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ALBERICO GENTILI (1552—16o8)

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Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 604 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ALBERICO GENTILI (1552—16o8) , Italian jurist, who has great claims to be considered the founder of the science of international law, second son of Matteo Gentili, a physician of noble family and scientific eminence, was born on the 14th of January 1552 at Sanginesio, a small town of the march of Ancona which looks down from the slopes of the Apennines upon the distant Adriatic. After taking the degree of doctor of civil law at the university of Perugia, and holding a judicial office at Ascoli, he returned to his native city, and was entrusted with the task of recasting its statutes, but, sharing the Protestant opinions of his father, shared also, together with a brother, Scipio, afterwards a famous professor at Altdorf, his flight to Carniola, where in 1579 Matteo was appointed physician to the duchy. The Inquisition condemned the fugitives as contumacious, and they soon received orders to quit the dominions of Austria. Alberico set out for England, travelling by way of Tubingen and Heidelberg, and everywhere meeting with the reception to which his already high reputation entitled him. He arrived at Oxford in the autumn of 158o, with a commendatory letter from the earl of Leicester, at that time chancellor of the university, and was shortly afterwards qualified to teach by being admitted to the same degree which he had taken at Perugia. His lectures on Roman law soon became famous, and the dialogues, disputations and commentaries, which he published henceforth in rapid succession, established his position as an accomplished civilian, of the older and severer type, and secured his appointment in 1587 to the regius professorship of civil law. It was, however, rather by an application of the old learning to the new questions suggested by the modern relations of states that his labours have produced their most lasting result. In 1584 he was consulted by government as to the proper course to be pursued with Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador, who had been detected in plotting against Elizabeth. He chose the topic to which his attention had thus been directed as a subject for a disputation when Leicester and Sir Philip Sidney visited the schools at Oxford in the same year; and this was six months later expanded into a book, the De legationibus libri tres. In 1588 Alberico selected the law of war as the subject of the law disputations at the annual " Act " which took place in July; and in the autumn published in London the De Jure Belli commentatio prima. A second and a third Commentatio followed, and the whole matter, with large additions and improvements, appeared at Hanau, in 1598, as the De Jure Belli libel tres. It was doubtless in consequence of the reputation gained by these works that Gentili became henceforth more and more engaged in forensic practice, and resided chiefly in London, leaving his Oxford work to be partly discharged by a deputy. In 1600 he was admitted to be a member of Gray's Inn, and in 16o5 was appointed standing counsel to the king of Spain. He died on the loth of June 16o8, and was buried, by the side of Dr Matteo Gentili, who had followed his son to England, in the churchyard of St Helen's, Bishopsgate. By his wife, Hester de Peigni, he left two sons, Robert and Matthew, and a daughter, Anna, who married Sir John Colt. His notes of the cases in which he was engaged for the Spaniards were posthumously published in 1613 at Hanau, as His panicae advocationis libri duo. This was in accordance with his last wishes; but his direction that the remainder of his MSS. should be burnt was not complied with, since fifteen volumes of them found their way, at the beginning of the loth century, from Amsterdam to the Bodleian library. The true history of Gentili and of his principal writings has only been ascertained in recent years, in consequence of a revived The following is probably a complete list of the writings of Gentili, with the places and dates of their first publication : De juris inter pretibus dialogi sex (London, 1582); Lectionum et epist. quae ad jus civile pertinent libri tees (London, 1583–1584) ; De legationibus libri tres (London, 1585) ; Legal. comitiorum Oxon. actio (London, 1585–1586) ; De divers. temp. appellationibus (Hanau, 1586); De nascendi tern pore dispulatio (Witteb., 1586) ; Disputationum decas prima (London, 1587); Conditionum liber singularis (London, 1587); De jure belli comm. prima (London, 1588) ; secunda, ib. (1588–1589) ; tertia (1589) ; De injustitia bellica Romanorum (Oxon, 1590) ; Ad tit. de Malef. et Math. de Prof. et Med. (Hanau, 1593) ; De jure belli libri tees (Hanau, 1598) ; De arms Romanis, &c. (Hanau, 1599) ; De actoribus et de abusu mendacii (Hanau, 1599); De ludis scenicis epist. duae (Middleburg, 1600) ; Ad I. Maccabaeorum et de linguarum mistura disp. (Frankfurt, 1600) ; Lectiones Virgilianae (Hanau, 1600) ; De nuptiis libri septem (16o1) ; In tit. si quis principi, et ad leg. Jul. maiest. (Hanau, 1604) ; De latin. vet. Bibl. (Hanau, 1604) ; De libro Pyano (Oxon, 1604) ; Laudes Acad. Perus. et Oxon. (Hanau, 1605) ; De unione Angliae et Scotiae (London, 16o5); Disputationes tres, de libris jur. can., de libris jur. civ., de latinitate vet. vers. (Hanau, 16o5); Regales disput. tees, de pot. regis absoluta, de unione regnorum, de vi civium (London, 16o5); Hispanicae advocationis libri duo (Hanau, 1613) ; In tit. de verb. signif. (Hanau, 1614) ; De legatis in test. (Amsterdam, 1.661). An edition of the Opera omnia, commenced at Naples in 1770, was cut short by the death of the publisher, Gravier, after the second volume. Of his numerous unpublished writings, Gentili complained that four volumes were lost " pessimo pontificiorum facinore," meaning probably that they were left behind in his flight to Carniola. AurHoRITIEs.—Several tracts by the Abate Benigni in Colucci, Antichitd Picene (1790) ; a dissertation by W. Reiger annexed to the Program of the Groningen Gymnasium for 1867; an inaugural lecture delivered in 1874 by T. E. Holland, translated into Italian, with additions by the author, by A. Saffi (1884) ; the preface to a new edition of the De jure belli (1877) and Studies in International Law (1898) (which see, for details as to the family and MSS. of Gentili), by the same; works by Valdarnini and Foglietti (1875), Speranza and De Giorgi (1876), Fiorini (a translation of the De jure belli, with essay, 1877), A. Saffi (1878), L. Marson (1885), M. Thamm (1896), B. Brugi (1898) T. A. Walker (an analysis of the principal works of Gentili) in his History of the Law of Nations, vol. i. (1899) H. Nezarel, in Pillet's Fondateurs de droit international (1904) ; E. Agabiti (1908). See also E. Comba, in the Rivista Christiana (1876–1877); Sir T. Twiss, in the Law Review (1878); articles in the Revue de droit international (1875–1878, 1883, 1886, 1908); 0. Scalvanti, in the Annali dell' Univ. di Perugia, N.S., vol. viii. (1898). (T. E. H.)
End of Article: ALBERICO GENTILI (1552—16o8)
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