Conference: The Benefits of the Office - May 30-31

Privilege and Loyalty in the Ancient Mediterranean World

18-05-2017 | 17:16

Office holding, with all its privileges and burdens, is an important aspect for the creation of stability in ancient states. During this multidisciplinary  workshop we want to explore how rulers in patrimonial societies secured the loyalty of an existing elite by confirming or increasing their status, or, in case the existing elite proved problematic, how they established new elites. The papers will address the often fuzzy borders between official and private, to what extend private gains from public office were permitted, and when office holders were punished for abuse.

Organizer: Kristin Kleber (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Sponsors: KNAW, CLUE+, NWO
Registration: free of charge but please register before 10 May by sending an e-mail to Pieter Alkemade:

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

9.30 – 9.50 Kristin Kleber
(Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
“The benefits of office. Privilege and loyalty in ancient Near Eastern empires and beyond”

The Kassite Period (ca. 1350 BC)
9.50 – 10.30 Lynn-Salammbô
Zimmermann (Oxford University)
“The letters of Kassite officials and the intersection of activities carried out in office and in private”
The Neo-Assyrian Period
(8th- 7th century BC)
10.30-11.10 Reinhard Pirngruber
(Universität Wien)
“The king paid no heed to any of the words we sent before. Patterns of negotiation between the Assyrian king and Babylonian notables”

11.10-11.30 Coffee Break

The Neo-Babylonian Period (626-539 BC)
11.30-12.10 Cornelia Wunsch (Dresden) “Serving for prestige. The office of royal judge”
12.10-12.50 Yuval Levavi
(Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv): “Business and office. Personal interaction between Neo-Babylonian bureaucrats”

12.50-14.00 Lunch break

14.00-14.40 Bastian Still
(Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
“The checks and balances of leading political elites in local Babylonian society”

Regime Change from Saite to Persian
Rule (6th century BC)
14.40-15.20 Damien Agut-Labordere
(CNRS, Paris)
“Rehabilitating the deprecated. The second career of Udjahorresnet of Sais under the first Persian kings.”

15.20-15.40 Coffee break

The Hellenistic Period
(4th – 1st century BC)
15.40-16.20 Paola Corò
(Ca’ Foscari University of Venice) “Benefit or imposition? Prebendaries and real estate holders in Hellenistic Uruk”

16.20-17.00 Rolf Strootman
(Universiteit Utrecht)
“In and out of office in the Hellenistic Empires: The notorious case of Theodotus, the Aitolian turncoat”

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Regime Change in the Roman Period and in Late Antiquity
(1st century BC – 7th century AD)
9.30-10.10 Rens Tacoma
(Universiteit Leiden)
“The benefits of competition. Roman political culture from Late Republic to the Early Principate”

10.10-10.50 Martijn Icks
(Universiteit van Amsterdam) “Secluded emperors, excluded senators. Traditional elites and the imperial court in late antiquity”

10.50-11.15 Coffee break

11.15-11.55 Petra Sijpesteijn
(Universiteit Leiden)
“Estate-holders vs. bureaucrats. Building loyalty to the state in early Islamic Egypt”

Approaching a Conclusion
11.55-12.35 Jeroen Duindam
(Universiteit Leiden)
“Benefits of office. An early modernist’s comparative comments”

12.35-13.00 Plenary discussion

Download the programme in pdf