THE PERILS OF ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS: I was asked a few times during the IHS conference what I thought of the Liberty Fund edition of Grotius' De jure belli ac pacis, to which I can usually only muster a shrug. It's inexpensive and readily available, both of which are good. But as I try to work on the text, it drives me crazy. I'm hacking away at some interpretation, which is slowed down incredibly by having to look back to the Latin every time I want to make a point.

In today's work, I have encountered one of the two phenomena on every instance of looking into the text: either it will be the case that multiple Latin words get translated as the same English word (you have no idea how many things become "rights"), or one Latin word gets translated as multiple English words, a vexing, though comprehensible practice given a book as long as De jure belli. The two best instances I know of this, however ('vincula' in I.V and 'promiscuum' in I.IV.II), are examples of the same word within the same paragraph being translated two different ways.

I'm aware that translation is hard, and it's not so easy as "giving the sense" of a passage or "literally" translating it, but, goodness, that English translation of Barbeyrac's translation appears to arbitrarily switch between the two approaches.

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