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Archaeology of Empire in Achaemenid Egypt$
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Henry Colburn

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474452366

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474452366.001.0001

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Social Practices: Drinking Like a Persian

Social Practices: Drinking Like a Persian

(p.189) 5. Social Practices: Drinking Like a Persian
Archaeology of Empire in Achaemenid Egypt

Henry P. Colburn

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter considers how Achaemenid rule may have affected the decisions people made about identity on a daily basis by examining culinary practices, especially those related to alcohol. Culinary practices are closely linked to identity and status, and the introduction of new vessels forms suggests changes to how Egyptians viewed their positions in society in this period. After discussing dining practices in the Achaemenid Empire, both at the royal court and in the Persian heartland more broadly, this chapter surveys the evidence for Persian vessel types in Egypt. It focuses on three specific types – the Achaemenid phiale, the rhyton, and the Achaemenid bowl. The adoption of these vessel forms in Egypt suggests that Egyptians began to participate in the social hierarchy of the empire. Moreover, versions of them were made in faience and ceramic, indicating that their use was not limited to social elites. The introduction and adaptation of these foreign drinking vessels, and perhaps also the drinking practices associated with them, illustrate the ways that Achaemenid rule may have altered social life in Egypt, even if only on a limited scale.

Keywords:   Dining, Rhyta, Phialai, Achaemenid bowls, Ceramics, Djedherbes

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