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Hellenistic EgyptMonarchy, Society, Economy, Culture$
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Roger Bagnall and Jean Bingen

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748615780

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615780.001.0001

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Greek Economy and Egyptian Society in the Third Century

Greek Economy and Egyptian Society in the Third Century

(p.215) Chapter 16 Greek Economy and Egyptian Society in the Third Century
Hellenistic Egypt

Jean Bingen

Edinburgh University Press

The Macedonian conquest of Egypt in 332 BCE and the following Ptolemaic monarchy brought Greek economic habits to a country with only limited previous exposure to them, particularly a high degree of monetisation of economic activity. The Egyptian economy was largely agricultural, with a significant part managed by the estates of temples, which in turn were closely connected to the civil administration. The fiscalisation of activities like beekeeping and oil manufacture added layers of administration and intermediation, while forcing the use of money and creating needs for finding patrons who could offer protection against excessive demands. Egyptians were drawn into a Greek system that tried to manage their work more rationally, while at the same time extracting part of their surplus.

Keywords:   monetisation, agriculture, temples, Tomb of Petosiris, fiscalisation

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