Paul J. Kosmin is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. His research focuses on the political and cultural history of the east Mediterranean and west Asia in the Hellenistic period—the last three centuries BCE between Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Persian empire and the total Roman dominance of the Mediterranean.
During his fellowship year, Kosmin is completing his second book, “Time and Resistance in the Seleucid Empire.” It explores the relationship between the kingdom’s invention and institutionalization of continuous, irreversible, and accumulating year numbers—the very chronological system we use today—and the emergence among the empire’s subject communities of apocalyptic eschatology.
Kosmin received his BA in ancient and modern history from the University of Oxford (2005) and his PhD in ancient history from Harvard University (2012). He is the author of The Land of the Elephant Kings: Space, Territory, and Ideology in the Seleucid Empire (Harvard University Press, 2014). Most recently, Kosmin was the 2016–2017 PAW Fellow at Princeton University’s Program in the Ancient World and gave a 2015–2016 Oliver Smithies Lecture at Balliol College, in Oxford, England. Together with Andrea M. Berlin, the James R. Wiseman Chair in Classical Archaeology at Boston University, he runs the Hellenistic Sardis Project.