Lillian Datchev

Graduate Student
G-05 Dickinson Hall

I am a cultural and intellectual historian of premodern Europe. My research spans the histories of knowledge, material culture, and early capitalism in medieval and early modern Europe, with a focus on Italy and the eastern Mediterranean.

My dissertation, "The Origins of Antiquarian Scholarship, 1204-1545" asks, how and why did humanists begin studying ancient artifacts systematically from the fifteenth century on? I have found that this scholarly movement originated in cultural traditions that first developed in mercantile communities in the Italian colonies and commercial outposts in the Adriatic, Aegean, and Crimean regions.

At Princeton, I co-organized the conference, "The Filologus and the Antiquarius: Studying Language and Objects in Renaissance Europe" with Anthony Grafton and Mateusz Falkowski in 2018. I also coordinated the Early Modern History Workshop with Anthony Grafton and Nikianna Dinenis in 2022-2023. And, I co-organized The Medieval Black Sea Project, a research project that investigates the different peoples, objects, and ideas that interacted in this region, with Teresa Shawcross and Earnestine Qiu in 2022-2023. As part of this project, we organized the conference, "Black Sea Migrations in the Long Thirteenth Century: Bodies, Things, Ideas" in September 2023.

I received a B.A. in philosophy and the history of mathematics and science from St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland in 2013, and a M.A. in the cultural and intellectual history of the Renaissance from the Warburg Institute in 2016. My research has been supported by a Mellon fellowship in post-classical Latin at UCLA in 2016-2017, a Fulbright fellowship at the University of Bologna in 2020-2021, and the Rome Prize at the American Academy in Rome in 2021-2022.

Selected Publications

"Ciriaco d'Ancona and the Origins of Epigraphy." Renaissance Quarterly 76.2 (Summer 2023): 1-53.

Year of Study
Seventh Year
Area of Interest
Cultural History
Economic History
Intellectual History
Material Culture
Political History
Visual Culture
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