Frederico Halbherr


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(b Rovereto, nr Verona, 15 Feb 1875; d Rome, 17 July 1930).

Italian epigrapher and archaeologist. An important figure in the history of archaeological exploration in Crete, he first visited the island in 1884. His interests at that time were mainly epigraphical, and within four months of his arrival he made the remarkable discovery of the Law Code of Gortyn, one of the most important inscriptions ever found in the Greek world. Halbherr became thoroughly committed to the recovery of Crete's past, broadening his interests from the purely epigraphical to the archaeological; the long list of sites that he explored, excavated or encouraged others to excavate includes Gortyn, Axos, the Idaian Cave, Lebena, Prinias and perhaps the two most important sites dug by Italian archaeologists, the Minoan palace of Phaistos and the neighbouring Minoan villa of Ayia Triadha. From 1889 Halbherr was Professor of Greek Epigraphy and Antiquity in the University of Rome. In 1899 he founded the Italian Archaeological Mission in Crete, and in 1910 he was instrumental in the foundation of the Italian School of Archaeology in Athens. His career in Crete spanned the last years of Turkish rule in the island and the great age of excavation in the first decades of this century. His early work did much to interest scholars of other nationalities in the Cretan heritage, while his encouragement of young Italian colleagues laid firm foundations for the long and fruitful tradition of Italian research in Crete that still continues.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Classical Art and Architecture in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Architecture.

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