Prof. Dr. Andreas Mehl


Dr. Oliver Schmitt
Dr. Thomas Brüggemann


other Phases of Research:

2008–2012 (A8)
2004–2008 (D8)

Project Group C: Control and Attachment, Project C4

Nomads as Confederates in the Near East from 63 B.C. to 630 A.D.


Contacts and encounters with nomadic arab tribes occured frequently during the time of Roman rule in the Near East. From 1st century BC to the 1st century AD dealing with the nomads and the so-called "nomadic menace" was primarly task the of client states like Palmyra, but from the beginning of the 2nd century AD onwards the extension of direct Roman control in areas frequented by the nomads enforced a more thoroughly occupation with this problems. Since the 3rd century a ever growing nomadic pressure on the Roman provinces is suggested by some sources and is widely accepted by scholars. Their apparent weakness in face of this threat forced the Romans, so it is believed, to rely more and more on arab allies for the security of their provinces, a policy that eventually went wrong. The tremendous successes of the arab-islamic expansion are often attributed to this failure.

The employment of nomadic allies should however not be exclusively seen against the background of mutual expansion. The importance of the antagonism between Rome an the other two great powers of the Near East, the Parthians and later the Sassanians, who both had arab allies of their own, must be taken into account and the effects must be thouroughly scrutinized.

According to the source material, the study will have an emphasis on the 1st century BC and AD and on the 5th to 6th century AD. The first aim is a general survey of roman-nomadic contacts to get a clear picture of the nomadic incursions and the use of nomadic foederati during the whole time of roman rule. This will form the basis for further research work. The following facets will receive special attention:

  • Which were the relations between the nomadic threat and the employment of nomadic allies? Could nomadic raids only be checked by nomadic troops?
  • Did the nomads possess special tactics and technologies which gave them decisive advantages over their sedentary opponents? Did a transfer of technologies exist between Romans and nomads?
  • Which were the longtime-effects of a federationship on the nomadic way of life?
  • What kind of connections existed between roman and nomadic aristocracies?


Prof. Dr. Andreas Mehl

Der Hellenismus – Synthese zwischen Orient und Okzident? In: E. Erdmann/U. Uffelmann (eds.): Das Altertum. Vom Alten Orient zur Spätantike. Idstein 2001, 103–127.

Zwischen West und Ost / Jenseits von West und Ost: Das Reich der Seleukiden. In: K. Brodersen (ed.): Zwischen West und Ost. Studien zur Geschichte des Seleukidenreichs. Hamburg 1999, 9–43.

Stadt – Staat – Begegnung von Kulturen. Grundsätzliche Gedanken, ausgehend vom hellenistischen Zypern. In: Alte Geschichte: Wege – Einsichten – Horizonte. Festschrift für Eckart Olshausen zum 60. Geburtstag. Hildesheim 1998, 143–167.

Griechen und Phoiniker im hellenistischen Zypern – ein Nationalitätenproblem? In: B. Funck (ed.): Hellenismus. Beiträge zur Erforschung von Akkulturation und politischer Ordnung in den Staaten des hellenistischen Zeitalters. Tübingen 1996 (1997), 377–414.

Erziehung zum Hellenen – Erziehung zum Weltbürger. Bemerkungen zum Gymnasion im hellenistischen Osten. In: Nikephoros 5 (1992 [1993]), 43–73.

Seleukos Nikator und sein Reich. 1. Teil: Seleukos' Leben und die Entwicklung seiner Machtposition. Leuven 1986 (Studia Hellenistica 28).

Dr. Oliver Schmitt

Mavia – Königin der Sarazenen. In: Mitteilungen des SFB "Differenz und Integration" 4/1 (2003), 163–179.

Untersuchungen zur Organisation und zur militärischen Stärke oströmischer Herrschaft im Vorderen Orient zwischen 628 und 633. In: Byzantinische Zeitschrift 94 (2001), 197–229.

Die Buccellarii. Ein Studie zum militärischen Gefolgschaftswesen in der Spätantike. In: Tyche 9 (1994), 147–174.

Dr. Thomas Brüggemann

Römer, Nomaden, Christen. Staat und Gesellschaft im spätantiken Nordafrika (3.–5. Jahrhundert n. Chr.). Diss. (in print).

Nundinae als Bindeglied zwischen römischer Administration und indigenen Gesellschaften im antiken Nordafrika. In: Mitteilungen des SFB "Differenz und Integration" (in print).

Die Gründung Karthagos. Gesellschaft und Staat im 7. und 6. Jahrhundert v. Chr. In: Zur Erkenntnis der die Gegenwart prägenden Faktoren der Vergangenheit. Projekte zur deutschen und europäischen Geschichte in Düsseldorfer Magister- und Examensarbeiten. Neuried bei München 2001, 25–42.