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Values and Culture in the Roman World

Seminar Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

Greg Woolf

Greg Woolf

Professor of Ancient History, University of St Andrews, Scotland

Rome's geographical reach was greater than that of any political entity that has existed in the Old World before or since. The 100 million-odd people who lived within the imperial boundaries spoke hundreds of languages, worshipped thousand of different gods, ate, dressed, married and buried their dead in countless ways. Yet that diversity of cultures seemed to create no political instability, no social tensions and the Caesars never seem to have worried whether the eternal city was a salad bowl or a melting pot. This seminar will explore how common values co-existed with diverse customs in antiquity, and why we find it so difficult to replicate that combination today.


Greg Woolf has degrees from Oxford and Cambridge and had fellowships at both universities before moving to Scotland in 1998. He has had visiting positions in Brazil, France, Germany and Italy and has lectured very widely. His research concerns the cultural history of antiquity, viewed in the broadest sense. He has co-edited volumes on literacy, on Rome as a Cosmopolis, on ancient libraries and encyclopaedias, on gender in the ancient city and published on Roman archaeology and the economy. He is the author of Becoming Roman: The Origins of Provincial Civilization in Gaul (1998), Et tu Brute? A Short History of Political Murder (Harvard and London, 2007) and Tales of the Barbarians (2011). He is currently researching the process through which the first religions emerged between classical antiquity and the middle ages.

Assigned Reading

Greg Woolf, Rome. An Empire's Story (Oxford University Press, 2012)


A reception will be held at 5pm at the UNE Art Gallery


Center for Global Humanities


(207) 221-4335

Greg Woolf event poster
6:00 PM
WCHP Lecture Hall

Portland Campus

Free and open to the public