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Research Seminar: A Global Revolution? Change and Innovation in Afro-Eurasia in the Final Centuries BCE


Admission requirements

  • Admission to the Research Master Archaeology programme.


From around 250 BC onwards we witness an unprecedented intensification of connectivity all across Afro-Eurasia. People in the period clearly were aware of what they were living through.
In his World History, written in ca. 150 BC, Polybius (Histories 1.3) remarks: “From this point onwards history becomes one organic whole: the affairs of Italy and Africa are connected with those of Asia and of Greece, and all events bear a relationship and contribute to a single end”.
The final centuries BCE indeed set a decisive stage in the interconnection of the different Afro-Eurasian spheres. As a result, the oikumene is characterised by expanded geographies, heightened cultural interconnectedness, dramatic changes and enduring innovations more than ever before. Some even regard this period as Europe’s first Modernity.

In this seminar we will explore these defining and fascinating centuries in world history in depth, and from a global perspective. Our route in are the scholarly debates on the two concepts that have traditionally been used as explenans for most of this change and innovation: Hellenisation and Romanisation.
Critically discussing these (Eurocentric) concepts is an important exercise that goes to the very heart of cultural history at large.

Course set-up

Together with (PhD) members of Versluys’ research group you will, in the first part of the course, after some general sessions introducing the theme and its theoretical background, engage with two book projects: an edited volume on the subject that is prepared on the basis of a 2022 conference, as well as a monograph-in-progress.
You will be asked to critically comment on drafts and get acquainted with what editing a volume (and writing a monograph) is about.

In the second part of the course, you will be asked to explore a theme relating to your own research interests in the framework of our seminar and present your results.

Course objectives

  • Advanced knowledge of and insight into the archaeology and history of Afro-Eurasia in the final centuries BCE;

  • Advanced knowledge of and insight into globalisation and cultural dynamics in Afro-Eurasia in in the final centuries BCE;

  • Advanced understanding of the problems related to the notions of Hellenisation and Romanisation and their historical afterlife;

  • Advanced ability to formulate alternatives to account for change in Afro-Eurasia in the final centuries BCE;

  • Advanced ability to critically assess specialist literature with regard to both historical and archaeological approaches, and their theoretical background;

  • Advanced ability to report such assessments in spoken format;

  • Advanced ability to independently set up, carry out and present a small research project.


Course schedule details can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Debate sessions;

  • Assignments;

  • Small research project.

Assessment method

  • Active participation (50%);

  • Assignments (25%);

  • Research project (25%).

Compensation is possible according to the OER (Onderwijs- en Examenreglement / Course and Examination Regulations).

Assessment deadlines

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button. To view the assessment deadline(s), make sure to select the course with a code ending in T and/or R.

Reading list

The reading list will be made available on Brightspace or through e-mail.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.

General information about registration can be found on the Course and Exam Enrolment page.


For more information about this course, please contact prof. dr. M.J. (Miguel John) Versluys.


Compulsory attendance.