Ancient Studies
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

About Us

The Department of Ancient Studies aims to contribute to the discovery and mediation of knowledge about the complexity and interrelatedness of cultures. Through a study of the ancient Greco-Roman and ancient Near Eastern worlds – which include North Africa and Egypt – and their continuing influence on modern society, an understanding of contemporary cultural complexities can be fostered. This is done by means of multidimensional and innovative research and teaching with a focus on material culture, language, communication, values, paradigms of thought and societal structures in the ancient world. A nuanced understanding of the similarities and differences between human existence in the ancient world and in our contemporary worlds opens up new ways of thinking. Such thinking helps to equip students with the critical apparatus necessary to contribute positively and meaningfully to our diverse and multi-cultural country.

The vision of the Department of Ancient Studies is:

  • to sensitize students towards understanding the complexities of cultural interaction through the teaching of ancient cultures, which demonstrates the similarities and differences between ancient and modern cultures, highlights the problems of contemporary cultural interaction and exposes the dangers of cultural imperialism;
  • to sensitize students towards understanding the complexity of human communication through our teaching of ancient languages;
  • to develop students' communication skills through a strong focus on forms of visual and textual communication in the ancient world, as well as interactive participation in oral and written assignments;
  • to enhance the development of critical thinking skills on undergraduate and postgraduate levels  in order to educate responsible citizens who are able to participate meaningfully in contemporary South African society;
  • to continue the long tradition of excellent teaching through maintaining the ethos of hard work and the use of innovative teaching methods and technological support for teaching;
  • to strive for excellence in research which contributes to enhancing the status of Stellenbosch University as a national asset as well as to a better society for all;
  • to foster and extend existing research networks with a special focus on developing networks within Africa; 
  • to be an inclusive environment where the value of diversity and the uniqueness of each individual (both students and staff) are recognized in order to allow each individual to realize his or her full potential;
  • to provide a space where every student feels comfortable to ask for and receive support and empathy from all staff members; and
  • to maintain involvement in and service to the community through input in areas like the training of ministers of the church for various denominations, the continued involvement in Bible interpretation and translation, museum and heritage involvement, and sharing the results of research through popular lectures in various fora.