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EGYPTIAN WARRIORS: THE MACHIMOI OF HERODOTUS AND THE PTOLEMAIC ARMY1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 April 2013

Christelle Fischer-Bovet
Affiliation:
University of Southern California
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Extract

The role and status of the Egyptians in the army of Hellenistic Egypt (323–30 b.c.) has been a debated question that goes back to the position within Late Period Egyptian society (664–332 b.c.) of the Egyptian warriors described by Herodotus as machimoi. Until a few decades ago, Ptolemaic military institutions were perceived as truly Greco-Macedonian and the presence of Egyptians in the army during the first century of Ptolemaic rule was contested. The Egyptians were thought of as being unfit to be good soldiers. Egyptians would have been hired only as late as 217 b.c. to fight against the Seleucid king Antiochus III in Raphia. The Ptolemaic victory (in fact rather a status quo) was made possible thanks to the addition of twenty thousand Egyptians to reinforce the Greek army. For a long time the subsequent role of Egyptians in the Ptolemaic army in the second and first centuries b.c. did not attract much attention. One usually assumed that they were ‘second-rate soldiers’ called machimoi. In recent decades, the scholarship on Ptolemaic Egypt, notably Demotic studies, reasserted the role of Egyptians in the Ptolemaic army from the late fourth century onwards.

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Copyright © The Classical Association 2013

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Footnotes

1

I would like to thank John Lee for his thoughtful comments regarding the Late Period army as well as Willy Clarysse, Andrew Monson and Günther Vittmann for reading earlier drafts. A shorter version of this paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Philological Association in Anaheim in January 2010 when I was a fellow of the Swiss National Science Foundation at the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri, University of California, Berkeley.

References

2 This general assumption is based on Polyb. 5.65.9 and 5.107; the opinio communis is summarized by Crawford, D.J., Kerkeosiris: An Egyptian Village in the Ptolemaic Period (Cambridge, 1971), 69Google Scholar.

3 Scholars generally perceive the Ptolemaic machimoi as the successors of the pharaonic machimoi: see for instance Lesquier, J., Les institutions militaires de l'Egypte sous les Lagides (Paris, 1911), 510, 28Google Scholar, 43–4, 47–8 who thinks that the machimoi soldiers, who were granted land by the pharaohs in exchange for military service, survived as a ‘class’ of Egyptian soldiers under the Ptolemies (as auxiliary and special troops) but after Raphia they lost their privileges since any Egyptians could join the army and fight in the phalanx. Winnicki, J.K., ‘Die Ägypter und das Ptolemäerheer’, Aegyptus 65 (1985), 4155Google Scholar, at 47 also thinks that a large part of the Egyptian soldiers must have kept their profession under the Ptolemies and he still perceives them as ‘descendants’ of pharaonic machimoi. Similarly, for Lloyd, A.B., ‘The Egyptian elite in the Early Ptolemaic period: some hieroglyphic evidence’, in Ogden, D. (ed.), The Hellenistic World New Perspectives (London, 2002), 117–36Google Scholar, the machimoi soldiers survived as a ‘class’ of Egyptian soldiers under the Ptolemies: they retained their organization and command structure but were not used in the main field army until Raphia. However, he reacts against the minimization of the role of the Egyptians in the army in the third century b.c. See also Kiessling, E., ‘Machimoi’, RE 14.1 (1928), 154–5Google Scholar; Oates (n. 79 below); Ritner, R.K., ‘The end of the Libyan anarchy in Egypt: P. Rylands IX cols. 11–12’, Enchoria 17 (1998), 101–8Google Scholar; Jansen-Winkeln, K., ‘Kalasirieis, Kalasiris’, Der Neue Pauly 6 (1999), 151Google Scholar; Bamberg, W. Huss, ‘Machimoi’, Der Neue Pauly 7 (1999), 623Google Scholar; Vittmann, G., ‘Kursivhieratische und frühdemotische Miszellen’, Enchoria 25 (1999), 111–27Google Scholar; and Serrati, J., ‘Warfare and the state’, in Sabin, P.A.G. and van Wees, H. et al. (edd.), The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare (Cambridge, 2007), 461–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 Diod. Sic. uses it with the same meaning in 1.73 and 1.94.

5 Pl. Leg. 8 (830c).

6 See Hdt. 2.165–8; 9.32; in fact the term kalasiris is not of Egyptian origin, see Winnicki, J.K., ‘Die Kalasirier der spätdynastischen und der ptolemäischen Zeit. Zu einem Problem der Ägyptischen Heeresgeschichte’, Historia 26 (1977), 257–68Google Scholar; on its etymology, see Winnicki, J.K., ‘Zur Bedeutung der Termini Kalasirier und Ermotybier’, in Clarysse, W., Schoors, A. et al. (edd.), Egyptian Religion: The Last Thousand Years. Studies Dedicated to the Memory of Jan Quaegebeur (Leuven, 1998), 1503–7Google Scholar.

7 A.L. Purvis in Strassler, R.B. and Purvis, A.L., The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories (New York, 2007), 2.166Google Scholar.1k explains that the nome was located near Anytis, see also references in n. 8, probably an alternate form of Anysis; most editions of the text chose Ἀνύτιος but the form Ἀνύσσιος is found in two manuscripts.

8 On the location of the different nomes, see Lloyd, A.B., Herodotus. Book II. Commentary 99–182 (Leiden, 1988), 188–95Google Scholar; for what it could suggest concerning the origin of the people who immigrated to the Delta, see Winnicki (n. 6 [1998]), 1503–4. Sesoôsis (Sesostris or Sheshonq I?) supposedly established the rules governing the machimoi (Diod. Sic. 1.94.4).

