Dr Chrysanthos S. Chrysanthou, Assistant Professor of Ancient Greek, has been awarded research funding of 1,49 million euros from the European Research Council (Starting Grants) for his project “Group Minds in Ancient Narrative”. This is one of the most prestigious distinctions in the funding schemes established by the European Union. The project will be hosted by the Department of Classics and Philosophy of the University of Cyprus. It will generate eight new research positions for doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers.
The project was selected during a most competitive selection process on a European-wide level (a total of 400 scientists were awarded grants among 2,696 applications that were submitted). This is the ninth ERC Starting Grant hosted by the University of Cyprus, the third for the Faculty of Letters, and the first for the Department of Classics and Philosophy. It is also the first research project on the field of classics and ancient literature, which is funded not only in Cyprus but also in Greece by the European Research Council.
Dr Chrysanthou offers a succinct overview of the project: “We will focus on Greco-Roman antiquity, which provides an example of a culture that was fundamentally collectivist. We will examine texts (such as Homeric epic and Thucydides’ history), philosophical doctrines (such as friendship and concord), and political concepts (such as democracy) that have established the foundation for the history, society, culture of modern Europe, and even beyond. The GROUPMINDS project will offer a new narratological theory, which focuses for the first time on groups, and which is applicable to narrative texts of different periods and cultures. It will also contribute towards a history of social cognition by revealing the cognitive frames, namely the knowledge structures about group mentality that were present in the ancient world. Finally, it will propose a cross-cultural and diachronic angle for considering in comparison contemporary modes of thinking about social and group cognition and the role of (ancient) narrative in their construction. Classics will become not only a receiver but also a giver in an interdisciplinary dialogue about groupthink in antiquity and today”.
ERC Starting Grants provide long-term funding to the most prominent researchers across Europe, with the aim of enabling them to pursue their ambitious, advanced and highly unconventional academic research. The main objective of these grants is to encourage and support the research excellence of the most creative young scholars in Europe, with a research experience spanning between two to seven years from the completion of their doctoral dissertation.
It should be mentioned that the University of Cyprus is the top institution in Cyprus in terms of attracting ERC grants. Through the implementation of the innovative research project “GROUPMINDS” by Dr Chrysanthos S. Chrysanthou and his team, the Department of Classics and Philosophy of the University of Cyprus will continue to constitute one of the most prominent centres for interdisciplinary research on classical languages and literature.