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Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen

Home institution: Department of History, University of Southern Denmark at Esbjerg
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Research profile

My research has mainly been focused on the structures and power relations that held the Roman empire together: urbanization, assimilation of provincial elites, road-building and the military. Other research interests include historical geography, ancient fishing and the reception of antiquity in the 19th and 20th century, esepcially the relationship between ancient studies and the rise of nationalism. I have done fieldwork in the north-western provinces as well as in Italy, Cyprus, Syria and Turkey. Publications include The Geography of Power (Oxford, 1989) and The Roads of Ancient Cyprus (Copenhagen, 2004). In the autumn of 2004, I have taught two courses in Black Sea history at the University of Southern Denmark.

Project description

Within the Centre, I am responsible for two research projects. One, under the heading of Patterns of trade and exchange, is a critical re-examination of some accepted notions about ancient fishing generally, with special focus on the rise and development of the Crimean fish-processing industry. I organized an international conference on this topic in Esbjerg in April 2003, the papers from which was published as Ancient Fishing and Fish Processing (Black Sea Studies, 2) in 2004. Under the research theme The coming of Rome, a separate research project, to commence in 2005, I will examine the development of urban institutions, social stratification and urban politics in north-western Asia Minor under Roman rule. I will be working from the preserved writings of Pliny and Dio Chrysostomos and the epigraphic evidence, but trying to look at them from new angles and against the wider background of urban political behaviour in the Greek-speaking provinces and in the Roman empire generally. An international conference on Rome and the Black Sea Region: Domination, Romanization, Resistance  has been organized and will take place in Esbjerg from January 23-26, 2005. I am also the advisor of one of the centre’s Ph.D. students, Jesper Majbom Madsen (jointly with professor Eckart Olshausen, Stuttgart).

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