Institute of Ancient History

The Institute of Ancient History at the University of Tübingen

As is usual at universities in the German-speaking world, Ancient History focuses on the study of Greek and Roman culture in the ancient past. Chronologically the subject extends from circa 800 BC to around AD 700; geographically it departs from the core areas of Greece and Italy and focuses on the Mediterranean more generally. At its widest extent Ancient history explores the ancient past of what today is Afghanistan in east and of the Atlantic coast in the west, and it considers ancient life in the north of the British Isles and in the Atlas Mountains and Upper Egypt in the south, as Greek and Roman culture touched all these regions in the course of Antiquity.

Ancient History intersects with several other subjects, including Classical Philology (Greek and Latin), which studies the textual sources from the Graeco-Roman past, Classical Archaeology, concerned with the ancient material record, and Medieval History and Patristics, which explore the history of early Christianity and of the ancient Church.

The first professorship for Ancient History at the University of Tübingen was established in 1903, and since 1954 Ancient History constitutes a separate Institute of the Department of History. With the restructuring of the faculties in 2010 the Institute of Ancient History has become part of the Department of History in the Faculty of Humanities. Since 1963 the Institute hosts two Chairs for Ancient History. The current post holders are Prof. Dr. Mischa Meier and Prof. Dr. Sebastian Schmidt-Hofner.

Ancient historians at Tübingen cover the subject in all its breadth. The core areas in research and teaching include archaic and classical Greece (750-350 BC), the regional history of southwestern Anatolia, the Roman imperial period (1st century – 3rd century AD), the history of pests and natural catastrophes in the ancient world, the history of politics, religion and culture in Late Antiquity, the problem of the transition between Antiquity and the Middle Ages, ancient historiography and the afterlife and reception of the Graeco-Roman past in later periods.