The cultures of the ancient world – in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions, on the Eurasian Steppes and in the Near East – were trans-regionally linked. Indeed, the extent to which the ancient world was multicultural, multilingual and interdependent invites discussion of a globalized antiquity. This project investigated the globalization of the ancient world in its various dimensions, from technological and political to linguistic, with particular emphasis on the question what role knowledge played in this globalization process.
Knowledge is not simply another dimension of globalization, but rather a decisive element in its development. Indeed, the globalization of knowledge is itself a process with historical dynamics of its own which orchestrate the interaction of the other dimensions. This project investigated the function of knowledge in the process by which the ancient world became globalized, the coevolution of knowledge, technology and social interaction, as well as the unexpected consequences that followed, e.g. the invention and spread of writing, the development of social mechanisms for differentiating between knowledge and belief, and the creation of institutions as bearers of specific types of knowledge.