Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp

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Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp (* 25 July 1953 in Witten) is a German ancient historian.


Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp studied History, English, Philosophy, Education and Classics at the Universities of Bochum and Oxford from 1972 to 1981. He was a scholarship holder of the German National Academic Foundation and the British Council. In 1979 he passed the First State Examination in Bochum in English and History. From 1981 to 1987 he was a research assistant in Bochum. In December 1984, he received his doctorate there with a study on the emergence of nobility, supervised by Karl-Wilhelm Welwei.

From 1987 to 1991 he was Moses and Mary Finley Research Fellow in Ancient History at Darwin College, Cambridge, where he received a Master of Arts degree in 1990. From 1990 to 1992 he was an Affiliated Lecturer at the University of Cambridge. In 1991 he habilitated in the Department of History at Bochum and in 1991-92 went as a Junior Fellow to the Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard University in Washington, D.C. From 1991 to 1994 he taught as a Privatdozent in Bochum, supported in 1993-94 by a PostDoc Fellowship from the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. In 1994 he was appointed university professor of ancient history at the Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald. In 1995 he moved to the University of Cologne. From 2005 to 2006 he received a research fellowship at the Historical College in Munich.

Hölkeskamp’s research focuses on Greek and Roman history, especially on the Eastern Mediterranean from the Bronze Age to the Archaic period, on the emergence of the polis and on legislation in Archaic and Classical Greece. Another research focus is the political culture of the late Roman Republic, the history of the mentality of the republican aristocracy, and the conceptual history of the upper class. He is co-editor of the journal Hermes. Zeitschrift für Klassische Philologie and the series Hermes-Einzelschriften, Oldenbourg Grundrisse der Geschichte and Kölner Historische Abhandlungen.

Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp is married to the ancient historian Elke Stein-Hölkeskamp. In 2017, the couple was awarded the Karl Christ Prize.[1]

Writings (selection)


  • Die Entstehung der Nobilität. Studies on the Social and Political History of the Roman Republic in the 4th Century B.C. Stuttgart 1984. 2nd expanded edition 2011 (Dissertation, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
  • Arbitrators, legislators and legislation in archaic Greece. Stuttgart 1999 (Habilitationsschrift, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
  • Senatus populusque Romanus. The Political Culture of the Republic – Dimensions and Interpretations. Stuttgart 2004
  • Reconstructions of a Republic. The political culture of ancient Rome and the research of recent decades. Munich 2004
    • French translation by Claudine Layre and Fréderic Hurlet : Reconstruire une république: la “culture politique” de la Rome antique et la recherche des dernières décennies. Nantes 2008
    • English translation of Henry Heitmann-Gordon: Reconstructing the Roman Republic. An Ancient Political Culture and Modern Research. Princeton/Oxford 2010
    • Italian translation by Edoardo Bianchi/Maria Chiara Mazzotta: Modelli per una repubblica. La cultura politica dell’antica Roma e la ricerca degli ultimi decenni (Monografie del Centro Ricerche di Documentazione sull’Antichità Classica). Rome 2016 (with updated bibliography)


  • with Elke Stein-Hölkeskamp: From Romulus to Augustus. Great figures of the Roman Republic. Munich 2000. 2nd edition 2010
  • with Jörn Rüsen, Elke Stein-Hölkeskamp and Heinrich Theodor Grütter: Sinn (in) der Antike. Orientation systems, models and value concepts in antiquity. Mainz 2003
  • with Stefan Rebenich: Phaëthon. A Myth in Antiquity and Modernity. Stuttgart 2009
  • A political culture (in) crisis? Die “letzte Generation” der römischen Republik (= Schriften des Historischen Kollegs. Kolloquien. Vol. 73). Munich 2009(Digitalisat)


  • Stefan Rebenich: Laudatio auf den Preisträger Prof. Dr. Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp. In: Elke Stein-Hölkeskamp, Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp: Ethos – Honor – Excellence. Ancient Elites in Comparison (= Karl Christ Prize for Ancient History. Volume 3). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2018, ISBN 978-3-946317-09-8, pp. 21-28.
  • Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp. Writings. In: Elke Stein-Hölkeskamp, Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp: Ethos – Honor – Excellence. Ancient Elites in Comparison (= Karl Christ Prize for Ancient History. Volume 3). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2018, ISBN 978-3-946317-09-8, pp. 111-128 (list of publications).

Web links


  1. Ancient views. Researcher couple Hölkeskamp honored. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 4 February 2017, p. 14.