9 Tr. A.L. Purvis in Strassler and Purvis (n. 7).

10 Chevereau, P.-M., Prosopographie des cadres militaires égyptiens de la basse époque: carrières militaires et carrières sacerdotales en Egypte du XIe au IIe siècle avant J.-C. (Paris, 2001 2)Google Scholar; A.B. Lloyd, ‘The Late Period, 664–323 bc’, in Trigger, B.G. (ed.), Ancient Egypt: A Social History (Cambridge, 1983), 279348, at 301CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Lloyd (n. 8), 199 explains that Herodotus probably ignored the fact that government officials could receive land as payment for their service.

11 Lloyd (n. 8), 183 reminds us that ‘there is no evidence at any period in Egyptian history of a de jure social stratification of the kind described by Herodotus’. See also Yoyotte's preface in Chevereau (n. 10) and Chevereau himself (363–4): strangely, he does not completely deny the existence of caste and suggests that the lower rank soldiers could come from the class of the Kalasiries and Hermotubies; see Haziza, T., Le kaléïdoscope hérodotéen (Paris, 2009), 159–63Google Scholar.

12 Sparta is mentioned in Hdt. 2.167.

13 Lloyd (n. 10), at 310; id. (n. 8), 200; id., Egypt’, in Bakker, E.J., Wees, H. Van et al. (edd.), Brill's Companion to Herodotus (Leiden, 2002), 415–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 428 suggests that the distribution of equal plots is probably one of the Spartan features attributed to the machimoi; Haziza (n. 11), 175–82.

14 Lloyd (n. 10), at 309; id. (n. 8), 184. There was never anything such as a ‘national’ military force in Pharaonic Egypt; see Schulman, A.R., ‘Military organization in Pharaonic Egypt’, in Sasson, J.M. (ed.), Civilizations of the Ancient Near East (New York, 1995), 289301, at 289Google Scholar.

15 Winnicki (n. 6 [1977]), 258.

16 For instance rmṯ-ḏb# ‘men of the spear’ or rmṯ-ḏwf ‘men of the papyrus(-land)’, see Lloyd (n. 8), 187; the only attestations in Greek literature are in Herodotus, Book 2 and his catalogue of the Persian troops before the battle of Plataea (Hdt. 9.32).

17 For the etymology and the occurrences in the papyri, see Thissen, H.J., ‘Varia onomastica’, GM 141 (1994), 8995, at 89–91Google Scholar; for other earlier attestations in the papyri, see Vittmann, G., Der demotische Papyrus Rylands 9 (Wiesbaden, 1998), 554Google Scholar.

18 Vittmann (n. 17), at 183 (col. XIX 13) and 554; Griffith, F.L., Catalogue of the Demotic Papyri in the John Rylands Library Manchester: With Facsimiles and Complete Translations (Hildesheim, 1972 2), 3.104Google Scholar did not read rmt-ḏm and simply translated ‘young man’.

19 I thank G. Vittmann for sharing with me his forthcoming re-edition of the text, previously published by Cruz-Uribe, E., ‘Early Demotic texts from Heracleopolis’, in Hoffmann, F. and Thissen, H.J. (edd.), Res severa verum gaudium. Festschrift für Karl-Theodor Zauzich zum 65. Geburtstag am 8. Juni 2004. Studia Demotica 6 (2004), 5966Google Scholar; a hermotybis is attested in another (unpublished) text of the same period, see Devauchelle, D., ‘Les archives Michel Malinine conservées au Cabinet d’Égyptologie du Collège de France (Paris)', in Ryholt, K. (ed.), Acts of the Seventh International Conference of Demotic Studies, Copenhagen, 23–27 August 1999. CNIP 27 (Copenhagen, 2002), 131–7, at 135 (2)Google Scholar.

20 Vleeming, S.P., The Gooseherds of Hou (Pap. Hou): A Dossier relating to Various Agricultural Affairs from Provincial Egypt of the Early Fifth Century b.c. (Leuven, 1991), docs. 6 and 9Google Scholar; in 78, n. 17, he explains that in P.Cairo 50098 + 102 (390 b.c.) ‘two rmt-ḏm.w disposed of land that was meant as “revenue of a rmt-ḏm(?)” (l. 2), most probably their own land’.

21 Lloyd (n. 8), 187; see also Johnson, J.H., The Demotic Dictionary Project (Chicago, 1990– ), G 61–2 and 36 for gr-šrGoogle Scholar; the Coptic word kept the meaning ‘strong man’.

22 See in particular the studies by Winnicki (n. 6 [1977]); id. (n. 3); id., ‘Zwei Studien über die Kalasirier’, OLP 17 (1986), 17–32; id., ‘Die Kalasirier in griechischen Papyri’, JJurP 22 (1992), 63–5; id. (n. 6 [1998]); see also Vittmann (n. 3), at 120–3, where he suggests a new reading of the title in P.Louvre 7833 and 7844, from the time of king Amasis, as sẖ gr-šr, that is either (a) scribe and kalasiris or (b) scribe of the kalasiries, like the later γραμματεὺς τῶν φυλακιτῶν. For him, the kalasiries had both military and police functions, and the kalasiries of the Late Period were probably involved in fiscal matters, as the phylakites of the Ptolemaic period, see Kiessling, E., ‘Phylakites’, RE 20.1 (1941), 987–8Google Scholar. In P.Lille.Dem. 1.26, line 5, pl. XIII (26e) (394–381 b.c.), he reads gr-šr ḥtr, ‘kalasiris cavalryman’, which was so far unattested, but that he relates to the later μάχιμοι ἱππεῖς of the Ptolemaic period.

23 Lloyd (n. 8), 187; Herodotus and later Diodorus also suggest their high status, a contradiction that makes their narratives questionable; for a plausible example of a police officer, see P.Teos 11 (r) (306 b.c.?) and commentary by Depauw, M., The Archive of Teos and Thabis from Early Ptolemaic Thebes: P. Brux. Dem. Inv. E. 8252–8256 (Brussels, 2000)Google Scholar.

