Between Water and Sand

Katherine Blouin

in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Egypt

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199571451
Published online November 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191750540 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Between Water and Sand

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  • Archaeology of the Near East
  • Egyptian Archaeology
  • Landscape Archaeology


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Over the past twenty years, the topic of agriculture and husbandry has been of rising interest among historians and archaeologists of the ancient Mediterranean, and notably of Roman Egypt. Our knowledge of Roman Egypt's rural life relies heavily on documentary papyri. Their abundance and the wealth of information they contain allow unparalleled insights into the socio-economic life of a Roman province. This article discusses three main issues: agro-fiscal management policies, land use and food production, and religious landscapes. The agro-fiscal management of Roman Egypt was oriented towards the maximization of its agrarian yields and, hence, fiscal revenues. In this regard, particular attention was dedicated to the promotion of agriculturally marginal land, as Mendesian agrarian terminology shows. Overall, the province's agricultural life was mainly dedicated to wheat cultivation.

Keywords: Roman Egypt; agro-fiscal management policies; land use; food production; religious landscapes; agricultural life; wheat cultivation

Article.  6716 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology of the Near East ; Egyptian Archaeology ; Landscape Archaeology

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