Impact of an Empire

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Impact of an Empire

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    This course is not open to students majoring in Archaeology, Classics, and Ancient Studies.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    The course not only offers an insight into various aspects of the Roman Empire, but also reflects on comparable phenomena in modern timesecturers


    This course is about the impact of the Roman Empire, which has been one of the greatest and most long-lasting Empires in world history. It emerged as early as the second century BCE and at its largest it stretched from the Scottish Highlands in the North to the Sahara desert in the South, and from the Atlantic coast in the West to Iraq in the East.

    Within this huge territory an enormous diversity of tribes and groups with vastly different ethnic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds were living together. Now one of the key issues in this course is what the impact of the empire was on those pre-existing local communities. How did the change of rule change local affairs and lives of individual people at grass-roots level? In order to make sense of the enormous wealth of both archaeological and documentary evidence that is available, we will use an anthropological approach. In this sense, you might call this course interdisciplinary, as it makes use of the disciplines of archaeology, history and the social sciences. 

    Just to prevent any possible misunderstanding on the meaning of the term ‘impact’ in the course title, it should be made clear that this course is NOT about the afterlife of Rome, that is, the impact of Rome on the later medieval and modern history of Europe, Africa and the Near East. However, we will invite you to reflect on current hot issues (such as identity, migration and violence) by considering the similarities and dissimilarities between our modern western society and the Roman world. We will use the Roman example as a way to critically reflect on contemporary society and consider comparison between the Roman world and the globalizing world we live in as an important tool to reach this course goal.

    Lectures, oral presentations, classroom discussions, research paper, responses, workshop, and museum visit. The course will be concluded with an individual paper.

    Details of the assessment methods are provided in the course manual

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.