The research agenda ‘anchoring innovation’, which I have briefly introduced here, will allow us to look at different domains and identify the ways in which people in Antiquity dealt with change in ways that allowed them to feel an unbroken sense of self, identity, group cohesion and cultural belonging within the different and certainly not monolithic entities that made up ancient society. By looking at the ‘human factor’ in innovation in texts and artefacts, with the methods characteristic of the Humanities, we hope to offer new insights in classical studies and the humanities at large, and also to contribute to the dialogue between scholarly disciplines, and between academia and society. The spirit of what E.O. Wilson called ‘consilience’ makes it imperative that on an important societal issue like innovation, the knowledge of all academic disciplines be aggregated and shared. Classical antiquity is itself still used as an ‘anchor’ today, as when we use Latin names for new buildings, companies etc. To us, our discipline feels ever new. All the more fitting then that it, too, make its contribution to our understanding of novelty and innovation.
Ineke Sluiter, Leiden University