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Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students.
Some knowledge of Greek and/or Latin is helpful, but the course is also open to those without those languages.


In this course, students will receive a thorough grounding in Greek and Latin epigraphy. Inscriptions, the subject of epigraphy, are of huge importance for our knowledge of the ancient world; we have thousands upon thousands of inscribed texts, ranging from small graffiti to law codes of several hundred lines. This fascinating material truly constitutes the archival sources for the ancient world (together with papyri).

It is not the intention of this course to turn students into epigraphers: Epigraphy is a highly specialized branch of research. Our goal is to be able to locate and use inscriptions (even without knowledge of Latin or Greek), and also to be aware of what epigraphers actually do; only then can we critically use the editions of inscriptions which they produce.

Anyhow: working with inscriptions, and this is very much a hands-on course where you will be locating, reading and interpreting inscribed texts yourself, will open up a new world for you with a wealth of information about Greek and Roman societies. There is no entry test, but everybody will be quizzed before the course as to his/her previous knowledge of epigraphy.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  • 1) The ability to independently identify and select literature, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 2) The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 3) The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 4) The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 5) The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field and to reduce this question to accessible and manageable sub-questions;

  • 6) The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;

  • 7) The ability to give a clear and well-founded oral and written report on research results in correct English, when required, or Dutch, meeting the criteria of the discipline;

  • 8) The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;

  • 9) The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it;

  • 10) (ResMA only): The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

  • 11) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations or subspecialisations as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly on the following;

  • in the specialisation Ancient History: unification processes in the Graeco-Roman World, 400 BC – 400 AD; insight into the recent large-scale debates in the field with respect to both the history of mentality and socio-economic history.

  • 12) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation or subspecialisation in question, with a particular focus on the following:

  • in the specialisation Ancient History: the comparative method; application of socio-scientific methods; specialized source knowledge, in particular of documentary sources, and more specifically epigraphy.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Optional course

The student will be expected to develop:

  • 12) The ability to use Greek and Latin inscriptions in one’s own research;

  • 13) A thorough knowledge of and insight into the theories, key concepts, apparatus, research methods and techniques of epigraphy;

  • 14) (ResMA only) A critical stance towards epigraphic sources, combining the use of databases with a working knowledge of existing epigraphic corpora.


The timetable is available on the MA History website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours= 280 hours

  • Lectures: 28 hours

  • Assignment(s): 50 hours

  • Composition of paper: 202 hours

Assessment method

  • Written paper (ca. 7500 words, based on research in primary sources, including footnotes and bibliography)
    Measured learning objectives: 1-14

  • Weekly assignments, results to be presented in writing and/or orally
    Measured learning objectives: 1-14


Written paper: 60%
Weekly assignments: 40%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written paper must always be sufficient.


Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the instructor, and/or extra assignments should be fulfilled.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • announcements

For all other purposes the website will be used.

Reading list

Reading lists will be compiled on an individual basis.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr F.G. Naerebout