Gian Mario Cao is an intellectual historian whose interests lie at the intersection of the history of ideas and the history of the classical tradition.
His publications focus on the recovery and dissemination of Greek doxography and philosophy in early modern times (‘The prehistory of modern Scepticism: Sextus Empiricus in 15th-century Italy’, in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 2001; ‘Diogenes Laertius‘, in The Classical Tradition, edited by A. Grafton, G. W. Most and S. Settis, Harvard UP 2010); Italian Renaissance humanism (‘Tra politica fiorentina e filosofia ellenistica: il dibattito sulla ricchezza nelle Commentationes di Francesco Filelfo’, in Archivio Storico Italiano, 1997; ‘Pico della Mirandola goes to Germany’, in Annali dell’Istituto Storico Italo-Germanico in Trento, 2004); freethinking and its critics in early eighteenth-century England (‘Freethinking, New Testament textual criticism and censorship: Anthony Collins, Richard Bentley, and the Index Librorum Prohibitorum’, in The Marriage of Philology and Scepticism. Uncertainty and conjecture in early modern scholarship and thought, edited by G. M. Cao, A. Grafton and J. Kraye, Warburg Institute, 2019); and the history of intellectuals in the twentieth century (‘Appunti storiografici in margine al carteggio Gilson-Nardi’, in Giornale Critico della Filosofia Italiana, 2001).
Since receiving his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa in 2001, he has held research fellowships both in Italy and abroad, mostly in the United States (Library of Congress, Washington; Princeton University) and in the UK (Warburg Institute, London; Trinity College, Cambridge). In 2002-03 he was a fellow at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence.