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Anchoring Buildings:

Reframing Urbanization and Monumentalization in Early Ptolemaic Times.

Postdoc project (3 years, 1.0 fte), Leiden University
Anchoring Work Package 8: Hellenism

Prof. dr. Luuk de Ligt (Leiden) and Dr. Rens Tacoma (Leiden)

Salary range
Between € 3.821,- and € 5.230,- gross per month, depending on education and experience

Job description
In an often-quoted article Alan Bowman and Dominic Rathbone argued that the first and second centuries AD witnessed a gradual transformation of the metropoleis (nome capitals) of Roman Egypt from state-dominated centres of administration into self-governing cities administered by their own magistrates. While this reconstruction of change from an Egyptian type of urbanity to a Greco-Roman one is overall convincing, it ignores the Ptolemaic ‘pre-history’ of the nome capitals.

The aim of this postdoc project is to highlight, and to explain the continuities and discontinuities in the Egyptian nome capitals between the late fourth and late first centuries BC with the help of the conceptual toolkit of the Anchoring Innovation project. On the one hand, the ‘nome capitals’ of the pharaonic and Persian periods retained their role as religious and administrative centres. Indeed the Ptolemaic kings not only showered the temples of the nome capitals with gifts of land but also invested heavily in temple construction, leading to further monumentalization. At the same time the Ptolemaic period saw the introduction of new types of buildings, such as “Greek” gymnasia, and of new types of administrators, such as agoranomoi. In other words, as early as the third century BC various new institutions of “Greek” origin appeared in the old nome capitals. The challenge is to disentangle this complicated web of continuities and discontinuities and to explain why only certain innovative elements of the “Greek” polis tradition were successfully anchored in the nome centres of Ptolemaic Egypt.

We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher who has a basic knowledge of Ptolemaic Egypt and/or ancient urbanism and monumentalization and who is excited by the prospect of advancing our understanding of Ptolemaic urbanism and monumentalization by writing three articles or a monograph on this under-researched topic.

Candidates are invited to design a structured PD proposal (title, research question, scholarly background, aims, method, corpus) around these issues. In their proposals, candidates should outline their suggested approach, main research question, and expected original contribution to the field. More information about the Anchoring Innovation research agenda of OIKOS can be found on the website ( and in an article by Ineke Sluiter, entitled “Anchoring Innovation: a Classical Research Agenda”.

Host institution
The Faculty of Humanities of Leiden University is a unique international center 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

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 programs 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

Terms and conditions
Postdoc position, 3 years (1,0 fte, 38 hrs per week) starting date to be agreed upon, with a preference for September 1, 2022. Initially the employee will receive a one-year contract, with extension for the following 2 years on condition of a positive evaluation. Salary range (depending on education and experience) of a minimum of € 3.821,- and a maximum of € 5.230,- (salary scale 11) gross per month for full-time employment, (pay scale for postdoctoral researchers, in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities). This includes medical and pension benefits. If desired, the position may be held part-time and thereby extended in length. 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 PD candidate will include:

  • To develop and carry out an innovative research project within the framework described above;
  • To present research results at national and international conferences and workshops (individual and/or co-authored);
  • To submit research results for three publications in peer-reviewed journals (individual and/or co-authored) and/or a monograph;
  • Some teaching (max. 20%);
  • To participate in the host institution, the national research school OIKOS, and the wider Anchoring Innovation program.

The project seeks to employ a highly motivated and proactive candidate who will need to work both independently and as part of a larger team.
A successful PD candidate should preferably have:

  • A PhD in (Ancient) History or Classics or another relevant discipline, held by time of appointment;
  • Preferably some years of (independent) research experience;
  • Research and publication record showing (basic) knowledge of Ptolemaic Egypt and/or ancient urbanism and monumentalization;
  • Very good oral and written skills in English;
  • Knowledge of ancient languages, relevant to the research 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. Luuk de Ligt, 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 list of BA and MA courses and 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 or statement by PhD 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.