Leading Ancient Historian Angelos Chaniotis Joins the Faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study

Angelos Chaniotis

Angelos Chaniotis, whose prolific, broad and insightful work on the ancient Mediterranean has shaped critical thinking in the field over the past two decades, has been appointed to the Faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study.  Dr. Chaniotis will become Professor in the Institute's School of Historical Studies effective July 1, 2010.  He succeeds Professor Emeritus Glen Bowersock, an eminent authority on Greek, Roman and Near Eastern history and culture as well as the classical tradition in modern literature, who joined the School as Professor in 1980.

Internationally regarded for his original and wide-ranging research in the social, cultural, religious, legal and economic history of the Hellenistic world and the Roman East, Dr. Chaniotis is currently Senior Research Fellow in Classics at All Souls College in the University of Oxford.  The author of four books and some 150 articles and book contributions, and editor of fourteen volumes, he works in innovative ways on a wide variety of topics: war, memory, identity, emotions, the communicative aspects of rituals and the strategies of persuasion in the ancient world.  Significant questions and dialogues in the field have grown out of Dr. Chaniotis's pioneering contributions, which have helped to advance understanding of previously unexplored aspects of the ancient world.  

"We are delighted that Dr. Chaniotis has agreed to join our Faculty," stated Peter Goddard, Director of the Institute for Advanced Study.  "He is noted not only for his remarkable breadth and depth of scholarship in classical studies, but also for his collegiality and enthusiasm.  His appointment will ensure the Institute's international leadership in a field in which it has a distinguished history going back to our founding."

Heinrich von Staden, Professor in the School of Historical Studies, commented, "Angelos Chaniotis will be a superb addition to the Institute's Faculty.  He is eminently qualified not only to continue the Institute's distinguished tradition in ancient history but also to bring new fields and new approaches to ancient studies at the Institute.  The admirable range of his research will also enable him to engage the work of scholars in several other disciplines."

"A great challenge for ancient studies in our times is to enhance their dialogue with other fields of the humanities and the social sciences and to contribute to theoretical discourse, without neglecting their principal task, which is to publish and interpret source material," noted Dr. Chaniotis. "The School of Historical Studies has long established itself as a leader both in intellectual exchange and as a research center in epigraphical studies. I am honored to have been invited to continue these traditions."

Dr. Chaniotis's most recent book, War in the Hellenistic World: A Social and Cultural History (2005), is an astute study of the political, cultural and economic aspects of war, in which he presents an innovative examination of the narration and commemoration of wars and of the aesthetics of warfare, and analyzes how warfare shaped identities and social structures.  His  general text on Crete, Das antike Kreta (Ancient Crete, 2004), and his study Die Verträge zwischen kretischen Städten in der hellenistischen Zeit (Treaties Between Cretan Cities in the Hellenistic Age, 1996), demonstrate his command of source material and its application to broad analysis of   local history with a universal perspective. Dr. Chaniotis's first book, Historie und Historiker in den griechischen Inschriften. Epigraphische Beiträge zur griechischen Historiographie (History and Historians in Greek Inscriptions. Epigraphic Contributions to Greek Historiography, 1988), is a groundbreaking study devoted to the place of history and historians in ancient Greek public life over a very wide geographical area and across many centuries.  His numerous articles on the social and cultural history of religion in the Roman East and in the Hellenistic Aegean have contributed acute insights into identity, emotions, theatricality, illusion, competition and "megatheism" as significant features of ancient religion.  He has also produced important analyses of persuasion in the communication between mortals and gods.

Dr. Chaniotis, who was born in Athens, received his undergraduate education at the University of Athens. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Ancient History from the University of Heidelberg in 1984, followed by study of law at the University of Bonn from 1985 to 1986.  In 1992, he received his Habilitation in Ancient History from the University of Heidelberg with a thesis on the treaties between Cretan cities in the Hellenistic epoch.  He served as Assistant Professor in the Department of Ancient History at the University of Heidelberg from 1987 to 1992, after which he served as Associate Professor until 1994.  In 1993, he moved to New York University as Visiting Professor in the Department of Classics and the Alexander S. Onassis Center for Hellenic Studies.  Dr. Chaniotis became Associate Professor of Greek History at New York University in 1994 and served as Acting Chair of the Department of Classics in 1996.  He was appointed Professor of Greek History and Director of Graduate Studies in 1997. 

