed support the idea that he gave politics a large degree of autonomy from religion. But they also suggest that his reasons for doing so, far from being located in a distinctly non-theological ‘humanist’ body of thought, were themselves derived, to a significant extent, from a theological tradition.


(1) A. Gentili, De iure belli libri tres (Hanau, 1612; Oxford, 1933), 92: ‘iusta semper caussa belli aduersus Turcas’. The 1612 edition was a line-by-line reprint of the edition printed in Hanau in 1598. The 1598 edition was the first edition of the De iure belli libri tres, which is a substantially different work from the precursor-text, De iure belli commentationes tres (London, 1589). That previous text contained only one substantive comment on the Turks, the statement that when they went to war out of a belief that they were commanded to do so by God, they acted justly (Comm. I, sig. B4r-v). The much greater degree of interest in the Turks shown in the work of 1598 was presumably stimulated by the Habsburg-Ottoman war which had broken out in 1593 (and would continue until 1606).

(2) For strong statements of this view see, for example, A. Fiorini, ‘Di Alberigo Gentile e del suo Diritto di Guerra’, in A. Gentili, Del diritto di guerra, trans. A. Fiorini (Livorno, 1877), vii–[cxxvi], here xli (‘Come la politica il Machiavelli, come la fisica il Galileo, così Alberigo sottrasse al dominio universale e opprimente della teologia la nuova scienza del diritto delle genti’), and C. Phillipson, ‘Introduction’ to A. Gentili, De iure belli libri tres, ed. James Brown Scott, trans. John C. Rolfe (2 vols., Oxford, 1933), 9a–51a, at 18a (‘The theological basis of the subject, which was generally affirmed or assumed by his predecessors, was once for all undermined by Gentili, and a more acceptable foundation was substituted’).

(3) D. Panizza, Alberico Gentili, giurista ideologo nell’Inghilterra elisabettiana (Padua, 1981), 8: ‘la teologia perdeva la sua tradizionale funzione di principale supporto epistemologico delle ideologie.’

(4) Ibid. 67: ‘della reciproca autonomia di politica e religione’; ‘una definizione restrittiva della religione intesa come mera relazione tra gli uomini e Dio, con la conseguenza che restava esclusa dal suo campo la sfera delle relazioni degli uomini tra di loro, di pertinenza della politica.’

(5) Ibid. 67: ‘egli… manteneva fermo l’assunto del carattere cristiano della società e del primato orientativo della legge divina rispetto alle altre leggi.’

(6) R. Tuck, The Rights of War and Peace: Political Thought and the International Order from Grotius to Kant (Oxford, 1999), 16.

(7) Tuck, The Rights of War and Peace, 18–31, 34–40.

(8) Ibid. 6, 10–12 (12: quotation).

(9) Panizza, Alberico Gentili, 93: ‘Diversità culturale e diritto delle genti: alle origini del paradigma eurocentrico’, in B. Kingsbury (ed.), Alberico Gentili e il mondo extraeuropeo: Atti del Convegno, Settima Giornata Gentiliana, 20 settembre 1997 (Milan, 2001), 49–87, at 71: ‘profondamente permeata della cultura della “ragion di stato” del tardo Cinquecento.’

(10) A. Gentili, De legationibus libri tres (Hanau, 1594; New York, 1924), 2.11, 98–99: ‘Est & cum Mahumetistis commercium legationum. Et ita sane iudico…’; ‘Bella religionis caussa mouenda non sunt.’

(11) Gentili, De legationibus libri tres, 2.7, 82.

(12) J. Bodin, Les Six Livres de la république (Paris, 1583; Aalen, 1977), 2.2, 274–275.

(13) See M. Villey, La Croisade: essai sur la formation d’une théorie juridique (Paris, 1942), 30–32; W. Ullmann, Medieval Papalism: The Political Theories of the Medieval Canonists (London, 1949), 129–137; K. J. Pennington, ‘Bartolome de Las Casas and the Tradition of Medieval Law’, Church History 39 (1970), 149–161, esp. 152–153; J. A. Brundage, ‘Holy War and the Medieval Lawyers’, in T. P. Murphy (ed.), The Holy War (Columbus OH, 1976), 99–140, esp. 111, 118–120.

(14) Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, IIa IIae, q. 10 a. 10: ‘Ius autem divinum… non tollit ius humanum.’

(15) F. de Vitoria, Relectio de Indis, eds J. Pereña and J. M. Perez Prendes (Madrid, 1967), 20: ‘Infidelitas non est impedimentum quominus aliquis sit verus dominus’; D. Covarruvias, Opera omnia (2 vols, Frankfurt am Main, 1583), i, fo. 243r: ‘bellum aduersus infideles ex eo solùm quòd infideles sint… iustè indici non potest.’

