My doctoral dissertation is entitled “Astrology and Astronomy in Palaiologan Constantinople” and it tackles a hitherto neglected subject in Byzantine and Arabo-Greek Studies: the analysis of the role and the influence of Arabic astrology in Constantinople. It aims to shed new light on the astrological interests nourished by the Byzantine scientific milieu at the end of the Palaiologan era (late 14th c.) and the reception of Arabic treatises in Byzantine Greek (e.g. Abū Maʿšar al-Balḫī and Māšāʾallāh al-Baṣrī); on the manuscript tradition of the astrological treatises by Abū Maʿšar in Arabic and Greek; and on the transmission of the Byzantine Greek version of the “Ἀποτελεσματικὰ μυστήρια” by Abū Maʿšar. In summation, by using the tools of history, paleography and philology, this project aims to update the often-repeated theory of Byzantine absolute cultural rigidity, by arguing for the intellectual vivacity of some groups of scholars interested in texts produced in the Islamicate world and that, at least in some cases, Byzantine cultural borders were permeable.
Could you please tell us a bit more about your scholarship/exchange programme?
I am boursier du mois for the month of February, finishing and polishing my doctoral dissertation conducted between the University of Padua, Verona, Ca’ Foscari Venice and the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris.
First impressions of Oxford/the University?
Doing research in Oxford, thanks to the rich academic offer and to the wonderfully equipped libraries looks like a dream for every researcher. The academic community is dynamic and active, and individual research benefits greatly from it. Moreover, the town and the surrounding nature are lovely.