News and Events

News and Events


Natural Law, Religious Conflict, and the problem of War and Peace in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Europe

The shattering of the unity of Latin Christendom in the sixteenth century called into question the natural law tradition that had been developed within the Catholic tradition, most notably by Thomas Aquinas. Religious division brought challenges at home and in international relations to which there were no easy answers. One of the major issues that arose with Humanism and religious conflict was the relationship between civic liberties, including individual freedom of conscience, and the constitution of government. Domestically, the threat of civil disobedience and civil war was ever present. Attempts to restore internal stability through legal acts of toleration, such as the Peace of Augsburg, the Warsaw Confederation, or the Edict of Nantes were uneasy and precarious compromises that raised profound questions within the natural law tradition. Internationally, religious division disrupted traditional alliances, as notions concerning the abstract state and state sovereignty were developed by writers from Machiavelli and Botero to Grotius, Pufendorf, Hobbes and beyond, posing challenges for those seeking to develop a law of nations within the natural law tradition. This symposium considers these issues from the perspective of theorists of natural law, and by looking at the practical implications for and within individual polities.

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In a unique ceremony held at the Embassy of the Lithuanian Republic in London on 5 May 2021, Robert Frost was awarded orders by the ambassadors of Lithuania and Poland. In the presence of the ambassadors of Ukraine, Hungary, Latvia and Slovakia, he received the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merits for Lithuania from ambassador Renatas Norkus, and the Knights Cross of the Order of Merit of Poland from ambassador Arkady Rzegocki. In their speeches, both ambassadors stressed the significance of the establishment of the Centre for Polish-Lithuanian Studies at the University of Aberdeen in January 2020.


Arkady Rzegocki, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, Professor Robert Frost, Renatas Norkus, Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania.


Orders presented to Professor Frost.