The Department of Ancient History, Papyrology and Epigraphy at the University of Vienna explores the history of the Mediterranean area and its neighboring regions during Greco-Roman antiquity, from the onset of a written tradition up to the transition from late antiquity into the early Middle Ages. Its broad range of research activities covers issues of political, administrative, social, economic, military, religious, legal and cultural history. The regional and chronological key areas are: Old Italy (especially the Etruscans and Umbrians), Asia Minor during Hellenism and the imperial period, Egypt during the imperial period and late antiquity, and the Danube-Carpathian region during Roman times and late antiquity, as well as Roman Austria. Other topics of interest include: the history of Athenian democracy and Sparta, federalism in the Greek world, the political history of the Roman Republic, the religion of the Celts, and migration and identity in the Roman Empire, as well as the reception of antiquity and the history of research.  

A special focus is placed on the edition, commentary and evaluation of antique written sources – in particular those that have been directly transmitted such as inscriptions and papyri – alongside the historical evaluation of the literary tradition. At date, direct connections with archeology exist in the cases of Ephesus and Kibyra (Asia Minor), Austria Romana, Etruria and Sarmizegetusa Regia, the capital of the Dacians. Thanks to the great range of approaches represented at the Department, a wide spectrum of historical, philological and archaeological methods are employed.  

An area of outstanding importance at the Department is basic research in epigraphy and papyrology. The Department’s work in publishing editions and corpora comprises the following activities:

1.) Greek inscriptions: the edition of new finds and compiling corpora for the Greek motherland (Olympia) and Asia Minor with a focus on Ephesus and Kibyra; co-editing of the important reporting series "Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum" (SEG);

2.) Latin inscriptions: preparation of inscriptions in Austria and historically significant material from the city of Rome as part of the "Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum" (CIL); also the edition of new finds from Carnuntum, the most important Roman site in Austria;

3.) Papyri: the edition of objects in the Papyrus Collection of the ÖNB in the context of the "Corpus Papyrorum Raineri "(CPR) as well as the holdings of numerous foreign collections as individual publications or corpora. CIL, CPR and SEG are prestigious international organizations.

The Department is involved in the research environment of Vienna in many ways. Within the university, regular joint activities (guest lectures, lecture series, publications, conferences, projects) are organized with around one dozen other neighboring departments. 

Additionally, the Department also cooperates closely with non-university research institutions (KHM, ÖAI, ÖAW, ÖNB, ÖStA). Here, there is also further interconnectedness through the personnel. 

The leaders of the Department see great potential for development in research and teaching cooperations with other disciplines outside the area of antiquity studies. In this way, ancient history can be positioned in new scholarly contexts and at the same time be included in current social discourses. 

The exceptional prowess of the Department in international comparison and its attractiveness as a center for research and education are founded primarily on its quest to transcend the conventional boundaries between specific disciplines within the field of ancient history. This premise enables a comprehensive approach to the Greco-Roman world that is based on a synoptic viewing of the entire spectrum of written, epigraphic, papyrological and literary sources and is at the same time imbedded in the larger context of antiquarian studies, archaeology, philology, numismatics and cultural history. This is an outstanding characteristic of Vienna as a center for scholarship. Another unique feature when viewed internationally is the professorship for Etruscology and Italic Antiquities.