GNOLI, GHERARDO  (b. Rome, 6 December 1937; d. Cagli, 7 March 2012; Figure 1), one of the most distinguished Iranists and historians of religion of his generation, combining an extraordinary scientific output with a constant focus on cultural policy, which expressed itself in his vigorous direction of two important Italian cultural institutions: the Istituto Universitario Orientale in Naples (IUO, now University of Naples “L'Orientale") and the Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente (IsMEO), which later became the Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (IsIAO).

Gherardo Gnoli was born in Rome into a learned family, the second son of Aldo Gnoli and Maria Lenzi. Among his relatives are the poet and historian Domenico Gnoli (1838-1915) and the painter Domenico Gnoli (1933-1970). He was married to Erminia Michelini Tocci, who gave him two sons, Tommaso and Andrea. 

Endowed with a vivid intellectual curiosity and a strong interest in the origins of Christianity, Gnoli enrolled at the Sapienza University of Rome in the academic year 1956-57 and began studying Semitic languages and philology ​​(Aramaic, Hebrew, and also Arabic) at the Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia. He turned to Iranian studies only later. The study of these languages and cultural traditions, combined with a profound, passionate, and comprehensive knowledge of classical languages ​​and of the ancient world, gave rise to that particular understanding of intercultural processes that accompanied him throughout his life, marking his varied intellectual journeys.

During university years, his interest shifted gradually toward the Iranian world, to which he would devote by far the greater part of his future studies. Attending courses at the Sapienza University of Rome, he was guided by a number of undisputed masters each outstanding in his own field of studies, some of whom indelibly marked his formation as a scholar. Among academics in the field of Semitic studies one should mention at least Giorgio Levi Della Vida (1886-1967), then already retired, and Sabatino Moscati (1922-1997). While pursuing a different path of study, Gherardo Gnoli was the spiritual heir of the latter, specifically for what regards the central role that both played, one after the other, in the development of Oriental studies in Italy.

In the field of Iranian studies his masters were Antonino Pagliaro (1898-1973), renowned linguist and fine expert on ancient Iran and its languages, and the brilliant Alessandro Bausani (1921-1988), perhaps Italy’s greatest expert on Iran and Islam. Moreover, he had a deep and intense intellectual relationship with another eminent orientalist of the era, Giuseppe Tucci (1894-1984), a relationship which would largely determine his future. Professor Tucci, who was already the master of his brother Raniero Gnoli (b. 1930), was rapporteur of the thesis of the young Gherardo, entitled “Aspetti della religiosità iranica e indiana riflessi nel pantheon monetario Kuṣāṇa” (On some aspects of Iranian and Indian spirituality as found in the pantheon attested on Kushan coins), presented for defense on 16 March 1962. The link that was created between master and disciple when preparing the dissertation would prove fruitful in the following years of  Gnoli’s collaboration with IsMEO, later IsIAO, then headed by Tucci.

In 1965, aged just 27, Gnoli arrived at the Istituto Universitario Orientale [IUO], Naples, to teach Iranian Studies, and in 1968, he became full professor holding the chair of “Iranistica,” a title that few years later was to change to “Filologia iranica.” He became the director of the IUO in 1970 and then its rector, a post he held until 1978. In those years, he conceived and brought to a positive conclusion a radical reform of this ancient institution, which under his leadership transformed from being a specialized university, with only one faculty and somehow still in line with the tradition of the Collegio dei Cinesi‑—a religious institution officially recognized by Pope Clement XII on 7 April 1732, which had been created by Matteo Ripa (1682-1746)  to prepare young priests for their mission in the East—into a modern university, organized into faculties and departments. This he was able to do while at the same time maintaining the Institute’s tradition in humanities and in social studies, both fields having their main focus on the study of the Asian continent and the Mediterranean. In 1993 he moved to the Sapienza University of Rome, where he became a member of the Dipartimento di Studi Orientali (Department of Oriental Studies) and of the Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia (Faculty of Humanities), where he taught until his retirement, when he was appointed Professor Emeritus.

