Celestino Schiaparelli

The beginning of the 19th century marks a turning point in the development of Oriental studies in Italy. The Oriental School was founded in Rome in 1903 by a group of specialized scholars: Celestino Schiaparelli (1841-1919) is among its founders, and its first director (1904-1906) was Angelo De Gubernatis (1840-1913), professor of Sanskrit. A Professor of Arabic at Sapienza University for more than 40 years (1874-1916), Director of the Accademia dei Lincei Library for almost 20 years (1886-1904) and Director of the Oriental School in the years 1904-1906, Celestino Schiaparelli was in charge of the first chair of Arabic in Rome after the creation of the Kingdom of Italy (1861). Through his scientific production (he published a precious bilingual lexicon: Vocabulista in arabico, Florence 1871) and his academic activity, C. Schiaparelli contributed actively to the development of Oriental studies in Rome, shaping the education of several generations of Arabists. Moreover, he was in contact with a number of foreign scholars in France, Germany, England. This scientific network fostered learned exchanges, of which a rich archival record testify. After his death, his library and archives were donated to the Oriental School at Sapienza University, where they are still partly preserved, and they include unpublished notes and works. Thanks to their rediscovery, this project aims at throwing light on the scientific production of a scholar who did not receive yet the attention he deserves, on his cultural milieu, and on his learned connections. A special attention will also given to the beginnings of the Oriental School at Sapienza, under the direction of A. De Gubernatis. The archive documents connected to this period will be studied, published and placed in a historical perspective according to the most recent trends in the research in the History of culture and ideas.


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