24 Vittmann (n. 17), at 151 (col. XI 12), 471–2 explains that T#-qḥj is the name of a village near Hibeh and does not mean here ‘district’ as previously thought; Ritner (n. 3), at 107, relying on the previous interpretation of the term, considers the gl-šr.w of the district gathered by the ‘Chief of the Ma’ (col. XI 12) as ‘the hereditary military caste of Libyans who replaced the native army in the Third Intermediate Period and remained as the “indigenous” army until the Ptolemaic period (as the “Machimoi”)’.

25 Vleeming (n. 20); Winnicki (n. 22 [1986]), 9.

26 Vleeming (n. 20), docs. 7 and esp. 115 suggests that the kalasiries of the district (ḳḥy) were the subalterns of the kalasiries of the nome () but Vittmann's new understanding of P.Rylands 9, col. XI 12 (see n. 24 above), suppresses the only attestation of kalasiris of the district.

27 That is, to the ‘middle class’, see Vleeming (n. 20), 10, 115 and nn. 18–19; for their status, see also D. Agut-Labordère, ‘“La vache et les policiers”: pratique de l'investissement dans l’Égypte tardive', in B. Legras (ed.), Transferts culturels et droits dans le monde grec et hellénistique, Reims, 14–17 mai 2008 (Paris, forthcoming).

28 Winnicki (n. 6 [1977]), 260–2 explains that the male members of the same family had the title of ‘Kalasiris of the nome’ in Demotic papyri from 525–492 b.c., while one century later (392 b.c.), the male descendant is the ‘Kalasiris of the temple of Amun’. Winnicki conjectures that the second title applies to a restricted area and should have belonged to the ‘temple police’ and not to the army. However, nothing indicates that the temple kalasiris was a lower function and that nome kalasiris disappeared over time to become kalasiris of the temple of Amun (the only temple kalasiris attested so far). P.Loeb 41, which was Winnicki's oldest evidence, has now been connected to the dossier of the Gooseherds of Hou and dated to 485 b.c., see Vleeming (n. 20), 115. This reduces the family of kalasiries studied by Winnicki to three generations.

29 Erichsen, W., Demotisches Glossar (Copenhagen, 1954), 543, Johnson, R 46Google Scholar; the Thesarus Linguae Aegyptiae online collects 45 attestations, mainly in the Inaros Petubastis Cycle and Egyptians and Amazons and one attestation in the Demotic Chronicle (Bibl. Nat. 215, III, 9); the word is found in only two documents from the Late Period, both with a literary overtone, P.Rylands 9, col. XII, l. 9 (see commentary ad loc. and n. 18 above) and P.Loeb 1 (486 b.c.), a complaint to the Persian commander of Syene (English tr. in Porten, B., The Elephantine Papyri in English: Three Millennia of Cross-cultural Continuity and Change [Leiden, 1996], C4Google Scholar). I thank Andrew Monson for bringing this word to my attention.

30 The ‘Chief of Ma’ went with 50 rmṯ n qnqn to T#jw-ḏj; see P.Rylands 9, nn. 18 and 29 above.

31 See n. 29.

32 Lloyd (n. 10), 300 gives a long explanation, which he refined in his later work, for why we should in fact trust these numbers. Serrati (n. 3), 474 also accepts the number of machimoi. In contrast, Walter Scheidel pointed out to me that the figures given by Herodotus for the two categories of machimoi are clearly schematic, i.e. 400 × 400 = 160,000 and 500 × 500 = 250,000; for the use of conventional figures by ancient historians, see Scheidel, W., ‘Finances, figures, and fiction’, CQ (1996), 222–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

33 D. Rathbone, ‘Villages, land and population in Graeco-Roman Egypt’, PCPhS 216 = ns 36 (1990), 103–42, esp. 102–7, demonstrates how implausible the figures given by Diodorus and Josephus for the population of Egypt are, notably by pointing (1) at the topos of populousness of Egypt in Greek and Latin literature, (2) at anti-Persian propaganda that presents pre-Persian Egypt as more prosperous and (3) at an erroneous correction of τριακοσίων into τούτων made to Diodorus' text whereas all the manuscripts but one have τριακοσίων. According to Diodorus (1.31.6–8, text and tr. in Rathbone, p. 104 and n. 2) ‘in density of population Egypt in the past far surpassed all the other known areas of the world, while even in our time [i. e. around 60 b.c. when he visited Alexandria] it is apparently not second to any other’. Then Diodorus gives the number of villages and cities in the old days and under Ptolemy I and concludes that ‘the total population in the past is said to have been about seven million, while even in our time it is no less than three million (τριασκοσίων, sc. μυριάδων)’. In my opinion, Diodorus' claims are better understood as guesses based on symbolic numbers. Independently, Butzer, K.W., Early Hydraulic Civilization in Egypt: A Study in Cultural Ecology (Chicago, 1976)Google Scholar, table 4 has proposed a hypothetical demographic development of the population in Egypt according to plausible areas of cultivable land and population densities, i.e. 2.9 million Egyptians around 1,250 b.c. and 4.9 million around 150 b.c. A population of three million is thus more likely when compared with estimations of the population of Greco-Roman Egypt. See also Fischer-Bovet, C., ‘Counting the Greeks in Egypt: immigration in the first century of Ptolemaic rule’, in Holleran, C. and Pudsey, A. (edd.), Demography and the Graeco-Roman World: New Insights and Appraoches (Cambridge, 2011), 135–54, at 137–8Google Scholar.

34 Hdt 2.168; the ἄρουρα was used for measuring farmland. Its surface was of 100 × 100 πήχεις = c. 2756 m2 (which is about half a soccer field). A person could live on the net produce of two arourai, see Pestman, P.W., The New Papyrological Primer (Leiden, 1994 2), 49Google Scholar. Lloyd (n. 8), 200 accepts this number and stresses the ‘enviable economic position’ of the machimoi of the Late Period, especially since ‘five arourae seems to have been adequate for the maintenance of a family’; see n. 96 below.

35 12 × 2,756 m2 = 0.033 km2 and then 410,000 machimoi × 0.033 km2 = 13,530 km2.

36 Butzer (n. 33), table 4. The cultivable area did not go over 20,000 km2 even in the Ptolemaic and Roman periods; see Clarysse, W. and Thompson, D.J., Counting the People in Hellenistic Egypt (Cambridge, 2006)Google Scholar and Scheidel, W., Death on the Nile: Disease and the Demography of Roman Egypt (Leiden, 2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The nine million arourai (24,800 km2) inscribed on the Edfu temple, for which see Porter, B. and Moss, R.L.B., Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings (Oxford, 1960 2), 6.164Google Scholar, must rather be considered as a symbolic number (three times 3 million).

37 Even if they were not professional soldiers as Herodotus claims (2.165), the proportion of young men belonging to the army is implausibly high.

38 c. 125,000 legionaries out of 6 million inhabitants in Italy, that is out of c. 2 million adult males; even by adding the 300,000 veterans from the Civil War that Augustus removed because they were no longer needed in peacetime (300,000 + 125,000 = 425,000 soldiers), they would make 7% of the total population of Italy.

39 See Katary, S.L.D., ‘Land-tenure in the New Kingdom: the role of women smallholders and the military’, in Bowman, A.K. and Rogan, E.L. (edd.), Agriculture in Egypt: From Pharaonic to Modern Times (Oxford, 1999), 6182, at 79Google Scholar; Chevereau (n. 10), esp. 244–57; and Fischer-Bovet, C., Army and Society in Ptolemaic Egypt (Cambridge, in press), ch. 8CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

40 Lloyd (n. 10), 310 accepts that ‘how the warriors organized the working of their land is a matter of speculation’. Lloyd (n. 8), 187 also suggests that they functioned as a militia and not as a standing army and that they could lease their land on a share-cropping basis: ‘Herodotus II 168 makes clear that under normal circumstances most of the kalasiries lived civilian lives on their land-allotments and only a small proportion at any one time would have discharged military or paramilitary functions.’ However, Herodotus contradicts himself in 2.168.

41 Goedicke, H., ‘Psammetik I. und die Libyer’, MDAIK 18 (1962), 2649, esp. 35–6Google Scholar, lines 9–11 and 38–9 translates the hieroglyph of line 9 as machimoi, while he explains that it is probably an abbreviation for mšwš, the soldiers of Libyan origin; see Ritner (n. 3) for a discussion of this term. Chevereau (n. 10), 310 with n. (c) follows Goedicke's ambiguous translation; see also Kitchen, K.A., The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100–650 b.c.) (Warminster, 1973), 405 n. 955Google Scholar.

42 Katary (n. 39), at 69–70, 75, 79–80 counts 12% of soldiers among the small landowners in P.Wilbour; other texts from the New Kingdom, such as the coronation inscription of Horemheb (c. 1332–1305 b.c.), support the pre-eminence of soldiers and veterans in landholding, often connected with priests. On P.Wilbour see also Menu, B., Le régime juridique des terres et du personnel attaché à la terre dans le Papyrus Wilbour (Lille, 1970), 107–10, 234Google Scholar, Spalinger, A.J., War in Ancient Egypt: The New Kingdom (Oxford, 2005), 264–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar and Haziza (n. 11), 179. Menu shows that officers received several plots of five arourai.

43 For large plots (e.g. 150 arourai) received by charioteers in the New Kingdom, see Katary (n. 39), at 77–8.

44 Diod. Sic. 15.92.2: 80,000; 15.93.2: 100,000; 16.47.5–6: 60,000; of course their numbers fluctuated over time. In comparison, Ptolemy IV had 70,000 men in Raphia in 217 b.c. (Polyb. 5.79.2) and Ramses II had 25,000 men in Kadesh; see Spalinger (n. 42), 149–50; R. Marrinan, ‘The Ptolemaic army: its organisation, development and settlement’ (Diss., London, 1998), 503 suggests a similar order of magnitude for the Late Period army (83,000–127,000 men).

45 These two groups are better known for the Egyptian army of the New Kingdom, see McDermott, B., Warfare in Ancient Egypt (Stroud, 2004), 114Google Scholar. A standing army is attested since the New Kingdom army with professional officers, e.g. Baines, J. and Málek, J., Atlas of Ancient Egypt (New York, 1980), 203Google Scholar.

46 McDermott (n. 45), 119: divisions of 5,000 men divided into divisions of 250 men, with twenty officers and twenty scribes.

47 Gnirs, A.M., ‘Ancient Egypt’, in Raaflaub, K.A. and Rosenstein, N.S. (edd.), War and Society in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds: Asia, the Mediterranean, Europe, and Mesoamerica (Cambridge, MA, 1999), 71104, at 87–91Google Scholar.

48 For the titles recorded in the Egyptian inscriptions of the Late Period, see Chevereau (n. 10), 260–73, 324–6. Chevereau suggests that there were still units of charioteers in the 26th dynasty because a few inscriptions preserve the titles of commanders of the charioteers. However, by the end of the eighth century b.c., the chariots had been supplanted by the cavalry (see Schulman [n. 14], 297), and consequently the holders of these titles might not actually have served in the army but rather have received court titles; for the scarce evidence on Egyptian chariots in the first millennium b.c., see Littauer, M.A., ‘An Egyptian wheel in Brooklyn’, JEA 65 (1979), 107–20Google Scholar.

49 For comparison, the ratio of chariot to infantry of 1:100 is found in the New Kingdom, while each chariot needed at least two horses; see Schulman (n. 14), 296. On the other hand it cannot have exceeded the ratio of cavalry to infantry of 1:10 that is common in the Hellenistic armies; see e.g. Aperghis, G.G., The Seleukid Royal Economy: The Finances and Financial Administration of the Seleukid Empire (Cambridge, 2004), 194CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

50 These must be the troops that Chevereau (n. 10), 322 considers as light infantry.

51 Hdt 7.89: οὗτοι δὲ εἶχον περὶ μὲν τῇσι κεφαλῇσι κράνεα χηλευτά, ἀσπίδας δὲ κοίλας, τὰς ἴτυς μεγάλας ἐχούσας, καὶ δόρατά τε ναύμαχα καὶ τύχους μεγάλους. τὸ δὲ πλῆθος αὐτῶν θωρηκοφόροι ἦσαν, μαχαίρας δὲ μεγάλας εἶχον; tr. Strassler and Purvis (n. 7).

52 For the description of Egyptian phalanx in the New Kingdom, see Schulman (n. 14), at 293–4.

53 The same calculation for an army of 60,000 men, that is six men out of 100 adult males gives 2,716 km2, that is 14% of the cultivated land. The order of magnitude remains the same, c. 3,000 km2.

54 However, this tripartition of the land given by ancient sources is probably not based on safe evidence but simply on symbolic numbering. Oldfather, C.H., Diodorus of Sicily in Twelve Volumes (Cambridge, MA, 1960), 250–1 n. 2Google Scholar proposes a similar interpretation in his edition of Diodorus: ‘The Harris Papyrus of the 12th c. b.c. gives the only definite figures of the vast holdings of the temples. They represent at that time about 2% of the population and owned some 15% of the land, not to mention property of other nature, and their power materially increased in the succeeding centuries’. For the edition of P.Harris 1, see Erichsen, W., Papyrus Harris I: hieroglyphische Transkription (Brussels, 1933)Google Scholar and for comments and excerpted translation, see Warburton, D., State and Economy in Ancient Egypt: Fiscal Vocabulary of the New Kingdom (Fribourg, 1997), 194216Google Scholar.

55 It is hard to say whether farmers owned the rest of the land. The numbers are conjectural. Egyptologists usually assumed that private property did not exist before the Ptolemaic or the Roman periods. However, Manning, J.G., Land And Power in Ptolemaic Egypt: The Structure of Land Tenure (Cambridge, 2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar showed that private holding developed even before the Ptolemaic period, at least in certain areas.

56 See Chevereau (n. 10), XVI–XIX and 260–73 for the Egyptian titles used for officers and commanders.

57 See the references in n. 3. Goudriaan, K., Ethnicity in Ptolemaic Egypt (Amsterdam, 1988), 121Google Scholar already questioned the continuity of the machimoi from pharaonic into Hellenistic times in order to support his argument that the machimoi were not always Egyptian.

58 This view was defended by Lesquier, and was followed with slight variations; see n. 3.

59 Dack, E. Van 't, ‘L'armée de terre Lagide: reflet d'un monde multiculturel?’, in Johnson, J.H. (ed.), Life in a Multi-cultural Society: Egypt from Cambyses to Constantine and Beyond (Chicago, 1992), 327–41, at 328Google Scholar.

60 Goudriaan (n. 57), 121–5.

61 DOC 8 (229–228 b.c.) for pentarouros (without the term machimos); two other papyri from the third century b.c. Fayyum (no exact dates) attest machimoi with five, seven and ten arourai, see DOC 9 and DOC 13.

62 A good parallel for the integration of existing troops into a new system is that of the Ptolemaic soldiers incorporated into the Roman imperial army in the late first century, see Capponi, L., Augustan Egypt: The Creation of a Roman Province (London, 2005), 1723Google Scholar. However, early scholarship generally minimized the role of Egyptians in the Ptolemaic army: e.g. Rostovtzeff, M.I., The Social & Economic History of the Hellenistic World (Oxford, 1941), 708Google Scholar suggests that the native militia were only auxiliary troops; Launey, M., Recherches sur les armées hellénistiques (Paris, 1949), 58 with n. 6Google Scholar.

63 I.Cairo 22181, lines 14–15, see Sethe, K., Hieroglyphische Urkunden der griechisch-römischen Zeit (Leipzig, 1904), no. 13, 2854Google Scholar; Winnicki, (n. 3), at 49 n. 41 and id., ‘Das ptolemäische und das hellenistische Heerwesen’, in Criscuolo, L. and Geraci, G. (edd.), Egitto e storia antica dall'ellenismo all'età araba: bilancio di un confronto: atti del colloquio internazionale, Bologna, 31 agosto–2 settembre 1987 (Bologna, 1989), 213–30, at 228 n. 48Google Scholar. The translation has been debated but a recent analysis of the passage makes clear that these guards were Egyptians; see Klotz, D., ‘The statue of the dioikêtês Harchebi/Archibios. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 47–112’, BIFAO 109 (2009), 281310, at 302Google Scholar.

64 The Egyptians are mentioned in each of the only three passages providing details on the composition of the Ptolemaic troops, which is remarkable regarding the probable lack of interest of Greek authors in the role played by Egyptians: the battle of Gaza in 312 b.c. (see Diod. Sic. 19.80–85; Plut. Demetr. 5; Justin 15.1), a naval battle during the Chremonidian war in 266 b.c. (see Paus. 3.6.5) and the battle of Raphia in 217 b.c. (see Polyb. 5.65; Diod. Sic. 19.80–84). Hammond, N.G.L., ‘Alexander's non-European troops and Ptolemy I's use of such troops’, BASP 33 (1996), 99109Google Scholar, relying on literary sources, assumes that the Egyptians played an important role in the army – those who were supposedly trained in a Macedonian way since Alexander's conquest – and avoids the endless debate about the machimoi because he does not use papyrological or Egyptian sources. Dack, E. Van 't and Hauben, H., ‘L'apport égyptien à l'armée navale lagide’, in Maehler, H. and Strocka, V.M. (edd.), Das Ptolemäische Ägypten (Mainz am Rhein, 1978), 5993Google Scholar, at 87–89, esp. 89, conclude about the Ptolemaic navy in 266 b.c: ‘un demi-siècle donc avant Raphia, au moment où la flotte lagide est sans doute déjà légèrement en déclin mais constitue encore la plus grande force navale en Méditerranée orientale, cette arme est pour une large part laissée aux mains d'Egyptiens’; Winnicki (n. 3), 48 and (n. 63), 230 discusses the same sources but concludes that until Raphia the Egyptians belonged to a second category of soldiers, either as auxiliaries or hired during unfavourable circumstances.

