The doctorate-degree regulations of the University of Erfurt (Faculty of Philosophy) - valid from 2007, from 2012 and from 2022 - can be found at .



"For what most men call peace, let it be a mere word" (Plat. nom. 626a) Peace in war - a discourse in classical Athens?

Because peace and conflict research touches on a wide variety of scientific as well as social subfields, my dissertation project has set itself the task of approaching points of view on war and peace from different angles. It tries to make cultural as well as historical change - the dynamics of war - systematizable, narratable and visible by means of a multi-perspective presentation. For although modernity can tell us little about the frequency, causes, motives, and role of war in antiquity, the characterization of classical Athens as a society that considered war to be the normal state of affairs persists - and not only in ancient historical research. Does 'peace' (Aristoph. pax.) have any place at all in the 'warrior's guild' typified by WEBER (MWG I/22§5) or does it remain merely part of fantastic utopia?

This question as well as the relationship between war and peace in classical Athens will be the subject of the doctoral project. On the basis of selected paradigms of the ancient canon of writings, the discourse that often counteracted the real conditions will be traced, and the divergence of socio-cultural discourse and the level of political actors will be examined in comparison with the real historical conditions. The coherent question of the perception of conflicts on different social levels and the resulting or omitted implications for the real political conditions of classical Athens does not only respond to an ancient historical research desideratum. In addition, the project reflects on antiquity as an object of identification and, starting from contemporary questions - especially the theorem of just war in view of the conditions of current conflicts - takes a look at the significance of the Greek thinkers for debates of the present.

Supervisor: Kai Brodersen / Claudia Tiersch (HU Berlin). Accepted as a PhD student in Erfurt on 5/18/2018 Contact:



Religion on stage: sacred elements in dramas of the Roman Republic.

Fraud, avarice, violence, and pimping as popular motifs of comedy ostensibly have the function of exhilarating the audience, and yet a unifying element is discernible in republican drama: ancient religion. The theater, and by extension the performance of drama in the Roman Republic, is particularly interesting in providing a reflection of social structures and the religion associated with them. Poets such as Lucius Livius Andronicus (c. 284 - 205 BC), Gnaeus Naevius (c. 270 - 201 BC), and Quintus Ennius (c. 239 - 169 BC) travestied Greek comedies like tragedies and intergated Roman cultural elements. Later Republican poets such as Titus Maccius Plautus (c. 250 - 184 BC), Publius Terentius Afer (c. 195 - 159/8 BC), Marcus Pacuvius (c. 220 - 130 BC), and Lucius Accius (c. 170 - 90 BC) continued this travesty. Although Roman drama has particularly prominent sacred references - recognizable firstly by the mode of performance, as plays were always performed in honor of the gods, and secondly by the location of performance and the associated topographical proximity to a sanctuary - cult practices and their function do not occupy a prominent position in the modern research literature.

The majority of scholarly work to date has focused on philological studies. The problematic nature of an analysis of cult practices on stage is that dramas also always depict a fictional, staged, and exaggerated world and thus present a caricatured image of the local or even regional religious traditions, customs, and ideas of the Roman Republic. In order to overcome this hurdle, both the theater, in its entirety with Music, stage design, acting, audience as well as the selected republican dramas as a literary source tangible to us are illuminated as images of memory dynamics. This perspective opens new spaces for an understanding of religious practices in antiquity. Two questions are at the center of the investigation: On the one hand, the function of staging religious elements on stage will be worked out, on the other hand, in which subjects religion and humor can be brought together and what this can say about the social structures of the republic. To this end, a multidisciplinary approach will be pursued, combining historical, archaeological, religious studies, sociological and linguistic approaches.

Supervisor: Kai Brodersen / Katharina Waldner. Acceptance as a PhD student in Erfurt on 9/25/2020 Contact:



Crudelitas Caesaris. Imperial descriptions of cruelty as a reflection of a changing understanding of power in the Principate.

The description of cruel deeds of ancient rulers is an important component of historiographical, political, and biographical works by Greek as well as Roman authors and has therefore always attracted the attention of historians. However, older research tended to either adopt these descriptions without reflection or to deny them any historical value because they were regarded as purely literary fictions. This is especially true for the portrayal of crudelitas by Roman emperors of the 1st - 3rd centuries.

