Universiteit Leiden

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Maarja Seire

PhD candidate

M. Seire MA
+31 71 527 1707

PhD project

The focus of my research project are the archival scribes who wrote private legal documents during the Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods (7th-4th century BCE). I will do my research in the context of the ERC project Persia and Babylonia, which produces a prosopographical database of Babylonia. I will use this database as a tool to find and study a so far understudied group of people in Babylonia – the so-called literate elite.

By using social network analysis, I will study the communities in which the archival scribes were active. Furthermore, by studying the archival practice, I will deal with the making of our material text corpus (e.g. who kept the archives and who wrote them) and tackle the issues related to local autonomy in Babylonian cities and villages vis-à-vis political control that the Persian empire exercised in its most important periphery, Babylonia. In general, my research will contribute significantly to our understanding of the survival of local traditions in Babylonia under the Persian rule.

Research interests

Assyriology, cuneiform studies, Babylonia, Persian empire, social history, archive studies, prosopography, social network analysis, archival practice, scribes


2018 – present         PhD candidate, Leiden University
2017                            Research assistant, Leiden University
2014 – 2016              Research M.A. Assyriology, Leiden University
2013 – 2014              Pre M.A. Assyriology, Leiden University
2009 – 2012             B.A. Theology / Religious Studies, Tartu University (cum laude)

PhD candidate

  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SMES Assyriologie

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 4
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 0.15



No relevant ancillary activities

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