Once he had stepped down from his office as rector of the Istituto Universitario Orientale, Gherardo Gnoli was called to take charge of Giuseppe Tucci’s legacy at IsMEO, where he was elected president in 1979, after a brief period during which the reins of management were in the capable hands of Sabatino Moscati. In perfect continuity with Tucci, he was able to adapt the Institute to changing times by supporting and expanding the archeological, linguistic, anthropological, and to a lesser extent sociological and political studies conducted by IsMEO. This was at a historical moment when Asia increasingly played a central role in geopolitics, while the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia were hit by sudden and to a great extent unforeseen changes, such as the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. As it often sadly happens to scientific and cultural institutions, IsMEO faced moments characterized by serious economic difficulties, and more than once the scientific community fought against the closure of the Institute. During the most acute of these crises, Gnoli conceived the plan, in agreement with the parliamentarian Tullia Carettoni Romagnoli, for IsMEO’s fusion with the Istituto Italiano per l’Africa. The process encountered difficulties and drawbacks, given the substantial, profound difference between the activities of the two bodies, but was driven forward by the need to rationalize expenditures. In November 1995 the Parliament of the Italian Republic approved the merger of the two entities and formation of IsIAO; Gherardo Gnoli was its president until 2011, when, due to his failing health, he voluntarily resigned, to be replaced by Marco Mancini. The last months of Gnoli’s life were embittered by the hardships and troubles faced by his cherished Institute, which risked being shut down due to lack of funding, as, unfortunately, finally happened.

While heading first the Istituto Universitario Orientale and then IsMEO/IsIAO, Gherardo Gnoli also tirelessly promoted many international projects related to his scientific interests. During 1981-83, he coordinated the Steering Committee that led to the formation of the Societas Iranologica Europaea (SIE), an association whose seat was at IsIAO until its last days, then was transferred to the new ISMEO, which itself is now hosted by Sapienza University of Rome. The SIE brings together more than four hundred specialists in Iranian studies, who are active in universities and scientific institutions around the world. Over the years Gherardo Gnoli also had a very special dedication to the Encyclopaedia Iranica founded by Ehsan Yarshater. There he was a member of the Advisory Committee from the very beginning, and he also contributed many remarkable entries. Among his many contributions to other reference works, one can cite the articles written for The Encyclopedia of Religion edited by Mircea Eliade, those contributed to the Lessico universale italiano, and those published in Giovanni Filoramo’s Dizionario delle religioni (Filoramo 1993).

Gherardo Gnoli’s example helped an entire generation of scholars to fully understand the international dimension needed for research. Indeed, he never viewed his action as being limited to Italy alone or even to Europe. Quite on the contrary, he learned from Tucci, the founder of East and West, a scientific journal that has been entirely published in English ever since its first issue back in 1950, the need to play in a broader field; and over the years he built up strong mutual respect and esteem with leading scholars in Europe, Asia, and America. Moreover, he always encouraged his graduate students to spend part of their study abroad in order to gain confidence with other methodologies of research while becoming familiar with international debate. This is one of the reasons that led him to take part in the scientific committees of many series and journals (Res Orientales, Acta Iranica, Silk Road Studies, Iranica Antiqua, Studia Iranica, Mediterraneo Antico, and Ancient Civilisations from Scythia to Siberia). At home he was chairman of the Editorial Board of East and West and director of some of the series published by IsMEO/IsIAO (Serie Orientale Roma, Reports and Memoirs, Repertoria ac Bibliographica, Il Nuovo Ramusio).

Gherardo Gnoli was also a member of numerous academies and some of the most prestigious international associations, such as the Accademia dei Lincei, the Institut de France, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Accademia delle Scienze di Torino, the International Association of Manichaean Studies, the Société Asiatique, the Societas Iranologica Europaea, the Ancient India and Iran Trust, and the Società di Storia delle Religioni, a learned society of which he served as President until his death.

Several interwoven themes are recurrently found in Gherardo Gnoli’s researches, whose interests, after early university years, converged more and more on the history of religions, languages, ​​and history of thought in pre-Islamic Iran, with some sporadic digressions in the domain of Semitic languages, his first academic training. In the late 1950s, IsMEO progressively widened the scope of its activity to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, and the Italian scholar collaborated with various programs of the Institute in this context. More specifically, it is to these years that one should date his interest in Judeo-Persian and his first formulation of the “Sistanic Hypothesis” (see below).

Gnoli devoted his first monograph to the publication of the Judeo-Persian funerary inscriptions discovered in Ḡur, a task for which his studies of Semitic languages proved useful (Gnoli, 1964). He shared a proficiency in Semitic and Iranian with Philippe Gignoux, a French scholar with whom he maintained a fruitful and friendly relationship over the years.

Although Gnoli always maintained an interest in the Judeo-Persian texts, the publication of the funerary inscriptions found in the Ḡur area was bound to remain an isolated episode in his career. Quite differently, the volume of studies on ancient Sistan published in 1967 contained the seeds of many of the themes that persistently developed in his later research (Gnoli, 1967). These include historical geography, the centrality of Zoroastrian texts (the primary sources for his research), the question of the origins of Zoroastrianism, and the Sistanic hypothesis, which correctly recognized the central role played by this Iranian region in Zoroastrian religious history.

