Chapter

‘Ruined, they took flight’ Mendesian anachōrēsis

Katherine Blouin

in Triangular Landscapes

Published in print July 2014 | ISBN: 9780199688722
Published online October 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191767876 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199688722.003.0009

Series: Oxford Studies on the Roman Economy

‘Ruined, they took flight’ Mendesian anachōrēsis

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Anachorēsis, which is defined as the absence of taxpayers from their residence or idia, is attested in Egypt from the Pharaonic period, and seems to have been endemic to the Egyptian countryside throughout Antiquity. This phenomenon reached extreme proportions in the Mendesian Nome in the second half of the second century AD. Indeed, several passages dedicated to tax moratoria for depopulated villages that come essentially from P.Thmouis 1 report the (most often) total desertion of a great number of villages, due to fiscal debts and insurrection. The magnitude with which this phenomenon manifested itself is symptomatic of a socio-economic crisis whose environmental component has not yet been taken into account. This chapter investigates the socio-politico-environmental stakes behind this demographic drop, through a historical reconstruction of the nome’s depopulation and a discussion of the general sociology of ancient Egyptian anachorēsis.

Keywords: Anachorēsis; village desertion; fiscal debts; crisis; P.Thmouis 1

Chapter.  8941 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Classical History

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