Category Archives: Reading Groups

CMEMLL Annual Report 2014/15

CMEMLL Annual Report 2015/16

We are pleased to share a report of CMEMLL’s activities for the academic year 2014/15 here.

As you can see, we were rather busy last year with three conferences, a regular programme of reading groups and research events, and the inauguration of the new Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research.

We are half-way through our programme for 2015/16 with a great deal to look forward to in second semester.

See the programme of events and the Annual Report for further details.


Reading Group: ‘Interpreting Literature, Law, and Constitution’ (iii)

Reading Group: ‘Interpreting Literature, Law, and Constitution’ (ii)

Tuesday 17 November, 1.00 – 2.00 pm
Old Seminar Room, 71 South Street, School of History

All welcome.

“When, in the early modern period, “the waves ruled Britannia”, the examples of Greek maritime empire became standards against which British rights and obligations in the world could be measured”     (Christopher Warren)

In our second reading group this semester we will be exploring the ‘international thought’ of Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) in the context of his translation of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War.

Did Hobbes simply ’translate’ Thucydides (c.460-400BCE) from Greek into English, or was he also reshaping and restating Thucydidean ideas for an early modern audience? Why was Hobbes interested in the ancient Athenian constitution, the ‘way of life of the citizen-body’ and how did he relate this to Athenian imperialism? If we read Hobbes’ translation of Thucydides as ‘literature’, how might this challenge our understanding of Hobbes as a ‘realist’ or a ‘rationalist’, in terms of subsequent international relations theory? Can Thucydides, moreover, help us to unravel ‘the peculiar nature’ of Hobbes’ thought on natural law and the law of nations?


Christopher N. Warren, Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680 (Oxford, 2015). Chapter 5, “From Imperial History to International Law” [St Andrews University Library Ebook]


Further reading:

Malcolm, N., Aspects of Hobbes (Oxford, 2002), Chapter 13 “Hobbes’ Theory of International Relations” [St Andrews University Library Ebook]

Boucher, David, ‘Hobbes’s Contribution to International Thought, and the Contribution of International Thought to Hobbes,’ in History of European Ideas 41:1 (2015), pp. 29-48.


Reading Group: Interpreting Literature, Law, and Constitution (I)

Tuesday 6 October, 12:30-2 pm
Old Seminar Room, 71 South Street, School of History

The first CMEMLL Reading Group and the first meeting of the Institute of Legal And Constitutional Research will take place next Tuesday lunchtime (6th October). We’ll meet in the Old Seminar Room on the first floor of 71 South Street at 12.30pm for a sandwich lunch, with the Reading Group on ‘Interpreting Literature, Law, and Constitution (I)’ starting soon after 1pm and finishing in time for people to teach at 2pm.

The Reading Group will involve an introduction by John Hudson and Lorna Hutson followed by discussion on the theme of ‘Literature, Law and Constitution’.

The background reading is Chapter 1 of Christopher Warren, Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680 (Oxford: OUP, 2015), available at:

We look forward to seeing you there.


Research Reading Group: Dr Sara Menzinger (UNIVERSITÀ DEGLI STUDI ROMA TRE)

‘Property and Citizenship in Mediaeval Legal Debate’

Tuesday 29 September, 1-2 pm
Old Seminar Room, 71 South Street, School of History

Sara Menzinger, Substitute Professor of Legal History in the Department of Jurisprudence at Roma Tre, will lead a reading group titled ‘Property and Citizenship in Mediaeval Legal Debate.’

The text for the reading group is a series of Latin excerpts and translations.

Sara Menzinger specialises in Mediaeval Legal History and she has published widely on the topic of Italian city states [e.g. Giuristi e politica nei comuni di Popolo. Siena, Perugia e Bologna, tre governi a confronto. Ius nostrum. Studi e testi pubblicati dall’Istituto di Storia del Diritto italiano, Università degli Studi di Roma, “La Sapienza”, 34 (Roma, 2006), and La Summa Trium Librorum di Rolando da Lucca (1195-1234). And with Professor Emanuele Conte, Fisco, politica, scientia iuris (Roma, 2012).She has conducted research in many Italian and international universities and research centres, among which the Istituto Italiano di Studi Storici (Naples), the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (Frankfurt) and the Deutsches Historisches Institute (Rome).