The 1980s were the decade of greatest creativity for Gnoli: he saw the publication of his monograph on the date and birthplace of Zoroaster, the four lessons at the College de France, and finally the masterly critical essay on the genesis of the idea of ​​Iran. In Zoroaster’s Time and Homeland (1980) he suggested dating Zoroaster to the turn of the first millennium BCE, placing his country of origin in an ample Sistanic region—a term by which he defined an area larger than the eastern Iranian area now known as Sistan (see also the interesting debate in MacKenzie, 1988 and Gnoli, 1991a). The strong, critical spirit of Gherardo Gnoli was directed to critiquing his own work and not only that of other scholars. One of the great lessons that he taught to his students was to have the courage to change one’s mind. This is what happened to him on the date of Zoroaster. After much thought and long evenings spent in conversation with Ilya Gershevitch, a pupil of Walter Bruno Henning, whom he often visited at Jesus College in Cambridge, Gnoli became convinced of the plausibility of the traditional date of Zoroaster, accepting and defending a late date for the prophet’s existence, such as had already been proposed, among others, by Henning (1951) and Gershevitch (1995). In fact, in his Zoroaster in History (2000), a book based on the 1997 Biennial Yarshater Lecture Series held at the University of California, Los Angeles, he returned to the question of the date of Zoroaster and after a convincing presentation of the historical evidence, he concluded his work by saying that the most likely dates for the life of Zoroaster are 618 -541 BCE.

Although he was bitterly criticized for changing his mind on such a debated subject, one should note that nevertheless Gnoli was always consistent in his most profound conception of Zoroastrianism, considering Zoroaster to be the historical founder of the faith, an initiator of change who was at the same time part of a religious tradition endowed with deep roots. On this issue his position is quite distant from the one supported by some scholars, such as J. Kellens (1991, 2000, 2006) and P. O. Skjærvø (2003), who deny the very existence of the prophet. It is also distant from the position advocated in the 1960s by scholars such as M. Molé (1963), who, influenced by the structuralism that was then in vogue, sought to demonstrate that Zoroaster’s legend, mainly known through Middle Persian and Persian sources, had in reality much older roots stemming from the ritual which was already apparent in the Gathas. This view rendered the problem of the existence and the date of Zoroaster absolutely redundant, without denying the possibility of an historical Zoroaster. More specifically on Zoroaster’s dating, Gnoli’s position now greatly diverged from those of scholars and Iranists such as M. Boyce and Sh. Shahbazi (Boyce, 1992; Shahbazi, 1977, 2002).

Gnoli’s De Zoroastre à Mani: Quatre leçons au Collège de France (1985) drew an outline of the history of Zoroastrianism—and with it of Iranian pre-Islamic spirituality—from its origins, which are discussed in the first two lessons, to the Achaemenid period (third lesson) and further on into the first Sasanian period, when the faith of Zoroaster collided with the Manichean belief, winning the day in consonance with the spirit of the time (fourth lesson).

Finally, in 1989 Gnoli published The Idea of ​​Iran, perhaps the most exciting of his books, which traced the birth and genesis of the idea of ​​Iran, identifying its roots and demonstrating convincingly that Iran’s national identity became a full-fledged political conception only in the third century, when the term Ērānšahr was employed to define the political entity ruled by the Sassanids. The book also shows how the birth of a national identity fits in well with the more general movement of history that in the third century saw the emergence of various national entities in the region. Moreover, careful attention has been given to the interplay between Zoroastrianism and Iranian identity, a very close interaction indeed, almost intimate especially in early Sasanian times, and particularly so thanks to the incorporation of the Iranian national tradition in religious texts. This theme was further investigated by Gnoli in a short essay published in 1993 (Gnoli, 1993).

Although heavily burdened by both scientific and administrative responsibilities, Gherardo Gnoli took particular care in organizing seminars and other opportunities for scholars to meet and debate. He managed several conferences and took care of the publication of their acts (Gnoli and Rossi, 1979; Gnoli and Vernant, 1982; Gnoli, 1983, 1985, 1989; Gnoli and Panaino, 1990, Gnoli and Fragner et al., 1995; Gnoli and Belardi et al., 1996; Gnoli and Carile et al., 2004; Gnoli and Sfameni Gasparro, 2009) as well as editing some collective volumes, such as the three volumes in memory of Giuseppe Tucci, edited together with the Sinologist Lionello Lanciotti (Gnoli and Lanciotti, 1985-88) and the multi-volume work on Manicheism, which he unfortunately left uncompleted. When envisaging the latter project, Gnoli had set himself the ambitious aim to publish all written documents regarding the religion founded by Mani with the exception of the anti-Manichean polemical texts written by the Church Fathers, which would have been too bulky to be included in the project. The first three volumes of this series have been published by the Lorenzo Valla Foundation; the fourth and final volume, also planned under his supervision, is still under preparation (Gnoli, 2003, 2006, 2008 and in the press).

Most of the articles by Gherardo Gnoli discuss issues related to Iran’s pre-Islamic religious history, with a particular focus on Zoroastrianism. Notable in this context are his contributions on the date of Zoroaster (Gnoli 1995a, 1997, 1998, 1998b, 2004, 2006a), on the definition of *hu̯arnah- (Gnoli, 1963a, 1984, 1989b, 1990, 1996, 1996b, 1996c, 2002; see FARR[AH]), those expounding the Sistanic hypothesis (Gnoli, 1975, 1977), the ones on particular aspects of the Mazdean doctrine (Gnoli, 1962, 1963, 1964a, 1979, 1983, 1994, 1995, 1996a, 2009), and his contributions on the religious policy of the Achaemenids and Sasanians (Gnoli 1971, 1974, 1998a, 2005a, 2007). His articles on Manicheism (Gnoli, 1990b, 1991, 1994b), on dualism, and on Zurvanism (Gnoli, 1984a, 1988, 1995b) were very important. His studies on historical geography also were quite relevant—an interest that he held since the beginning of his studies, and which combined well with his researches on the date and birthplace of Zoroaster (Gnoli, 1983a, 1985a, 1991a, 2005).

Another field of research in which Gherardo Gnoli contributed extensively was the study of the genesis of the idea of ​​Iran, on which he wrote a book and a number of very stimulating articles (Gnoli, 1966, 1966a, 1986, 1987, 1987a, 1989, 1990a, 1994a, 2002a); related to these were his papers on the Sasanian period and its cultural climate (1985c, 1991b, 1993a, 1996a, 2004a). In the second half of the 20th and then in the 21th century, Gnoli resumed his interest in Semitic studies, encouraged by the brilliant successes of the Italian archeological missions in Yemen (IsMEO/IsIAO), of which he was, in fact, the epigraphist (Gnoli, 1986a, 1987b, 1990c, 1991c, 1993b, 1993c, 1994c, 1996e, 1996f, 2005b). Detailed bibliographies of his work can be found in the volume of studies published in his honor on the occasion of his 65th birthday (Cereti, Maggi, and Provasi, eds., 2003) and in the booklet containing a profile of Gherardo Gnoli and his updated bibliography that a group of students, friends, and colleagues offered him on the occasion of his 70th birthday (see Bibliography).

As a teacher, Gherardo Gnoli was both demanding and tolerant. He has always been very generous in pointing out new paths of research, in telling his students which new publications he considered necessary or useful to read, and in dedicating large amounts of his valuable time to the discussion of most diverse topics. He knew how to do it with such courtesy and grace as to remove any distance between teacher and student, between master and pupil. He was never prone to harsh criticism, preferring to highlight the strengths of the student, however few, rather than the defects. He always encouraged students to seek out other scholars’ perspectives, advising them to go abroad in order to grow accustomed to an international context. In carrying out the institutional responsibilities at IUO, then at IsIAO/IsMEO, he chose collaborators who were both competent in their own field of studies and loyal to the institution itself. He was able to draw the best from his staff and collaborators, enhancing each one’s qualities and hiding the defects. He had the uncommon quality of making anyone feel at ease in conversation with him, regardless of his status, but without renouncing his great authority, which he rightly liked to call “a moral authority.”



Works of Gherardo Gnoli (see also Bibliografia di Gherardo Gnoli, pubblicata nella ricorrenza del suo 70∞ compleanno il 6 dicembre 2007, Roma, 2007; available at

“Un particolare aspetto del simbolismo della luce nel mazdeismo e nel manicheismo,” AION, N.S. 12, 1962, pp. 95-128.

“Osservazioni sulla dottrina mazdaica della creazione,” AION, N.S. 13, 1963, pp. 163-193.

Axvarətəm xvarənō,” AION, N.S. 13, 1963a, pp. 295-98.

Le iscrizioni giudeo-persiane del Ġūr (Afghanistan),” SOR [Serie Orientale Roma] 30, Roma, IsMEO, 1964.

“Considerazioni sulla religione degli Achemenidi alla luce di una recente teoria,” SMSR [Studi e materiali di storia delle religioni] 35, 1964a, pp. 239-50.

Airyō-šayana,” RSO [Rivista degli studi orientali] 41, 1966, pp. 67-75.

“Ἀριανή: postilla ad Airyō-šayana,” RSO 41, 1966a, pp. 329-34.

Ricerche storiche sul Sīstān antico, Reports and Memoirs 10, Roma, IsMEO, 1967.

“Politica religiosa e concezione della regalità sotto i Sassanidi,” in La Persia nel Medioevo, Roma, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1971, pp. 225-53.

“Politica religiosa e concezione della regalità sotto gli Achemenidi,” in Gururājamañjarikā: studi in onore di Giuseppe Tucci, Napoli, IUO, 1974, pp. 23-88 [French translation: Politique religieuse et conception de la royauté sous les Achéménides, in Hommage universel II, Acta Iranica 2, Téhéran and Liège, 1974, pp. 117-90].

“Zur Sīstān-Hyphothese,” in Monumentum H.S. Nyberg I, Acta Iranica 4, Téhéran and Liège, 1975, pp. 277-90.

“More on the Sistanic hypothesis,” EW 27 1977, pp. 309-21.

“Ašavan: contributo allo studio del libro di Ardā Wirāz,” in G. Gnoli and A. V. Rossi, Iranica, IUO, 1979, pp. 387-452.

Zoroaster’s Time and Homeland: a Study on the Origins of Mazdeism and Related Problems, Series minor 7, Napoli, IUO, 1980.

Orientalia Romana. Essays and Lectures 5: Iranian Studies, SOR 52, Roma, IsMEO, 1983.

“Le dieu des Arya, StIr 12, 1983, pp. 7-22.

“L’Aracosia e l’Avesta,” in H. Koch and D. N. MacKenzie, eds., Kunst Kultur und Geschichte der Achämenidenzeit und ihr Fortleben, AMI Ergänzungsband 10, Berlin, 1983a, 121-33.

“Note sullo ‘Xvarənah’,” in Orientalia J. Duchesne-Guillemin emerito oblata, Acta Iranica 23, Leiden, 1984, pp. 207-18.

“L’evolution du dualisme iranien et le problème zurvanite,” RHR 201, 1984a, pp. 115-38.

De Zoroastre à Mani: quatre leçons au Collège de France, Travaux de l’Institut d’Études Iraniennes de l’Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle 11, Paris, 1985.

“Ragha la zoroastriana,” in Papers in honour of Professor Mary Boyce I, Acta Iranica 24, Leiden, Brill, 1985a, pp. 219-28.

Orientalia Romana 6. The First European Colloquium of Iranology (Rome, June 18th-20th, 1983), SOR 57, Roma IsMEO, 1985b.

“The Quadripartition of the Sassanian Empire,” EW 35, 1985c, pp. 265-70.

“Mittelpersisch ēr ‘Iranier’,” in R. Schmitt und P. O. Skjærvø eds., Studia Grammatica Iranica: Festschrift für Helmut Humbach, München, 1986, pp. 115-24.

“South Arabian Notes, 1” EW 36, 1986a, pp. 267-69.

“Βασιλεὺς Βασιλέων Άριανῶν,” in G. Gnoli and L. Lanciotti, eds., Orientalia Iosephi Tuccii memoriae dicata II, Roma, IsMEO, 1987, pp. 509-32.

Ēr mazdēsn: zum Begriff Iran und seiner Entstellung im 3. Jahrhundert,” in Transition Periods in Iranian History: Actes du Symposium de Fribourg-en-Brisgau (22-24 Mai 1985), Studia Iranica, Cahier 5, Paris, 1987a, pp. 83-100.

“South Arabian Notes, 2,” EW 37, 1987b, pp. 441-50.

“A note on the Magi and Eudemus of Rhodes,” in A Green Leaf: Papers in honour of Professor Jes P. Asmussen, Acta Iranica 28, Leiden, Brill, 1988, pp. 283-288.

The Idea of Iran: An Essay on its Origin, SOR 62, Roma, IsMEO, 1989.

Mircea Eliade e le religioni asiatiche: atti del convegno sul tema (Roma, 22-23 aprile 1988), SOR 64, Roma, IsMEO, 1989.

“Un cas possible de différenciation lexicale entre dari et pârsi,” in Ch.-H. de Fouchecour and Ph. Gignoux, eds., Études irano-aryennes offertes à Gilbert Lazard, Studia Iranica, Cahier 7, Paris, 1989b, pp. 151-64.

“On Old Persian farnah-,” in Iranica Varia: Papers in honour of Professor Ehsan Yarshater, Acta Iranica 30, Leiden, Brill, 1990, pp. 83-92.

“Appunti sull’idea di Iran,” in G. Gnoli and A. Panaino, eds., Proceedings of the First European Conference of Iranian Studies, held in Turin, September 7th-11th 1987 by the Societas Iranologica Europaea, pt. 1, Roma, IsMEO, 1990a, pp. 145-158.

“Remarks on a Manichaean Kephalaion of Dublin,” in In Honor of Richard Nelson Frye: Aspects of Iranian Culture, BAI, N.S. 4, 1990b, pp. 37-40.

“South Arabian Notes, 3,” EW 40, 1990c, pp. 283-88.

Aurentes: the Buddhist arhants in the Coptic Kephalaia through a Bactrian Transmission,” EW 41, 1991, pp. 359-61.

“More on the Khwarezmian hypothesis,” in R. E. Emmerick and D. Weber, eds., Corolla Iranica: papers in honour of Prof. Dr. David Neil MacKenzie on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday on April 8th, 1991, Frankfurt am Main, 1991a, pp. 74-78.

“L’inscription de Šābuhr à la Kaʿbe-ye Zardošt et la propagande sassanide,” in Religions et cultes de l’Asie Centrale préislamique: sources écrites et documents archéologiques: actes du colloque international du CNRS (Paris, 22-28 novembre 1988), Paris, 1991b, pp. 57-63.

“Le iscrizioni venute alla luce nella campagna 1989-1990,” in A. de Maigret, Gli scavi della Missione Archeologica nella città minea di Barāqish, Conferenze IsMEO 3, Roma, IsMEO, 1991c, pp. 17-19.

Iran als religiöser Begriff im Mazdaismus, Rheinisch-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vorträge G 320, Opladen, 1993.

“A Sassanian Iconography of the Dēn,” in Iranian Studies in Honor of A. D. H. Bivar, BAI, N.S. 7, 1993a [1994],  pp. 79-85.

Inventario delle iscrizioni sudarabiche, t. 2, Shaqab al-Manaṣṣa, Parigi, Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres; Roma, IsMEO, 1993b.

“Sulle nuove iscrizioni di Barāqish,” in A. de Maigret, La seconda campagna di scavi della Missione Archeologica Italiana a Barāqish (Yemen 1992), Conferenze IsMEO 6, Roma, IsMEO, 1993c, pp. 23-33.

“Über die Daēnā: Haδōxt nask 2, 7-9,” in Ch. Elsas et al., Tradition und Translation: zum Problem der interkulturellen Übersetzbarkeit religiöser Phänomene: Festschrift für Carsten Colpe zum 65. Geburtstag, Berlin and New York, 1994, pp. 292-98.

“Iranic Identity as a Historical Problem: The Beginnings of a National Awareness under the Achaemenians,” in The East and the Meaning of History: International Conference (23-27 November 1992), Studi Orientali 13, Roma, Bardi, 1994a, pp. 147-67.

“Sul proemio del Vangelo vivente: monoteismo e dualismo nel Codice manicheo di Colonia,” in G. Sfameni Gasparro, ed., Άγαϑὴ ἐλπίς: studi storico-religiosi in onore di Ugo Bianchi, Roma, L’Erma, 1994b, pp. 451-61.

“South Arabian Notes, 4,” EW 44, 1994c, pp. 429-34.

“Cosroe dall’Anima Immortale o della doppia felicità,” in Un ricordo che non si spegne: scritti di docenti e collaboratori dell’Istituto Universitario Orientale in Memoria di Alessandro Bausani, Series minor 50, Napoli, IUO, 1995, pp. 119-46.

“Once More Zoroaster’s Time: a Manichaean Dating,” EW 45, 1995a, pp. 313-19.

“Einige Bemerkungen zum altiranischen Dualismus,” in Gh. Gnoli and  B. G. Fragner et al., eds., Proceedings of the Second European Conference of Iranian Studies, SOR 73, Roma, IsMEO, 1995b, pp. 213-31.

“Farn als Hermes in einer soghdischen Erzählung,” in R. E. Emmerick et al. eds., Turfan, Khotan und Dunhuang. Vorträge der Tagung “Annemarie v. Gabain und die Turfanforschung”, veranstaltet von der Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Berlin (9.-12.12.1994), Berlin, 1996, pp. 95-100.

“More on astwand ruwān (KKZ 19 and KNRb 20-21),” in BAI, N.S. 10, 1996a, pp. 73-77.

“Note kuṣāṇa: a proposito di una recente interpretazione di Pharro,” in La Persia e l’Asia Centrale da Alessandro al X secolo, Roma, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1996b, pp. 685-702.

“Über das iranischen*huarnah-: lautliche, morphologische und etymologische Probleme: zum Stand der Forschung,” AoF 23, 1996c, pp. 171-80.

“Il nome degli Alani nelle iscrizioni sassanidi : considerazioni linguistiche e storiche sul tema dell’opposizione tra Iran esterno e Iran interno,” in Il Caucaso: cerniera fra culture dal Mediterraneo alla Persia (secoli IV-XI), 20-26 aprile 1995, Spoleto, 1996d, pp. 831-61.

“Una nuova iscrizione minea di Barāqish sulla confessione dei peccati,” in Alle soglie della classicità: il Mediterraneo tra tradizione e innovazione: studi in onore di Sabatino Moscati, Pisa, Roma, 1996e, pp. 1145-59.

“Il sincronismo mineo-persiano,” in Arabia Antiqua: Early Origins of South Arabian States: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Conservation and Exploitation of the Archaeological Heritage of the Arabian Peninsula Held in the Palazzo Brancaccio, Rome on 28th-30th May 1991, SOR 70, Roma, IsMEO 1996f, I, pp. 23-24.

“Sulla data di Zoroastro nel Proemio di Diogene Laerzio,” in Μοῶσα: scritti in onore di Giuseppe Morelli, Bologna, 1997, pp. 179-95.

“Further Considerations on a Manichaean Dating of Zoroaster,” in N. Sims-Williams, ed., Proceedings of the Third European Conference of Iranian Studies, held in Cambridge 11th to 15th September 1995, pt. 1: Old and Middle Iranian Studies, Wiesbaden, 1998, pp. 13-20.

“L’Iran tardoantico e la regalità sasanide,” MedAnt 1/1, 1998, pp. 115-39.

“Xerxès, Priam et Zoroastre,” in Alexander’s Legacy in the East: Studies in honor of Paul Bernard, BAI, N.S. 12, 1998b [2001], pp. 59-67.

Zoroaster in History, Biennial Yarshater Lecture Series No. 2, University of California, Los Angeles (April 21-25, 1997), New York, 2000.

“Nuove note sullo *huarnah-,” in C. Silvi Antonini et al., Oriente e Occidente. Convegno in ricordo di Mario Bussagli, Roma, 31 maggio – 1 giugno 1999, Pisa-Roma, 2002, pp. 104-8.

“The Aryan Language,” JSAI 26, 2002a, pp. 84-90.

(con l’assistenza di A. Piras), Il Manicheismo, vol. 1: Mani e il Manicheismo, Fondazione Lorenzo Valla, Milano, 2003.

“Agathias and the Date of Zoroaster,” EW 54, 2004, pp. 55-62.

“Nuovi studi sul Mazdakismo,” in La Persia e Bisanzio, Roma, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 2004a, pp. 439-56.

“Further Notes on Avestan Geography,” in D. Weber, Languages of Iran: Past and Present. Iranian Studies in memoriam D.N. MacKenzie, Iranica 8, Wiesbaden, 2005, pp. 43-50.

“Ancora su antico-persiano xšaça-,” in M. Bernardini and N.L. Tornesello, eds., Scritti in onore di Giovanni M. D’Erme, Series minor 68, Napoli, IUO, 2005a, pp. 557-582.

“Ancora sui Medi in RES 3022,” in A. M. Sholan et al., Sabaean Studies. Archaeological, Epigraphical and Historical Studies in honour of Yūsuf M. ʿAbdallāh, Alessandro de Maigret, Christian J. Robin on the Occasion of their Sixtieth Birthdays, Naples-Ṣanʿāʾ, IUO, 2005b, pp. 295-300.

Il Manicheismo, vol. 2: Il mito e la dottrina. I testi manichei copti e la polemica antimanichea, Fondazione Lorenzo Valla, Milano, 2006.

“The Seleucid Era and the Date of Zoroaster,” in A. Panaino and A. Piras, eds., Proceedings of the 5th Conference of the Societas Iranologica Europaea held in Ravenna, 6-11 October 2003, vol. I: Ancient and Middle Iranian Studies, Milano, 2006a, pp. 101-14.

“Old Persian xšaça-, Middle Persian šahr, Greek ἔθνος,” in M. Macuch, M. Maggi, and W. Sundermann, eds., Iranian Languages and Texts from Iran and Turan, Ronald E. Emmerick Memorial Volume, Iranica 13, Wiesbaden, 2007, pp. 109-18.

Il Manicheismo, vol. 3: Il mito e la dottrina. Testi manichei dell’Asia Centrale e della Cina, Fondazione Lorenzo Valla, Milano, 2008.

“Some Notes upon the Religious Significance of the Rabatak Inscription,” in W. Sundermann, A. Hintze, and F. de Blois, eds., Exegisti monumenta, Festschrift in honour of Nicholas Sims-Williams, Wiesbaden, 2009, pp. 141-59.

Il Manicheismo, vol. 4: I riti, la poesia e la chiesa, Fondazione Lorenzo Valla, Milano, in press.

G. Gnoli, W. Belardi, F. Gabrieli, I. Gershevitch, Ph. Gignoux, M. A. Levi, S. Moscati, L. Petech, G. Pugliese Carratelli, W. Sundermann, eds., La Persia e l’Asia Centrale, Atti dei Convegni Lincei 127, Roma, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1996.

G. Gnoli, A. Carile, L. Cracco Ruggini, G. Pugliese Carratelli, G. Scarcia, eds., La Persia e Bisanzio, Atti dei Convegni Lincei 201, Roma, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 2004.

G. Gnoli, B. G. Fragner, Ch. Fragner, R. Haag-Higuchi, M. Maggi, P. Orsatti, eds., Proceedings of the Second European Conference of Iranian Studies held in Bamberg, 30th September to 4th October 1991 by the Societas Iranologica Europaea, SOR 73, Roma, IsMEO, 1995.

G. Gnoli and L. Lanciotti, eds., Orientalia Iosephi Tucci memoriae dicata, 3 vols, SOR 56.1-3, Roma, IsMEO, 1985-1988.

G. Gnoli, A. Panaino, eds., Proceedings of the First European Conference of Iranian Studies held in Turin, September 7th-11th 1987 by the Societas Iranologica Europaea, SOR 67.1-2, Roma, IsMEO, 1990.

G. Gnoli and A. V. Rossi, eds., Iranica, Series minor 10, Napoli, IUO, 1979.

G. Gnoli  and G. Sfameni Gasparro, eds., Potere e religione nel mondo indo-mediterraneo tra ellenismo e tarda antichità. Atti dell’incontro di studio della Società Italiana di Storia delle Religioni, Il Nuovo Ramusio, Roma, IsIAO, 2009.

G. Gnoli and J.-P. Vernant, eds., La mort, les morts dans les sociétés anciennes, Cambridge, 1982.


C. G. Cereti, “In memoria di Gherardo Gnoli,” in Rivista degli Studi Orientali, N.S. 86/1-4, 2013, pp. 59-67.

Ph. Gignoux, “Gherardo Gnoli 1937-2012,” in Studia Iranica 41/2, 2012, pp. 297-302.

L. M. Olivieri “Gherardo Gnoli 1937-2012,” in Journal of Asian Civilizations 34/2, 2012 [2011], pp. 237-XI.

P. Callieri, “Gherardo Gnoli Rome, 6th December 1937-Cagli, 7th March 2012,” in Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia 18/2, 2012, pp. 201-6.

Other references.

M. Boyce, Zoroastrianism: Its Antiquity and Constant Vigour, Columbia Lectures on Iranian Studies 7, Costa Mesa and New York, 1992.

C. G. Cereti, M. Maggi, and E. Provasi, Religious Themes and Texts of pre-Islamic Iran and Central Asia. Studies in honour of Professor Gherardo Gnoli on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday on 6th December 2002, Beiträge zur Iranistik 24, Wiesbaden, 2003.

G. Filoramo (a cura di), Dizionario delle religioni, Torino, 1993.

I. Gershevitch, “Approaches to Zoroaster’s Gathas,” Iran 33, 1995, pp. 1-29.

W. B. Henning, Zoroaster. Politician or Witch-doctor, Ratanbai Katrak Lectures 1949, Oxford, 1951.

J. Kellens, Zoroastre et l’Avesta ancient. Quatre leçons au Collège de France, travaux de l’Institut d’études iraniennes de l’Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle 14, Paris, 1991.

Idem, Essays on Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism, tr. and ed. P. O. Skjærvø, Costa Mesa, 2000.

Idem, La quatrième naissance de Zarathushtra, Paris, 2006.

D. N. MacKenzie, “Khwarezmian and Avestan,” EW 38, 1988, pp. 81-92.

M. Molé, Culte, mythe et cosmologie dans l’Iran ancient. Le problème zoroastrien et la tradition mazdéenne, Annales du Musée Guimet – Bibliothèques d’études, Paris, 1963.

P. O. Skjærvø, “Zarathushtra: First Poet Sacrificer,” in S. Adhami, ed., Paitimāna. Essays in Iranian, Indo-European, and Indian Studies in Honor of Hanns-Peter Schmidt, Costa Mesa, 2003, pp. 157-94.

A. Sh Shahbazi, “The ‘Traditional Date of Zoroaster’ Explained,” BSOAS 40, 1977, pp. 25-35.

Idem, “Recent Speculations on the ‘Traditional Date of Zoroaster’,” StIr 31, 2002, pp. 7-45.

(Carlo Cereti)

Originally Published: November 16, 2015

Last Updated: November 16, 2015

Cite this entry:

Carlo Cereti, “GNOLI, GHERARDO,” Encyclopædia Iranicaonline edition, 2015, available at (accessed on 16 November 2015).