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Prof. Dr. Antonio C. D. Panaino

Research Interests:

Avestan and generally Mazdean literatures; history of religions in Pre-Islamic Iran; the mutual influences between Byzantium and the Sasanian; Astronomy and Astrology in the ancient world; History of ancient philosophy in its intercultural connections between East and West with a special focus on the concept of Time; Ethno-linguistics of the Yaghnobi and of the Iranian area. Preservation of the ethno-cultural heritage in areas of crisis and conflict; History of games in antiquity.


Born in 1961: he followed Classical Studies in Milan and graduated at the State Univ. of Milano in Clas­si­cal and Indo-Iranian Studies; PhD program in Iranian studies (3 years) at “l’Orientale”, Naples (1985-89) with period of studies in Liège, Cambridge (UK) and London (SOAS). Full Prof. of Iranian Studies at the Univ. of Bologna; he has also worked with D. Pingree (Brown University) and has developed many research programs on ancient and Oriental sciences.

Project Abstract

“Time as an ontological category in ancient Iran."

The concept of Time (Zurwân) has assumed a cen­tral importance in Ancient Iran, where the dis­tinction between eternal and limited time had the­o­logical (and liturgical) relevance. The present re­search focuses on three main problems: 1) The qua­li­tative distinction between eternity and human his­tory played a special role in the framework of the Mazdean millenarianism, whose development and impact on other cultures must be anew considered also with reference to Jewish and Chris­ti­an chiliasm. 2) Another related investigation con­cerns the possible interferences between the Ira­ni­an idea of Time and the Platonic concept of Aiôn as eter­nal time. 3) Time and motion. The motion of the astral bodies starts with Ahreman’s invasion, and in Avestan sources it is connected with an ac­tion played by the Fravashis (the feminine pre-exis­ting souls of the human beings). In later sour­ces in Pahlavi, its origin shows more intricate as­pects, sometimes attributed to Ahreman himself. The philosophical dimension of the origin of the as­tral motion in the Mazdean sources will be the sub­ject of this study.

Curriculum vitae

Prof. A. Panaino is Full Professor of Ira­nian Studies at the Uni­ver­­sity of Bologna, where he has been also Dean of the Faculty for the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage. Member of many academic institutions, He has been Presi­dent of the Societas Iranologica Europaea, of the Italian Society for the Study of the Caucasus and Central Asia, and Chair­man of the Melammu Project, etc, He graduated in Classical and Indo-Iranian stu­dies at the State University of Milan; PhD at the Oriental Institute of Naples (under Gh. Gnoli) with periods of research in Liège (with J. Kellens) and Cambridge (I. Gershevitch). Director for 9 years of the Italian ethno-linguistic mission in Tajikistan, Yaghnob Valley, he has also be responsible for many national and international scholarly projects. Doctor honoris causa at the New Bulgarian Univ., Sophia (2011) and Prize Girshman of the French Academy (1998).

Selected Publications

​Tištrya. Part I: The Avestan Hymn to Sirius. (SOR, LXVIII, 1). Roma 1990, XX, 158 pp.

Tištrya. Part II: The Iranian Myth of the Star Sirius. (SOR, LXVIII, 2). Is.M.E.O., Roma 1995, XVI, 150 pp.

Tessere il cielo. Considerazioni sulle Tavole astronomiche, gli Oro­scopi e la Dottrina dei Legamenti tra Induismo, Zoroastrismo e Man­dei­smo. (SOR, LXXIX). Is.M.E.O., Roma 1998, 114 pp.

A. Panaino – V. Sadovski, Disputationes Iranologicae Vindobonenses, II: 1. Ve­­li­zar Sadovski, Zur Morphologie und Semantik von Namen und Epitheta im Indo-Ira­­ni­schen. 2. Mortality and Immortality: Yama’s / Yima’s Choice and the Pri­mor­dial Incest (Mythologica Indo-Iranica, I). (Sitzungs­be­ri­ch­­te der ÖAW. Philo­so­phisch-historische Klasse, 845. Band / Veröf­fen­tlichungen zur Ira­nistik, Nr. 65). Verlag der Österreichischen Aka­demie der Wis­sen­schaften, Wien 2013, 221 pp.

A. Panaino, Sidera Viva. Studi Iranici di Storia della mitologia astrale, del­­l’astro­nomia e dell’astrologia antica. Iranian Studies in history of Ancient astral My­thology, Astronomy and Astrology. Edited by Andrea Gariboldi, Paolo Ogni­be­ne, Velizar Sadovski. (Indo-Iranica et Orientalia. Col­la­na diretta da A. Pa­naino e V. Sadovski. Series Purpurea, 2,1 – 2,2). Mi­me­­sis, Milano – Udine – Paris, 2014, pp. 1-403, 405-824.

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