(16) De iure belli, 1.9, 61: ‘doctissimus à Victoria’; ‘Didacus à Couarruuia… doctissimus iurisconsultus.’

(17) Ibid. 1.9, 59–60: ‘Religionem imperare non possumus: quia nemo cogitur, vt credat inuitus.

(18) Bodin, Six Livres, 5.7, 655; De republica libri sex (Paris, 1586), 485: ‘quae quidem ratio Cassiodori omnium efficassima mihi visa est ad supplicia, quae religionis specie irrogantur, tollenda.’

(19) Aquinas, Summa theologiae, IIa IIae, q. 10 a. 8: ‘quia credere voluntatis est.’

(20) De iure belli 1.10, 71.

(21) De iure belli 1.10, 72: ‘Non hodie Iudaei, Christiani feruntur sub Turcico imperio publice? Turcae, Iudaei, Graeci, & synagogae Iudaeorum, & Ecclesiae Graecorum feruntur etiam sub Pontificis imperio Romani, Romae, Anconae.’

(22) P. Earle, ‘The Commercial Development of Ancona, 1479–1551’, Economic History Review, 2nd ser., 22 (1969), 28–44 (43 n.: ‘li Turchi… habitavano in essa Città… con più sicurezza, che non facevano nei loro Paesi’); J. Delumeau, ‘Un ponte fra oriente e occidente: Ancona nel Cinquecento’, Quaderni storici 13 (1970), 26–47.

(23) M. Radin, ‘A Charter of Privileges of the Jews in Ancona of the Year 1535’, Jewish Quarterly Review 4 (1913–1914), 225–248 (231: ‘et admazarla ad usanza di hebrei’).

(24) Delumeau, ‘Un ponte fra oriente e occidente’, 44. See also V. Bonazzoli, ‘Ebrei italiani, portoghesi, levantini sulla piazza commerciale di Ancona intorno alla metà del Cinquecento’, in G. Cozzi (ed.), Gli Ebrei a Venezia, secoli XIV–XVIII (Milan, 1987), 727–770.

(25) E. Bussi, ‘La condizione giuridica dei musulmani nel diritto canonico’, Rivista di storia del diritto italiano 8 (1935), 459–494, at 493.

(26) Bussi, ‘La condizione giuridica dei musulmani’, 462.

(27) Aquinas, Summa theologiae, IIa IIae, q. 10 a. 11.

(28) Thomas a Jesu, De procuranda salute omnium gentium (Antwerp, 1613), 754: ‘Si tamen sint [ritus] ipsorum proprij, nec à veteri, & antiqua professione discrepent, permitti, & tolerari possent ad plura, & deteriora mala euitanda; nimirum ad communem Reipublicae pacem tuendam, ad dissidia & odia profliganda, ad expeditiorem eorum conuersionem.

(29) Bussi, ‘La condizione giuridica dei musulmani’, 479–480 (decretal) 489: ‘propter hoc tantum quod sunt naturae nostrae participes’; ‘ergo iudaei et Sarraceni proximi nostri sunt et diligendi a nobis.’ See also N. Zacour, Jews and Saracens in the Consilia of Oldradus de Ponte (Toronto, 1990), 22–26.

(30) De iure belli 1.16, 119 (‘mihi isti aliorum subditi tamen à cognatione illa naturae, & societatis vniuersi alieni esse non videntur’), 121.

(31) Ibid. 1.25, 198: ‘Sunt enim haec peccata contra naturam humani generis.’

(32) Ibid.Et itaque illorum sententiam probo magis, qui iustam dicunt caussam Hispanorum: dum faciunt Indis bellum, qui concubitus nefandos, & cum bestiis exercebant: & qui carnes humanas, hominibus in id mactatis, comedebant.’

(33) Vitoria, De Indis 1.iii.14, 93: ‘Dico enim quod etiam sine auctoritate Pontificis possunt hispani principes prohibere barbaros ab omni nefaria consuetudine et ritu, quia possunt defendere innocentes a morte iniusta. Hoc probatur, quia unicuique mandavit Deus de proximo suo, et illi omnes sunt proximi.

(34) De iure belli 1.25, 203.

(35) De Indis 1.iii.11, 89–91; Covarruvias, Opera omnia, i, fo. 243v.

(36) De iure belli 1.25, 200: ‘Hic enim solus est praetextus religionis.’

(37) De Indis 1.ii.15–20, 61–67; 1.iii.11, 89–91.

