Analytical Concept


The Human Factor

Analytical Concept

Anchoring the New

Social Impact

Tool for Thinking

A new Tool for Thinking

The project brings together classicists to study the human factor in successful innovation and develop and test the concept of anchoring: connecting the new to the familiar.

Anchoring Innovation (in Dutch)

This video is part of the exhibition 'Emperor Domitian: God on Earth'

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden
17 December 2021 - 22 May 2022

What we do

Book series
Lectures & Workshops
Teaching Material


Our researchers are working together on 7 domains led by eminent researchers in the field. We study all important domains of human civilization and have a special domain devoted to discussing issues of theory.

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Our junior researchers are working on exciting individual projects to explore the concept of anchoring in all classical disciplines. Projects range from Greek statues in Rome to epic elements in science fiction film, from Cicero’s letters to Hellenistic medicine.

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Book series

The Anchoring Innovation programme has initiated its own open access book series with Brill, called Euhormos.

Euhormos (εὔορμος) is the Homeric term for a harbour ‘in which the anchoring is good’. Under this auspicious title, we aim to publish a book series striving to afford ‘good anchorage’ to studies contributing to a better understanding of ‘anchoring innovation’ in Greco-Roman antiquity.

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Lectures & Workshops

We put on tailor-made lectures and workshops for companies and schools to introduce the concept of Anchoring Innovation. Allow our examples from the classical past to shed new light on the present and future of your organization.

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Teaching Material

For Dutch school teachers in Classics we have developed teaching material to use the concept of Anchoring Innovation in the classroom.

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1. Discourse & Rhetoric

Prof. Caroline Kroon

Language is arguably the most powerful anchoring device. Anchoring mechanisms in communication often disclose shared values, ambitions or knowledge.

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2. Literature & Art

Prof. Irene de Jong & Prof. Antje Wessels

Projects on important literary and artistic innovations, the invention of new forms of literature and art, and their relation to pre-existing models.

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3. Philosophy & Religion

Prof. Josine Blok & Prof. Teun Tieleman

Issues of authority in cultic innovations, innovations in priesthood, and foundations of civic festivals from the point of view of successful or unsuccessful anchoring.

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4. Politics, Law, Economy & the Military

Prof. Josine Blok & Prof. Onno van Nijf

How and why did political innovation come about and how were such innovations anchored (more or less) successfully?

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5. Technology, Science & Material Culture

Dr Stephan Mols & Prof. Teun Tieleman

Case studies of dramatic innovations in technology, science and material culture, where we can study anchoring processes and their outcomes in detail.

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6. Reception of Antiquity

Dr Susanna de Beer, Dr Bettina Reitz-Joosse & Prof. Eric Moormann

Antiquity itself can serve as an anchor in and through a long history of reception.

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B. Theory & Methods

Prof. Ineke Sluiter & whole team

The team jointly strives to develop a theory of Anchoring Innovation. This group guarantees optimal collaboration between all domains and focuses on common issues of theory.

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7. Classical Athens

Dr Luuk Huitink & Dr Saskia Peels

This work package is set in its entirety in the context of the new institution of Athenian democracy in the 5th century BCE and the anchoring practices discernible in this major transition.

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8. Hellenism

Prof. Luuk de Ligt, Prof. Teun Tieleman & Prof. Miguel John Versluys

‘Hellenism’ both refers to the situation in the east after the death of Alexander and to the spread of Greek culture throughout the Mediterranean, including Rome. This work package is about anchoring cultural and religious innovations, primarily under the Hellenistic successor kingdoms.

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9. Late Roman Republic & Augustan Rome

Prof. Olivier Hekster, Prof. Miguel John Versluys & Prof. Antje Wessels

This work package studies the expansion of the Roman republic into the east and the transition to the Augustan period from the point of view of the attendant ‘cultural revolution’ and the need to anchor new forms of political authority.

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10. Roman Empire, esp. Flavian Period

Prof. Caroline Kroon, Prof. Onno van Nijf & Prof. Teun Tieleman

The Flavian dynasty inaugurated a ‘new age’ in need of legitimation, but could not anchor itself in the recent past.

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11. Long Late Antiquity

Prof. Olivier Hekster & Prof. Onno van Nijf

This work package studies the transition constituted by the establishment of Christianity in the ancient world.

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12. Modern Europe

Prof. Maarten De Pourcq & Dr Bettina Reitz-Joosse

This work package deals with the use of the classical world as itself an anchoring device for later periods, an archive and storehouse to find ideas and devices by which later times may anchor innovations, but which may also function as a site of creative inspiration, not simply conservation.

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Search for Publications

Search for publications related to our project Anchoring Innovation.


Anchoring Innovation organizes various (online) events.

Upcoming Events

06 Jul

Conference "Meteorology beyond Borders. Ancient and Modern Reflections" - Day 1

09:30 - 15:45
Utrecht University / online (hybrid)

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