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Caroline Waerzeggers appointed professor of Assyriology

Since 1 September 2016, Caroline Waerzeggers has been appointed as professor of Assyriology at Leiden University. From January 2017 she will be directing a new project about the rise of the Persian Empire, funded by the European Research Council (ERC).

Caroline Waerzeggers

The rise of an empire

The project is titled 'Persia and Babylonia: Creating a New Context for Understanding the Emergence of the First World Empire'. The Persian Empire was the first of its kind: a world empire that surpassed its predecessors in size and duration. Furthermore, the Persian Empire served as a model for comparable superpowers, and formed a tipping point in world history. The question remains: how was this achieved? Waerzeggers: 'We want to learn the "success formula" of the Persian Empire.'


This question will largely be answered by studying cuneiform tablets. Hundreds of thousands of tablets were excavated during the 19th and 20th centuries especially in the region of modern Iraq and Syria. Most of these have been barely examined. Unread tablets, in perfect condition, are stored in museums around the world. By performing comparative research, Waerzeggers and her team are hoping to reveal what caused the Persian success story. The project will continue for five years.

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