The Annals of the War in the Low Countries is one of Hugo Grotius' lesser-known works. Grotius expresses a wayward view of the early revolt, which he presents not as a united battle for the true faith and the ancient liberties of the land but as a protracted and painful struggle, not only with the great power of Spain, but also with discord, selfishness and religious fanaticism among the Dutch. To convey this complex and controversial vision of the foundational years of the Dutch Republic, Grotius chose the worldview and the prose style of the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus as his model. His commissioners, however – the States of Holland – did not publish the work when it was finished in 1612; it appeared in print posthumously in 1657. This is the first edition of Grotius' then-influential and well-known Annals of the Dutch Revolt since its initial publication. It presents a critical edition of the Latin text, a fresh modern English translation, and an introduction which covers all aspects of the work, from its conception to its modern reception, underlining the importance of reason of state for Grotius' thought in general.
Jan Waszink is senior researcher at the Historical Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences.