cod. 00140

Academic year 2020/21
4° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Storia del diritto medievale e moderno (IUS/19)
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
36 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

Aim of this course is to reconstruct in detail the phenomenon of codification and its evolution between the 18th and the 20th century. We’ll as well describe the consequences of this phenomenon on legal education and on the way of thinking of jurists.
The mail goal will be to historicize the idea of Code, highlighting its ideological and political preconditions and comparing it both with the pre-existing ius commune system and with legal systems that knew a different evolution, without experiencing the codification of law.
Appropriate focus will be given on the specific codifications produced in different parts of Europe, as well as in preunitarian Italian States, in order to contextualize the codification process in the legal history of various national and regional States.
Students will be invited to become familiar with Codes as a legal instrument and to recognize them as a common language, shared among the different legal systems of continental Europe.
We’ll later open a discussion in order to produce a wider reflection on the present and the future of the idea of codification at a global level


there is no formal prerequisite

Course unit content

Aim of this course is to describe the phenomenon of Codifications as a distinctive feature of the juridical system of continental Europe.
After describing the ius commune system in its main traits, mentioning its peculiarities and illustrating the main reasons for its crisis, we’ll introduce the concepts of collection and of consolidation of legislative (and judicial) sources: the main examples produced in Italy and in the rest of Europe will be taken into consideration.
We will later discuss the cultural premises of the idea of codification, focusing on the movements of Jusnaturalism and of juridical Illuminism. The political consequences of these movements will be later considered, with reference both to Enlightened Absolutism and to the French Revolution.
We’ll later discuss the long efforts to produce a civil Code in revolutionary and post-revolutionary France, focusing also on the alternative model of the Austrian ABGB. We’ll then examine the anti-codification movement that established itself in Germany at the beginning of the 19th century, in the cultural enviornment of Romanticism.
The various codifications of the pre-unitarian States of the Italian peninsula will be later discussed, focusing on the their interaction with the different European models. Special attention will of course be given to the Codes of the Duchy of Parme, whose peculiarities will be highlighted.
After describing the conclusion of the codification dispute in Germany, with the enactment of the German civil Code (BGB), we will take into consideration the other Codes introduced at the beginning of the 20th century: the Swiss civil Code and the Codex iuris canonici of the 20th century. We’ll then discuss the relationship between the Codification of law and the totalitaristic regimes of the 20th century.
Our last topic will be the diffusion of the different models of Code at a planetary level.

Full programme


For attending students, the learning material will be distributed via mail
For non attending students and for those who wish some further reading it is possible to choose alternatively among:
- Adriano Cavanna, Storia del diritto moderno in Europa. Le fonti e il pensiero giuridico, vol. II, Milano, Giuffré 2005
- Enrico Genta, Gian Savino Pene Vidari, Storia del diritto contemporaneo, Torino, Giappichelli, 2005
- Ettore Dezza, Lezioni di storia della codificazione civile. Il Code civil (1804) e l'Allgemeines Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (ABGB, 1812), Torino, Giappichelli, 2002

Teaching methods

The course is organized with frontal classes, supported by power point presentations.
As long as the emergency related to the COVID 19 epidemics will go on, the video presentation of the single lessions will be updloaded on the TEAMS platform. The slides of each lesson will be downloadable from the same platform. As long as student reception will not be possible in person, it is possible to arrange via mail skype meetings to discuss any difficulty that may arise

Assessment methods and criteria

oral exam with a pre-determined list of questions. The exam will consist in three questions on specific topics discussed during our lessons. Each answer will be evaluated on a scale from 0 to 10, assessing the possess of the fundamental notions of this subject, the reasoning and contextualizing abilities and the property of language of each student. The final mark will be given in thirtieths.

Other information