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Henry's Wars and Shakespeare's Laws: Perspectives on the Law of War in the Later Middle Ages

ISBN13: 9780198258117
ISBN: 0198258119
Published: April 1994
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £80.00

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Shakespeare's Henry V has traditionally been acclaimed for its depiction of the psychological and political impact of warfare, and it remains one of the most widely-discussed plays in the cannon.

In this study, Professor Meron uses rare medieval ordinances, and other medieval and Renaissance historical and legal sources to provide new contexts for Shakespeare's famous play. The result is an account of how Shakespeare's Henry V and other 'histories' dramatically articulated complex medieval and Renaissance attitudes to warfare and the conduct of nations and individuals in time of war.

The author uses the play and the campaign itself as a frame for the examination of the medieval laws of war, and examines stability and change in attitudes toward aspects of the law of war. This study should be of interest not only to scholars of war, history of law and literature, but also to anyone interested in this important period in the development of international humanitarian laws.

Legal History
The legal environment
the war of rights - just war, jus ad bellum and jus in bello
declarations of war and truce agreements
responsibility of princes
the siege of Harfleur and treatment of occupied territory - the limits of protection - at the walls of Harfleur, mercy, hostages, Harfleur's surrender, deporting the French and settling the English, sack and massacre, privileged categories of inhabitants and Henry's ordinances, lost of privileged status - women and clergy, treatment of cities conquered after siege, treatment of commanders who surrendered to adversaries, denials of quarter, rape of women, pillage and Church property, compelling obedience by destruction, Henry's proscriptions and the Medieval army
Henry's challenge to the Dauphin - the duel that never was and games of chivalry
Medieval and Renaissance ordinances of war - codifying discipline and humanity, Agincourt - prisoners of war, reprisals and necessity
heralds, ambassadors and the Treaty of Troyes