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Matteo Martelli

Full Professor

Department of Philosophy

Academic discipline: M-STO/05 History of Science and Technology

Curriculum vitae

Current position

Professor in History of Science (SSD M-STO/05) – University of Bologna

(2017-2022) Principal Investigator of the ERC Project (Consolidator Grant) "Alchemy in the Making:From ancient Babylonia via Graeco-Roman Egypt into the Byzantine, Syriac and Arabic traditions (1500 BCE -1000 AD)" - Acronym: AlchemEast 

Past positions

(10.2017-08.2020) Associate professor in History of Science (SSD M-STO/05) – University of Bologna

(07.2016-09.2017) Research Associate (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter); Berlin-brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften – Project: Galen of Pergamum. The Transmission, Interpretation and Completion of Ancient Medicine (Corpus Medicorum Graecorum)

(09.2012-06.2016) Research Associate (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter); Institut für Klassische Philologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin – SFB Project 980: Episteme in Bewegung; sub-project (directed by Prof. Philip Van der Eijk; Prof. Mark Geller): Der Transfer medizinischer Episteme in den ‚enzyklopädischen‘ Sammelwerken der Spätantike.

Fellowships and scholarships

(2010-2012) Post-Doc AvHu-Fellowship; Institut für Klassische Philologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin – Alexander von Humboldt Professorship Programme (directed by Prof. Philip van der Eijk): Medicine of the Mind, Philosophy of the Body

(2009-2010) Post-Doc Edelstein Fellowship; Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia (USA)

(2006) "Marco Polo Programme" Scholarship; Centre d'histoire des doctrines de la fin de l'Anquité et du haut Moyen-Âge (CNRS – UPR 76), Paris

(2004-2006) PhD Fellowship; Dipartimento di Filologica classica e medievale, University of Bologna


(2012) PhD in History of Science (06.06.2012); Dipartimento di Civiltà e Forme del Sapere, University of Pisa (Supervisors: Prof. Maria Michela Sassi; Prof. Marco Beretta)

(2007) PhD in Classics (Ancient Greek Philology; 15.05.2007); Dipartimento di Filologia Classica e Medievale, University of Bologna (Supervisor: Prof. Vinicio Tammaro)

(2002) MA in Classics; Dipartimento di Filologia Classica e Medievale, University of Bologna

Grants and projects

(2017-2022) ERC Consolidator Grant (HORIZON 2020), project AlchemEast

(2017-2020) Rita Levi Montalcini Grant - Declined

(2017-2019) [Co-applicant; P.I. Dr. Caroline Petit] BA-Leverhulme Small Grant, project Rethinking Ancient Pharmacology: Galen's Treatise On simple Drugs


(2011) My book Pseudo-Democrito, Scritti alchemici con il commentario di Sinesio has been awarded the Prize ‘Book of the Year’ by the Journal Azogue

(2013) My book Pseudo-Democrito, Scritti alchemici con il commentario di Sinesio has been awarded the Prize for Young Historians (2013) by the International Academy of the History of Science

Academies (elected member) and commissions of trust

(from 2018) Member of the Board of the Società Italiana di Storia della Scienza

(from 2017) Member of the Board of the International Academy of the History of Science (webmaster)

(from 2016) External evaluator for the FNRS (Belgium)

(from 2015) Corresponding member of the International Academy of the History of Science

Editorial boards

(from 2017) Book review editor of the Journal Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Sciences (AIHS)

(from 2014) Editorial board of the Journal Ambix. Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry

Peer-reviewer for different journals (Aries, Eikasmos, Early Science and Medicine, Galenos, Mnemosyne, Nuncius)


(from 2018) Member of the History of Science Society

(from 2018) Member of the Società Italiana di Storia della Scienza

(from 2014) Member of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry (SHAC) – UK

(from 2012) Member of the Associazione Italiana di Cultura Classica (AICC) - Italy