Recent research, however, points out that 'cruelty', even as a fictional element, serves a literary topos that is strongly influenced by the author's social environment and the horizon of the work's creation. The depiction of the cruelty of rulers thus serves as a mentality and cultural-historical source in which contemporary political ideas and imagination are reflected. The description of a ruler's cruelty and violence always served to criticize or even characterize his rule as illegitimate. In the case of crudelitas Caesaris, this would be the contemporary view of the point at which an individual emperor exceeded his legitimate authority to rule. The described repertoire of cruelties that an emperor could commit was long and underwent extensions as well as changes over time.

In doing so, we will explore the question of whether the changing exempla of cruelties that emperors were accused of reflected a perceived change in the Roman monarchs' authority to rule, which was expressed in an expanded realpolitik understanding of power ̶ also as direct authority over the bodies of Roman citizens. In other words, assuming that an autocratic potential for rule allows for greater powers over the human bodies of subjects, the study aims to show whether the display of cruelty by Roman rulers underwent a change in the course of the Principate and to what extent this corresponds to a change in power structures.

Supervisor: Kai Brodersen / Filippo Carla (Potsdam). Accepted as doctoral candidate in Erfurt on 5.10.2016 Contact:



Poets and poetry in the Roman Republic, 240-90 BC.

More recently, ancient history has also turned to the study of the literature of the Roman Republic in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. Much attention has been paid to historiography and related prose genres, but little to works of poetry. This can be traced back to three traditional but still effective prejudices: that they have been handed down in too many ruins to be worth dealing with; that their creators were 'only' non-Romans of inferior social position; that these poetic works are 'only' translations of Greek models. Correspondingly, the poetry is only considered to have historical source value in its totality, as a crown witness for the Hellenism of the Romans, which only found its classical conclusion in the Augustan era. The project attempts to move away from these prejudices in order to arrive at an appropriate appreciation of the older Latin poetry and to make its texts fruitful as historical sources. This, according to the initial thesis, can only be achieved by considering the poetry of this epoch not only as an artistic but also as a social institution - as "the word demanded by opportunity and society" (K. Büchner) - and decidedly embedding it in its historical context.

In this sense, the subject matter is examined in three parts: The first asks about the emergence of literary poetry in the 'epoch year' 240 B.C. and attempts to name conditions and causes for the processes in question within Roman society apart from the Hellenism narrative. The second part is devoted to the question of what a poet actually was and which social role he vindicated for himself and his actions or was attributed to him by society. Finally, the third part deals with the preserved fragments and asks in what relationship the worlds of the poems, designed with the means of language, stand to their social environment. What, for example, connects the poetic persona of Ennius with the habitus of the nobiles of his time? What structural relationships exist between the satires of Lucilius and the politics of Tiberius Gracchus? What do such relationships tell us about the state of Roman society at the time, and how did poetry affect it? In a time when political and social discourse is increasingly characterized by exclusive claims to truth - emphatically presented linguistically in the form of so-called 'alternative facts' and 'hate commentary', whose imagined violence against dissenters increasingly turns into real violence - such an investigation seems highly topical.

Supervisor: Kai Brodersen / Gerrit Kloss (Heidelberg). Acceptance as doctoral candidate in Erfurt 3.11.2016 Contact:

Doctorates and post-doctorates




Speculum Regis: Studies on the Prince's Mirror Literature in Greek-Roman Antiquity

Supervisors: Kai Brodersen (Mannheim), Stefan Rebenich (Mannheim). - Completion of doctoral studies in Mannheim. Publication: J. Manuel Schulte: Speculum Regis. Studies on the literature of princely mirrors in Greco-Roman antiquity. Antike Kultur und Geschichte 3, Münster: Lit 2001. ISBN 3-8258-5249-0



"If Words Could Kill ..." Language use in aggressive-magical 'I-rituals' of Roman antiquity.

