Foto del docente

Antonio Clemente Domenico Panaino


Department of Cultural Heritage

Academic discipline: L-OR/14 Iranian Philology, Religions and History

Curriculum vitae


Basic education and scholarly formation: Prof. Antonio Clemente Do­me­nico PANAINO was born in Busto Arsizio (VA, Italy) on 24th July 1961; he studied Classics at a secondary school with a deep em­phasis on humanities, the liceo-ginnasio “A. Manzoni” in Milan. After­wards he en­rolled in Arts (Classical Studies) at the State University of Milan and gra­duated with ho­­nours (110/110 cum laude) on 21st June 1984. His first dissertation entitled L'inno avestico a Sirio (The Avestan Hymn to Sirius) was discussed in the fra­mework of the teaching of Iran­ian Phi­lology held by Prof. Giuliano Boccali. Such a work was later published in two volumes, Tištrya, Part I, The Avestan Hymn to Sirius, Rome 1990, and Part 2, The Iranian Myth of the Star Sirius, Rome 1995. After gra­duating, he won the post­graduate scholarship of the “Fon­dazione Confalonieri” (Mi­lan, 6th November 1985) proclaimed at the Faculty of Law, State University of Milan.

Since the period of his university education his research activities were direc­ted towards the linguistic, religious and cultural history of the Iranian Pre-Islamic world. From a linguistic point of view he has mainly dealt with the Avestan, Old Per­sian, Pahlavi and Sogdian traditions, even though he has not neglected further fields of re­search in Iranian linguistics like New Persian. He has systematically studied the Zo­roas­trian religious culture with a specific focus on the Iranian uranography and astro­no­my since the oldest times until the first centuries after the fall of the Sasanian Em­pire. Moreover, A. Panaino has not disregarded the study of the most recent pro­blems raised by modern and historical linguistics. Thus, he has followed refresher courses in linguistics organized by the Italian Society of Linguistic at the University of Udine in 1983 and 1985. After finishing his national service he was discharged as a lieutenant (later pro­moted to tenant) of the reserve.

By the Rectorial Decree n. 426 of 30th May 1986 he was declared winner of the competition advertised with the Rectorial Decree n. 518 of 10th July 1985 for the admission to the courses of “Research doctorate” (PhD) in “Iranian Studies” at the Is­ti­tu­to Universitario Orientale in Naples. Thanks to the activities provided for in the cur­ri­culum of that doctorate, he dedicated himself to the late Avestan tradition, paying particular attention to the Yašts (Hymns). To that end he studied with Prof. Jean Kel­lens, formerly at the University of Liège (later at the Collège de France, Paris) and with Dr. Ilya Gershevitch at the University of Cambridge (Jesus College). Fur­ther­more, under the guidance of Prof. Nicholas Sims-Williams, he followed a Sog­dian course at the School of Oriental and African Studies of London (SOAS). During his doc­­torate period he completed the critical edition of the Tištar Yaštwith an historical-re­ligious and linguistic-philological commentary. He also prepared and dis­cus­sed his PhD dissertation entitled Xwaršēd e Māh Yašt. Gli inni avestici al Sole e alla Luna (Xwaršēd and Māh Yašts. The Avestan Hymns to the Sun and the Moon) pub­lished in Milan 1990. He passed his final doctorate examination on 9th July 1990.

In 1989 during the summer session of the academic year 1988/1989, he got his diploma after following a three-years Persian program at the Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estre­mo Oriente (Is.M.E.O., Section of Milan.) In June 1991 (D.R. n. 603) he was declared win­ner of a post-doctorate grant in Iranian Stu­dies at the Istituto Universitario Orientale of Naples.


Scholarly and academic activities: He was co-editor (with Prof. Gherardo Gnoli) of the Pro­ceedings of the First Europaean Conference of Iranian Studies, held in Turin, Sep­tember 1987, and published in Rome (Is.M.E.O.) in two volumes (1990/1991).

Together with other scholars at the Is.M.E.O., he supervised a program called “Avesta Project”, supported by the Societas Iranologica Europaea, that aimed at the col­lection and cataloguing of all existing Avestan codices. Inside this project, besides his direct needs of scientific consultation, he visited the main collections of Avestan ma­nuscripts (London, Paris, Copenhagen and Bombay). Moreover, he took part in the scientific activities of the research project “Ethno-Linguistics of the Iranian area”.

