One of the greatest historians of the 20th century for variety and breadth of interest and originality of thought, Mazzarino was born in Catania where he graduated (1936) with a thesis “Around the history of the stiliconian period of Rome” awarded by the University of Florence with the Cantone Prize. Instrumental in his formation, a fundamental experience of studying and living in Monaco, at the school of Walter Otto, founder of modern papyrology, and Rudolf Pfeiffer -1936 scholarship. The Munich experience will drive Mazzarino’s interest in German culture and history.
Returned to Sicily, at just twenty-one years Mazzarino taught Greek and Latin literature in high school and in 1939 joined the Italian Institute for Ancient History. From 1945 to 1963 he was in charge of ancient Greek and Roman history and ancient Eastern history at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Catania (etween 1946 and 1953 he was also in charge of ancient history at the University of Messina). In 1963 he joined “La Sapienza” in Rome as professor of Roman history.
National partner of the “Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei”, Mazzarino’s research ranged from the Ionian Hellenism to the archaic and imperial Roman times. He also studied the decay and the end of Rome and, historiographical issues. His major work, “Il pensiero storico classico” (The classic historical thinking), is still a key reading for modern scholars.