Claudia Antonetti
Greek History

What do you teach at Ca’ Foscari? What are your main research interests?
I am Claudia Antonetti and I have been teaching Greek history and Greek epigraphy at Ca' Foscari since 1993. After graduating in Padua, I arrived at the Venetian University after obtaining two PhDs, one in France (in Lyon) and one in Bologna, and after a research career almost entirely spent abroad, in Greece, France and Germany. My research mainly focuses on Greek epigraphy as a key source for the study of social and cultural settings, the religious and colonial history of Corinth and Megara, the cultural and historical landscapes of western Sicily with a focus on Selinunte, and the investigation of marginal Greece, especially the peoples of central and north-western Greece.

What are you most passionate about in your research?
The most exciting part of my research experience has been the chance to combine study in the library with getting to know different lands, landscapes and other peoples and civilisations. Trying to read history by following trails travelled in antiquity and known by sources is exciting, as well as extremely useful to develop critical thinking that is strongly rooted in geography, economics and the inner workings of a region, without crossing the line into environmental determinism. My early explorations in central Greece in the footsteps of ancient historians and nineteenth-century pioneers of historical topography or local archaeology have left me with a wealth of memories and endless energy that I constantly draw on for new perspectives in my studies, but also to regain drive, determination and a spirit of freedom for everyday life. This wealth of positive experiences has been shaped not only by historical and cultural landscapes, but also and above all by meeting people, numerous women and men, who on a thousand occasions helped me along my way, supporting me as best they could by hosting me, guiding me, instructing me and offering me their friendship. Perhaps the most generous of these were the inhabitants of some remote villages in the mountains of Acarnania or Evrytania, or my neighbours in Taormina: I will never stop thanking them.

What has given you the greatest satisfaction in your career?
There has been no lack of professional satisfaction: designing and coordinating the international Master's Degree Programme (CDA Socrates) 'The Archaeology and Dynamics of Writing', funded by the European Community for three years and involving, besides Venice, seven other universities and thirteen European institutions; or becoming a member of the Scientific Council of the Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée in Lyon, one of the most important French research centres in human sciences and archaeology, where I trained as a young woman under the guidance of Prof. Jean Pouilloux. Another significant recognition was the research award from Ca' Foscari University Venice in 2017, which I received with my colleague Stefania De Vido. But finding out that the family of an antiquity keeper held a memory of my visit about forty years ago in Calydon in an old picture which is now part of a family history was no less important and moving.

Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their career?
I tell young people to be bold and believe in what they are doing, to follow their own inclinations without hesitation, to live research with passion. The satisfaction you get is certainly greater than the disappointments or difficulties you encounter: a real researcher is certainly an interesting person and has their own place in the world, which they are used to observing, seeing things that others do not see, miss or are disturbed by. His tangent gaze is needed more than ever in today's frustrated and badly globalised society.

Last update: 20/07/2023