The Lelio and Leslie Basso Foundation came into being in Rome in 1973, the result of the amalgamation of the rich private library of Lelio Basso, a collection brought together during the time of his political and cultural activities, and the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Society created in the second half of the 1960s. The collection specializes in the study of historical, juridical, political and sociological sciences, with particular attention being given to the sources.
The collection contains books and periodicals in Arabic concerning the history of modern and contemporary political thought and that of the migrations of peoples, especially in the North African region.
The collection contains some 500 titles of great interest for orientalist and ethnographic research regarding the situation in Africa during the colonial period, especially in Libya and Ethiopia; it deals with the direct personal reports of the researcher whose field of interest lay in the traditions and customs of the region, as well as the anthropology and the cultural and religious development of the colonial and post-colonial period. The collection is also enhanced with numerous extracts from articles, documents and correspondence as well as manuscripts of this scholarly researcher.
The collection, containing more than 200 most useful books for the study of Arabic literature and the history of religions, was given to PISAI by the two brothers of Prof. Sameh Faragalla, Sarwat and Michel.
Of Egyptian origin, Professor Sameh Faragalla, lecturer in Arabic at La Sapienza University in Rome, taught at PISAI from 1979 to 2009, devoting himself to presenting and analysing the Arabic language press and to the study of recorded texts used by the Institute as a valid teaching tool. The academic and educative guidance he gave and the quality of his presence were greatly appreciated by the students of PISAI.
The Horsten Collection reflects the research and the areas of interest of Fr. Piet Horsten. A member of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa, Piet Horsten has been a member of the teaching staff of PISAI and has held the office of Chief Librarian.
After completing his studies for the priesthood, he continued his training with studies in Ancient Greek and Latin at the University of Nijmegen (Netherlands), enriching this classical base, while he was preparing his doctorate, with the study of general linguistics and a theological approach to cultures and religions. His studies led him to develop a deeper interest in translation, especially the translation of the Bible from Greek into Latin and subsequently to a broader study of the relation between religions and languages.
Categories of the Horsten Collection: