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Maria Cristina Mennuti

Pgr Combined Role

Pgr Combined Role in the Department of Classics and Ancient History 


I completed my BA in Philosophy at the University of Bari (Italy) in 2018 and my MA in Philosophy at the University of Turin (Italy) in 2020. During my MA, I was awarded of the ‘Scholarship for the Universities of Piemonte’ offered by Cecilia Gilardi Foundation (Turin), and winner of the call for MA project research abroad of the University of Turin for a visiting period at Durham University (02/2020 - 05/2020). Before starting my PhD at Durham University funded by Durham Doctoral Studentship (2021-2025), I was at the Universität Tübingen (Germany) for a visiting period funded by DAAD Research Grants - Short-Term Grants 2021 with the project Academic Ethics in the ‘Epinomis’ under the supervision of Professor Irmgard Männlein-Robert. This corresponds with prior research in Old Academy and study on the pseudo-Platonic dialogue Epinomis by Philip of Opus.

Research Project

My doctoral research aims to analyse how Platonists exploit daimonology in their cosmological and theological models and, more generally, to reconstruct the development of an established conception of intermediary beings. Demonology as such was developed within Plato’s Academy (Xenocrates and [Pl.] Epinomis), where demons are considered intermediate beings and extended in the Pythagorean tradition (Golden Verses), and it significantly influenced Stoicism (e.g., Chrysippus). Hence, my second aim is to map the dynamics of transformations of demons, with the aim to understand how post-Hellenistic Platonists appropriated previous demonological models, and why. Demonology will emerge as a philosophical tool both receptive of the past and crucial for future traditions, especially Christianity. 

This research is an attempt to show how a hybrid philosophical/religious approach is necessary to understand the legacy of demonology and subsequent traditions, such as angelology. This methodology aims not only to map a demonological discussion in antiquity but also to develop a more general theoretical model of these themes, in order to identify what common threads informed demonology from philosophical and religious perspectives in different ages.