Globalization in Antiquity: Why It Matters for the Present
Globalization is nothing new nor a phenomenon exclusively tied up with (European) expansion or modernity: globalization has its history. Historicizing globalization makes us understand how and when our planet became systematically connected and how connectivity works as a process. Studying historical trajectories of globalization can thus improve our understanding of the complexities of our 21st-century world. My lecture will sketch a (deep) historical perspective on globalization and focus on the Roman Empire in particular. The Romans had to make sense of the impact of the ever-widening Eurasian networks they became part of -and developed some innovative coping practices as a result. Commodities will play an important role in that story.
Miguel John Versluys’ research explores the cultural dynamics of the Hellenistic-Roman world (roughly 200 BC –AD 200) from the point of view of Eurasia and has two distinct focus points: the interconnection of cultures and their various identities (”globalization”), and the interdependence of objects and people (“Material Culture Studies”). He currently heads the NWO-funded project Innovating objects. The impact of global connections and the formation of the Roman Empire (ca. 200-30 BC). He is co-editor of Globalisation and the Roman world. World history, connectivity and material culture (Cambridge 2015) and of the Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalisation (London 2017).