PhD or PD Position

Egyptian Priests and the Anchoring of Greek Kings: Reframing Greek Honour in Ptolemaic Egypt (PhD / PD)

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Contact

Radboud University
Erasmusplein 1
6500 HD Nijmegen

Dr. Suzanne van de Liefvoort
+31(0)24 3611276
anchoring@let.ru.nl

PhD Position (4 years, 1,0 fte) or PD Position (3 years, 1,0 fte), Leiden University
Supervisors: Prof. Luuk de Ligt (Leiden) and Dr. Rens Tacoma (Leiden)

Anchoring Work Package 7: Hellenism

Job description

From Ptolemaic Egypt a number of priestly decrees survive in which honours are given to Ptolemaic kings, most notably in the famous trilingual decrees from Canopus, Raphia, and Rosetta. Traditionally these inscriptions have been studied from the perspective of Ptolemaic kingship, investigating on the basis of the titles of the kings the relationship between Pharaonic/Egyptian and Hellenistic/Greek elements in royal self-representation. Such analyses are part of a wider discussion about the extent to which in the Ptolemaic kingdom Egyptian and Greek culture remained sealed off from each other, especially in the field of religion.

However, it has been rightly observed that the decrees were not instigated by the kings. This PD-project moves the perspective away from the study of the interaction of two cultures. Instead, it studies the process of ‘becoming Greek’ not in general terms but by focusing on the behaviour of a specific group of actors: the Egyptian priests who set up the decrees. Its starting point is the assumption that the honorific decrees should not primarily be read as royal propaganda, but as priestly texts in which members of Egyptian elites had to come to terms with the realities of power. After the advent of Alexander, Egyptian temple priests had to redefine their position in society. One of the ways to do so was to make symbolic statements about their relationship with the new ruler, and Greek epigraphic discourse suggested that the best way to do so was by conferring honours on him. At the same time the new kings had every reason to accept such honours, even if shrouded in concepts that were not entirely their own. The texts thus should be read as the outcome of symbolic negotiations between Ptolemaic kings and Egyptian priests, in which both parties formulated expectations of each other’s roles in a situation of asymmetrical power relations. The traditional Greek language of praise and honour offered common ground for both parties. It provided the priests with a mechanism to anchor themselves in a longstanding tradition, but at the same time in their multi-lingual decrees they adopted, adapted, and appropriated honorific discourse to their own ends. The result was a hybrid kind of political culture which provided a platform to explore the relation between Egyptian and Greek, between ruler and ruled, and between the old and the new.

Candidates are invited to submit a structured proposal (title, research question, scholarly background, aims, method, corpus) around this topic. More information about the Anchoring Innovation research agenda of OIKOS can be found on the website (www.anchoringinnovation.nl) and in an article by Ineke Sluiter, entitled “Anchoring Innovation: a Classical Research Agenda” (Anchoring Innovation: A Classical Research Agenda | European Review | Cambridge Core).

Host institution

The Faculty of Humanities of Leiden University is a unique international centre for the advanced study of languages, cultures, arts, and societies worldwide, in their historical contexts from prehistory to the present. Our faculty is home to more than 6,000 students and 800 staff members. For more information see https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/humanities.

The Leiden University Institute for History is responsible for the main part of the historical research carried out at Leiden University. The institute has a wide-ranging academic scope. Its strong international orientation and focus on the study of European, American, Asian and African societies in a global context give the institute a unique character. The academic leaders connected to the institute's research programmes are internationally renowned scholars that engage in numerous networks, contribute to important conferences and publish with outstanding academic presses. More information about the Leiden University Institute for History see https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/humanities/institute-for-history.

Terms and conditions

PhD project, 4 years (1,0 fte, 38 hrs per week), starting date to be agreed, with a preference for September 1, 2022. 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).

Postdoc position, 3 years (1,0 fte, 38 hrs per week) with the same starting date and a salary range from € 3.746,- to € 5.127,- gross per month for a fulltime appointment depending on prior education and working experience (pay scale 11, 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: http://www.workingat.leiden.edu/.

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 programme 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.
Requirements for PhD candidates
  • A RMA, MA or MPhil degree in 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;
  • Very good oral and written skills in English;
  • Reading competence in ancient Greek and preferably Demotic;
  • Strong writing and analytical skills
  • Independent thinker, team player;
  • Grit.
Tasks of the postdoc will include:
  • Completion of a monograph or, alternatively, at least three substantial articles within three years (1,0 fte) or three years and seven months (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
  • Organization of at least one workshop.
Requirements for PD candidates
  • A PhD in (Ancient) History or Classics (held by time of appointment);
  • An excellent research and publication record in relation to stage of career;
  • 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;
  • Competence in ancient Greek and Demotic;
  • A strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research;
  • Some organisational experience.
Diversity

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

Information

Enquiries about the position can be addressed to Prof. dr. Luuk de Ligt, l.de.ligt@hum.leidenuniv.nl. We deliberately scheduled a long period between this announcement and the deadline for submission so that PhD 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, anchoring@let.ru.nl.

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 (i.e. BA and MA grades);
  • 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 to Dr Suzanne van de Liefvoort, the coordinator of the Anchoring-program via anchoring@let.ru.nl before April 24, 2022. Interviews will take place in the week of 30 May – 3 June, 2022 and will possibly be held online.