PhD student (Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies)


Forschungsbau "Weltbeziehungen" / C19.03.26

Office hours

nach Vereinbarung

Visiting address

Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
C19 – Forschungsbau "Weltbeziehungen"
Max-Weber-Allee 3
99089 Erfurt

Mailing address

Universität Erfurt
Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Postfach 90 02 21
99105 Erfurt

Emma de Koning

Personal information

  • 2017 – 2021: B.A. | Liberal Arts and Sciences | University College Roosevelt (Niederlande)
  • 2021 – 2022: M. Phil. | Classics | Trinity College Dublin (Irland)
  • From 2023: PhD researcher as part of the International Graduate School ‘Resonant Self-World Relations in Ancient and Modern Socio-Religious Practices’

Research project

A “Pregnant” Image: The Resonance of Childbirth Iconography and Ritual in the Societies of the Ancient Mediterranean 

During my studies, I developed an interest in ancient religion as a place where private concerns and public activities come together, especially in the case of healing cults. This combines quite naturally with my preoccupation with women, their place in society, and their role in history to form my PhD project, which studies childbirth symbolism in the ancient Aegean. Starting from a remarkable but understudied corpus of pregnant and parturient figurines from Cyprus, Crete, and the Cyclades – spanning the period between Chalcolithic and Hellenistic times – my project aims to reconstruct the symbolic ‘language’ that was used in ritual contexts and that combined images of childbirth and other symbols. It then becomes possible to examine how these figurines and rituals acted as sources of resonance within and outside the sanctuary, and how this connected to women’s social roles. In doing so, the project aims to add depth to the narratives of ancient women’s lives and to examine the use of childbirth as a powerful symbol.