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Ivano Dionigi

Emeritus Professor

Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna

Curriculum vitae

Ivano Dionigi, born in Pesaro and based in Bologna, worked as researcher and lecturer at the University of Bologna until 1990, when he was appointed ‘Professore Straordinario' for the chair of Latin Literature at the Faculty of ‘Lettere' (‘Arts') of Venice University Ca' Foscari.  In 1994 he was appointed professor (‘Professore Ordinario') in the Faculty of ‘Con­ser­va­zio­ne dei Beni Culturali' (‘Cultural heritage') of Bologna University at Ravenna. From 1 November 1997 he has been holding the first chair of Latin Literature, as successor of professor Alfonso Traina, in the Faculty of ‘Lettere e Filosofia' (‘Arts') of Bologna University.


Dionigi's research activity touches on different realms: classical Rome, as well as Greece, paganism and Christianity, classical and humanistic tradition, Latin and Italian, ancient and modern thought. Dionigi's approach to textual analysis, rooted at first (1973-1979) in philosophical and theoretical interests (with a particular regard for Epicureanism and Stoicism), focused then on the study of the language and textual criticism to reaffirm the verbal foundation of analysis and criticism. Dionigi was particularly engaged with textual exegesis, in its different aspects (philological, grammatical, semantic, literary), in the early 1980s, (alongside his interest for literary models and the genesis of thoughts), with the publication of the critical edition, with a commentary, of Seneca's De otio (new edition, Brescia 2007).

Lucretius' De rerum natura (of which Dionigi edited the text and a commentary, Bur-Rizzoli 1990) was the main topic of his research during the late 80s. Some surveys on the ‘linguistic constants' of the poem and its influence on humanistic poetry were systematically collected in the volume Lucrezio. Le parole e le cose (1988, 19922, 20053) and expanded in later articles to stress the linguistic and philosophical approach to the poem. The same attention to linguistic details shapes the treaty on Latin grammar Verba et res. Morfosintassi e Lessico del Latino (1997), in which, alongside traditional grammar, the semantics of the parts of the speech and the use of technical languages are covered.

More recent researches tackle the reception of classical authors in modern and contemporary Italian literature, with particular regard to poetical translations (in particular from Lucretius) and the history of thoughts (e.g. the idea of model, to which Dionigi devoted a seminar at the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome).

In the last decade, a new and twofold research trend has been explored: on the one end, the relationship between the humanities and science, to be framed in a new paradigm of unity and ‘alliance', beyond the traditional ‘two cultures'. On the other hand, the study of the classical tradition, aimed at widening access to classical culture by means of the institute “La permanenza del Classico”, which Dionigi founded in 1999 and has supervised ever since. Among the numerous activities related to these two spheres, the creation of a direct and systematic dialogue between classicists and modern scientists was promoted (see the 2005 international conference Scientia rerum. La scienza di fronte ai Classici and the ensuing volume, published by Bur-Rizzoli, 2007) as well as the establishment of an original form of interdisciplinary teaching, with the course Linguaggi delle scienze e antichità classica (started in 2006 and open to students from all faculties). Dionigi has also been promoting classical studies to the wider audience of schools and society through a series of lectures and public readings which have now reached their eighth edition ( ) and have proved remarkably successful (having been covered by the national press). Through the institute ‘La permanenza del Classico' Dionigi's activity thus pursues a didactic and a scientific aim that blends the different ‘souls' of the classical tradition: the Greek, the Latin, the Christian, the medieval and the humanistic one. Alongside the activity of the institute, a series of books devoted to the influence of the classics on different spheres of contemporary culture has been published (by BUR-Rizzoli). This was premiered by the 2002 volume Di fronte ai classici, which gave rise to a widespread debate and was followed by a number of publications by some largely influential intellectuals.

Ivano Dionigi has delivered conference papers in several Italian and foreign universities, he is member of the editorial boards of international journals (e.g. Eikasmos), he is co-director of the prestigious series “Testi e Manuali per l'Insegnamento Universitario del Latino” (Pàtron, Bologna) and member of academic institutes and societies (Centro di Studi ciceroniani, Accademia delle Scienze di Bologna).

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