Uzume Wijnsma

Fields of interest

My fields of interest are mainly cultural identity; political legitimacy; revolt and revolution; transitional justice; political philosophy and philosophy of history. This goes for all periods in history, up until and including the present, but I am mainly drawn to the Ancient Near East in the first millennium BC.

PhD research

The Persian Empire (539-330 BCE) was the first world empire in history. At its height, it united a territory stretching from present-day India to Libya – and it would take 2,000 years before significantly larger empires emerged in early modern Eurasia. What explains its success? My research, conducted within the framework of the ERC project PERSIA AND BABYLONIA, will look at ‘political legitimacy’ in the Persian Empire. I will look both at Persian attempts at legitimation, as well as at the political responses this generated among two of the empire’s best known provinces: Egypt and Babylonia. How did they deal with their new overlords? What stories or ideological frameworks were used to either adopt or reject the Persians? What explains the ongoing revolts in Egypt while Babylonia seems to have given up on armed resistance in the early 5th century BC? My research will cover the entire Persian Period, including Egypt’s native dynasties, and will have a special focus on the literature of the period in question.


2017-present PhD Ancient Near East, Leiden University
2014-2016 MA Egyptology (summa cum laude), Leiden University
2011-2014 BA Ancient Near Eastern Studies (cum laude), Leiden University


Wijnsma, U.Z., ‘The Revolt of Babylon Revisited: The Value of Pap. Amherst 63’s Literary Tale within its Contemporary Context’, Hortus Orientalis 1 (2017), 29-58.

Faces of Science Blogs

21 december 2017
Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg

27 oktober 2017
Gamend door het oude Egypte

11 oktober 2017
Zieke koningen en CSI in de oudheid

7 september 2017
Gamen voor de wetenschap

6 juli 2017
De (zogenaamde) eerste mensenrechtenverklaring ter wereld

22 juni 2017
Ode aan de kleine wetenschap


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