Travel and Pilgrimage

Ian C. Rutherford

in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Egypt

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

Travel and Pilgrimage

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  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology of the Near East
  • Egyptian Archaeology



This article discusses travel in Roman Egypt. The epigraphic habits of tourists, pilgrims, and other travellers in Roman Egypt allow us to trace their movements to a degree unparalleled elsewhere in the Roman empire. To judge from surviving evidence, the provenance of almost all the visitors was Egypt itself or the eastern half of the Mediterranean; visitors from Italy are rare. Most wrote in Greek, though the volume of graffiti in Demotic remains difficult to quantify with precision when so many remain unpublished. Most of the visitors tend to see Egypt through the lens of earlier Greek writers who had written about Egypt.

Keywords: travel; travellers; Roman Egypt; Greek; Roman empire

Article.  7324 words. 

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

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