Wolfgang Fritz Volbach-Fellowship

The aim of the Wolfgang Fritz Volbach-fellowship is to link the research location Mainz/Frankfurt more closely with international experts in the field of Byzantine Studies. It allows scholars working on a subject related to the Leibniz ScienceCampus - Byzantium between Orient and Occident - Mainz/Frankfurt a four-week research stay in Mainz or in Frankfurt. They will be able to use libraries and scholarly infrastructures there and can participate in the lively interdisciplinary professional debates at both universities. Each year, the Executive Board awards two fellowships (winter or summer term) to postdoctoral scholars at an early career stage. In addition to the applications procedure senior fellows are invited by the executive board for a research stay in Mainz and Frankfurt.

Resources in Mainz und Frankfurt

The library of the Leibniz-Zentrum für Archäologie contains c. 170.000 media items and c. 2000 periodicals and is therefore one of the largest and most important specialist libraries on the archaeology of the old world in Europe. The library of the Leibniz Institute of European History offers approximately 90.000 printed titles and 900.000 licensed online resources on the history of Europe from the mid-15th century onwards. It focuses on general European history and international history, as well as on church history and the history of theology since the period of Humanism and the Reformation.

The resources of the two Leibniz Institutes are complemented by the extensive holdings of the libraries at the Johannes Gutenberg University, notably the special libraries of the area of Byzantine Studies at the Institute of History and the department of Christian Archaeology and Byzantine History of Art at the Institute for History of Art and Music Science.

Aside library structures, the collection of the LEIZA comprises numerous Byzantine original finds and replicas and the collection of Prince Johann Georg zu Sachsen in the Landesmuseum Mainz (permanent loan by the Institute for History of Art and Music Science). The collections thus offer reference material for research in archaeology, history of art and material culture.

The Frankfurt am Main University Library, with its extensive inventories and collections, is one of the central academic libraries in the Federal Republic of Germany. The Bibliothekszentrum Geisteswissenschaften has a focus on literature in late antiquity and the early Byzantine era. It coordinates its purchases with the library of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, which houses the most extensive inventory of Byzantine Studies in the region and provides access to the electronic resources of the Max Planck Society. For archaeological research projects, the library of the Romano-Germanic Commission of the German Archaeological Institute holds relevant stocks, especially on journals. For questions of religious history, the Library of the St. Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology offers additional resources.

This abundance of resources in the Rhine-Main area offers excellent conditions for research on all aspects of Byzantine culture from late antiquity as well as on questions of reception history.


  • Grant of Euro 2500 for a four weeks' stay in Mainz or Frankfurt, plus accommodation.
  • Stay during winter term 2024/25 (October 14th - February 14th) desired.
  • Fellows are invited to present their current research with a paper in the lecture series Byzanz in Mainz & Frankfurt.


  • Applicants are at an early stage of their careers (ca. up to six years after conferral of a doctorate) and are affiliated to an institution abroad (university, research institution, museum, etc.)
  • Applicants work on a research project on the topic of the Leibniz ScienceCampus - Byzantium between Orient and Occident - Mainz/Frankfurt in the period from late antiquity to modern times with concrete links to current projects.
  • The application for winter term 2024/25 must be submitted electronically by January 25th 2024. Please send applications via mail to managing director of the Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus Mainz/Frankfurt Dr. Benjamin Fourlas (benjamin.fourlas(at)leiza.de) including application form and copies of academic certificates.
  • Senior Fellows are excluded from the application procedure and are invited by the executive board.


About Wolfgang Fritz Volbach

The fellowship is named in honour of the important archaeologist and art historian Wolfgang Fritz Volbach († 1988) who was born in Mainz in 1892. He studied History of Art, Classical Archaeology and Medieval History at the universities of Tübingen, Munich, Berlin and Gießen. During his long academic career he significantly influenced research in late antique and Byzantine monuments in Germany. From 1917, for instance, he was employed in the department for Early Christian and Byzantine Art of the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum in Berlin, and was its director form 1930 to 1933. From 1950 to 1953 he was the co-director of the RGZM, then head of the museum from 1953 to 1958. His studies on Early Christian and Medieval Archaeology and Art crossed traditional disciplinary limitations, a legacy that the Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus aspires to continue. Volbach co-operated with famous representatives of contemporary Byzantine research, produced numerous catalogues and contributed greatly to fundamental research (Grundlagenforschung) in particular. His activity and academic profile set the foundations for the establishment of Byzantine studies at the RGZM, foundations which prove profitable to his successors until today. He thus was a pioneer of Byzantine studies in Mainz. Without Volbach, the foundation of the Leibniz ScienceCampus - Byzantium between Orient and Occident under the aegis of the RGZM would not have been possible.

Application deadline for 2024/25: January 25th 2024

Application form