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Prof. Dr. Konrad Vössing

Principal Investigator

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 of Ancient History


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 of 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
  • 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

  • Das Verhältnis 'religio - superstitio' und Augustins "De civitate dei". [The Relationship of 'religio – superstitio' and Augustine’s "De civitate dei"]. In: Chr. Müller et al. (eds.): Kampf oder Dialog? Begegnung von Kulturen im Horizont von Augustinus "De civitate dei". [Struggle or Dialogue? Encounters of Cultures on the Horizon of Augustins "De civitate dei"]. Würzburg 2015, 141-185.
  • Vandalen und Goten – die schwierigen Beziehungen ihrer Königreiche. [Vandals and Goths – The Complicated Relationship of their Kingdoms]. In: E. Wolff (ed.): Littérature, politique et religion en Afrique vandal. Paris 2015, 11–37.
  • Das Königreich der Vandalen. Geiserichs Herrschaft und Imperium Romanum. [The Kingdom of the Vandals. Genseric's Reign and the Roman Empire]. Darmstadt 2014.
  • Alexandre au banquet entre amis et sujets. [Alexander at Table – Between 'Friends‘ and Subjects]. In: C. Grandjean et al. (eds.): Le banquet du monarque dans le monde antique. Rennes 2013, 231-260.
  • With S. Schrenk (eds.): Kleidung und Identität in religiösen Kontexten der römischen Kaiserzeit. [Clothing and Identity in Religious Contexts of the Roman Imperial Age]. Mannheim 2012.
  • (ed.): Victor von Vita. Kirchenkampf und Verfolgung unter den Vandalen in Africa. [Victor von Vita. Church Struggle and Persecution under the Vandals in Africa]. Darmstadt 2011.
  • (ed.): Das römische Bankett im Spiegel der Altertumswissenschaften. [The Roman Convivium in the Mirror of Classical Studies]. Stuttgart 2008.
  • (ed.): Biographie und Prosopographie. [Biography and Prosopography]. Stuttgart 2005.
  • Mensa Regia. Das Bankett beim hellenistischen König und beim römischen Kaiser. [Mensa Regia. The Banquet of the Hellenic King and Roman Emperor]. Munich 2004.
  • Schule und Bildung im Nordafrika der Römischen Kaiserzeit. [School and Education in the North African Provinces of the Roman Empire]. Bruxelles 1997.
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