Triangular Landscapes: Environment, Society, and the State in the Nile Delta under Roman Rule

Hardcover | August 31, 2014

byKatherine Blouin

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Between the Roman annexation of Egypt and the Arab period, the Nile Delta went from consisting of seven branches to two, namely the current Rosetta and Damietta branches. For historians, this may look like a slow process, but on a geomorphological scale, it is a rather fast one. How did ithappen? How did human action contribute to the phenomenon? Why did it start around the Roman period? And how did it impact on ancient Deltaic communities? This volume reflects on these questions by focusing on a district of the north-eastern Delta called the Mendesian Nome. The Mendesian Nome is one of the very few Deltaic zones documented by a significant number of papyri. To date, this documentation has never been subject to a comprehensive study. Yet it provides us with a wealth of information on the region's landscape, administrative geography, and agrarianeconomy. Starting from these papyri and from all available evidence, this volume investigates the complex networks of relationships between Mendesian environments, socio-economic dynamics, and agro-fiscal policies. Ultimately, it poses the question of the "otherness" of the Nile Delta, within Egyptand, more broadly, the Roman Empire. Section I sets the broader hydrological, documentary, and historical contexts from which the Roman-period Mendesian evidence stem. Section II is dedicated to the reconstruction of the Mendesian landscape, while section III examines the strategies ofdiversification and the modes of valorization of marginal land attested in the nome. Finally, section IV analyses the socio-environmental crisis that affected the nome in the second half of the second century AD.

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Between the Roman annexation of Egypt and the Arab period, the Nile Delta went from consisting of seven branches to two, namely the current Rosetta and Damietta branches. For historians, this may look like a slow process, but on a geomorphological scale, it is a rather fast one. How did ithappen? How did human action contribute to the ...

Katherine Blouin is Associate Professor in Greek and Roman History at the University of Toronto.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:408 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.01 inPublished:August 31, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199688729

ISBN - 13:9780199688722

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Table of Contents

List of FiguresList of TablesMapsIntroductionI: The Mendesian Nome in Context1. Hydrological Context2. Evidence3. The Pre-Roman Mendesian NomeII: The Mendesian Landscape under Roman Rule4. Topography and Administrative Geography5. Land CategoriesIII: 'Le Beau Risque': Society, the State, and the Land6. How Many Baskets for One's Eggs? Agricultural Diversification and Fiscality7. In the Heart of the Fringe: The Socio-Economics of Marginal LandIV: Autopsy of a Region in Crisis8. 'Ruined, they took flight': Mendesian anachoresis 9. The Boukoloi UprisingGlossaryBibliographyIndex