Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Research Our research OIKOS Research

Cultural Interactions in the Ancient World

This research group examines cultural and socio- political interactions in the Ancient world and the resulting hybridization of cultural forms and identities, from prehistoric to Late Roman times, and from Spain to the Near East.


  • Dr Mathieu de Bakker (University of Amsterdam)
  • Dr Floris van den Eijnde (Utrecht University)
  • Dr Christina Williamson (University of Groningen)


The study of the Ancient World is no longer the story of the Greeks and Romans alone. In recent years, the very notion of a solid “Greek” or “Roman” identity has been successfully called into question as have notions concerning the ways in which classical civilization was supposed to have impacted other cultures that crossed its path. This has opened the way for a renewed engagement with many, often neglected yet contingent ancient cultures and identities that can be shown to have developed not in isolation, but in lively interaction with Greco-Roman culture. This group provides an interdisciplinary platform for text-oriented ancient historians and classicists as well as historians of material culture and archaeologists, and for Mediterranean as well as Near Eastern specialists. It examines cultural and socio- political interactions in the Ancient world and the resulting hybridization of cultural forms and identities, from prehistoric to Late Roman times, and from Spain to the Near East.

The focus of this group revolves around the processes of cultural identity through developing political, economic and religious networks and other points of contact. This group is further concerned with the potential impact of such processes in community formation at local, regional or global (empire) scales. Although the geographical emphasis will lie in the Greco-Roman east, this group accomodates scholars focusing on cultural interactions and network processes in a variety of contexts, e.g. colonization in the western Mediterranean, migration and localised narratives of identity, negotiating authority in the Achaemenid empire, Persians as perceived through Greek eyes, the expansion of Christian networks across the Roman empire, etc.

Research themes

The research group has selected the following themes to focus on in the coming years:

Religious interaction

In the ancient world, cultural forms and ideas were often exchanged in a religious context, where groups and individuals interacted in a ritual setting that accentuated, merged or even contrasted their distinctive cultural backgrounds. Sanctuaries, in particular, functioned as prime venues where a variety of distinctive cultural traits could be defined, negotiated and performed. Using textual sources and material culture, this interdisciplinary approach examines how contacts and exchanges were mediated through religion, who enabled them, what kinds of traces they left, and the larger dynamic role of religious space in shaping these interactions.


The ancient world was a cauldron of migrational movements, stemming as much from military campaigns, slavery, and forced deportations, as from intentional colonization, the search for better economic opportunities, superior education, and even a richer artistic milieu. These migrations are profusely documented throughout ancient history in archaeological, epigraphical and literary sources, and on both individual and mass- population levels.

Eastern convergences

To this day the study of the western world (Europe and the Mediterranean) and the Middle East in the period of antiquity are two largely separated academic disciplines. This does not, however, reflect the situation in antiquity, when contacts were at times frequent and intense. By bringing together of specialists from different fields and periods (Greek and Roman history, Assyriology, Egyptology) the group aims to contribute to new insights in processes of interaction between western and eastern cultures in both the ancient Near East and the Mediterranean.


