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International law and laws of war
Does somebody knows any literature dedicated to the international law in antiquity (especially to the laws of war)?
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Cicero wrote a fair bit on the subject, but I don't have the citations handy. Looking up commentary on the appropriate works might be a place to start. A lot of subsequent thinkers on the ethics of war took him as a starting point.
Nullis in verba

I left this forum around the beginning of 2013, but I hope that these old posts have some value
Well, there really was an absence of international law as we would define it.

Quote:In a system of militarised international anarchy, however, this conflictual and competitive relationship between and among states is exacerbated, since because there being no central or guiding authority (of whatever sort) to aid or to compel a peaceful resolution of tensions, every state is (and must be) well armed. In such an environment, almost any dispute can lead to war.

Eckstein; Mediterranean Anarchy, Interstate War, and the Rise of Rome; p. 20

Polybius also points out this lack of guiding authority or means of enforcement of international law.

Quote:These and similar claims and arguments were constantly repeated by one side or the other in the course of the embassies and counterembassies and the conferences that occurred. But there was no possibility of actually arriving at any result, because… there was no one to interpose between the two sides with the power of blocking or restraining the side that seemed disposed to transgress the boundaries of justice… The consequence was that both sides grew weary of sending embassies and there was no prospect of a peaceful resolution, and so in the spring Antiochus gathered his forces for the purpose of invading Coele Syria, and Ptolemy dispatched reinforcements to block him.

Polybius, 5.67.11 – 68.2

Of course, the absence of international law does not mean there were no international relations, as Polybius shows. Treaties were often based on the definitions and needs of the parties involved instead of any universal agreed-upon law. There were also mediators at times in conflicts, but these situations were unique each time and also did not have an international law to govern them.

So perhaps you will find more information if you look for international relations in antiquity instead of international law. I liked Eckstein, whom I quoted above. His bibliography is also quite good.

Now the laws of war… that is another issue altogether and hopefully someone else could help out.
David J. Cord
It seems to me there were more customs of warefare, which departures from i.e. new tactics and advances in warfare
were a shock to the victims....?
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Byron Angel
The Greeks had arbitration of disputes amongst the city states and observed truces during the Olympic Games, but they were all Greeks, so I don't know if the term "international" is really accurate.
Quote:The Greeks had arbitration of disputes amongst the city states
Perhaps it's useful that in the best-known example, arbitration was ignored. It's, ultimately, why the Peloponnesian War broke out: Sparta insisted that the Megaran Decree would be revoked, Pericles argued that arbitration was what was agreed-upon, and that accepting Sparta's demands was in fact a break of the international law.

And the war came.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
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Roman had laws of war (which were not common to every ennemies they fought) : for example, civilians could rightfully be enslaved after their army was defeated
As embassies hadn't present extension, normal relationships between states included hostages, who could be asked as guaranty after an ennemy's submission
Besieged cities could surrender with no consequence before the first "aries" knocks their walls : they were then treated as allied, but the longer the siege, the harder the punishment after victory.
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