Social processes

The research carried out at Utrecht University in the field of ancient culture focuses on social processes that also play a central role in our own society: how is citizenship defined, and by whom; how do processes of social inclusion and exclusion work; how do cultural contacts and/or migration influence these processes and how and why is religion repeatedly a crucial factor in these processes?

This research is characterised by a comprehensive chronological, geographical and methodical approach in which the above questions are studied using information from the entire Mediterranean area and the ancient Near-East, over a period dating from Archaic and Classical Greece (800 BC), via the Hellenistic period and Roman Empire, up to Late Antiquity (AD 600). We use a number of different research methods, particularly archaeology.


The research conducted by the Ancient Culture research group is embedded in the Utrecht University strategic theme Institution for Open Societies, and the unifying aspect is the common interest in exploring the factors and structures that exercise a positive or negative influence on the functioning of an open society.

On a national level the group works together with OIKOS, the National Research School in Classical Studies, for example in the Anchoring Innovation research agenda.


13 February 2018
From March onwards, Mauro Bonazzi is appointed professor in ancient and medieval philosophy. His research focuses on Plato and the history of ancient Platonism.
5 September 2017
Leonard Rutgers and Ortal-Paz Saar have been successful in securing a major competitive grant from the Rothschild Foundation.
1 August 2017
Jewish Love Magic is a monograph by Ortal-Paz Saar dedicated to the supernatural methods employed by Jews in order to generate love, grace or hate.
Areas of expertise: archaeology | citizenship | ancient art history | antique democracy | Hellenism | early Christianity | diaspora | Jewish history | classical mythology | empires | institutions | cultural heritage