Mariano San Nicolò

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Mariano San Nicolò (born August 20, 1887 in Rovereto ; † May 15, 1955 in Munich ) was a German-Italian legal historian . In 1944/45 he was President of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences . 1952/53 he was rector of the University of Munich .


Mariano San Nicolò's parents were the higher regional judge Domenico San Nicolò and Ida geb. Negri di Montenegro . He attended the Italian high school in Rovereto, which he graduated from high school in 1905. He then studied at Graz University of Law , especially Roman law and German civil law and ancient history of law with a focus on ancient oriental law. In 1907/08 he served with the Tyrolean Kaiserjäger in Rovereto.

His teachers included Leopold Wenger , Gustav Hanausek and Paul Koschaker . After passing the three state legal examinations (with distinction) and having passed rigorously, he was promoted to Dr. jur. PhD. From 1911 onwards, with a state scholarship, a research stay at the Papyrus Research Seminar with Leopold Wenger at the University of Munich followed. At the Graz School of Law habilitation he did in 1913. As a lieutenant of the reserve , he served in Austria-Hungary army in the First World War . In Serbia , Tyrol , Fiume Veneto and Albania , he was employed in the directorate . In 1917/18 he wrote the manual for the military administration of Albania . During the military service he learned the Sumerian-Akkadian cuneiform script . As early as 1917, as Paul Koschaker's successor, appointed associate professor for Roman law at the Karl Ferdinand University , he was only able to take up this post after the end of the war. In 1920 he was appointed full professor. In 1931/32 he was the last rector of the German University in Prague.

Scientific work

At Prague University, San Nicolò was dean of the law faculty three times . He was elected rector for the 1931/32 term of office. Since he was instrumental in maintaining the German character of the university, he was unanimously re-elected as rector for the 1932/33 term of office. In 1935 he was appointed to the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich , where he succeeded Leopold Wenger. In the same year he took over the management of the Institute for Papyrus Research and Ancient Legal History, and the Philosophical-Historical Class of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, of which he had been a corresponding member since 1934, elected him a full member. From 1942 he held the office of secretary of the philosophical-historical class. At the end of 1943 he was elected to succeed the Academy President Karl Alexander von Müller , who in turn tried to prevent the election of San Nicolò. He was only able to take up the office of President on April 13, 1944, as the Bavarian Ministry of Education had delayed confirmation of the election until then. Although he was a member of the NSDAP , at the end of the war he initially received permission to continue managing the academy. In order to avoid being deposed by the military government , he resigned from the presidency on October 25, 1945 at the suggestion of the ministry. As his successor, the Ministry of Culture appointed the physicist Walther Meißner as acting president on January 8, 1946 .

At the end of 1945, San Nicolò lost his post as a professor in Munich by order of the military government, but was able to take it up again in early 1948. From 1951 he again held the office of academy secretary for the philosophical-historical class. In the academic year 1952/1953 he was rector of the Munich University, which gave itself a new statute during his term of office, with which the university self-administration granted by the Free State of Bavaria was introduced. In the post-war period he campaigned for student associations at German universities . Over 400 corps students from the Kösener Senioren-Convents-Verband and the Weinheimer Senioren-Convent greeted "the courageous champion for intellectual and academic freedom" from the Staffelberg .

As an expert in Roman law and the legal history of the Middle East , he gained a great reputation. He also published numerous works on the legal history of Egypt and the Middle East and was active in the scientific research of papyrology and cuneiform writing. The Philosophical Faculty of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1951 . Mediated by Leopold Wenger , the work of Ludwig Mitteis served as an academic role model for San Nicolò.

Since 1922, San Nicolò was born with Anna. Komarek married. After his death he was buried in the forest cemetery (Munich) .


  • Full member of the German Society of Sciences and Arts in Prague (from 1927)
  • Corresponding member of the Instituttet for sammenlignende kulturforskning in Oslo (from 1930)
  • Honorary member of the Prague University Singing Society "Bards"; later in Munich (1931)
  • Corresponding member of the Fondation Ègyptologique Reine Elisabeth in Brussels (from 1934)
  • Corresponding member of the Accademia degli Agiati in Rovereto (from 1934)
  • Full member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences (from 1936)
  • Member of the Riccobono Seminary of Roman Law of America (from 1938)
  • Corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (from 1944)
  • Corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz (from 1952)

Works (selection)

  • Egyptian associations at the time of the Ptolomies and Romans (habilitation thesis; 1913)
  • Contributions to legal history in the field of cuneiform legal sources (1931)
  • Meeting reports of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences:
    • On the back-up guarantee in the cuneiform documents and in the papyri (1937)
    • Contributions to the prosopography of neo-Babylonian officials (1942)
    • New Babylonian apprenticeship contract in a comparative legal representation (1950)
  • Participation in the Real Lexicon of Assyriology and Near Eastern Archeology
  • Co-editor: Munich contributions to papyrus research and ancient legal history (since 1935; with Leopold Wenger and Walter Otto )
    • The final clauses of the old Babylonian purchase and exchange contracts: A contribution to the history of cash purchases. (1974, Ed. Herbert Petschow )


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Habilitation thesis: Egyptian associations at the time of the Ptolemies and Romans
  2. Rector's speech (HKM)
  3. Walther Meißner: The difficult situation of the academy under the National Socialist government and the reconstruction in the years after the Second World War , in: Geist und Gestalt I, Munich 1959, pp. 35–49, here pp. 39–42
  4. Deutsche Corpszeitung 4/1953
  5. Reinhard Zimmermann : Today's Law, Roman Law and Today's Roman Law . In: Reinhard Zimmermann u. a. (Ed.): Legal history and private law dogmatics. CF Müller, Heidelberg 1999, pp. 1-39 (23).
  6. Member entry of Mariano San Nicolò (with picture) at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences , accessed on February 1, 2016.

Web links

predecessor Office successor
Karl Alexander von Müller President of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences from
1944 to 1945
Walther Meissner