In September 1992 he was declared winner of the competition for the Uni­versity Chair of Associate Professor in the disciplinary class L132 “Iranian Studies and Persian Language and Literature”, and since 1st November 1992 he has held the teaching of “Iranian Studies” at the Faculty of Arts of the Alma Mater Studiorum of the University of Bologna, “In­sti­tute of Linguistics”, until the academic year 1996-1997; furthermore, he did supply teaching for “Iranian Philology” at the University courses of Pre­servation of Cultural Heritage of the Bologna University, but in the Campus of Ravenna. Since 1st October 1996, he has been involved in the activities of the newly foun­ded Faculty of Preservation of Cultural Heritage of the University of Bologna lo­ca­­ted in Ravenna. On behalf of this Faculty he has taken part in the works of the Com­­mission of Foreign Affairs of the University of Bologna and (with Prof. G. De Vergottini) he was in charge of the relations of the University of Bologna with the Uni­­versities in ex-Yugoslavia. In May 1993 he became person in charge of the “Pro­getto Avesta” (Avesta Project) (Is.M.E.O./CNR). Since 1st November 1993 he has been holding the classes of “Iranian Epigraphy” at the Post-graduate School of Ar­chae­­ology of the University of Bologna.

Starting from 1994 on behalf of Is.M.E.O (later Is.I.A.O.) he coordinated a sci­entific and publishing project on the “History of Sciences and Pseudo-Sciences in the Ancient and Eastern world”. He was a member of the board of the Lombard Di­vi­sion of the Is.I.A.O. as a delegate of the President of the Institute.

In September 1995, on the occasion of the Third European Conference of Iranian Studies, held in Cambridge (Great Britain), he was appointed as member of the Board of the Societas Iranologica Europaea, and afterwards he became its se­cretary du­ring the term 1995-1999.

In the year 1996 he was confirmed as Associate Professor of Iranian Studies.

In October 1998, during the Symposium of Tvärminne (Finland), he was ap­poin­ted Vice-Chairman of the “Melammu Project – The Intellectual Heritage of As­sy­ria and Babylonia in East and West”. He was confirmed in the Vice-Chairmanship of that project during the Conference held in Paris in October 1999 and later elected its Pre­sident in Chicago in October 2000. In October 2001, during the annual Sym­po­sium of the “Melammu Project”, held in Ravenna, he founded with other scholars the “International Association for Intercultural Studies of the Melammu Project” and, then, he was appointed its President for the following two years.

In September 1999 he was elected President of the Societas Iranologica Euro­paea during the 4th International Conference of Iranian Studies (Paris); this term was con­cluded in October 2003.

Since 1999 he has devoted himself to the constitution of the Division Emilia-Romagna of the Is.I.A.O., of which he has been Director for more than 10 years.

He was declared qualified at the competition advertised with the Rectorial De­cree n. 519 of 26th May 1999 (Scientific area L13C Iranian Studies – Faculty of Pre­servation of Cultural Heritage), and thus he was appointed “Extraordinary Professor” in charge of the Chair of “Iranian Philology” since 1st October 2000 (now in the scientific area “Philology, Religions and History of Iran”, L-OR/14). Since then he has been holding the classes of “Iranian Philology”, “History of the East in Antiquity, “Religious History of the Iranian World”, and “Caucasian Studies”. He has also held clas­ses of “Iranian Epigraphy” at the Post-graduate school of Archaeology of the Uni­ver­sity of Bologna, now held by Dr. A. Piras.

Since 2003 he has been full Professor in the scientific area of “Philology, Re­li­gions and History of Iran”. In the year 2000 he was elected member of the Scientific Board of the Is.I.A.O. and he was later confirmed in that office he has been in charge of until 2011. Again in the year 2000, he was appointed member of the University Committee for Foreign Affairs. He was also Vice-Director of the Master classes in “Museum and Archive patrimony Operators with religious-historical competences be­tween the 4th and the 14th century” (the master was directed by Prof. Antonio Carile), that was recognized among the internationalization programs of the Italian Ministry for the University and Scientific Research. It took place at the Dept. of His­tories and Methods for the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage (2000/01) of the Uni­versity of Bologna.

On his initiative the Library of Prof. Jes Peter Asmussen (University of Co­pen­­hagen), acquired by the University of Bologna, and the Library of Prof. Ilya Ger­shevitch (University of Cambridge), in gratuitous loan by the Is.I.A.O that re­ceived it as a gift, were transferred to the Library of the Faculty of Preservation of the Cultural He­ritage of the University of Bologna - Campus of Ravenna.

After being a member of the Research Doctorate in Iranian Studies at the Isti­tuto Universitario Orientale of Naples, he became member of the teaching body of the Research Doctorate “Society, Kingship and Priesthood in the 4th-14th centuries” (Uni­versity of Bologna - Campus of Ravenna), later named “Byzantium and the East”. Now he is full member of the scientific Board of the PHD program dedicated to the “Cultural Heritage” at the Department of Cultural Heritage of the Bologna University, Campus of Ravenna.

