Konrad Vössing
Prof. Dr. Konrad Vössing © Konrad Vössing

Prof. Dr. Konrad Vössing

University of Bonn
Institute of of History
Department of Ancient History
Am Hof 1e
D-53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 / (0)228 / 73 7376

Current Position

  • Professor for Ancient History
  • Co-Speaker of the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies


Konrad Vössing focuses on "dependency and militia" in the last century of the Western Roman Empire, in three areas in particular:

  1. The Roman tenant farmers (coloni) who were increasingly tied to the land and treated by the landlords as dependents. Their precarious status was nevertheless subject to a wide range of developments, and the question arises what options for action – except for the 'desertio’ – derived from the fact that the agricultural production depended upon them.
  2. The power of the landlords over the coloni made it increasingly difficult for the Roman army to fill its ranks from this source. As a consequence, the emperor resorted to non-Roman fighters engaged under contract (foedus) which eventually led to the formation of the late antique 'barbarian’ gentes. These 'foederati’ were at first strongly dependent upon the Roman state, but quickly became autonomous powers – a transition which can likely be elucidated more closely through comparison with similar phenomena in other periods and cultures.
  3. Additionally, the relations of dependences within these gentes must be analysed, and one must also question how these structures were transformed in contact with the political and social culture of the Late Roman Empire.

4 books, 5 edited volumes, 85 further scientific papers, 45 reviews. Ca. 20 international lectures and presentations, 10 completed and 8 ongoing doctorates as first and second supervisor, 60 M.A. theses and 20 B.A. theses as supervisor/first reviewer.


  • 2002                         Habilitation and Venia legendi in Ancient History, HHU Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 1986–1991             Ph.D. Thesis, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
  • 1978–1984             M.A. Studies in History, Classical Philology and Archaeology, Free University of Berlin, Germany, and Université de Bordeaux III, France

Academic Positions

  • 2005–present         Professor for Ancient History, University of Bonn, Germany
  • 1984–2005             Research Associate Positions, University of Berlin, Aachen and Duesseldorf, Germany


  • 2012                         Teaching Award of the University of Bonn, Germany
  • 2011                         Prix scientifique franco-allemand Gay-Lussac-Humboldt

Participation in Academic Centers and Consortium Projects

  •                                   together with Prof. Dr. Winfried Schmitz: Head of the DFG-Project (DFG-LIS) "Cataloging and Digitization of the Bonn Papyrus Collection for Long-Term Protection
                                      and Provision for the Internet"
  • 2016–present         Subproject Leader of the DFG Collaborative Research Center (SFB 1167) "'Macht' and 'Herrschaft' – Premodern Configurations in a Transcultural Perspective"
  • 2013–present         Associate member of the Graduate School (GRK 1878) "Archeology of Pre-modern Economies"
  • 2012–present         Full member of theNorth Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts, Class of the Humanities
  • 2011–present         Spokesperson (the German side) of the German-French Graduate School of the Franco-German University (Bonn – Strassburg – Berne – Brussels – Luxembourg –
                                      Liège) "Foule et intégration dans les sociétés antiques"
  • 2009–2015             Member of the scientific advisory board of the Courant Research Center (Excellence Initiative) EDRIS, University of Göttingen: "Education and Religion: From the
                                      Early Imperial Roman Times to the Classical Period of Islam"
  • 2007–2013             Spokesperson of the study group "Clothing and Religion" within the EU Interdisciplinary Research Project "Dress ID Clothing and Identities – New Perspectives on
                                      Textiles in the Roman Empire"

Third-Party Funding

  • Franco-German University (DFH)
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • Henkel Foundation
  • German Research Foundation (DFG)

Selected Publications

  • 2015. “Das Verhältnis ‘religio – superstitio’ und Augustins ‘De civitate dei’.” In Kampf oder Dialog? Begegnung von Kulturen im Horizont von Augustinus “De civitate dei”. Conflict/dialogue? Augustine’s engagement with cultures in “De civitate dei”. Internationales Symposium/International Symposium Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, Roma, 25.–29. September 2012, edited by Christof Müller, 141–185. Würzburg: Echter.

  • 2015. “Vandalen und Goten – die schwierigen Beziehungen ihrer Königreiche.” In Littérature, Politique et Religion en Afrique Vandale, edited by Étienne Wolff, 11–37. Paris: Institut d’Études Augustiniennes.

  • 2014. Das Königreich der Vandalen. Geiserichs Herrschaft und Imperium Romanum. Quinque Vandalis Amatis. Darmstadt: Philipp von Zabern.

  • 2013. “Alexandre au Banquet entre Amis et Sujets.” In Le Banquet du Monarque dans le Monde Antique, edited by Catherine Grandjean, Christophe Hugoniot, and Brigitte Lion, 231–260. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes.

  • Sabine Schrenk, and Michael Tellenbach, eds. 2012. Kleidung und Identität in religiösen Kontexten der römischen Kaiserzeit. Mannheimer Geschichtsblätter, Sonderveröffentlichung 4. Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner.

  • ed. 2011. Victor von Vita. Kirchenkampf und Verfolgung unter den Vandalen in Africa. Darmstadt: WBG Academic.

  • ed. 2008. Das römische Bankett im Spiegel der Altertumswissenschaften. Alte Geschichte. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

  • ed. 2005. Biographie und Prosopographie. Internationales Kolloquium zum 65. Geburtstag von Anthony R. Birley. Historia Einzelschriften 178. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

  • 2004. Mensa Regia. Das Bankett beim hellenistischen König und beim römischen Kaiser. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 193. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

  • 1997. Schule und Bildung im Nordafrika der Römischen Kaiserzeit. Bruxelles: Latomus.

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