PhD Project

(PhD) Livy as Stylistic Anchor

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Radboud University
Erasmusplein 1
6500 HD Nijmegen

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

Livy as Stylistic Anchor

Anchoring WP10: Cultural Common Ground in the Roman Empire (31 BCE-200 CE)

PhD Position (4 years, 1.0 fte), University of Amsterdam

Main Supervisors: Prof. dr Caroline Kroon and Dr Lidewij van Gils

Salary Range: between € 2.541 and € 3.247 gross per month

Project Description

While Livy’s position within the tradition of historiography continues to be in the center of classical scholarship, and there is still an unbroken interest in Livy as a historian and as a source from which to reconstruct Roman history, more and more attention is being paid to the narrative through which Livy presents his Roman history to us: see e.g Pausch 2011 from the narratological perspective of reader engagement; Levene 2010 from the perspective of narrative composition; and various articles in the volume Textual Strategies in Ancient War Narrative from a combined discourse-linguistic and narratological perspective (van Gils, de Jong & Kroon eds., 2019).

This project aims to address the ways in which Livy’s narrative style served as an anchor for later imperial historiography (e.g. Tacitus), or for historical epic, such as Lucan’s De Bello Civile or, especially, Silius Italicus’ Punica, which covers the same historical ground as Livy’s third decade. The focus of the project will be on stylistic comparison, and on the application and further development of a combined linguistic-narratological toolbox for investigating literary style. The challenge lies partly in the descriptive and analytic part of this research, but also in the explanation of observed differences and similarities in terms of literary common ground and other relevant factors. A key question, in this respect, is to what extent later authors inspired by Livy are innovative in their stylistic choices or have other anchors than Livy.

For this PhD project we welcome structured proposals (title, research question, scholarly background, aims, method, corpus) for research that will increase our understanding of the notoriously difficult concept of style. The project will be executed as part of the ‘Anchoring Innovation’ research agenda of OIKOS, the National Research School in Classical Studies of the Netherlands, more specifically Work Package 10 (Cultural Common Ground in Roman Empire). Anchoring Innovation investigates innovation processes through the concept of anchoring, i.e. the various ways in which ‘the new’ could (or could not) be connected to what was already familiar. More information about this program can be found on the website ( Another good starting point to get acquainted with the research program is an article by Ineke Sluiter, entitled “Anchoring Innovation: a Classical Research Agenda”.

Terms and Conditions

PhD project, 4 years (1.0 FTE, 38 hrs per week), starting date to be agreed upon, with a preference for September 1, 2023. Initially the employee will receive a one-year contract, with extension for the following 36 months on condition of a positive evaluation. The appointment must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis. Salary range from € 2.541 to € 3.247 gross per month for a fulltime appointment (pay scale for PhDs, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).This includes medical and pension benefits.

The University of Amsterdam 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. Please note that if the successful candidate is not already registered as living in the Netherlands, it is required that the candidate will officially relocate to the Netherlands on the starting date of the contract at the latest.

Tasks of the PhD candidate will include

  • Completion of a PhD thesis within the contract period;
  • 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 Graduate School for the Humanities (GSH), the National Research School in Classics (OIKOS) and the wider Anchoring Innovation project;
  • Participation in staff meetings of the Amsterdam 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 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 (if the degree is not yet obtained at the time of application, a statement by the applicant’s supervisor should confirm that it will be obtained by time of appointment);
  • 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;
  • Affinity with philological / linguistic / narratological approaches;
  • Independent thinker, team player;
  • Willingness to move to the Netherlands for the duration of the project.


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 Caroline Kroon ( or to Dr Lidewij van Gils ( We have deliberately scheduled a longer period between this announcement and the deadline for submission so that candidates have ample time to prepare their own versions of the project 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 admissible, 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 courses 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, 2023. Interviews will take place in the week of 22-26 May 2023 (online).