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Army and Society in Ptolemaic Egypt by Christelle Fischer-Bovet

By Christelle Fischer-Bovet

This is often the one vast and updated reference paintings at the Ptolemaic military. utilizing Greek and Egyptian papyri and inscriptions, and construction on ways built in state-formation idea, it bargains a coherent account of the way the altering buildings of the military in Egypt after Alexander's conquest resulted in the improvement of an ethnically extra built-in society. a brand new tripartite department of Ptolemaic heritage demanding situations the assumption of sluggish decline, and emphasizes the reshaping of army buildings that came about among c.220 and c.160 BC based on alterations within the nature of war, mobilization and demobilization, and monetary constraints. An research of the socio-economic function performed by means of infantrymen allows a reassessment of the cleruchic process and exhibits how squaddies' institutions generated interethnic workforce team spirit. via integrating Egyptian facts, Christelle Fischer-Bovet additionally demonstrates that the relationship among the military and native temples provided new methods for Greeks and Egyptians to have interaction.

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So too, while interaction between ethnic groups was slow in the thirdcentury Fayyum, it became common a century later, with some variation throughout Egypt. This shows that none of the approaches to the Ptolemaic army mentioned above – as a colonial tool, on one end of the spectrum, or as a place of interaction, on the other – can, if applied in an exclusive manner, explain the army’s role in Egypt and its development over the course of three centuries. An extreme schematization would suggest that the army developed from a tool of domination to a locus of ethnic interaction.

In addition, new ways of remunerating soldiers, which correlate to a decrease in their bargaining power, created less social differentiation and led the army to enhance socio-economic and cultural integration among some population groups. Previous scholarship has noted Egypt’s lack of participation in Mediterranean politics and military action but has ignored the effect of the end of immigration and of the new relationship between soldiers and society. The present study argues that the new situation within state and society affected the army in two ways.

It seems to have been to the advantage of both the soldiers and the king that the plots be passed on to the closest heir. But the emphasis on the part of the state on cultivation as a means of maximizing fiscal revenues, and on the part of the soldiers on land management, was detrimental to the military capacity of the system, which evolved toward demilitarization and partial decentralization of the troops. Chapter 7 turns to sources for the socio-economic status of soldiers and their relationship with civilians, in particular by looking at the increase in marriages between Greek soldiers and Egyptian women.

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