65 Diod. Sic. 19.80.4, Geer's translation in C.H. Oldfather, Sherman, C.L., et al. , Diodorus of Sicily in Twelve Volumes (Cambridge, MA, 1989)Google Scholar: Αἰγυπτίων δὲ πλῆθος, τὸ μὲν κομίζον βέλη καὶ τὴν ἄλλην παρασκευήν, τὸ δὲ καθωπλισμένον καὶ πρὸς μάχην χρήσιμον.

66 Diod. Sic. 1.28; 55; 73; 94; 16.47; modern historians follow Lesquier (n. 3) except Goudriaan (n. 57), 121.

67 Only Goudriaan (n. 57), 121–3 insists that the machimoi were not exclusively Egyptian; papyrologists and historians generally think that the machimoi were the native Egyptian military caste since in their view they descended from the pharaonic machimoi; see n. 3.

68 The only documents where machimoi were assumed to be Greek, DOC 19–20, concern Ptolemaic troops in Thera, Crete and Arsinoe in the Peloponnesus under Ptolemy VI. This might be explained by the prejudice that Egyptian soldiers were not as good as Greek soldiers and would not be sent abroad; only Launey (n. 62), 957–8 (about the first document) and Griffith, G.T., The Mercenaries of the Hellenistic World (Cambridge, 1935)Google Scholar (about the second document) believe they were Egyptian; however, Egyptian soldiers were found outside Egypt according to one inscription that is too fragmentary to reveal whether they were called machimoi, see I.Cret. IV 195, Fraser, P.M., Ptolemaic Alexandria (Oxford, 1972), 2.169 n. 346Google Scholar and Bagnall, R.S., ‘Three notes on Ptolemaic inscriptions’, ZPE 11 (1973), 121–7, at 124–7Google Scholar.

69 In addition, the village Ἰβιὼν τῶν Πενταρούρων in the Fayyum, attested for the first and only time in 231 b.c. in CPR XIII 3 and 5, might confirm that machimoi received five-aroura plots from around that time, see Kramer, B., Griechische Texte XIII: das Vertragsregister von Theogenis (P. Vindob. G 40618) (Vienna, 1991), 103–6Google Scholar.

70 T. Christensen, ‘The Edfu nome surveyed: P. Haun. inv. 407 (119–118 bc)’ (Diss., Cambridge, 2002), 167–72 and id., P. Haun. Inv. 407 and cleruchs in the Edfu nome’, in Vandorpe, K. and Clarysse, W. (edd.), Edfu, an Egyptian Provincial Capital in the Ptolemaic Period: Brussels, 3 September 2001 (Brussels, 2003), 1116, at 12–14Google Scholar; the term andres (men) is found in the Herakleopolite nome, this time with pentarouroi, see DOC 35.

71 The cultivation of their allotments is described in the land surveys, see Crawford (n. 2), 70–1 and Table IV; for the laarchy, see below and n. 77.

72 Crawford (n. 2), 96–8 explains that in practice the heptarouroi in Kerkeosiris received 6½ arourai and the cavalrymen 19 arourai, the rest beeing dedicated to the local god Soknebutnis. Similar dedications were made by the dekarouroi andres in Edfu; see n. 70 above.

73 Crawford (n. 2), 71 and slightly different numbers at 83 with n. 3.

74 It is assumed that the other cleruchs belonging to the infantry received 30 or 25 arourai. Out of the 35 ‘30-aroura men’ in the Pros. Ptol. online, 27 are dated to the third century b.c. and only eight to the second century. The dozen ‘25-aroura men’ in the Pros. Ptol. online are dated to the third century; the other group of cleruchs was that of the katoikoi, all cavalrymen, except perhaps one uncertain case of κάτοικος [τῶν πε]ζῶν, see Pros. Ptol. II 2978 in P.Fay. 11, line 3 = MChr. 14, after 116 b.c., Theadelphia and Fischer-Bovet (n. 39), 143–5.

75 For the equivalence between μισθοφόρος and rmt iw = f šp ḥbs, see Vleeming, S.P., ‘The reading of the title “man receiving pay”’, in Pestman, P.W. (ed.), Textes et études de papyrologie grecque, démotique et copte (Leiden, 1985), 204–7Google Scholar. For Pathyris, see Vandorpe, K., ‘Persian soldiers and Persians of the Epigone. Social mobility of soldiers-herdsmen in Upper Egypt’, APF 54 (2008), 87108, at 93–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Vandorpe, K. and Waebens, S., Reconstructing Pathyris' archives. A multicultural Community in Hellenistic Egypt (Brussels, 2010)Google Scholar. For Akoris, see Boswinkel, E. and Pestman, P.W., Les archives privées de Dionysios, fils de Kephalas. Textes grecs et démotiques (Leiden, 1982)Google Scholar.

76 For the attestations of machimoi in a military context, see DOC 14, DOC 17, DOC 18–21, DOC 25, DOC 27, DOC 33, DOC 35.

77 Only seven officers called laarchai are attested in Peremans, W. and Van 't Dack, E., Prosopographia Ptolemaica (Leuven, 1950–1981)Google Scholar, Pros. Ptol. II/VIII 2044–50; for a survey of the sources attesting a laarchês, see Bernand, E., ‘Laarque’, REG 84 (1971), 342–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

78 Anagnostou-Canas, B., ‘Rapports de dépendance coloniale dans l’Égypte ptolémaïque. I. L'appareil militaire.', BIDR 3a ser., 31–2 = 92–3 (1989), 151236, at 194Google Scholar.

