PhD Position

Hellenism in the Roman Late Republic and the Augustan Period - Project 1 (PhD)

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Radboud University
Erasmusplein 1
6500 HD Nijmegen

Dr. Suzanne van de Liefvoort
+31(0)24 3611276

Hellenism in the Roman Late Republic and the Augustan Period:
Anchoring through Translation in Literary and Material Culture

PhD Position (4 years, 1,0 fte), Leiden University

Main supervisors:
Prof. dr. Miguel John Versluys (Leiden) and prof. dr. Antje Wessels (Leiden)

Anchoring Work Package 9: Roman Republic and Augustan Period

General project description

The final two centuries BC see dramatic changes in all domains (political, social, economic, material, cultural) of Roman (late) Republican society. This is a contingent process that will result in the formation of what we call Roman culture. The influx of foreign objects, ideas and peoples plays a defining role in this process of emerging identity that is characterized by many innovations. As a result, Roman culture anchors itself in the tradition of others. Previous discussions on this fascinating process of cultural formation have shown that we deal with very conscious and specific ways of Roman selection, appropriation and assimilation; a project of translation in which (the Greek and Hellenistic) Other was made into (the Roman) Self. This project will investigate the hypothesis that such processes of translation are examples of how Roman culture anchored itself in (the history of) the wider Hellenistic world and thus was able to develop from a regional player into a global superpower.

Understanding translation as a broader social and cultural practice, this research project – which envisions two PhD candidates and one PD researcher – will analyse the material culture (PhD) and literature (PhD + PD) from such a perspective.

PhD project description

Triggered by the many triumphal processions of Roman generals that were constantly bringing in new stuff, the Roman objectscape changed dramatically in the final two centuries BC, especially from around 200 BC onwards. The city of Rome was now inundated with non-local objects and materials. These objects embodied geographically wide and temporally deep connections and therefore sparked strong reactions from their users and viewers. In late-Republican Rome the innovating effect of objects was massive and determinative because the affordances of all these new artefacts triggered a lot of change. The influx of classical Greek statues, for instance, had a huge impact on the development of Roman architecture and elite self-presentation, but also on the formation of Roman identity against a Greek past that now had become tangible. These objects, therefore, could be said to change Roman society from the outside in. Set against an overview of these changes in the Roman objectscape as provided by recent literature, the PhD candidate will analyse a particular case study (either a specific monument or period, or a specific material, style or object type) in depth.

PhD Candidates are invited to develop their own research project and to submit a structured PhD proposal (title, research question, scholarly background, aims, method, corpus). The case study selected should analyse how Hellenism and its ‘disruptive energy’ is ‘translated’ into an anchor in order to shape Roman Late Republican and Augustan society and culture. We specifically (but not exclusively) welcome case studies which allow for a comparison between the developments of visual and literary culture.

More information about the Anchoring Innovation research agenda of OIKOS can be found on the OIKOS website ( and in an article by Ineke Sluiter, entitled “Anchoring Innovation: a Classical Research Agenda” (Anchoring Innovation: A Classical Research Agenda | European Review | Cambridge Core). The work package to which the project will be assigned will be determined once the period to which the project mostly relates is determined.

Host institution

The future of the past begins in Leiden. The Faculty of Archaeology is internationally leading in its research, and is home to a broad array of specializations and notable for the strong connection it fosters between teaching and research. Home to over 500 students in the multidisciplinary world of Archaeology, the faculty and its researchers from all areas of the archaeological field determine the future of archaeological research.

Terms and conditions

PhD project, 4 years (1.0 FTE, 38 hrs per week), starting date to be agreed upon, with a preference for January 1, 2023. Initially the employee will receive a one-year contract, with extension for the following 36 months on condition of a positive evaluation. It is possible to extend the position over 5 years at 0,8 fte. The appointment must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis. Salary range from € 2.434 to € 3.111 gross per month for a fulltime appointment (pay scale for PhDs, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information:

Tasks of the PhD candidate will include:
  • Completion of a PhD thesis within four years (1,0 fte) or five years (0,8 fte);
  • Participation in meetings of the project research group(s);
  • Presentations of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • Participation in the training program of the local Leiden Graduate School and the National Research School in Classics (OIKOS);
  • Participation in staff meetings of the Leiden Classics team and the intellectual life of the department and the institute;
  • Some teaching in the second and third years of the appointment.
  • A RMA, MA or MPhil degree in Classical Archaeology, Ancient History or Classics, held by time of appointment, with an MA thesis of high quality with a grade of at least 8.0 on a ten-point scale, or comparable assessment;
  • Well-developed research skills, including the ability to formulate relevant and creative research questions and hypotheses, descriptive and analytical skills, and a clear and persuasive style of writing;
  • Excellent competence in ancient Greek and Latin, and English, as well as reading competence in French, German and Italian;
  • A strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research.

The Anchoring Innovation program is strongly committed to diversity within its team and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.


Enquiries about the position can be addressed to Prof. dr. Miguel John Versluys, We deliberately scheduled a long period between this announcement and the deadline for submission so that candidates have ample time to prepare their own versions of the projects outlined above. We know that the design of a good project takes time and effort. Do not hesitate to contact your prospective supervisor about this. Questions about the procedure can be directed to Dr Suzanne van de Liefvoort,


In order to be considered, applications must include the following information (in the same order), in one PDF file (not zipped):

  • Cover letter;
  • CV, including contact information of two referees;
  • Transcript of records (i.e. a certified copy of your MA and BA course lists and results);
  • Research proposal of 1500 words. This does not include the bibliography and (if appropriate) an appendix containing a list of sources (together max. two pages A4);
  • Copy of relevant diploma or statement by master thesis supervisor confirming that the applicant will hold the required degree at the time of appointment.

Please submit your complete application to Dr Suzanne van de Liefvoort, the coordinator of the Anchoring program via before April 24, 2022. Interviews will take place in the week of 30 May – 3 June, 2022 and will possibly be held online.