Chapter

Greek Presence and the Ptolemaic Rural Setting

Jean Bingen

in Hellenistic Egypt

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780748615780
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670727 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615780.003.0009
Greek Presence and the Ptolemaic Rural Setting

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The papyri from Ptolemaic Egypt suggest that large numbers of Greeks, particularly of military families, were settled in the Egyptian countryside on land given as allotments by the king. But it is far from clear how far the Greeks were actually present in rural areas or instead rented out their landholdings and themselves lived in cities. Some of the Greeks found in documents from the countryside were clearly only passing through. Others clearly lived there, but it does appear that the Greeks tended to cluster in the capitals of districts, both in small cities scattered through Egypt and in the larger villages from which smaller administrative districts were run. From these urban and quasi-urban settings the Greeks sought to exploit the agricultural wealth of the surrounding country.

Keywords: cities in Egypt; villages; absentee landlords; royal officials; agricultural economy

Chapter.  4017 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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