Full members

  • Dr Mathieu de Bakker (UvA)
  • Dr Kim Beerden (UL)
  • Dr Klaas Bentein (UGent)
  • Sven Betjes MA (RU)
  • Dr Gavin Blasdel (RUG)
  • Dr Luuk de Boer (RUG)
  • Dr Antonia Bosanquet (UU)
  • Tom Britton MSt (RUG)
  • Prof. Dr Ann Brysbaert (UL)
  • Carmen Burgio (UGent / UG)
  • Dr Liesbeth Claes (UL)
  • Prof. Dr Jan Paul Crielaard (VU)
  • Prof. Dr Carly Crouch (RU)
  • Jitse Daniels (UG)
  • Drs Alexis Daveloose (UGent)
  • Dr Ton Derks (VU)
  • Dr Christopher Dickenson (UG)
  • Dr Tamara Dijkstra (UG)
  • Dr Efstathia Dionysopoulou (UL)
  • Dr Lucinda Dirven (UvA)
  • Dr Jan Willem Drijvers (UG)
  • Dr Floris van den Eijnde (UU)
  • Oriol Febrer (UL)
  • Dr Jaap-Jan Flinterman (VU)
  • Dr Lien Foubert (RU)
  • Oriol Febrer (UL)
  • Dr Eugenio Garosi (RU)
  • Dr Nathalie de Haan (RU)
  • Prof. Dr Bas ter Haar Romeny (VU)
  • Prof. Dr Frans de Haas (UL)
  • Geert Ham (UL)
  • Anique Hamelink MA (UvA)
  • Prof. Dr Olivier Hekster (RU)
  • Leonie Henkes MA (UL)
  • Larissa Henrique Dos Santos Lemos (RU)
  • Dr Cisca Hoogendijk (UL/LPI)
  • Hanna Hoogenraad MA (VU)
  • Dr Rebecca van Hove (UG)
  • Indira Huliselan (UL)
  • Prof. Dr Panagiotis Iossif (RU)
  • Dr Janneke de Jong (RU)
  • Dr Lidewijde de Jong (UG)
  • Sjoukje Kamphorst MA (UG)
  • Prof. Dr Kristin Kleber (VU)
  • Dr Jacqueline Klooster (UG)
  • Michael Kochenash (RU)
  • Dr Mark de Kreij (RU)
  • Patricia Kret MA (UL)
  • Prof. Dr André Lardinois (RU)
  • Elsa Lucassen MA (UvA)
  • Grace MacLachlan
  • Dr Erika Manders (RU)
  • Prof. Dr Steve Mason (UG)
  • Cindy Meijer MA (VU)
  • Prof. Dr Stephan Mols (RU)
  • Prof. Dr Eric Moormann (RU)
  • Prof. Dr Onno van Nijf (UG)
  • Drs Henri van Nispen (RU)
  • Janis Oomen (UG)
  • Prof. Dr Astrid van Oyen (RU)
  • Dr Saskia Peels-Matthey (UG)
  • Manon Post (UL)
  • Dr Janric van Rookhuijzen (RU)
  • Prof. Dr Leonard Rutgers (UU)
  • Dr Ortal-Paz Saar (UU)
  • Pim Schievink (UG)
  • Nicky Schreuder (UL)
  • Tanya Sieiro van der Beek (UG)
  • Dr Tesse Stek (UL)
  • Dr Saskia Stevens (UU)
  • Dr Jonathan Stökl (UL)
  • Dr Joanne Stolk (UGent)
  • Dr Rolf Strootman (UU)
  • Dr Marleen Termeer (RU)
  • Dr Shiyanthi Thavapalan (VU)
  • Caroline van Toor (UG)
  • Dr Daniel Turner (UL)
  • Valentina Vari (UG)
  • Merlijn Veltman (UL)
  • Julie Verlinden (UGent)
  • Prof. Dr Miguel John Versluys (UL)
  • Robin van Vliet MA (UG)
  • Dr Nienke Vos (VU)
  • Prof. Dr Sofia Voutsaki (UG)
  • Dr Willemijn Waal (UL)
  • Prof. Dr Caroline Waerzeggers (UL)
  • Anna van der Weij (UU)
  • Dr Marlena Whiting (UG)
  • Dr Rinse Willet (RU)
  • Dr Christina Williamson (UG)
  • Adam Wiznura MA (UG)
  • Susanna Wolfert-De Vries MA (UU)
  • Dr Shana Zaia (VU)
  • Prof. Dr Arjan Zuiderhoek (UGent)

Associated members

  • Nicholas Aherne (UG)
  • Carlo Emilio Biuzzi (UGent)
  • Prof. Dr Josine Blok (UU)
  • Dr Marta Capano (Università per Stranieri di Siena/RUG)
  • Dr Annelies Cazemier (Southampton)
  • Dr Lieve Donnellan (Aarhus)
  • Rhiannon Garth Jones (Aarhus)
  • Roderick Geerts (UL)
  • Dr Brien Gernand (UL)
  • Rogier van der Heijden MA (Freiburg)
  • Dr Elon Heijmans (UvA)
  • Prof. Dr Emily Hemelrijk (UvA)
  • Prof. Dr Jan Willem van Henten (UvA)
  • Dr Helle Hochscheid (UCR)
  • Dr Pieter Houten (Nottingham)
  • Jorrit Kelder (UL)
  • Drs Bernt Kerremans (RU)
  • Dr Bouke van der Meer (UL)
  • John Mooring MA (VU)
  • Dr Frits Naerebout (UL)
  • Prof. Dr Mladen Popovic (UG)
  • Zoltán Quittner (UL)
  • Prof. Dr Bert van der Spek (em. VU)
  • Dr Daniel Sybre (Hagen)
  • Dr Christel Veen (RU)
  • Marie Hélène van de Ven (Aarhus)
  • Eirini Vikatou MA (UL)
  • Banban Wang MA (Heidelberg)
  • Prof. Dr Hans van Wees (UCL)
  • Dr Roy van Wijk (Münster)
Last modified:11 March 2024 1.10 p.m.