Conception and organization of scientific meetings (international conferences and workshops)

For a list of recent events organized in the framework of the ERC project AlchemEast, please visit the webpage:

(2017) (Co-organizer) Rethinking Ancient Pharmacology: The Textual Transmission and Interpretation of Galen’s Treatise On Simple Drugs; British School, Rome (22.09.2017)

(2016) (Organizer) Early Byzantine Encyclopaedias of Medicine: Problems and Perspectives; Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (27.05.2016)

(2016) (Organizer) Describing, Classifying, and Transforming Natural Substances in Ancient Sciences; Panel at the International Conference of the American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM), Minneapolis - USA (29.04.2016)

(2015) (Co-organizer) Medical Knowledge in Motion: Exchange, Transformation and Iteration in the Medical Tradition of the Late Antique Mediterranean World – Panel at the CHAM International Conference, Lisbon (16.06.2015)

(2014) (Co-organizer) Female Bodies and Female Practitioners in the Medical Traditions of the Late Antique Mediterranean World; Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin / Freie Universität, Berlin (27-29.03.2014)

(2014) (Co-organizer) Jewish Medicine in Context (12 papers) – 4 panels at the 10th Congress of the European Association of Jewish Studies (EAJS), Paris (22.07.2014)

(2014) (Co-organizer) Medical Translators at Work. Syriac, Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin Translations in Dialogue; Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (20-21.03.2014)

(2013) (Co-organizer) Late Antique – Early Byzantine Pharmacology and its Reception in the Talmudic Tradition; Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin / Freie Universität, Berlin (5-6.12.2013)

