Teaching

2019-2020 ― Winter Semester

Storia della Scienza Islamica / History of Islamic Science (MA)

This course offers a theoretical introduction to Islamic science, as well as its development and transmission. General questions – such as literary genres of the sources, fluid transmission and multilingual traditions – will be the starting point to explore particular disciplines such as medicine, astrology, divination, zoography, alchemy and physiognomy. Arabo-Islamic science will be the banner under which a much broader approach which begins with Antiquity and Late antiquity casting its influence on the Middle Age and Early Modern will be carried out.

 

2019 ― Summer Semester

Seminar of Philosophy and History of Science ― “I sereni animali che avvicinano a Dio” (MA)

Gli animali, o meglio ancora gli essere viventi (ḥayawān), hanno una grande diffusione e un ruolo significativo nella letteratura del medioevo arabo-islamico. Gli aspetti tecnici e scientifici si fondono con quelli letterari e le tradizioni zoografiche si manifestano in diversi generi letterari. Seguendo le tracce degli animali, ci si imbatte in testi di filosofia, medicina, lessicografia, alchimia, geografia, divinazione e magia. Il laboratorio offre un’antologia di letture in traduzione dalla tradizione arabo-islamica medievale, offrendo un panorama generale dei diversi generi letterari, delle tradizioni culturali e dei motivi letterari di cui questa variegata zoologia consiste.

 

2018/2019 ― Winter Semester

History of Ancient Science (MA)

This course offers a theoretical introduction to ancient science, as well as its development and transmission. General questions – such as literary genres of the sources, fluid transmission and multilingual traditions – will be the starting point to explore particular disciplines such as medicine, astrology, divination, zoography, alchemy and physiognomy. Arabo-Islamic science will be the banner under which a much broader approach which begins with Antiquity and Late antiquity casting its influence on the Middle Age and Early Modern will be carried out.

 

2018 ― Summer Semester

Seminar of Philosophy and History of Science – The Arabo-Islamic Case (MA)

This course will offer an introduction to the role of the Arabo-Islamic culture to the history of science and knowledge in the Middle Ages. It will analyse in depth the reception of antique and late antique sources, the peculiar elaboration, and the transmission to Mediaeval Europe.

 

2017 ― Summer Semester

The Arabic Tradition of Galen’s On Simple Drugs (Block Seminar, MA)

This course will give an introduction into the complex phenomenon of Graeco-Arabic translations, focussing on Galen and his book on simple drugs. The seminar will illustrate the peculiar aspects of the Arabic version and its manuscript tradition both in connection with the Greek Vorlage and its independent tradition.

Natural Sciences and Technical Knowledge in the Arabo-Islamic Middle Ages (Block Seminar, MA)

The knowledge of nature and its practices in the Arabo-Islamic Middle Ages will be the focus of this course. Examples taken from many different textual genres will lead to the definition of what was included in the science of nature, their specific topics, and the peculiarity of the transmission.

 

2016/2017 ― Winter Semester

Galen’s Pharmacology in the Graeco-Arabic Tradition (Block Seminar, with Dr. Matteo Martelli)

The Blockseminar will offer an introduction to Galenic pharmacology, with a special focus on the treatise On Simple Drugs. This work has a particular status in the Galenic corpus: it gives the theoretical frame for the classification of simple drugs that will impress the strongest of marks on the later pharmacological tradition (Books 1-5), along with a detailed description of the faculties of plants, minerals and animals based on Galen’s own medical experience (Books 6-11). The participants will be introduced to different aspects of the Greek and Arabic manuscript tradition, and to the philological approach to this multilingual textual transmission of the text — along with the role of what is preserved in Syriac. The structure of the Blockseminar reproduces step by step the methodology that Matteo Martelli and Lucia Raggetti have been developing and applying in their ongoing work on the treatise On Simple Drugs: recension and inspection of all the manuscript witnesses, collation of the text, evaluation of errors and variants, definition of editorial criteria. The critical work on the text and its translation are meant and presented as the essential tools to achieve a deep understanding of the text in its context of composition and, later, of transmission.

 

2016 ― Summer Semester

A World of Beasts: Animals in Arabic Scientific Literature (MA)

Animals are a constant presence in Arabic literature, and scientific writings are no exceptional in this. The rich animal kingdom is a source of metaphors, secret names, real ingredients, and an inexhaustible source of natural wisdom. The large and varied anthological selection of primary sources offered in this seminar will introduce the students into the fascinating world of premodern science (medicine, pharmacology, alchemy, mineralogy, magic).

The Science of Talismans (MA)

In its first centuries the Arabo-Islamic culture inherited a great lore on talismans from Ancient and Late-antique times. This knowledge was recorded in technical treatises in which Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Apollonius of Tyana, and ʿUṭārid ibn Muḥammad are presented as the authorities in this highly specialised field of expertise. The large and varied anthological selection of primary sources offered in this seminar will introduce the students into the material culture and literary tradition related to talismans, a relevant case of knowledge transfer in premodern times.

Graeco-Syro-Arabic Transmission of Technincal Texts (Block Seminar, with Dr. Matteo Martelli)

This Block Seminar will introduce the students to textual traditions connected to different fields of knowledge (medicine pharmacology, and alchemy) and to the peculiarities of their multilingual transmission in the Greek, Syriac, and Arabic tradition.