In 1998, Dr. Chaniotis returned to Heidelberg as Professor of Ancient History and Chair of the Department of Ancient History.  From 2001 to 2006, he served as Associate Dean, Faculty of Oriental and Ancient Studies at the University (2001); Vice Rector for International Relations at the University (2001-06); Associate Director of the collaborative research project "Dynamic of Rituals," sponsored by the University and the German Research Council (2002-06); and Director of the Priority Research Project "Strategies of Persuasion," sponsored by the University and the Ministry of Research, Baden-Württemberg (2004-06).  In 2006, Dr. Chaniotis was appointed Senior Research Fellow in Classics at All Souls College in the University of Oxford.

Dr. Chaniotis is Senior Editor of the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, editor or coeditor of the journals Tekmeria, Kernos and Mnemosyne and is series editor of Heidelberger Althistorische Beiträge und Epigraphische Studien and New Approaches to the Ancient World.  He is the recipient of the Baden-Württemberg Prize for Pure Research (2001) and the Nikos Svoronos History Award from the Institute of Mediterranean Studies/Institute of Technology and Research, Crete (1991), among other honors.  He delivered the David Lewis Lectures in Ancient History at the University of Oxford (2001) and was Visiting Professor in the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris (2008).  Elected a Member of the Academia Europea (2006) and the German Archaeological Institute (2005), Dr. Chaniotis is a member of the Archeological Institute of America, Centre d'Étude de la Religion Grecque Antique and the Association Internationale d'Épigraphie Grecque et Latine, among other organizations.  He also serves on a range of advisory boards and committees concerned with ancient history and culture.

Ancient History at the Institute

Dr. Chaniotis continues the long-standing tradition of ancient history at the Institute, which dates back to the 1935 appointment of Benjamin D. Meritt, a specialist in Greek epigraphy. The following year, new Faculty members Hetty Goldman, E. A. Lowe and Ernst Herzfeld formalized the study of archaeology, Latin paleography and Near Eastern archaeology, respectively. A strong and diverse program in Greek and Roman studies developed after the Second World War. In 1947, Homer Thompson came to the Institute, having achieved a worldwide reputation for his excavation of the Agora at Athens, and Harold Cherniss brought the academic study of Greek philosophy to the Institute when he was appointed in 1948. Roman history arrived with Andrew Alföldi in 1955, and he was succeeded in 1965 by the papyrologist and military historian J. F. Gilliam. Christian Habicht, currently Professor Emeritus in the School, joined the Faculty in 1973 and assumed responsibility for the extensive collection of squeezes that Meritt had amassed to form a major research center in Greek epigraphy.  Professor Emeritus Glen Bowersock, author of numerous important volumes and articles on Greek, Roman and Near Eastern history who uses his exceptional knowledge of classical texts in many languages, together with inscriptions, coins, mosaics and archaeological remains to draw unexpected and revelatory conclusions, arrived at the Institute in 1980.  Heinrich von Staden, who was appointed in 1998, is one of the world's foremost experts on ancient science and medicine, particularly of the Hellenistic period; his interests include classical philosophy and literature.

About the Institute for Advanced Study

The Institute for Advanced Study is one of the world’s leading centers for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. The Institute exists to encourage and support curiosity-driven research in the sciences and humanities – the original, often speculative thinking that produces advances in knowledge that change the way we understand the world. Work at the Institute takes place in four Schools: Historical Studies, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Social Science. It provides for the mentoring of scholars by a permanent Faculty of no more than 28, and it ensures the freedom to undertake research that will make significant contributions in any of the broad range of fields in the sciences and humanities studied at the Institute.

The Institute, founded in 1930, is a private, independent academic institution located in Princeton, New Jersey. Its more than 6,000 former Members hold positions of intellectual and scientific leadership throughout the academic world. Some 33 Nobel Laureates and 38 out of 52 Fields Medalists, as well as many winners of the Wolf or MacArthur prizes, have been affiliated with the Institute.