79 Oates, J.F., ‘Axapes, a basilikos grammateus and the machimoi’, in Bülow-Jacobsen, A. (ed.), Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Papyrologists (Copenhagen, 1994), 588–92Google Scholar, at 592 (quote) on the basis of DOC 5 (246/5 b.c.), and already previously, id. (n. 3), in his introduction to DOC 3 (Herakleopolites, 253 b.c.), esp. relying on DOC 4.a (Philadelphia, 254 b.c.) and DOC 14 (Tebtunis, 210 b.c.); in his article Oates argues that the Egyptian Paris tries to avoid being enrolled in the machimoi because it supposedly implies a sort of forced labour of low prestige. According to Oates, the machimoi belonged to the civilian side of society since they were connected to the basilikos grammateus. But in my view, the machimoi and the basilikos grammateus appeared in the same context simply because the latter hired the former as guards. In addition, the two incomplete fragments could be interpreted in a different way: Paris tried to obtain confirmation of his enrolment among the machimoi because this position would bring him extra wages. That he may be the same person as the halônophylax found in P.Col.Zen. 74 (248 b.c.) may confirm that machimoi participated in the Ptolemaic coercive system and that Paris wanted to be enrolled in it.

80 Demotic version (line 11) and English translation by Simpson, R.S., Demotic Grammar in the Ptolemaic Sacerdotal Decrees (Oxford, 1996), 262–3Google Scholar; Greek version with machimoi in Bernand, A., La Prose sur pierre dans l'Egypte hellénistique et romaine (Paris, 1992), no. 16, line 19Google Scholar transcribed as machimoi in the English translation by Bagnall, R.S. and Derow, P., The Hellenistic Period: Historical Sources in Translation (Oxford, 2004 2), 271–2CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

81 See Clarysse, W., ‘Ptolémées et temples’, in Valbelle, D. and Leclant, J. (edd.), Le décret de Memphis. Colloque de la Fondation Singer-Polignac à l'occasion de la célébration du bicentenaire de la découverte de la Pierre de Rosette (Paris, 2000), 4165, at 59 and 62Google Scholar.

82 Véïsse, A.-E., Les ‘révoltes Égyptiennes’: recherches sur les troubles intérieurs en Egypte du règne de Ptolémée III Evergète à la conquête romaine (Leuven, 2004), 123Google Scholar.

83 e.g. line 20, δυνάμεις ἱππικαί τε καὶ πεζικαὶ καὶ νῆες (‘cavalry and infantry forces, and ships’, tr. Bagnall and Derow [n. 80], 271–2).

84 ODK-LS no 2, l. x + 5 in Devauchelle, D., ‘Remarques sur les méthodes d'enseignement du démotique. (À propos d'ostraca du Centre Franco-Egyptien d'Etude des Temples de Karnak)’, in Thissen, H.J. and Zauzich, K.-T. (edd.), Grammata Demotica. Festschrift für Erich Lüddeckens zum 15 Juni 1983 (Würzburg, 1984), 4759Google Scholar, at 48, 55–6 and O.Hor 12A, line 4 in Ray, J.D., The Archive of Hor (London, 1976), 55Google Scholar.

85 Winnicki (n. 6 [1977]), at 263–8, esp. 268 sees an agreement between the papyri and Herodotus' interpretation because in his view the kalasiries might, at some point, have been recruited in the Ptolemaic army; for Winnicki (n. 22 [1986]), at 19–26, esp. 20–1, the gl-šr.w (policemen) found in the papyri of the Ptolemaic period had the same status as the machimoi. They were all the descendants of populations who settled in Egypt and were granted royal and temple land during the New Kingdom and the Third Intermediate. He compares P.Lille 112 (in Demotic) concerning groups of 58 and 25 gl-šr.w to the machimoi of DOC 3; for the gl-šr.w in the papyri of the Ptolemaic period, see also Winnicki (n. 22 [1992]).

86 P.Lille.Dem. inv. 3619 (227/6 b.c.), see Winnicki (n. 22 [1986]), at 22 and Winnicki (n. 22 [1992)], at 65.

87 For gl-šr, see P.Count. 2 and 4, for phylakitês, see P.Count. 3, 12, 13, 22, 23, 38, 30–2, 35, 37.

88 ‘In the third century, at least, the regular serving police of Ptolemaic Egypt clearly belong to the Egyptian side of things’: see Clarysse and Thompson (n. 36), 2.165–77, at 171 for the quotation and P.Count. 4 (= P.Lille.Dem. 101, 254–231 b.c., Arsinoite, Krokodilon polis [?]); Goudriaan (n. 57), 124. For recent studies on the police, see Hennig, D., ‘Sicherheitskräfte zur Überwachung der Wüstengrenzen und Karawanenwege im ptolemaïschen Ägypte’, Chiron 33 (2003), 145–74Google Scholar; Hennig, D., ‘Nyktophylakes, Nyktostrategen und die παραφυλακὴ τῆς πόλεως’, Chiron 32 (2002), 281–95Google Scholar; J. Bauschatz, ‘Policing the chora: law enforcement in Ptolemaic Egypt’ (Diss., Duke University, 2005) and id., The strong arm of the law? Police corruption in Ptolemaic Egypt’, CJ 103 (2007), 1339Google Scholar; in contrast, senior officers like archiphylakitai and hyparchiphylakitai had Greek names, cf. Pros. Ptol. II 4545–609.

89 P.Louvre 3268, 74/3 b.c.

90 The term machimoi should rather be understood here with its generic meaning ‘fighting men’ rather than referring to a specific category of cleruchs; see n. 80 about its Demotic equivalent.