He has been general coordinator of the project of National Interest “In­ter­culturality and Cultural Historical-Political and Religious Interactions Between East and West since Antiquity until the early Middle Ages”(participating Universities: Ravenna Campus, Bologna, Rome, Venice, Catania and Naples).

Besides holding several seminars, lessons and lectures in many Italian and fo­reign Universities, he was guest professor for a month at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Vme Section in May 1998, where he held classes bearing the title: “Le développement de l'uranographie iranienne”.

In May 2001, he held his Quatre leçons at the Collège de France, with the title: “Rite et pensée dans l'Avesta”, later published at the Austrian Academy of Scien­ces of Vienna.

In the year 1998 he was given the prize “R. et T. Ghirshman” for Iranian Stu­dies by the Academy of France.

In the year 2003 he organized in Ravenna the 5th European Conference of Iranian Studies; the following proceedings were published by himself and Dr. A. Piras in 2007.

After holding the office of Vice-Dean, he was elected Dean of the Faculty of Preservation of the Cultural Heritage in the three-years term 2002-2005, his office was confirmed for the following three-years term.

Since 2003 he is Full Professor in the scientific area “Philology, History and Religions of Iran”. In 2003 he was also appointed “Evaluator” of the Austrian Academy of Sciences of Vienna and in charge of evaluating three different research struc­tures in Oriental Studies and Anthropology of the Academy itself. Prof. A. Panaino was allowed to accomplish these activities by the Academic Senate of the University of Bologna.

Prof. Panaino is also a member of the following Institutions in Ravenna: Board of the Arts Museum of the Town; charter member of “Amici di RavennAntica” (Association of the friends of Ancient-Ravenna).

Moreover, he has been appointed member of the Committee for Foreign Affairs and head of the Near-Eastern division of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the University of Bologna by the Rector Prof. U. Calzolari. He has been also ap­pointed member of the 6th University Committee by the Academic Senate. He has been also member of the Board of the “Ravenna Festival” and of the Scientific Committee of Fondazione RavennAntica;

He has been director of the division Emilia-Romagna of the Is.I.A.O. and of the School of Peace Operators - Province of Ravenna.

Since 2005 he has been sitting in the Direction Committee of the Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna; in the year 2013 he has been elected member of the Admi­nis­­­trative Board of the same Foundation and appointed as delegate for the relations with the University of Bologna.

In the year 2007 he organized the first Summer School dedicated to the “Eth­no­­-Lin­guistics of Yaghnobi” and later he directed an ethno-linguistic research and humanitarian mission of the University of Bologna to Tajikistan, Yaghnob Valley. Within the context of these initiative in Central Asia he signed a three-years complex collaboration project (2007-2010; 2010-2013) among the Is.I.A.O., the University of Bologna and the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan. In the fra­mework of these missions he has contributed to the promotion of a politics of pro­tection dedicated to the linguistic minorities in Central Asia, with particular regard for the Yaghnobi people, and has directed conferences and publications dedicated to their culture.

In the years 2011-2013 he has been Chairman of the Associazione per lo Studio in Italia dell'Asia Centrale e del Caucaso (Italian Association for the Study of Central Asia and Caucasus), and he has promoted the some meetings dedicated to the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Since many years he has developed deep interests for the preservation of the Ethno-Cultural Cultural Heritage in conflict scenarios, particularly in Central Asia, in this framework he cooperates with the Post Conflict Operation Centre of the pres­tigious Scuola di Applicazioni (Turin), where he delivers some talks every year on these subjects.

He has written many monographs and more than hundred scientific and academic contributions (see bibliography); he directs various scientific historical and oriental series as «Sīmorg»,  «Lazur», «Purpurea Indo-Iranica», and he is co-di­rector of the Series «Diadema» at the publisher's Mimesis in Milan; he is member of the Scientific Commettee of the Series «Acta Iranica», Brepols; and co-editor of the Series «Disputationes Iranologicae Vindobonenses» at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Since 2003 he has been the scientific director of the journal «Hiram», organ of the Grand Orient of Italy.


