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Cultural interactions and identities in the Graeco-Roman world, 323 BC-AD 500


Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. Students from within the specialization the course belongs to have right of way. It is not accessible for BA students.


After the conquests of Alexander the Great cultural interactions intensified. What, though, do we mean by ‘Greek’ culture/Greek identify in this fascinating period? Similar questions can be asked about the Roman-imperial period. What did it mean to ‘become Roman’ (to use Greg Woolf’s formulation’) or to ‘be Roman’ in Roman Gaul or Britain. And how did this work in the Greek-speaking cities of Roman Greece and Asia Minor. In the final session of this course we will examine what it meant to ‘be Roman’ in Late Antiquity, including the period immediately following the Gothic take-over of Italy.

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

The student has acquired:

  1. 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.

  2. 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 Literature Seminar

The student has acquired:

  1. A broad understanding of processes of cultural interaction in the Hellenistic and Roman-imperial periods.
  2. A detailed understanding of six episodes of cultural interaction.
  3. The ability to develop and present a brief personal account of processes of cultural interaction based on a critical reading of existing (and often mutually contradictory) publications dealing with these processes.
  4. (ResMA only): A. The ability to place existing debatres regarding cultural interactions against the background of wider historical debates (often transcending Ancient History). B. The ability to identify and criticize the theoretical foundations of publications dealing with cultural interactions in the Graeco-Roman world.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (compulsory attendance)

This means that students must attend every session of the course. Students who are unable to attend must notify the lecturer beforehand. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If specific restrictions apply to a particular course, the lecturer will notify the students at the beginning of the semester. If a student does not comply with the aforementioned requirements, the student will be excluded from the seminar.

Assessment method


  • Written essay(s)
    measured learning objectives: 1-9, 11-15 (ResMA also: 10 and 16)


  • Written essay(s): 100% (16.6 % for each essay, based on six essays).

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average of all the essays.


Assignments and written papers should be handed in within the deadline as provided in the relevant course outline on Brightspace.


There will be no ‘resit’ in the normal sense, but it will be possible to compensate an ‘insufficient’ essay with another essay concerning a completely new topic.

Inspection and feedback

Students will receive personal feedback on each of their six essays.

Reading list

The publications to be read will be announced at the beginning of the course, their overall number being far too large for exhaustive enumeration. As stated above, each week’s assignment will concern c. 200 pages of scholarly literarature. The reading list will be published on Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.


  • For course related questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga.


The weekly workload will be rather heavy, but the course will take only seven weeks, making it possible to focus on other deadlines during the second half of semester 1.