previous next


Hugo (Huig van Groot). A Dutch scholar and jurist of great distinction, born at Delft, April 10th, 1583. As a boy he was extraordinarily precocious, entering the University of Leyden in his eleventh year, having already become well known for his skill in Latin versification. At Leyden he studied under Joseph JustusScaliger, and when only fifteen years of age edited the very difficult, and, in fact, encyclopædic, work of Martianus Capella (Leyden, 1599). After a year spent in travel, he was admitted to the doctorate in law, and entered upon regular practice as an advocate. Though unusually successful in his chosen profession, he still reverted to letters, and in 1600 edited the remains of Aratus with the versions of Cicero, Germanicus, and Avienus. He also wrote much excellent Latin verse, and three dramas in Latin, one of which (Adamus Exul) is thought to have furnished a number of suggestions to Milton for his Paradise Lost. In 1614 he edited the Pharsalia of Lucan, of which edition a recension was published by Usener at Greifswald in 1862. Later, he put forth an edition of Silius Italicus, and a celebrated translation of the Anthologia Graeca Planudea. In 1657 he composed Annales et Historiae de Rebus Belgicis, an historical work of much value, and recalling by its terse and pointed style the Latinity of Tacitus. He is best known to the world at large, however, by his remarkable treatise De Iure Pacis et Belli (1625)—a work of profound and searching scholarship, which long remained the standard authority on international law. To describe his stormy career as a theologian and statesman would be beyond the scope of the present work. He died at Rostock, August 29th, 1645.

Few men have shown so great an aptitude for so many fields of intellectual labour. He was profoundly learned as a classical scholar, uniting elegance to accuracy. As a theologian he was probably the most soundly critical exegete of his age.

An able and acute historian, a philosopher of depth and ingenuity, an influential and original statesman and diplomat, a poet of much distinction, and a jurist who will always rank among the greatest in the history of jurisprudence—no wonder that an amazed contemporary styled him “a monster of learning.”

The fullest biography of Grotius, with a complete list of his works, is that of Lehmann (Delft, 1727). There is also a good life of him in English by C. Butler (London, 1826). See L. Müller, Gesch. d. class. Philol. in den Niederlanden, p. 38 (Leipzig, 1869); and Pökel, Philolog. Schriftstellerlexikon, s. v. “Grotius” (Leipzig, 1882).

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: