Essays written by authoritative names of the liberal arts and scientific fields to reflect on our current global society, on its identity, trajectory and facets.

(Title’s translation: The tragic heroism of Adam. The humanism of Pico della Mirandola)

The pace of history, the anthropological dimension and the protection of plurality are some of the themes that separate the work of Pico della Mirandola from that of most of his coeval, eminent humanistic interlocutors a reflection always aiming to show how the mosaic of human knowledge is built on difference, yet structured according to an inner consistency. Pico, an anomalous humanist, enemy to all dogmatic thought, spent his short and intense life between his family estate, Bologna, Ferrara, Florence, Padua, Paris, Perugia and Rome, but enjoyed a world of cultural references which was much wider and more complex than the topography drawn by this itinerary of his.

(Title’s translation: Worship Aten.Texts from the court of the pharaoh Akhenaten)

In the mid-fourteenth century BC, Egypt was upset by the ascent to the throne of Amenhotep IV, who, in the fifth year of his reign, changed his name to Akhenaten. A religious policy was inaugurated, devoted exclusively to the worship of the Sun God Aten, which appeared to contemporaries in contrast to the ancient tradition of the Egyptian civilization. The choice of texts published in the Appendix, translated from originals written in hieroglyphic, helps to understand one of the most original moments in Egyptian history, dominated by the figure of a sovereign in balance between being considered either an idealist or an opportunist.

As the only official representative of the U.S. government in Rome at the time of the Roman revolution of 1848, Nicholas Brown played a significant, if little known, role. Invoking American republican and Enlightenment values, he took an active part in supporting the newly proclaimed Roman Republic, in direct conflict with the instructions he received from the U.S. secretary of state. His correspondence with Giuseppe Mazzini, Carlo Armellini and Aurelio Saffi, and other major figures in the drama of Rome in 1848-49, long buried in archives at Brown University, offers new insight into that key episode of the Italian Risorgimento.