From the Ptolemies to the Romans

From the Ptolemies to the Romans : Political and Economic Change in Egypt

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This book gives a structured account of Egypt's transition from Ptolemaic to Roman rule by identifying key relationships between ecology, land tenure, taxation, administration and politics. It introduces theoretical perspectives from the social sciences and subjects them to empirical scrutiny using data from Greek and Demotic papyri as well as comparative evidence. Although building on recent scholarship, it offers some provocative arguments that challenge prevailing views. For example, patterns of land ownership are linked to population density and are seen as one aspect of continuity between the Ptolemaic and Roman period. Fiscal reform, by contrast, emerges as a significant mechanism of change not only in the agrarian economy but also in the administrative system and the whole social structure. Anyone seeking to understand the impact of Roman rule in the Hellenistic east must consider the well-attested processes in Egypt that this book seeks to explain.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 14 b/w illus. 1 map 4 tables
  • 1139028197
  • 9781139028196

Review quote

'In this important book, Andrew Monson analyses documents from late Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt to study the large structural changes that make this transitional period crucial for the shape of the Roman economy up to the third century CE ... This book has many merits: it explores in depth the impact of the Roman conquest on Egyptian agriculture and the economy, and applies methods taken from the social sciences and modern economic analysis, as well as a comparative approach that looks at similar developments in other areas of the ancient world, ultimately showing that it is no longer possible to explain Egypt with Egypt only, and that, when used correctly, documentary papyri can be much more than a 'stupendous illusion'.' Livia Capponi, 'Monson shows great expertise and familiarity with the sources and issues under investigation and points to future questions for research on Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt. Anyone following this line of research may greatly benefit from consulting this book.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review '[Monson] has given us a well-balanced analysis of this important political period in Egyptian history. By taking into account the interplay of the various determinants for change rather than establishing the one determinant, he provides a more convincing picture of Egypt's transition to a Roman province that will be the model for years to come.' Arthur Verhoogt, Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists
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Table of contents

Preface; Part I. Introduction: 1. The political economy of Egypt; 2. Geography and population; Part II. The Land Tenure Regime: 3. The regionalism of land tenure; 4. The continuity of agrarian institutions; Part III. Fiscal and Administrative Reforms: 5. Land taxation and the economy; 6. Administration and redistribution; Part IV. The Politics of Economic Change: 7. The impact of empire; 8. Conclusion.
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