Universiteit Leiden

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Research programme

Classics

This research programme focuses on the analysis and interpretation of the formation processes and the transmission of the culture of the Graeco-Roman Period.

Contact
Ineke Sluiter

The primary research question comprises the analysis and interpretation of the formation processes and the transmission of the culture of the Graeco-Roman Period. This consists of the analysis and interpretation of cultural changes and mentality, and of the links between such changes and the societal structures within which they take place.

Texts and other sources that represent the primary form of access to the Classical Period constitute the basis of the study of the Graeco-Roman culture. These texts have to be made accessible through editions and commentaries. The study of the Graeco-Roman Period also requires critical reflection on the period’s image in later periods. The research therefore also includes the meaning and the reception of the Graeco-Roman legacy in western civilisation. The researchers study the culture of this period in its diversity and historical development, which includes not only all objects of art, architecture, literature, philosophy and science but also material culture, the production and exchange of products, infrastructure, political and social regulations, norms and conventions.

The core of the research programme consists of the study of the relationship between cultural products and their social context. Particular attention is paid to the processes of the formation and transmission of culture. This cultural formation takes place at all levels of society and includes the most diverse activities. Participants in this process are both individuals and groups, and the process is influenced by both political and social structures. The transmission of culture always relates to groups: it is a collective phenomenon to which individuals contribute by giving a new form or meaning to cultural values that have been handed down to them. The tension between collective identity and the creative input of individuals is the subject of our research.

Classicists in Leiden have organised their research in the context of the National Research School in Classical Studies, OIKOS, to which they contribute the largest local cohort of researchers. The OIKOS research programme consists of three broader programme tracks (making texts and other sources available and accessible; studying the processes of the formation and transmission of culture; theory and historiography) and six research groups (1.Textual Cohesion: Greek and Latin linguistics; 2. Hellenistic and Imperial Literature; 3. The Sacred and the Profane: History of Religion and Literature of Archaic and Classical Greece; 4. Impact of Empire: Interaction between state policy and society and culture of the Roman Empire; 5. Ancient Philosophy; 6. Classical Receptions and Traditions). All LUCAS classicists participate in and/or lead these research groups. The field of Classics is characterised by strong unity and cohesion, and it is common practice for both senior and junior researchers to participate in more research groups. This is consistent with both LUCAS and OIKOS policy.

Leiden researchers not connected with the LUCAS

  • Historians in the SEG project

National

  • OIKOS
  • Dictionary project Greek-Dutch (University of Leiden, University of Amsterdam)
  • ZENO Leiden-Utrecht Research Institute for Philosophy (De Haas)
  • The National Protagoras Society (University of Leiden, University of Utrecht, University College Utrecht)

International

  • Universität Heidelberg, Berichtigungsliste der griechischen Papyrusurkunden (Hoogendijk)
  • Brussels, Free University, Association Internationale de Papyrologues (Hoogendijk)
  • Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Penn-Leiden Colloquia (Sluiter)
  • Leuven, De Wulf-Mansion Centre, Higher Institute of Philosophy (De Haas)
  • Rutgers University (N.J.), Project Theophrastus (Van Raalte, Rademaker)
  • Cambridge, Newham College / Whipple Museum of the History of Science (Van Raalte, Rademaker)

Connection with other research