PhD position New Ages: Anchoring Innovation in Roman Imperial Panegyric 1.0 FTE


Faculty of Arts


University of Groningen

The University of Groningen is an ambitious international research university with strong roots in the north of the Netherlands. The University creates and shares knowledge through outstanding research and education, and thus benefits society.

Job description

Topic: New Ages: Anchoring Innovation in Roman Imperial Panegyric
(Anchoring Work Package 2, Literature and Art)

New ideas and inventions that affect social life cannot thrive unless they are somehow embedded in the society for which they are intended. Innovation will always be connected somehow—both in the ways it is communicated and perceived, and in terms of content—to what people know, believe, want, value, and can understand. This is true even of radical, path-breaking, ‘revolutionary’ ideas and insights. This phenomenon of ‘anchoring’ is central to the new research agenda of the Dutch classicists. One area in which ‘anchoring’ is studied in our program is its appearance in literature and the arts.
In this respect, a fascinating phenomenon is the trope of the ‘New Age’, in particular in panegyrics of emperors. Although emperors needed to present themselves as firmly rooted in Roman traditions, they also needed to surpass their predecessors and claim that their own reign inaugurated a period of unprecedented flourishing. This emphasis on discontinuity was even greater after a period of crisis, and especially when a new dynasty had come to power. In such cases, the new age brought about a break with the immediate past, but it could still be anchored in a remoter past (real or imagined), to which it was presented as returning. The repetition of this process from emperor to emperor unfolded its own dynamics: thus, whereas the reign of Augustus was described as the return of the mythological Golden Age, a number of later emperors claimed to bring back the Age of Augustus. Such messages of return and renewal could be encoded in a variety of media, among which a central role was played by literary texts written to praise the emperor, in poetry as well as prose. It is such panegyrical texts that will be the primary focus of this project.
We invite structured PhD proposals (title, research question, scholarly background, aims, method, corpus) with ideas on how to approach the topic of the ‘New Age’ trope in imperial panegyrical poetry and/or prose.
More information about the Anchoring Innovation research agenda of OIKOS can be found on the OIKOS website ( including an article by Ineke Sluiter, entitled “Anchoring Innovation: a Classical Research Agenda”.

Tasks of the PhD candidate will include:
• completion of a PhD thesis within four years
• participation in meetings of the project research group(s)
• presentations of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences
• participation in the training programme of the local Groningen Graduate School and the National Research School in Classics (OIKOS)
• participation in staff meetings of the Groningen Classics team and the intellectual life of the department and the research institute CRASIS
• some teaching in the second and third years of the appointment.

Supervisors: Prof. Ruurd Nauta (University of Groningen), Dr Bettina Reitz-Joosse (University of Groningen), Dr Jan Willem Drijvers (University of Groningen).


• a research MA, 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
• 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 reading competence in ancient Greek and Latin, excellent command of written and spoken English, as well as reading competence in French, German, and Italian
• independent thinker, team player.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:
- a salary of € 2,325 to € 2,972 gross per month (based on a full-time position of 38 hours)
- an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training, and career development.

PhD project, 4 years (1.0 FTE, 38 hrs/week), starting date to be agreed, with a preference for 1 April 2020. Initially the employee will receive a one-year contract, with extension for the following 36 months on condition of a positive evaluation.

Job Application

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
• 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.

Please submit your complete application before 1 November 2019 to Aniek van den Eersten, Coordinator of the Anchoring-programme by email:

Interviews will take place in the week of 2-6 December 2019. For candidates living abroad interviews may be held via Skype.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Prof. O.M. van Nijf

Aniek van den Eersten (questions about the procedure)

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 219484

Extra informatie kan worden verkregen via een van de volgende links:

Faculty of Arts PhD programmes