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'Romanisation'? Acculturation processes in the provinces of the Roman Empire


Admission requirements



During the last centuries of the Roman Republic and the First century of the Empire large numbers of formerly independent states were incorporated within the Roman empire. In almost all of these regions the Roman conquest set in motion a complex process of changes which are conventionally grouped together under the umbrella term ‘ Romanisation’. The areas affected by these changes include administration, law, social and economic structures, but also language, religion and ‘culture’. At the most basic level this research seminar aims to compare (some of ) the changes that can be seen in Gaul, the Rhine provinces, Britain, Spain, North Africa. and other regions of the empire. The participants will be asked either to carry-out a wide-ranging study of various types of change in one particular area or to study one specific type of change (e.g. religious change) in multiple areas. One of the most fundamental questions concerns the agents responsible for these changes. Did the central Roman government play and active part? Did the establishment of Roman army camps stimulate indigenous populations to adopt more ‘Roman’ ways of behaviour? Or should we think in terms of multiple processes of ‘self-Romanization’ in which Roman administrators, soldiers and other migrants did not play an important part? And were processes of acculturation basically confined to the elite or did they embrace a large proportion of the indigenous population?

Course objectives

In-depth understanding of processes of cultural interaction, especially in the early Roman empire. Increased ability to formulate penetrating research questions and to answer these through independent research.


See here.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Research paper of 20-25 pages.



Reading list

G. Woolf, Becoming Roman. The origins of provincial civilization in Gaul (Cambridge 1998)


via uSis.

Contact information

E-mail: Prof.dr. L. de Ligt


If only native speakers of Dutch participate, the course can be taught in Dutch.