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Dr. Tabea Meurer

Research Interests:

Cultures of Time and Public Life in in the Archaic and Early Classical Polis; Elite Discourses and Communication in the (Later) Roman Empire; Political Culture and Social History in Greco-Roman Antiquity


Tabea Meurer has studied History and Classical Philology at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster and the Università degli Studi Roma Tre. In 2013, she graduated with an M. Ed. degree in History and Latin Philology. After obtaining a PhD in Ancient History in 2018, Tabea Meurer joined the History Department at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz where she works as a research associate. Her continued interest in elite discourses and memory culture in the later Roman empire has led to the publication of the 2019 monograph Vergangenes verhandeln. For her postdoctoral project, Tabea Meurer investigates cultures of time and public life in the archaic and early classical polis (working title: "Chrono-Polis: Zeit und Öffentlichkeit im archaischen und klassischen Griechenland").

Project Abstract

What makes a city a polis? This essential question troubled many ancient authors, and classical scholarship justifiedly keeps returning to it, applying different sets of subquestions and heuristic tools. Over the past decades, research has predominantly focused on the relevance of urban topoi and topography when explaining the key features of a Greek polis during the classical period. Building on the merits of a spatial approach, this projects investigates the rhythms of communal life within the public spaces of fifth-century Athens. 

Athenian polis life centred for many reasons on synchronicity. On the one hand, democratic Athens relied on a 'Kultur der Anwesenheit' of its citizens to make the political institutions, e. g., the ekklesia and the dikasteria, work. On the other hand, synchronizing the city's festival calendar created a sense of community. From the literary resources, we can ideal-typically reconstruct an adult citizen's urban routine: early in the morning, Athenian citizens queued up before the assembly halls or sought entrance to the courthouses; later in the day, they might frequent the market for lunch and some gossip, or visit a tavern and relax at a public bathhouse. While the adult citizens' schedule presumably was (at least partially) synchronized, there is also some evidence that conflicts between different social and age groups arose when their schedules clashed. 

My research at the EC-C will thus address how different social agents shared or lacked collective schedules, whether these schedules underwent (re-)negotiation processes, or even experienced legal regulations and thereby helped to make a city a true polis. 

Curriculum vitae

Since 2018

Research Associate at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Historisches Seminar, Arbeitsbereich Alte Geschichte


PhD in Ancient History, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster


Research Associate at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Seminar für Alte Geschichte 


M.Ed. in History and Latin Philology, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

Selected Publications

Forthcoming. "Spatia Vitae. Social Time Issues in Sidonius." Hermes 150/151.

2019. Vergangenes verhandeln. Spätantike Statusdiskurse senatorischer Eliten in Gallien und Italien. Millennium-Studien 79. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.

2019. "In scribendo formam vetustatis amplector. Vergangenheitsbezüge als Strategie kommunikativer In- und Exklusion in der Korrespondenz des Q. Aurelius Symmachus." In Adressat und Adressant in antiken Briefen. Rollenkonfigurationen und kommunikative Strategien in griechischer und römischer Epistolographie, edited by Gernot Michael Müller, Sabine Retsch and Johanna Schenk, 429–50. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.

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