The Unity of Civilization eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 343 pages of information about The Unity of Civilization.

International law in the more proper sense of the word, that is Public International Law, or the law which governs the relations between States, is a very different thing.  Something of the kind was not unknown in the ancient world; the Greeks, for instance, had rules against the poisoning of wells, the proper treatment of envoys, and the making and keeping of treaties.  But in its modern form it dates just from the time when States were waking up to the consciousness of sovereignty, and when the horrors of the wars which followed the Reformation showed that even sovereign powers ought to conform to some rules of conduct.  It has been the work in its origin of writers and teachers of law, and has been built up more recently by agreement between States.  Unlike the law between man and man, which modern states enforce by organized compulsion, there is no standing organization whose business it is to see that it is kept.  It is not true to say that for this reason it is not law at all, for in primitive times the recognized rules of private law were enforced not by State sanction but by the action of individuals, with the support of the opinions and at times the active help of their neighbours and friends.  But a law which is defied with success and impunity is no law.  The reality and strength of International Law has lain in the fact that its breach brought at least the risk of suffering, through the common disapprobation of civilized nations; its preservation and maintenance for the future must lie in a certainty of disaster, not greatly less than that which awaits the transgressor of private law.


Jethro Brown, The Austinian Theory of Law.  Murray.

Maine, Ancient Law.  Murray.

Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law.  Cambridge University

Vinogradoff, Common Sense in Law.  Home University Library, Williams &

Vinogradoff, Roman Law in Mediaeval Europe.  Harper’s Library of Living


[Footnote 22:  Sophocles, Antigone, 449-57 (Jebb’s translation).]

[Footnote 23:  Herodotus, iii. 38.]



For some hundred years past it has been common to lay great stress upon the importance of national characteristics in art.  This has been very natural, for they represent one main aspect and justification of the revolt against the conception of the one permanent and immutable standard of perfection of the Neo-classicists of the Renaissance.  Lessing and Herder, who were the critical protagonists of the new world, had indeed a knowledge and admiration of ancient art which was probably superior to that of the classicists, but they refused to admit that art was bound to follow the forms of antiquity, and maintained rather that its forms would necessarily change with the changing conditions of the world, and with the varying characteristics of different nationalities or races.

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The Unity of Civilization from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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