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Ottavia Mazzon

Frances Yates Long-Term Fellow

Ottavia Mazzon is coming to the Warburg from the Università degli Studi di Padova. Her research focuses on the readership of ancient Greek literature in Byzantium and the Renaissance; she is especially concerned with scholarly practices of annotation and note-taking, exploring collections of quotations from ancient and Byzantine texts and the marginalia to be found in Greek books.


Ottavia Mazzon received her PhD from the Università degli Studi di Padova and the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris) in 2018. Her dissertation analysed the collection of excerpts from ancient Greek texts transmitted by a 14th-cent. Byzantine codex, MS Neap. II C 32: the work shed light on the reading interests and the scholarly practices of a group of Constantinopolitan intellectuals belonging to the ‘school’ of Maximos Planudes.

After her PhD, Ottavia has held post-doc fellowships at the Università di Bologna (2019) and the Università degli Studi di Padova (2020-2021), pursuing her research on reading habits, anthologies of quotations, and ancient and medieval libraries. She was also a Summer Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks for the 2021 summer term. In Padova, Ottavia worked within the framework of the ‘Mobility and Humanities’ research programme at the Department of Historical and Geographical Sciences and the Ancient World (DiSSGeA), taking up the study of the surviving 16th-century loan registers of the Marciana Library in Venice. Her project, which she will continue to pursue during her stay at the Warburg, employs the loan records of the Marciana Library as tools to investigate the readership of Greek literature in Renaissance Venice, scholarly practices connected to library use, and the broader dynamics of production and circulation of manuscript books in Europe in the middle 16th century.

Ottavia’s publications deal with ancient libraries, collections of excerpts, Byzantine textbooks, and Greek scribes, with a special focus on cardinal Bessarion’s library. Her first monograph, stemming from her PhD dissertation, will appear in late 2021.


Selected publications


Leggere, selezionare e raccogliere excerpta nella prima età paleologa. La silloge conservata dal manoscritto greco Neap. II C 32, Alessandria, Edizioni dell’orso 2021.


Bessarione lettore di Erodoto, Tucidide, Senofonte: appunti sul Marc. gr. Z 526 (= 776), in A. Rigo – N. Zorzi (eds.), Proceedings of the conference held in Venice on Nov. 7-8, 2018, Turnhout, Brepols 2021 (Bibliologia, 59), pp. 295-314 (forthcoming).

Lavorare nell’ombra: un percorso tra i libri di Giorgio Galesiotes, in Le livre manuscrit grec: écritures, matériaux, histoire. À la mémoire de Paul Canart. Actes du IXe Colloque internationale de Paléographie grecque (Paris, 10-15 septembre 2018), éd. par M. Cronier et B. Mondrain, Paris, Association des amis du Centre d'histoire et de civilisation de Byzance, 2021 (Travaux et Mémoires, 24/1), pp. 415-440.

«Knocking on Heaven’s Door». The loan registers of the Libreria di San Marco, in Greeks, books and libraries in Renaissance Venice, ed. by R.M. Piccione, Berlin-Boston, de Gruyter 2020, pp. 259-283 (Transmissions. Studies on conditions, processes and dynamics of textual transmission, 1). 

Apprendere per excerpta: primi risultati di un’indagine su una miscellanea di estratti da autori classici, «Medioevo Greco», 18 (2018), pp. 141-174.

Sodalizi eruditi e circoli dotti nel XIV secolo: il caso del Marc. gr. XI 15 (= 1273), «Bollettino dei Classici», 37-38 (2016-2017) [pub. 2019], pp. 123-169.