Most recent research interests: During the last years the research activities of Prof. Panaino have been di­rec­ted not only towards those scientific areas he loves most, like Avestan philology, Iranian religious history and Pre-Islamic astral culture, but also towards the political dynamics coming out from the meeting between Mazdeism and other religions like Christianity and Manichaeism. Furthermore, many different studies of his own have been concentrated on the forms of the Iranian king­ship, starting from the Achaemenian world to the Sasanian one, paying specific at­tention to the study of the role of queens in Late Antiquity. His activity in Ravenna has arisen a series of targeted studies on the relations between the Sasanian and the Byzantine worlds, e.g. on diplomacy, the figure of the king as a cosmokrátor, the ana­lysis of the literature on the evangelic Magi (also in less frequented authors like Peter Chrysologus and Eastern Christian sources). Moreover the theme of sacrifice and of its function in the Zoroastrian cult starting from the earliest Iranian literature occupies a lea­ding place in his research, as his 2004 monograph published in Vienna testifies.

Historical-religious research is never separated from purely linguistic reflec­tions as comes out from his most recent monographic studies with V. Sadovski (Vien­na 2007; 2013) and from other studies in Avestan and Pahlavi philology and lin­guis­tics. A new line of invetsigation concerning the Iranian Zoroastrian mythology has been recently inaugurated by him in the light of a new reading of some central themes (e.g. the self-sodomy of Ahreman, the “mental” dimension of Evil as “impossibility of life”, etc.) through a focus on the ethno-psychoanalytic approach. Presently, Prof. Panaino is working on three main projects:

1) the formation and development of the priestly collegium attending the sa­cri­fice in the Avestan and Sasanian Mazdean li­turgic tradition and its Indo-Iranian back­ground;

2) the theme of the incest in the my­tho­logical as well as in the social dimension of the Pre-Islamic Iranian world and the organization of the Oedipus' complex in the Mazdean context;

3) the multicultural implications of the cycles concerning the Evangelic Magi in Christ's Nativity and their role as mes­sengers of a foreign culture.

On this subject he has written two books and many other articles, and he is actually preparing a Namenbuch dedicated to the names of the Magi in the various traditions as well as other studies concerning different aspects of the three (but, sometimes, also twelve) Wise men coming from the Orient, as symbol of intercultural mediation not only between Christianity and Mazdeism, but between East and West. 

Furthermore, he is following a number of further researches in close colla­bo­ration with the Institut of Iranistik of the Akademie der Wissenschaften of Vienna, where he has started a series of publications together with Prof. Dr. Velizar Sadovski; this Series, as previousle declared, is entitled Disputationes Iranologicae Vindo­bonenses, of which the first volume appeared in 2007, the second in 2013. He is also member of the Multilingualism Research Group, based at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

He is author of various books and more than two hundred scientific contributions. His complete bibliography, updated until June 2007, has been included in a mis­cellaneous volume containing some of his works and titled: Politica religiosa e regalità sacra nell'Iran preislamico (Milan 2007). A huge volume in two parts (more than 1.000 pages) containing only his Kleine Schriften dedicated to astronomy, astrology, calendars and astral lore in antiquity and in the Iranian civilization is in the press, to be edited by Dr. Paolo Ogni­bene.

He has promoted and organized a large number of Summer Schools in Italy and abroad, and has taken part as teacher to various Master programs. In particular, Professor Panaino has been visiting professor in a number of European, Asian and Ame­rican Universities and Academies [Harvard, Yale, Brown, London, Collège de France (Paris), École Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris), Sorbonne, Hermitage Museum (Russia), Science Academy of Tajikistan, etc.]. He has been also member of a number of Academic International Commissions for PHD programs and nomination of new Chairs.


Honours and Prizes:

In 1998 he was given by the French Academy the Prize “R. et T. Ghirshman” for the Iranian Studies.

In the year 2011 he has been given the Laurea ad honorem by the New Bul­ga­rian University of Sophia.

In the year 2014, he has been appointed Chairman of the Fellow Traveller Foundation, Lugano, CH.


He is member of the following academic and scientific associations:


- Accademy of Sciences of Bologna (corresponding member).

- Accademia Peloritana dei Pericolanti (Messina).

- American Oriental Society.

- Associazione per lo Studio in Italia dell'Asia Centrale e del Caucaso (ASIAC, ex Chairman)

- Associazione Biblica Italiana (Rome).

- Association pour l'avancement des études iraniennes, Paris.

- International Association of Manichaean Studies.

- International Association for Intercultural Studies of the Melammu Project (ex Chairman).

- Istituto Gramsci, Bologna.

- Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente. Roma (ordinary member, director of the Division Emilia-Romagna. Member of the Board, Lombard Division).

- Philological Society (London).

- Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (London).

- Societas Iranologica Europaea (former Chairman).

- Società Italiana degli Orientalisti.

- Società Italiana di Glottologia.

- Società Italiana di Storia delle Religioni (ex member of the board).

- Société Asiatique (Paris).

- Sodalizio Glottologico Milanese (Milan).