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Advanced studies on the impact of global connections and the formation of the Roman Empire (ca. 200-30 BC)


Admission requirements

General knowledge of Classical and Mediterranean archaeology.


What happens to societies when they get caught up in the dynamics of globalisation? How do they deal with the new networks they become part of? How do they balance the need for identity with the opportunities for innovation?

This challenging course discusses the historical impact of global connections on the Mediterranean world in the period between ca. 200-30 BC. This period is characterised by an unprecedented influx of new objects from various (Eurasian and African) networks, which lead to new practices and configurations, offering new possibilities for change and innovation.
By means of several case studies, including Rome, Egypt and the kingdom of Commagene in central Anatolia, we will examine the role of objects as instigators of change and focus on the historical relation between material culture and (cultural) innovation. The lectures will be closely linked to current research of our department members.

This course is open to both RMA and MA students. Although participating in the same sessions, the final essay for the RMA students will have a different focus involving research that aims at comprehension of the significance of the studied topic to the field as a whole, and the formulation of directions for innovative new research. In addition, RMA students are expected to start and facilitate discussion in class.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of and insight into the archaeology of the Mediterranean world in the period between 200-30 BC, i.e., the main areas and sites referred to in the literature and in the lectures;

  • Knowledge of and insight into globalisation and acculturation processes in the Mediterranean world, 200-30 BC;

  • Understanding of the historical relation between material culture and (cultural) innovation;

  • Ability to critically assess specialist literature with regard to archaeological approaches and theoretical background;

  • Ability to report such assessments in written format;

  • Ability to independently set up and carry out a small research project.

  • Ability to critically review the significance of current research within the field as a whole;

  • Ability to formulate new and innovative directions of research;

  • Ability to start and stimulate discussion.


Course schedule details can be found in the RMA and RMSc time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Discussion.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7×2 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 210 pages of literature (1.5 ec);

  • Short written assignments (0.5 ec);

  • Final essay of 2,500 words (+/- 10%) (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • Short (weekly) written assignments (20%);

  • Final essay (80%);

  • Participation in discussion (0.5 bonus, used to round up final grade).

Prior to class students read the assigned literature and submit discussion points. These must be submitted two days before class. In order to pass the course, all written assignments have to be handed in on time.

Compensation according to OER (Onderwijs- en Examenreglement / Course and Examination Regulations).
A retake is only possible for the final essay, if all requirements, including handing in all assignments (including a first version of the paper) and attendance, have been met.

If you fail the retake, any passes for the short written assignments will no longer count (i.e., grades cannot be used the next year).

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the RMA and RMSc examination schedule.

Reading list

The reading list will be made available on BlackBoard or via e-mail.


Registration for the course or the exam is not required.


For more information about this course, please contact dhr. S.W.G. Müskens.


Compulsory attendance.