Army and Society in Ptolemaic Egypt (Armies of the Ancient by Christelle Fischer-Bovet

By Christelle Fischer-Bovet

This can be the one vast and up to date reference paintings at the Ptolemaic military. utilising Greek and Egyptian papyri and inscriptions, and development on methods constructed in state-formation conception, it bargains a coherent account of ways the altering constructions of the military in Egypt after Alexander's conquest ended in the improvement of an ethnically extra built-in society. a brand new tripartite department of Ptolemaic historical past demanding situations the belief of sluggish decline, and emphasizes the reshaping of army constructions that came about among c.220 and c.160 BC according to adjustments within the nature of conflict, mobilization and demobilization, and fiscal constraints. An research of the socio-economic position performed by means of infantrymen allows a reassessment of the cleruchic process and exhibits how squaddies' institutions generated interethnic crew team spirit. via integrating Egyptian proof, Christelle Fischer-Bovet additionally demonstrates that the relationship among the military and native temples provided new methods for Greeks and Egyptians to engage.

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19 At the other end, Anagnostou-Canas, relying on the “colonial hypothesis” mentioned above, denounces the army as the tool of colonial domination par excellence:20 it dispossessed natives of cultivable land, caused the spiritual dispossession of the colonized through their enrollment in the colonizers’ army and was a site of forced contacts between colonizers and colonized that failed to result in large-scale acculturation. Strangely enough, these opposite approaches have sometimes led to the same conclusion.

19 and below, note 64); and a fragment of a religious text (BM 33041) associated with the Babylonian Chronicle. See Sack (2004) 137 note 18 and publication in Wiseman (1956) 94–5. In Leahy’s judgment, the ancient Greek authors were deceived by Amasis’ propaganda, which emphasized his use of Egyptian soldiers against Apries’ “privileged” mercenaries. Leahy (1988) 197. 39–43), and offerings to temples in Greece. But his image as a “philhellene” has certainly been exaggerated. 178–80 with Lloyd [1988]), for example, is better seen as restrictive in character, since it was a convenient means of controlling their trading activities.

This approach reveals how internal factors (above all settlement and marriage patterns) and external factors (in particular the pressure of the Seleucids and the intervention of the Romans) drove the evolution of the army’s role in Egyptian society. I argue that a century after Alexander’s conquest the army came to function as an engine of socioeconomic and cultural integration at the same time as it was growing less powerful in military terms. The socio-economic roles of soldiers illuminate the mutual impact of the army on state structures and society.

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