Lectures and papers

  1. (paper) Hippocrates the Alchemist; XVI. Colloquium Hippocraticum (Colloque hippocratique), Conferenza internazionale Hippocrates and the others, Accademia dei Lincei, Roma, 25-27.10.2018
  2. (paper) Mineral Drugs in Byzantine and Syriac Recipe-Books on Alchemy, International Conference Drugs in the Medieval World (ca. 1050-ca. 1400), King's College, London, 7-8.12.2018
  3. (paper) Making Sense of the Alchemical Terminology: Two Syriac Dictionaries on Alchemy, International Conference Gotha Manuscripts Workshop. Alchemy in the Islamicate World, Gotha Research Library, 28-29.09.2018
  4. (lecture), Fragments of Greek Alchemy in the Arabo-Latin Tradition, University of Innsbruck (in the framework of the ERC project Nova Scientia), 19.06-2018
  5. (paper) Selecting and Organizing Recipes in Late Antique and Early Byzantine Compendia of Alchemy and Medicine. International Conference Learning by the Book: Manuals and Handbooks in the History of Knowledge, Princeton, 6-10.06.2018
  6. (paper) Du syriaque à l’arabe, du latin au grec : le De plantis attribué à Aristote et ses traductions, Colloque international De Bagdad à Constantinople : le transfert des savoirs médicaux (XIe-XVe s.), Reims, 24-25.05.2018
  7. (paper) Reading the Books of the Sages: Byzantine Hermeneutics of Ancient Alchemical Recipes, 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, 10-13.05.2018
  8. (paper) Compiling Alchemical Recipe-Bools in Byzantium and Beyond: Between Technical Practice and Antiquarian Interest, International Workshop Testing and Translating Textual Evidence: A Greek Medieval Treatise on Goldsmithing, RGZM, Mainz, 12-15.03.2018
  9. (paper) I minerali di Galeno, Seminario di Storia della scienza antica (Università di Milano / MPIGW Berlin), Gargnano, 5.10.2017
  10. (paper) Medicines for the Soul and the Soul of Medicines, International Workshop Physchopharmaka in Ancient Greek Medicine and Thought, BBAW, Berlin, 29.09.2017
  11. (lecture) Graeco-Egyptian Alchemy between Byzantium and the East, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kulturforum, 14.06.2017.
  12. (lecture) Alchimia e medicina nell'opera di Zosimo di Panopoli, Lecture series Conversazioni su scienza e filosofia antica (org. Prof. Daniela Manetti), Università degli studi di Firenze, 31.03.2017
  13. (lecture) Physiognomic Treatises in Syriac: A Survey, Lecture Series Physiognomik zwischen Orient und Okzident (BabMed Seminar for the History of Science), Freie Universität, Berlin, 31.01.2017
  14. (lecture) Chromatic Transformations between Alchemy and Medicine: Ps.-Democritus and Miriam the Prophetess, Case Western University / Allen Memorial Medical Library, Cleveland, 23.01.2017
  15. (paper) The Graeco-Egyptian Origins of Alchemy: Chromatic Transformations in the Byzantine and Syriac Traditions, Colloquium The Art of Alchemy, Getty Museum (Getty Research Institute), Los Angeles, 19.01.2017
  16. (paper) Usi farmacologici delle piante nel trattato galenico Sui semplici, GrAL Workshop Tradizioni del sapere botanico tra antichità e medioevo Università degli studi di Pisa, Pisa 16-17.10.2016
  17. (paper, with Lucia Raggetti), Stone by Stone: Building the Graeco-Arabic Editon of Galen’s On Simple Drugs, Book 9, COMST Workshop Looking back - Looking ahead, Hamburg, 26.09.2016
  18. (paper) Byzantine and Syriac Lexika on Alchemy: Problems and Perspective, CEDR Workshop, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, 5-7.05.2016
  19. (paper), Aetius of Amida on Diet and Appetite, Workshop Early Byzantine Encyclopaedias of Medicine: Problems and Perspectives, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, 27.05.2016
  20. (paper) Colouring and Transforming Natural Substances between Alchemy and Medicine, 89thAnnual Meeting of the American Association for the History of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 28.04 – 01.05.2016
  21. (paper) Syriac Translations of Medical and Alchemical Texts, International Conference Narratives on Translations (org. Sonja Brentjes), MPIGW, Berlin, 16-20.11.2015
  22. (paper) “Byzantine Alchemy in Two Late Greek Alchemical Manuscripts from the Meteora and Elassona”, International Symposium on Alchemy: From the Late Antiquity to the Early Modernity, The National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, 25-27.06.2015
