About this course
In this trilingual MOOC (English, French, German), an international team of experts from six different universities will explore the many facets of Greek and Roman cities. They will discuss mega cities like Rome, centres of international commerce like the Greek city of Delos and Palmyra in the Syrian Desert, regional centres of production like Pompeii, and frontier towns like Dura Europos on the Euphrates.
The world of ancient Greece and Rome was a world of cities. City-states dominated Greece in the first millennium BCE, and in the Roman Empire, urban societies thrived from Britain and Spain in the West to Syria and Jordan in the East. Most of the major developments in the political, social, intellectual, and religious history of this period started in cities. Accordingly, cities are the ideal point of departure for the study of life in antiquity.
The legacy of ancient Greek and Roman cities are still keenly felt, in how we physically organize, build and live in our cities today, as well as in how we think about and define cities. The course will explore the connections between ancient cities and their impact on urban life in later periods across the globe.
Drawing on the very latest research, you will explore the most important aspects of ancient urbanism and urbanity. You will obtain knowledge of the layout and the history of Greek and Roman cities and you will learn about the life of their inhabitants, from emperors to the common people. You will develop a basic understanding of the approaches and methods of urban archaeology and you will experience the diversity and the relevance of ancient heritage for Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East. Furthermore, you will learn how ancient cities form the foundation of not only how our cities look today, but also how they function.
Prof. Dr. Stefan Feuser, Kiel University
Stefan is an archaeologist whose research resolves around Greece and Turkey in Hellenistic and Roman times. He did research on the urbanism of harbour cities, sculpture, religious sanctuaries and thermal baths. Since 2008 he is member of the excavation team in Pergamon (Turkey) where he is currently excavating a thermal bath complex outside the city. For more info, see the university website
Ass. Prof. Michael Blömer, Centre for Urban Network Evolutions, Aarhus University
Michael is an archaeologist whose research revolves around Turkey and the Middle East in the Hellenistic and Roman Period. He has worked on urbanism, sculpture, religious iconography, and the religious life. Michael is also an experienced field archaeologist and co-director of the excavations at Doliche, an ancient city in South-East Turkey. For more info, see this website
Prof. Dr. Alain Duplouy, University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
Alain is both an historian and an archaeologist of ancient Greece, and specialized in the study of the archaic society. He has worked extensively on the definition of elite and citizens in Greece, but he is also a specialist of ancient Greek sculpture. He has excavated both in Greece and in Italy. He is now co-director of the French-German excavation at Monte Torretta di Pietragalla (Basilicata, Italy).He is the author of Le Prestige des élites (Les Belles Lettres, 2006) and has edited with Roger Brock the collective volume Defining citizenship in archaic Greece (Oxford University Press, 2018). His new book (Construire la cité, Les Belles Lettres, 2019) offers a sociology of the various communities of archaic Greece. For more info, see the university website
Prof. Dr. Simon Malmberg, Bergen University
Simon has studied the development of the city of Rome during the first six centuries AD. He has mainly focused on movement in the city and what effects it had on urban development. His research ranges from processions, palaces and the monumental, to land and river traffic, urban peripheries and local neighbourhood life. Simon has taught courses in the city for many years, and has been employed at the Swedish and Norwegian Institutes in Rome. He co-edited the book The Moving City (2015) on movement in ancient Rome. For more information, see the university website and his website
Stephanie Merten, M.A., Kiel University
Stephanie is PhD candidate at the University of Kiel and research assistant in the project “Ancient Cities”. Her research focuses on urban architectures and their social implications, especially in Mediterranean cities like Pompeii. She is interested in practices and actions of different social groups – from the elite to subalterns – in ancient cities which is why she combines modern sociological theories with archaeological features. Stephanie also worked and still works as editorial staff in different projects so she is familiar with the representation of archaeological research for the public. For more info, see the university website
Prof. Dr. Rubina Raja, Centre for Network Evolutions, Aarhus University
Rubina Raja is professor of Classical Archaeology at Aarhus University, Denmark. She studied in Copenhagen, Rome and Oxford. Since February 2015, she has also been centre director of the Danish National Research Foundation's Centre of Excellence for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet). Rubina Raja’s research focuses on urban development, visual representations and religious identities in the eastern Roman provinces and the Levant. She initiated and heads the Palmyra Portrait Project, which has collected the largest corpus of Roman funerary portraits outside Rome, found in Palmyra, Syria. Rubina Raja directs an extensive excavation project in Jerash, Jordan, together with Achim Lichtenberger, Münster University, focusing on the so far unexplored Northwest Quarter of the ancient city of Gerasa and she also co-directs the new Italian-Danish excavations on Caesar’s Forum in Rome together with Jan Kindberg Jacobsen.
Christina Videbech, Bergen University
Christina is a PhD candidate at the University of Bergen and employed as a research assistant in the Ancient Cities Project. She has previously worked extensively with dissemination of classical archaeology to the general public, teaching both children and adults. She has been employed at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen (2008-2016), The National Museum of Denmark (2009-2012), and The National Museum of Art in Copenhagen (2008-2012), where she has worked with both the dissemination of the collections, the production of teaching materials, and the construction of exhibitions. Furthermore, she has teached at the People’s University in Copenhagen. As a scholar she has worked especially with the city of Rome in late antiquity, publishing articles on the reuse of building materials and the transition of Rome from antiquity to the middle ages. For more info, see her website and the university website
Prof. Dr. Alessia Zambon, Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines
While trained as a classical archaeologist, Alessia can rather be defined as a historian of archaeology, as she investigates the conditions of the rise of archaeology as a science during the 19th century. As such, she has published extensively on Western travelers in the Ottoman empire and in Modern Greece, including her book Aux origines de l'archéologie en Grèce : Fauvel et sa méthode (Paris, 2014) ; she is now editing the collective volume From Plunder to Patrimonial awareness in Greece and in the Ottoman Empire: The French and other Westerner’s role. Personal webpage
Prof. Dr. Mantha Zarmakoupi, University of Pennsylvania
Mantha Zarmakoupi is the Morris Russell and Josephine Chidsey Williams Assistant Professor in Roman architecture and urbanism in the Department of History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work addresses the broader social, economic and cultural conditions underpinning the production of ancient art, architecture and urbanism. She has published widely on Roman luxury villas, including the monograph, Designing for Luxury on the Bay of Naples (c. 100 BCE – 79 CE) (Oxford UP 2014) and edited volume The Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum (De Gruyter 2010), as well as on the architecture, harbour infrastructure, and urban development of late Hellenistic and Roman Delos. She currently co-directs the underwater survey around Delos and Rheneia (2014-) and the underwater survey around islands Levitha, Kinaros and Maura in the central Aegean Sea (2019-). She also co-leads with Simon Richards the Delos Network in order to investigate the history and legacy of the Delos symposia (1963-75), which were organized by architect and planner C. A. Doxiadis, in the context of 1960s and 1970s discussions about the future of urban planning. For more info see the university website and her personal website.