27 Jan 2021 12:30pm - 2:00pm Online


The work in progress seminars offered an excellent forum for eliciting feedback on one’s work from a cross-disciplinary audience 
– Dr Christopher Meckstroth, Early Career Fellow 2018 – 2019


Part of the CRASSH Fellows Work-in-Progress Seminar Series. All welcome but please email fellowships@crassh.cam.ac.uk to book your place and to request readings. 

Dr Felix Waldmann

The imposition of the Code Napoléon is often presented as a turning point in the historiography of civil law in early-modern Europe. This tendency places an understandable weight on the portents of codification during the era of ‘Enlightened absolutism’: in order to rule their dominions effectively,  in obedience to the logic of a rivalrous European states system, eighteenth-century monarchs were compelled to institute programmes of codification which would bolster their authority in spaces where it was formerly contested. In Bavaria, Wiguläus von Kreittmayr (1705–90) oversaw the tripartite codification of the Kingdom’s laws between 1751 and 1756. In Prussia, Carl Gottlieb Svarez (1746–98) and Johann Heinrich von Carmer (1720–1801) implemented reforms to civil procedure in the 'Corpus iuris Fridericianum' (1781), before Svarez and Ernst Ferdinand Klein (1744–1810) produced the 'Allgemeines Landrecht für die Preußischen Staaten' (1794). In Habsburg Austria, after the failure of the 'Codex Theresianus' (c.1753–72), Johann Bernhard Horten (1735–86) succeeded in creating the 'Allgemeines bürgerliches Gesetzbuch' (1787). 

My talk focuses on a similar attempt at codification in the mid-eighteenth-century Kingdom of Naples – co-ordinated by Bernardo Tanucci (1698-1783), the de facto first minister of the Kingdom – and how this episode instantiated many of the guiding principles of codificationism and constitutionalism which would transform Europe during the French Revolution and the reign of Napoleon.



Dr Felix Waldmann is a Cambridge Early Career Fellow and is at CRASSH in Lent term 2021.

Dr Felix Waldmann is J H Plumb College Lecturer in History and Fellow, Christ's College. His published research focuses on early-modern political thought and intellectual history. His first book, After Vico: Politics, Philosophy and the Enlightenment in Naples, is in preparation for the Ideas in Context Series (Cambridge University Press). He has published and forthcoming articles in the Journal of British StudiesJournal of Modern HistoryHistorical Journal, and Modern Intellectual History. 

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