Maria Pia Paternò

Balance of power, treaties' diplomacy and ius gentium in Frederick II's politics.

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Both warfare and international politics underwent relevant changes in eighteenthcentury Europe. Both the Silesian and the Seven Years wars differ under important aspects from previous historical experience. This survey analyzes these unprecedented events with a view to the political sensibility of its protagonists. It therefore highlights the role of Frederick the Great and hints at the revelance of his personal interpretation of events. His historical works and his political writings are constantly examinated in their peculiar cultural background. They reveal Frederick's priorities and his personal attitudes towards the western tradition of political and philosophical thought. The ius gentium tradition, the politics of modern raison d'état and the diplomatic practice of his time are all partially reconsidered in order to fit to the new historical frame. An unprejudiced understanding of this uninterrupted work in progress requires a kind of historical and theoretical research which disposes of dichotomies and abandons too narrowly constructed conceptual categories.


  • Balance of power
  • ius gentium
  • international law
  • Frederick II


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