(38) Aquinas, Summa theologiae, IIa IIae, q. 47 a. 9.

(39) De Indis 1.iii.5, 84: ‘causa belli iusti est ad propulsandam et vindicandam iniuriam.’ Cf. similar usage by Francisco Suárez, in his ‘disputatio’ on the conversion of infidels: ‘ad propulsandam vel vindicandam iniuriam’ (J. B. Scott (ed.), Selections from Three Works of Francisco Suárez, S.J., (2 vols, Oxford, 1944), i, 481). It might be suggested that what is meant here is the prevention of further similar injuries, after the first one has been committed; but this interpretation itself admits a precautionary or preventive principle.

(40) De iure belli 1.14, 99 (‘Iusta caussa metus requiritur: suspicio non est satis’), 106–107.

(41) De iure belli 1.14, 106: ‘Defensio iusta est, quae preuenit pericula iam meditata, parata: etiam & nec meditata, at versimilia, possibilia.

(42) Tuck, The Rights of War and Peace, 23. Tuck treats this notion as organically connected with the doctrine of pre-emptive warfare; but the two seem conceptually quite distinct.

(43) A. Gentili, De armis Romanis, 146–147 (112–113, 1599 edn) (Sabines), 214–215 (168–169) (war against the Volsci: an example of pre-emptive defence).

(44) De iure belli 1.14, 103: ‘Turcis illinc, Hispanis hinc, meditantibus vbique dominatum, & molientibus, non obsisterent omnes iustissimè?

(45) Essex (the dedicatee of De iure belli) had lobbied for, and commanded, an attack on Spain in June 1596, and had led another (more fruitless) naval expedition in the following year. These actions were not pre-emptive in the full sense of the term, of course, since England and Spain were already at war; but Essex did strongly hold the view that Spanish power was in itself a threat to English security.

(46) De iure belli 1.16, 127.

(47) Ibid. 1.14, 103: ‘Non quidem facit multis Turca iniuriam, & nec Hispanus: neque id ille potest, aut iste: sed quibusdam facit. atque vni qui faciat, is plurimis minitatur.

(48) De iure belli 1.12, 92: ‘Sed est cum Turcis bellum: quia illi ferunt se nobis hostes, & nobis insidiantur, nobis imminent, nostra rapiunt per omnem perfidiam, quum possunt, semper. Sic iusta semper caussa belli aduersus Turcas… non inferendum bellum quiescentibus, pacem colentibus, in nos nihil molientibus: non. Sed quando sic agunt Turcae? Silete theologi in munere alieno.

(49) Ibid. 1.12, 90: ‘si qui Turca ad nos peruenisset… & contra, si Christianus ad illos peruenisset.’

(50) Ibid. 3.19, 649: ‘Si foedus recte contrahitur cum diuersae religionis hominibus.’

(51) De iure belli 3.19, 657–660 (659: ‘maneo cum doctissimo nostri seculi theologo: qui negat, cum infidelibus arma rectè coniungi vmquam’).

(52) Bodin, Six Livres, 809.

(53) G. Romano, ‘Filippo Maria Visconti e i Turchi’, Archivio storico lombardo 17:7 (1890), 585–618, at 597, 616; F. Babinger, ‘Lorenzo de’ Medici e la corte ottomana’, Archivio storico italiano 121 (1963), 305–361, at 312; H. J. Kissling, Sultan Bajezid’s II. Beziehungen zu Markgraf Francesco II. von Gonzaga (Munich, 1965), 106, and R. Finlay, ‘Al servizio del Sultano: Venezia, i Turchi e il mondo cristiano, 1523–1538’, in M. Tafuri (ed.), ‘Renovatio urbis’: Venezia nell’età di Andrea Gritti (1523–1538) (Rome, 1984), 78–118, at 82, 89.

(54) De iure belli 1.14, 104 (‘vt res Italorum principum paribus libratae ponderib. forent’), 105 (‘Nisi sit, quod obstare Hispano possit, cadet sanè Europe’). Cf. G. H. J. van der Molen, Alberico Gentili and the Development of International Law: His Life, Work and Times (Amsterdam, 1937), 126; M. Sheehan, The Balance of Power: History and Theory, 29–33.

(55) See J. Ursu, La Politique orientale de François I er (1515–1547) (Paris, 1908); François Emmanuel de Guignard, comte de Saint-Priest, Mémoires sur l’ambassade de France en Turquie et sur le commerce des français dans le Levant, ed. C. Schefer (Paris, 1877); D. Vaughan, Europe and the Turk: A Pattern of Alliances, 1350–1700 (Liverpool, 1954), 104–134, 175–186.

