Altay Coskun

Professor / Undergraduate and Graduate Chair



Habilitation, University of Trier, FB III
Ph.D., University of Trier, FB III
MA, University of Trier, FB III
BA, University of Trier, FB III

(519) 888-4567 x 48903
ML 228

Research Interests

  • Roman Politics, Legislation, Citizenship
  • Roman Imperialism and Foreign Relations in the Eastern Mediterranean
  • Hellenistic Kingdoms: Seleucids, Attalids, Mithradatids, Galatians, Maccabees
  • Ancient Black Sea Studies: Bosporan Kingdom and Asia Minor
  • Athenian Democracy and Citizenship Policy
  • Ancient Historiography
  • Ancient Ruler Cults

I am generally interested in constitutional and legal matters, interstate and intercultural relations, imperial policy and propaganda, as well as the status of migrants and foreigners. I have recently initiated a major international cooperation dedicated to Ancient Black Sea Studies, especially to the Mithradatic dynasty in Pontus and the Cimmerian Bosporus. I pursue long-term research agendas that seek to trace the history of the Galatians from their conquests in Western Asia Minor to their provincialization, and of the Seleucid Empire from its inception to its downfall. My most recent research tries to better understand the history of ancient Judaea in the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE by reconstructing the complex process of authoring and editing the main accounts (1 and 2 Maccabees, Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities). All of these regional studies pay particular attention to the mechanisms and effects of Roman imperial diplomacy.

Most of my research is embedded in international and interdisciplinary cooperation. Since 2011, I direct the Seleucid Study Group with its Study Days alternating between Canada and Europe. My work on Roman Friendship Diplomacy has yielded several collaborative initiatives; many results are reflected in the database Amici Populi Romani. Together with a network of Black Sea Scholars, I am currently preparing a series of books on the Pontos Euxeinos and the Bosporan Kingdom. A previous cooperation with the University of Trier has yielded the first handbook on the history of foreigners’ rights and citizenship from the ancient Near East to the present day (Fremd und Rechtlos?).

For more information on my research publications, see my List of Publications or the more detailed Publication Abstracts.


  • Roman Political History, Roman Society
  • The Hellenistic World
  • Graeco-Roman Asia Minor
  • The Transformation of the Ancient World in Late Antiquity
  • Latin Literature, esp. Cicero, Livy
  • The History of Democracy, Republicanism and Greek Political Thought

My academic patria is the University of Trier in Western Germany, where I studied History and Classics in the 1990s and worked as a research fellow and lecturer in Classics and Ancient History until 2008. I further studied and worked at the Universities of Fribourg, Switzerland (1993), Oxford (2000-2002) and Exeter (2009, 2011). Since 2009, I have been dedicated to the teaching programs of the Classical Studies Department at Waterloo. I am eager to share with my students my general enthusiasm for the ancient world and my excitement for the many discoveries that can still be made. I am particularly committed to the international character of Classical Studies, which encourages the learning of ancient and modern languages alike, the continuous exchange of views beyond the national boundaries, and the mobility of students and profs alike to spend some at Universities abroad.

Graduate Supervision

I am happy to supervise graduate studies in all the above-mentioned areas. Previously, my students have conducted research on the Galatians, the Seleucids, the Roman Empire and its administration, as well as the Reception of Roman Political Thought. Many projects have led to (peer-reviewed) publications. I am particularly keen on recruiting students for my most recent research project on the Bosporan Kingdom.

Administration & Service

I am currently the department representative at the Faculty Association. Much of my professional service is to the scholarly community: I am active as a reviewer for national funding agencies (including SSHRC) and renowned publishing houses (including Franz Steiner and Routledge), and I am in the editorial team of the journal Latomus (Brussels).

For more detailed information, see my Curriculum Vitae
For my academic website, click here