Cosimo Paravano



I am a doctoral fellow (Praedoc Universitätsassistent) in Byzantine studies at Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies of the University of Vienna (supervisors: Prof. Claudia Rapp, Vienna, and Prof. Gianfranco Agosti, Rome).
I am a native of Florence, Italy, and studied Classics and Ancient History at the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, and the University of Pisa (BA, MA, 2014-2019). I spent fully-funded exchange semesters at Freie Universität Berlin (winter term 2017/8) and Princeton University (spring term 2019). At or through Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection (Harvard University), I attended the Byzantine Greek summer school (July 2018) and the Syriac summer school (co-organized by the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, July-August 2021, online) and was Bliss Awardee (April 2019).
Here in Vienna, I co-organise the Forum Antike lecture series and Symposion - PhD Workshop and Reading Group, which I also co-founded, within the Doctoral School cluster ‘Ancient, Byzantine and Medieval studies’.
Anyone wishing to know more about my research or just exchange ideas is very welcome to contact me!

Research interests: Late Antique and Byzantine cultural and literary history - Late Antique Rhetoric (especially Libanios and John Chrysostom) - Syriac culture - so-called Byzantine classical reception

Current research projects : After developing an interest in Late Antiquity as a Classics student, I am now broadly interested in Byzantine cultural and literary history. My dissertation is entitled “Rhetoric and Citizenship in Early Byzantine Antioch (4th–6th c.)” and will synoptically investigate how sophists and preachers conceptualised their rhetorical activity and how different types of speechmaking conditioned civic life in the city of Antioch. The dissertation will specifically focus on sophist Libanius (314-393 CE), preacher and then bishop John Chrysostom (c.350-407 CE) and patriarch Severus of Antioch (d. 538 CE).
I am also interested in early Byzantine hagiography, especially Eustratios’ Life of Golinduch, a fascinating text telling the story of a Persian noblewoman who converts to Christianity and, after fleeing to the Byzantine empire, becomes involved in religious and political strifes. 


  • ‛Retorica e dinamiche del potere ad Antiochia nel IV secolo. Introduzione, traduzione e commento all’orazione A Icario (26 F.) di Libanio’, Medioevo Greco 20 (2020), 165-208.
  • Review of Raffaella Cribiore, Between City and School. Selected Orations of Libanius, Liverpool, Liverpool University Press: 2015, Medioevo Greco 18 (2018), 390-396.
  • Book report of Andrea Pellizzari, Maestro di retorica, maestro di vita: le lettere teodosiane di Libanio di Antiochia, Roma, L’Erma di Bretschneider: 2017, Medioevo Greco 18 (2018), 491-2.


Podcast Doctor it! episode 2 with Cosimo Paravano on "Didactics in practice"

In a seminar room, whether physical or digital, PhD candidates navigate between student, researcher, and teacher. As first-time course instructors, they encounter two big questions in particular: How do you teach what you do? And what are your resources and tools to master this task?

In episode 2 of “Doctor it!”, we hear insights into this from PhD candidates Azade Kakavand from the Department of Communication and Cosimo Paravano from the Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. They share their experiences from “both sides of the desk”, sometimes sitting next to, sometimes vis-à-vis from students, peers and researchers with advanced expertise in research didactics. Listen in and hear their dialogue with our host Rasmus Wardemann, in which they address the myth of the “natural teacher” and share their teaching strategies in dealing with different group sizes and course types. Find out what difference an alumni-pen makes for Azade’s consciousness as someone in a position to impart academic knowledge and what Cosimo means by “teaching does not have to happen behind closed doors”!

Articles and podcasts mentioned in the episode:
“The Damaging Myth of the Natural Teacher”
“Dead Ideas in Teaching and Learning”

This episode was written and produced by Angelika Hudler, Max Brockhaus, and Rasmus Wardemann, edited by Martin Pokorny, and hosted by Rasmus Wardemann. Special thanks go out to our guests, Cosimo and Azade.