  23. (paper, with C. Salazar) Galen and Aetius of Amida on the Medical Uses of Earths and Minerals – reception and transformation, International Conference CHAM, Lisbon, 16.07.2015
  24. (paper) Religion, Medicine, and Alchemy in Zosimus of Panopolis’ Writings: ‘Well-Timed Tinctures’ and Egyptian Priests, Workshop Lived Ancient Religion and Medicine (org. by Georgia Petridou), Max Weber Kolleg, Erfurt, 28.05.2015
  25. (lecture) Alchemy and the Aristotelian Tradition. Theories of Metallogenesis between Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages, Opening Workshop of the Research Training Group Philosophy, Science and the Sciences, 16.04.2015
  26. (paper) I libri alchemici pseudo-democritei tra Oriente e Occidente, International Conference Technai e Artes (org. by Vincenzo Carlotta), University of Pavia, Pavia, 31.03.2015
  27. (lecture, with Cale Johnson and Lucia Raggetti), Talking Heads: Identifying Multimodal (Oral-Written) Hybrids in Ancient Mesopotamia, SFB 980 Jour Fixe, Berlin, SFB-Villa, 12.12.2014
  28. (paper) Syriac Translations of Alchemical and Medical Texts: Problems and Perspectives, Workshop Participant and observer narratives about medieval cross-cultural knowledge transfer: missing, single or multiple translations (org. by Sonja Brenties), Berlin, MPIWG, 21.11.2014
  29. (paper, with Caroline Petit and Siam Bhayro) Simple Medicines: Greek, Arabic, Syriac, International Conference Interpreting Galen (organized by Philip Van der Eijk), University of Exeter, 13.11.2014
  30. (lecture) Das Wissen des alchemistischen Körpers in den Werken von Zosimos aus Panopolis, Vorlesungsreihe zum Thema Körperwissen (org. Almut-Barbara Renger), Berlin, FU, 30.10.2014
  31. (paper) Astrology, Alchemy and Medicine at the Court of Heraclius, Workshop Meta-Scientific Foundation of Astronomy (organized by Pietro Omodeo, MPIWG), Berlin, FU (SFB-Villa), 12.08.2014
  32. (paper, with L. Lehmhaus) Transfer of Medical Knowledge in Late Antique Encyclopedic Traditions – a Preliminary Survey, 10th Congress of the European Association of Jewish Studies, Paris, ENS, 24.07.2014
  33. (lecture, with C. F. Salazar) Galen and Aetius. Re-Organising Knowledge, Berlin, FU, 26.06.2014 (BabMed Seminars, org. Mark Geller)
  34. (lecture) Alchemical Laboratory in Graeco-Roman Egypt: Distilling and Sublimating Techniques, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, 18.06.2014
  35. (lecture) Pseudo-Democritus’ Alchemical Works: Tradition, Contents, and Afterlife, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, 17.06.2014
  36. (lecture) Selecting and Epitomizing Alchemical Knowledge: Byzantine and Syriac Manuscripts on Alchemy, Lecture delivered at the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (SFB 950), Hamburg, 05.06.2014
  37. (lecture) Alchemical Mirrors and Egyptian Idols, Lecture delivered at the Getty Research Center (Villa), Los Angeles, 14.05.2014
  38. (paper) Syriac Alchemy: a Reassessment, Workshop “Sources of Alchemy Symposium“ (org. L. Principe) Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University, 10.05.2014
  39. (paper) L’alchimie syriaque, Table ronde Les sciences syriaques organized by the Societé d’études syriaques, Paris, 15.11.2013
  40. (paper) Teoria e pratica tintoria nell’alchimia Greco-egiziana, International Conference Elisir mercuriali e immortalità. Capitoli per una storia dell’alchimia nell’Eurasia antica (organized by prof. Giacomella Orofino, Amneris Roselli, Antonella Sannino), University of Naples, 5-6.11.2013
  41. (paper) At the origins of Graeco-Egyptian medicine: chromatic transformation between medicine and dyeing processes, ICHSTM 2013, Manchester, 21-28.07. 2013
  42. (lecture, with Stefano Valente) Appunti su un lessico alchemico bizantino, University of Bologna, Department of Classics (ciclo Degani), 4.04.2013
  43. (lecture) Zosimus and the First Book of Alchemy, SHAC Meeting, Cambridge, 16.03.2013
  44. (paper) Situating Byzantine and Syriac alchemical texts, Workshop Sources of Alchemy and Chemistry (organized by Lawrence Principe and Jennifer Rampling), Cambridge, 14-15.03.2013
  45. (paper) Alchemy as the art of dyeing, International Conference Laboratories of Art (organized by Sven Dupré and Dedo Von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk), MPIWG, Berlin, 7-8.03.2013