Supervisors: Wolfgang Raible (Freiburg), Kai Brodersen (Mannheim). - Completion of doctoral studies in Freiburg on 4.12.2006 (summa cum laude). Publication: Amina Kropp, Magische Sprachverwendung in vulgar Latin curse tablets (defixiones) ScriptOralia 135, Tübingen: Narr 2008. 341 p., ISBN 978-3-8233-6436-8 - Amin Kropp, defixiones - An up-to-date corpus of Latin curse tablets, Speyer: Kartoffeldruck-Verlag 2008. 412 pp. ISBN 978-3-939526-02-5



Rome and its Emperors in Historical Film

Supervisors: Tanja Scheer (Oldenburg), Kai Brodersen (Mannheim). - Completion of doctoral studies in Oldenburg on 30.1.2007. Publication: Martin Lindner, Rom und seine Kaiser im Historienfilm. Frankfurt/M.: Verlag Antike 2007. 332 p. ISBN 978-3-938032-18-3



Studies on M. Licinius Crassus

Supervisors: Rainer Bernhardt (Rostock), Kai Brodersen (Mannheim). - Completion of doctoral studies in Mannheim on 30.11.2007. Publication: Katharina Weggen, Der lange Schatten von Carrhae: Studies on M. Licinius Crassus. Hamburg: Kovac 2011. ISBN 978-3-8300-5520-4.



Der römische Limes - Eine Untersuchung zur kultur- und mentalitätsgeschichtlichen Bedeutung der Bauwerke an den Enden des Römischen Reiches.

Supervisors: Kai Brodersen (Erfurt), Veit Rosenberger (Erfurt). - Completion of doctoral studies in Erfurt on 24.1.2009. Publication: Der Römische Limes. A history of culture and mentality. Speyer: Kartoffeldruck-Verlag 2011. 272 p: ISBN 9783939526100.



Gordian III - an emperor of the plebs Romana?

Supervisors: Kai Brodersen (Erfurt), Veit Rosenberger (Erfurt). - Completion of doctoral studies in Erfurt on 5.1.2011. Publication: Gordian III - Emperor of a Time of Change. Speyer: Kartoffeldruck-Verlag 2013. 203 p. ISBN 978-3-939526-20-9



Anger, revenge and violence in archaic Greece.

Supervisors: Kai Brodersen (Erfurt), Veit Rosenberger (Erfurt). - Completion of PhD in Erfurt (MWK) on 17.2.2012. Publication: Anthropos Deinos: On the Role of Violence in the Greek Archaic in the Mirror of Epic and Lyrical Poetry. (Antike Kultur und Geschichte 15) Münster: Lit 2014. ix, 440 p., ISBN 978-3-643-12525-5.



Scripture-Bearing Artifacts in Practice Instructions for Interaction with Higher Powers from 1st-7th Century Greek, Demotic, and Coptic Composite Scriptures. Investigation and contextualization of materiality, function, handling, and inscription elements.

Supervisors: Kai Brodersen (Erfurt), Joachim F. Quack (Heidelberg). - Completion of PhD in Erfurt on 9/18/2013. Publication: Schriftverwendung in antiker Ritualpraxis anhand der griechischen, demotischen und koptischen Praxisanleitungen des 1. - 7. Jahrhunderts []



Music Culture in Late Roman Society

Supervisors: Kai Brodersen (Erfurt), Veit Rosenberger (Erfurt). - Completion of doctoral studies in Erfurt on 18.3.2014 Publication: Ungezähmte Musen. Musical Culture in Late Greco-Roman Antiquity (Ancient Culture and History 19) Münster: Lit 2018. 456 pp. ISBN 978-3-643-13915-3



Visible and Invisible Powers: A Case Study on the Socio-Political Dimension of Curse Tablets in Selinous and Athens.

Supervisor: Kai Brodersen / Katharina Waldner. - Completion of doctoral studies in Erfurt on 8.12.2021. Publication in preparation.




In Apri 2005 Dr. Karen Piepenbrink habilitated for "Ancient History" at the University of Mannheim with a thesis on "Christian Identity and Assimilation in Late Antiquity". She has been a professor at the University of Giessen since 2011.