Julia Wilker


Associate Professor of Classical StudiesChair, Graduate Group in Ancient History

Cohen Hall 227

I’m an ancient historian working primarily on the Near East in Hellenistic and Roman times, with a focus on the history of Judea from the Maccabean revolt to the second century CE. I’m particularly interested in the political and cultural changes during this period and the interaction between local elites and imperial powers, both literally in regard to foreign relations and political integration and figuratively with a focus on the adoption and adaptation of cultural features and markers of social distinction. In a broader sense, my research focuses on evolving concepts of identity and normativity and how these changes affected local societies. My first book dealt with the integration of the highest strata of Judean elites into Roman imperial rule and their role as mediators between Jews and Romans. Since then, I have become interested in dynastic structures and the organization and legitimation of dynastic rule. My second book (forthcoming with Oxford University Press) analyzes the role of women in the Judaean dynasties from the Hasmoneans to the later Herodians  (2nd century BCE to 1st century CE). I have also worked and published on the Roman institution of client kingship, the integration of dependent dynasties into the imperial elite, and the impact on their home regions. 

My second field of research is the history of interstate relations with a focus on the Classical and Hellenistic periods. In this context, I am particularly interested in how concepts of foreign relations and definitions of key terms, such as peace, autonomy, and hegemony, evolved and were redefined and how this process was reflected in political affairs, treaties, and alliances. 



Dr. phil. (Ancient History), Freie Universität Berlin 

M.A. History, M.A. Classical Archaeology, Freie Universität Berlin


Research Interests
  • Hellenistic and Roman Near East
  • Jewish history in the Hellenistic-Roman period
  • Dynastic rule
  • Late Classical Greece
  • Interstate relations


Courses Taught

undergraduate: Ancient Mediterranean Empires, Hellenistic and Roman Near East, History of Macedonia, Cleopatra, Jewish Diaspora in the Roman Empire, Paradox of Monarchy among ancient Jews, Greek, and Romans (co-taught with Natalie Dohrmann), Foreigners in Rome

graduate: Revolts in the Roman Empire, Problems in Roman History, Jews in the Greek and Roman World, Livy and Hellenistic History (co-taught with Cynthia Damon), Provincial Perspectives, Problems in Hellenistic History, The Flavian Era (co-taught with Cynthia Damon), Biographical Approaches to Antiquity

Selected Publications

“Amicae et Sociae Populi Romani. Women and the Institution of Client Kingship.” In Gendering Roman Imperialism, ed. by Greg Woolf and Hannah Cornwell (2022), 165-184. 

Client Kings.” Oxford Classical Dictionary. 5th ed. (published 09/2022)

“A Group of its Own. Eastern Client Kings and the Imperial Elite under the Early Empire.” In Imperia sine fine?, ed. by Frank Schleicher and Timo Stickler (2022), 463-480.

“Hasmonean Women.” In Women and Monarchy in the Ancient Mediterranean, ed. by Elizabeth Carney and Sabine Müller (2020), 222-233.

 “Modelling the Emperor. Representations of Power, Empire, and Dynasty among Eastern Client Kings.” In The Social Dynamics of Imperial Imagery, ed. by Amy Russell and Monica Hellström (2020), 52-75. 

“Peace and Religion in Ancient Greece and Rome.” In Bloomsbury’s Cultural History of Peace, edited by Sheila Ager (2020), 71-88, 165-169.

Exempla imitanda, ed. together with Christian Wendt and Monika Schuol (2016).

Amici - Socii - Clientes? Abhängige Herrschaft im Imperium Romanum, ed. together with Ernst Baltrusch (2015).

Maintaining Peace and Interstate Stability in Archaic and Classical Greece, ed. (2013).

Für Rom und Jerusalem. Die herodianische Dynastie im 1. Jahrhundert n.Chr. (2007).


Work in Progress:

Freedom and hegemony: Concepts of interstate relations in late classical Greece

Client kings and their descendants in the Roman Empire (networks, perception, self-presentation)

Patterns of communication between center and periphery in the Roman Near East



CV (file)