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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 Presence and the Ptolemaic Rural Setting

Greek Presence and the Ptolemaic Rural Setting

(p.104) Chapter 8 Greek Presence and the Ptolemaic Rural Setting
Hellenistic Egypt

Jean Bingen

Edinburgh University Press

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

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