Edoardo Zavattari

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Edoardo Zavattari (21 October 1883, Tortona – 17 February 1972)[1] (born October 21, 1883 in Tortona, in the province of Alexandria, in Piedmont and died on February 17, 1972 in Genoa) was an Italian zoologist who was a director at the Institute of Zoology in the Sapienza University of Rome from 1935 to 1953.[2] He supported fascism and anti-semitism on the basis of his ideas from biology and was a signatory to the "Manifesto della Razza".[3]


His first academic role was as a professor at the University of Pavia and then at the University of Rome, Edoardo Zavattari was the author of more than 300 scientific publications. Between 1926 and 1959, he made several expeditions, visiting all the continents for research,[4] in particular in the North-Eastern Africa. The specimens he collected, were placed into 122 packages,[5] two of which are now part of the collection of the Museo Civico di Zoologia in Rome. In particular, he published Prodromo della fauna della Libia (1934).

Under was director of the Institute of Zoology in the Capitoline Athenaeum from 1935 to 1958, during which time the Institute's work on animal systematics was revived.[6]

In the twenties and thirties of the twentieth century Zavattari was a supported of the regime of Benito Mussolini and the National Fascist Party and their theories on biological racism. In 1928, at the inauguration of the academic year at the University of Pavia, he pronounced himself for a strict separation between "superior race and dominated race".[7] In 1938, he was one of the ten signatories of the Manifesto of racist scientists whose text, enriched by Guido Landra but conceived and modified by Mussolini, was presented as the founding act of the fascists' racial laws. Zavattari wrote several articles in the magazine La Difesa della Razza, which was edited by the extreme anti-semiteTelesio Interlandi.[8]

Zavattari was a member of the Italian Entomological Society (Società Entomologica Italiana) for more than thirty years (from 1937 to 1969) and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences (Accademia nazionale delle scienza) from 1951.[9]


  • Zavattari, Edoardo (1940) Ambiente naturale e caratteri razziali. La Difesa della razza 3(9):49.
  • Zavattari, Edoardo (1938) Politica ed etica razziale. Vita Universitaria. 3.
  • Zavattari, Edoardo (1937) "Le basi biologiche di faschmo. Critica medico-sociale, no. 6:21-18.


  1. ^ "Edoardo ZAVATTARI". Accademia delle della Scienze di Torino. Retrieved September 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ "Il periodo di Edoardo Zavattari". Museo di Zoologia. Retrieved September 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ Cassata, Francesco (2011). Building the New Man: Eugenics, Racial Science and Genetics in Twentieth-century Italy. Central European University Press. pp. 259–262.
  4. ^ S. Zavatti, Gli esploratori e la letteratura italiana, 1900-1973, Cappelli, Bologna 1976, pp. 19-20 e 98-99.
  5. ^ L. Businco, La missione Zavattari in A.O.I., in «Sapere» (Ulrico Hoepli 1940), riprodotta sul sito «Viaggi nella Storia»
  6. ^ Cfr. Il Museo di Zoologia nel periodo di Edoardo Zavattari sul sito dell’Università di Roma
  7. ^ Cfr. E. Signori, La “conquista fascista” dell'Università. Libertà d'insegnamento e autonomia nell'Ateneo pavese dalla riforma Gentile alle leggi razziali, in «Il politico», LXII (1997), n. 3, p. 468.
  8. ^ Cfr. M. Sarfatti, Gli ebrei nell'Italia fascista. Vicende, identità, persecuzione, Einaudi, Torino 2000 p. 54.
  9. ^ Cfr. il saggio di A. Vigna Taglianti, Il contributo della Società Entomologica Italiana alla biogeografia, in «Biogeografia», vol. XXVI, 2005, pp. 103-228

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