A More Succinct Way to Declare War

Co-blogger Ken Anderson praises Joan of Arc’s lengthy 1429 declaration of war against the English. I prefer the more concise approach adopted by Sviatoslav I, the 10th century Prince of Kiev: “Иду на вы.” I would loosely translate this as “I’m coming to get you.” Admirably to the point. International law mavens could learn a valuable lesson from Sviatoslav’s clarity and brevity.

Wikipedia claims that “Иду на вы” (the traditional Russian rendering of Sviatoslav’s statement) is not an entirely accurate modern Russian translation of the original Old East Slavic. But even the slightly wordier translation they advocate is a model of word economy compared to most modern international law documents.

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