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Globalization and Empire in the Roman world


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.


A fundamental aspect of the history of antiquity is the formation of large, to some extent, bureaucratic empires that incorporated, and integrated a vast geographical area. These empires were both facilitated by, and intensified cultural, social and economic contact over longer distances. As a result, the world became smaller – not in travel time, as in later periods – but culturally, socially, and economically.

This literature seminar serves to introduce students to ongoing and emerging debates about the role of these empires in what may be called ‘Global Antiquity’. It will start from debates about globalization and cultural contact in the Greco-Roman world, but also introduce the comparative approaches of recent decades that have enabled us to ‘provincialize’ Rome and to see it in a broader, Eurasian context.

In thematic sessions, we will discuss debates about the meaning and nature of globalization in and beyond the Greco-Roman world, and about the nature and historical meaning of the large empires of Early Historical Eurasia.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  1. The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;
  5. (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 subtracks 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. (ResMA only): Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical foundation of the discipline and of its position vis-à-vis other disciplines.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Literature Seminar

The student

  1. Is able to reconstruct the dynamics of key debates about globalization and intercultural contact in the Roman world
  2. Has developed a clear insight in the ways in which academic positions in these debates are rooted in textual evidence and archaeological remains.
  3. (ResMA only): can relate developments in debates about globalization and intercultural contact in the Roman world to broader academic developments outside the discipline of Ancient History


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (compulsory attendance)

This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If a student is not able to attend, the student is required to notify the teacher 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 teacher 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


  • Weekly essays
    measured learning objectives: 1-10

  • Final essay
    measured learning objectives: 1-10


  • Weekly essays: 60%

  • Final essay: 40%

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


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


Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the instructor.

Inspection and feedback

How and when a review of the final paper will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the results, a review of the written paper will have to be organised.

Reading list

A reading list will be offered through Brightspace


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.


  • 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.


Not applicable.