  46. (paper) Which kind of alchemy is handed down by the Ms. 67 of the Agios Stephanos Monastery?, 5th International Conference of the ESHS, Athens, 1-3.11.2012
  47. (paper) Graeco-Egyptian Alchemy: Towards a Visual Approach, Workshop Art and Alchemy(organized by prof. Sven Dupré and Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk), Max Planck Institute, Berlin, 9-10.02.2012
  48. (lecture, with Maddalena Rumor) The origins of Alchemy, Topoi-Haus (Berlin), within the program entitled ‘Esoteric Knowledge’, 06.12.2011
  49. (paper) Il prôtos heuretês e la scienza antica, International Conference Il culto di Epicuro, Ravenna, Università di Bologna, 16-17.11.2011
  50. (paper) Alchemy and Medicine in the Greco-Roman Egypt: the Four Books by Ps.-Democritus, International Conference Alchemy and Medicine from Antiquity to the Enlightenment, Cambridge (St. Peter College), 22-24.09.2011
  51. (paper) From the Nile to Byzantium: the Transfer of the Greco-Egyptian Alchemy, The 8thInternational Conference on History of Chemistry, Pathways of Knowledge, Rostock Universität, 14-16.09.2011
  52. (paper) The Syriac Tradition of Galen’s On simple Drugs, 9th book, International Conference Approaches to Ancient Medicine, University of Exeter, 22-23.08.2011
  53. (paper) 1 Enoch and the First Book of Alchemy, International Conference Knowledge to die for: Transmission of Prohibited and Esoteric Knowledge through Space and Time, Topoi-Max Planck Institute, Berlin, 2-4.05.2011
  54. (lecture) L'alchimie grecque et son développement historique : des origines égyptiennes aux premières traductions syriaques, Université catholique de Louvain la Neuve (Mémosciences), 23.03.2011
  55. (lecture) The Origins of Western Alchemy: towards a History of the Graeco-Roman Chēmeia, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, 09.03.2011
  56. (paper) Distillazioni, sublimazioni e passaggi di stato nel Corpus degli alchimisti greci. conference Memoria Scientiae II, Università di Palermo (Palermo Scienza 2011), 23.02.2011
  57. (paper) Mercury: Theory and Practice according to Greek Alchemical Texts, Workshop Scientific Objects and their Materiality in the History of Chemistry, Max Planck Institute, Berlin, 26-28.06.2010
  58. (lecture) Natural and Secret Things: The Alchemical Work of Pseudo-Democritus in its Greek and Syriac Tradition, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, 27.04.2010
  59. (paper) Da Oriente ad Occidente e da Occidente ad Oriente: breve storia interculturale dell’alchimia, International Conference Ni Oriente ni Occidente: simposio internacional en homenaje de Rodolfo Gil Benumeya Grimanu, Universitad de Granada, 11.12.2009
  60. (paper) Zosime Gréco-Syriaque: théorie et pratique de la melanosis, Workshop Pour un approche interdisciplinaire de l’alchimie grecque. Autours de verre, du cinabre et du bronze noir (org. Cristina Viano), Musée du Louvre (Maison de la recherche), Paris, 18-19.11.2009
  61. (paper) La storia dell’alchimia nei testi alchemici greci, Workshop Seminario congiunto dei dottorandi in storia della scienza, Università di Bari, Bari, 26-28.06.2009
  62. (paper) Recettes grecques et syriaques attribués à Démocrite, Workshop L’alchimiste à l’œuvre : recettes, produits simples et composés, appareils, Nantes (Maison de l’Homme)-Paris (Sorbonne), 20.05.2009
  63. (paper) Alchemical Distillations and Divine Water: the Metamorphosis of Matter, International Conference Metamorphosis between Science and Literature, Università di Bologna, Ravenna, 20-21.11.2008
  64. L’opera alchemica pseudo-democritea: tra sforzo tassonomico e tradizione artigianale, Workshop Seminario di studi sulla scienza antica e la sua tradizione, Università di Milano, Gargnano, Oct. 2008
  65. Analisi critico testuale della prima ricetta sulla fabbricazione dell’oro dello Pseudo-Democrito (CAAG II 43s.), International Conference Gli alchimisti greci. Testi, dottrine, confronti – Les alchimistes grecs. Textes, doctrines, comparaisons, Università di Venezia – Universitè de Paris IV – Sorbonne, Venezia, 5-7.12.2007
  66. Towards a New Critical Edition of Pseudo-Democritean Texts, Workshop Medieval Alchemy, Warburg Institute, London, Oct. 2007

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