(56) Vaughan, Europe and the Turk, 167–168; S. A. Skilliter, William Harborne and the Trade with Turkey, 1578–1582: A Documentary Study of the first Anglo-Ottoman Relations (London, 1977), esp. 23–26, 69–74, 84.

(57) See K. Westerink, ‘Liever Turks dan paaps: een devies tijdens de Opstand in de Nederlanden’, in H. Theunissen, A. Abelmann, and W. Meulenkamp (eds), Topkapi en Turkomanie: Turks-Nederlandse ontmoetingen sinds 1600 (Amsterdam, 1989), 75–80.

(58) N. Iorga, Geschichte des osmanischen Reiches (5 vols, Gotha, 1908–13), iii, 337–338; M. E. H. N. Mout, ‘Calvinoturcisme in de zeventiende eeuw: Comenius, Leidse oriëntalisten en de Turkse bijbel’, Tijdschrift voor geschiedenis 91 (1978), 576–607.

(59) Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS D’Orville 607 (A. Gentili, ‘De papatu romano Antichristo assertiones ex uerbo Dei et SS. Patribus’), fo. 5r: ‘Turcismus abominabilis, apostatica, magna ecclesia est Antichristus? negant etiam Scolastici Rabbini Papales, nec Apostolorum tempore uiuebat Maumetus; nec in templo Dei sedet hic, quod videbimus; nec sacerdos unus Turcis est, qui legem conscientijs ponat.

(60) G. Vismara, Impium foedus: le origini della ‘respublica christiana’ (Milan, 1974), esp. 14–16.

(61) See G. Poumarède, Pour en finir avec la Croisade: mythes et réalités de la lutte contre les Turcs aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles (Paris, 2004), 310–318.

(62) Zacour, Jews and Saracens, 44–45 (translation, emended), 78: (‘Nunquid Christianus possit sine peccato ad defensionem suam uti auxilio sive adiutorio infidelium? Et videtur quod sic. Nam quod quis ob tutelam sui corporis fecerit iure fecisse existimatur… maxime si se aliter tueri non potest… Ignoscendum enim est illi qui qualitercunque sanguinem suum redimere voluit… Nec solum cum infidelibus et dolosis possumus inimicos impugnare, sed per dolum.’

(63) Zacour, Jews and Saracens, 95–97 (list of editions).

(64) T. Decianus, Responsorum (5 vols, Venice, 1602), iii, Resp. 20, fo. 63r–v: ‘An Principes seculares possint ex iusta causa foedus cum infidelibus inire, & eorum auxilio tueri regna, & Principatus suos’; ‘omnes leges, & omnia iura permittunt defensionem corporis, & rerum suarum… ergo licebit principi quocunque modo, & bello, & pace, & confoederationibus pacem, & quietem status sui tueri, praesertim cum statum suum aliter tueri non posset.

(65) Tuck, The Rights of War and Peace, 6, 36; Digest 1.i.3 (‘Nam iure hoc evenit, ut quod quisque ob tutelam corporis sui fecerit, iure fecisse existimetur’).

(66) A. Gentili, Disputationum duae: I. De actoribus & spectatoribus fabularum non notandis; II. De abusu mendacii (Hanau, 1599), 123–210, at 131 (‘in magna necessitate’), 195.

(67) De armis Romanis, 150 (115–116): ‘Quod non est licitum lege, necessitas facit licitum. Non habet legem necessitas, sed ipsa legem facit. Necessitas facit probabile, quod erat alias improbabile.’ (Translation mine).

(68) De iure belli 2.3, 2.4, 2.5.

(69) Ibid. 3.19, 656: ‘Quae ratio est hic vana. Scilicet non propterea iura permittunt quamlibet, & quomodolibet defensionem.

(70) Ibid. 3.19, 659–660: ‘Non potest contra fidelem hoc foedus cum infideli contrahi: quia contra iustos hostes, religionis, & consuetudinis, & bellicarum legum seruantes adducuntur aduersi religione, & expertes, & plurimum contemptores omnis moris, & omnis bellici iuris.’

(71) De iure belli 1.15, 116–117.

(72) Ibid. 1.6, 53 (‘Ipsi etiam Turcae bonas quaerunt caussas, quum cogitant bellum movere’); 1.15, 111.

(74) Ibid. 3.19, 649: ‘est quaestio partim theologalis, tractataque theologis; partim & nostris tractata ciuilis.’

(75) P. M. Vermigli, Loci communes (London, 1583), 4.16.21–23, 943: ‘religionem synceram, & ɛιδωλολάτρɛιαν misceri’.