Ältesten Quellen zur Kodifikationsgeschichte des österreichischen ABGB, Die: Josef Azzoni, Vorentwurf zum Codex Theresianus - Josef Ferdinand Holger, Anmerckungen über das österreichische Recht (1753)
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"... habent sua fata libelli": Nowadays this saying is usually used to state, that a text is only able to impart as much message, as the reader is willing to understand. However, we can make use of this saying in another sense too - for instance just as James Joyce used to say: to give a "book in print a life of its own"; meaning that the fate of a book is above all built on the fact, that it was put into the world. Of course there are papers, which never caught sight of the world, or which later got lost - for example due to a fire-disaster. On the 15th of July 1927, the most important files about the history of the making of Austria's General Civil Code sustained such a fate, due to the fire-disaster in the Viennese Palace of Justice, where these documents have been treasured at the Archive of the Ministry of Justice. This destruction, however, did not lead to the total loss of legal sources relevant to the legal history of Austria's General Civil Code. The most important documents regarding the beginning of the composition of the Austrian General Civil Code have been preserved by Harrasowksy in his edition of the Codex Theresianus in 1883/86. Nevertheless some of the eldest materials, that have been marking the very beginning of the composition of the Codex Theresianus in 1753, composed by the first law-making commission, the so called Compilating-Commission, remained disregarded and untouched in the archives: to begin with, this is a "plan", drawn up by Josef Azzoni in May 1753, containing not only a disposition of the content of the Codex Theresianus, but also a first description of it. Therefore this "plan" can be seen just as a preliminary draft of the project of the Codex Theresianus. Moreover this is a series of descriptions about civil laws, valid for different hereditary provinces of the Habsburg Monarchy, which should then serve as basic sources in regard of the project of an unified Civil Code, which was provided as a common law for the entire monarchy instead of particular laws in different provinces. In his edition of the Codex Theresianus Harrasowsky specified only the headlines of Azzonis "plan"; he also presented several descriptions of the Civil Law, valid for the particular hereditary provinces, namely in annotations to the content of the Codex; however only regarding details, and sporadically distributed within the three parts of the Codex. Since the times of Harrasowsky, legal historical research has not been interested in these eldest materials about the history of the Austrian General Civil Code. Only since World Word II literature in legal history is showing a few references to these materials, of course not in a comprehensive matter or in regard of specific questions dealing with certain contents of specific text modules. Among all these materials only the description of Holger remained entirely in the archive of the Ministry of Justice. About 75 % of these documents treasured in this archive, were completely destroyed due to the fire-disaster in 1927 - as just mentioned at the begin of this lecture. A considerable part of records and files of course was salvaged, but partly seriously damaged by fire and water. Among the eldest preparatory works on the Codex Theresianus - except of Holgers illustration of the contemporary Austrian law - furthermore only Azzonis preliminary draft was kept in existence. Not to mention that both documents are showing remarkable marks of the disaster of 1927, nevertheless these damages are not extensive, and this was leading to the allowance of Austrian Archive of Administration, where these documents are actually preserved, to use them for the purpose of an edition.