 

2015/16 ― Winter Semester

The World of Recipes: Procedural Knowledge in Mediaeval Arabic Literature (MA)

Recipes and procedural knowledge define a structure common to many different texts. This course will first analyse the formal component that build up the textual unit of a recipe, observing then its particular use in texts dealing with different practices of knowledge, such pharmacology, talismans, poisons, natural properties and alchemy.

Alexander, Išrasīm, and the others: authorship in Mediaeval Arabic Literature (MA)

The question of authorship and authority is a key concept to understand the creation and transmission of knowledge. The artificial attribution of texts to an author is not a forgery, but a distinctive feature of ancient, late antique and Mediaeval knowledge. This course will focus in particular on those texts transmitted under the banner of literary and historical characters borrowed as authors in order to enhance the prestige and reliability of a text (pseudo-authorship).

 

2015 ― Summer Semester

Natural Sciences in Islam / Naturwissenschaften im Islam (BA/MA)

The knowledge of nature in the premodern world was much more inclusive than what one would expect. It included, in fact, astronomy, divination, and talismans just to give a few examples. The course will give an overview of the knowledge practices that were part of natural science in the Arabo-Islamic Middle Ages.

Mineralogical Traditions in the Ancient and Mediaeval World (MA)

Stones and minerals have always fascinated humankind and many different texts are witness to that. The Arabo-Islamic tradition elaborated on antique and late antique sources, offering its original contribution as well. The course will offer an overview of the different streams of tradition that contributed to the Arabo-Islamic mineralogical tradition.

 

2014/15 ― Winter Semester

Poisons&Antidotes / Gifte&Gegengifte (MA)

Der Kurs bietet eine Auswahl von Texten des arabischen Mittelalters, die Gifte und Gegengifte behandeln. Primäre Quellen (gedruckte Ausgaben und Handschriften) werden gelesen, analysiert und kommentiert.

History of Arabic Medicine (BA/MA)

This course will offer a first introduction to Arabo-Islamic medicine, illustrating its origins, developments and legacy. Arabic medicine is considered in a longue durée perspective, that looks both backwards to its ancient and late antique sources, and forward to its reception in Mediaeval Europe.

 

2014 ― Summer Semester

Arabic Mineralogy / Arabische Steinkunde (MA)

Es wird eine Auswahl von bisher noch nicht editierten/herausgegebenen oder übersetzten arabischen Texten über Steine und die Steinkunde gelesen werden. Daher bietet das Seminar auch eine Einführung in die Methodologie der Textkritik, insbesondere in Bezug auf arabische Texte.

Thematic History of Arabic Medicine (BA/MA)

The course will offer a thematically organized overview of the history of Arabo-Islamic medicine: periodization, physiology, pathology, anatomy, dietetics, pharmaceutics, the role of occult, magic and astrology. All the primary sources will be read in translation.

 

2013/14 ― Winter Semester

Introduction to Arabic Medicine (MA)

Medicine has been one of the topics which interests modern scholars. Its fame and prestige had reached Europe several centuries before, when the Arabic medical works were translated into Latin and their authors became authorities also in the West. The course will deal with several different topics: pre-Islamic roots, translations from other languages and the shaping of an original Islamic medicine, the importance of al-Andalus, pharmacology, the role of astrology. The participants will read and discuss an anthology of Arabic sources in translation.

Introduction to Natural Sciences in Islam / Einführung in die Naturwissenschaften im Islam (BA/MA)

Das Seminar bietet einen Überblick über die verschiedenen Aspekte der Naturwissenschaften im Islam: Tierkunde, Pflanzenkunde, Landwirtschaft und Steinkunde. Für jedes Naturreich werden die Grundkonzepte, die Quellen und die betroffenen Textgattungen vorgestellt und einige wichtige Texte in Übersetzung gelesen und gemeinsam diskutiert.

 

2013 ― Summer Semester

Introduction to Oriental philology (MA)

The aim of the course is to offer a case study of manuscript witnesses: an historical introduction to the philological methods, the Arabo-Islamic manuscript traditions, manuscript reading, collation, criteria of editions, linguistic peculiarities and translations. Partecipants will learn how to use basic scholarly tools (catalogues and reference works) and the latest digital resources. The course will include a visit to the Orientabteilung of the Staatsbiliohtek, where it will be possible to study real artifacts.

Fluid traditions in scientific texts (MA)

This course offers an introduction in the peculiarities of the textual transmission of scientific texts. The students will be given the hermeneutical tools to track the movements of blocks of knowledge between texts, genres, languages, and cultures.

 

2012/13 ― Winter Semester

Zoography: the image of animals in the Arabo-Islamic Middle Age. Sources and tradition (MA/BA)

So the description of animals is the occasion to approach a wide range of textual genres, from books of medicine to magic and belles lettres. Offering a large selection of different texts in translation, the course will introduce the main sources of Hellenistic period and Late Antiquity, together with the mechanism Zoography and observation of animals were topics of great interest in ancient cultures and the zoological lore was transmitted in different forms. of their reception through the elaboration of complex cultural models. The anthological choice will include remarkable examples of translations, classificatory approach, adab literature, encyclopaedias and an ample selection of medical texts. The readings will be supported by an introduction to the different cultural environments and to the single authors.