91 For the revolts in Egypt, see Véïsse (n. 82), 28–32, 53–63.

92 DOC 21, l. 20–23 οἱ παρε[φ]εδ[ρε]ύοντες ἐν Ἀλεξανδ[ρ]είαι τῶν τ᾽ ἐπιλέκτων καὶ τῶν (ἑπταρούρων) καὶ (πενταρούρων) μαχίμων καὶ τῶν ἐπὶ τῶν φυλακίδων [τ]εταγμένων ναυκληρομαχίμων; the same categories of machimoi appear again together with almost the same wording in the amnesty decree of 118 b.c., DOC 27 where the kings confirmed the ownership of the land granted to them: [τοὺς δὲ ἐπιλέ]κ[τους] καὶ μαχ(ίμους) [[καὶ]] (δεκαρούρους) καὶ (ἑπταρούρους) κ[αί τούς το]ύ[τ]των ἡ[γου]μέν[ο]υς καί ἄλλους τούς φερομ[ένους ἐν τῆι συντ]ά(ξει) [καὶ τοὺς] να[υκ]ληρομαχ(ίμους) καὶ τοὺς ἐκ τοῦ πολ[……….κρατεῖ]ν ὧν κατεσχήκασι κλή(ρων) ἕως τοῦ [νβ (ἔτους) ἀκατηγορήτου]ς καί ἀνεπιλήπτους ὄντας. These are the two documents attesting the nauκlêromachimoi while it has been restituted in SB XX 14106, l. 6 (95–94 b.c.?) on the basis of DOC 27.

93 For instance the soldiers of the army camp (hypaithron) of Ptolemais stationed in Diospolis Parva complained about their wage, see P.Grenf. I 42 = WChr. 447 (169/8 b.c.); the cavalry cleruchs (katoikoi hippeis) were also acting as a group to defend their interests through petitions, see esp. P.Lips II 124.

94 See the Rosetta stone (DOC 18) where machimoi refer to fighting men in general (cf. n. 90). See also the amnesty decree of 118 b.c. (DOC 27) where the text gives the specific types of cleruchs (cf. n. 92).

95 For the interpretation of the land surveys, see Crawford (n. 2), 84–5, later confirmed by P.Tebt. IV 1114 and 1115.

96 For the size of an aroura, see n. 34; with a yield of 10 artabas per aroura, taxes at 25% of the revenues, and a sowing rate of one artaba of wheat per aroura, a plot of 20 arourai ideally provided its owner with 130 artabas ([20 × 10 – (200 × ¼)] – 20). If one adult male consumes about 10 artabas of wheat per year (see Pestman, n. 34, 49), i.e. c. 400 litres, at least thirteen persons could live from the revenues of this plot, while a household of at least six persons could live on 10 arourai; Crawford (n. 2), 112 estimated that a family could live on five arourai, which seems to match some papyrological evidence such as P.Tebt. I 56 (Kerkeosiris, late second century b.c.). Even if the yield was lower, e.g. 8.8 artabas on average in P.Tebt. I 49 (Kerkeosiris, 113 b.c.), the nutritive need of women and children was certainly lower than 400 litres per year and e.g. Billows, R.A., Kings and Colonists: Aspects of Macedonian Imperialism (Leiden, 1995), 163–5Google Scholar estimates 300 kg of grain as the minimum per person per year; I do not follow Dack, E. Van 't, ‘Sur l’évolution des institutions militaires lagides’, in Armées et fiscalité dans le monde antique. Actes du colloque national, Paris, 14–16 octobre 1976 (Paris, 1977), 77105Google Scholar, at 87 who proposes far more pessimistic evaluations, as he admits himself: for him, a cleruch with a small family could live on 20 arourai if the taxes were not above 25% of their revenues.

97 See P.Tebt. I 60, lines 26–8 (DOC 25, Kerkeosiris, 118 b.c.) and Shelton, J.C., ‘Crown tenants at Kerkeosiris’, in Hanson, A.E. et al. (edd.), Collectanea Papyrologica: Texts Published in Honor of H.C. Youtie (Bonn, 1976), 111–52, at 114 n. 10Google Scholar, where he stresses that ‘the poverty of smaller ‘clerouchs’ is no doubt exaggerated by Préaux, C., L’Économie royale des Lagides (New York, 1979 2), 473Google Scholar, who heavily draws on the exceptional DOC 21, l. 105ff and assumes more frequent use of sub-tenants than was the case'; Crawford (n. 2), 74–5 and those marked * in Table VI, 163–8. For the low flat rate, see DOC 29; Keenan, J.G. and Shelton, J.C., The Tebtunis Papyri (London, 1976), 1112Google Scholar; and Capponi (n. 62), 100–1 n. 27.

98 For instance, the account in DOC 28 does not specify for how many days the machimoi worked on the agricultural survey and the fragment of an official letter in DOC 33 does not state how many soldiers received six copper talents or for what period of time.

99 DOC 6 (assuming the wage concern three machimoi), as well as DOC 11–12; standard wages are difficult to establish: for the third century b.c. see Vandorpe, K. and Clarysse, W., ‘Viticulture and wine consumption in the Arsinoite nome (P. Köln V 221)’, AncSoc 28 (1997), 6773, at 72–3Google Scholar (one obol per day); Clarysse and Thompson (n. 36), 2.172 (two obols per day).

100 The price of one artaba of grain could vary and reach up to 1,680 copper drachmas (e.g. P.Tebt. I 117, 99 b.c.) but 1,000 copper drachmas provide an order of magnitude for the late second and early first century b.c.; see e.g. the introduction of P.Berl.Salmen. 1 and Clarysse, W. and Lanciers, E., ‘Currency and the dating of Demotic and Greek papyri from the Ptolemaic period’, AncSoc 20 (1989), 117–32, at 117Google Scholar; Maresh, K., Bronze und Silber. Papyrologische Beiträge zur Geschichte der Währung im ptolemäischen und römischen Ägypten bis zum 2. Jahrhundert n. Chr. (Opladen, 1996), 181–2Google Scholar.

101 See DOC 28, introduction.

102 I list below by century nineteen attestations of machimoi on papyri not discussed in the scholarship because in most cases no further information on the term is found. All dates are b.c., provenance and type of document are indicated as well as names when available: III c.: SB XVI 12448 (250–201, unknown) petition, mention of Anchopis the archimachimos; SB XII 10869 (243–201, Magdola) fragment of an hypomnema; UPZ II 158 (III c., Thebes) list of payments; P.Köln VIII 346 (2nd half of III c., Arsinoites) account, Pesbutis the machimos; P.Heid. VI 365 (2nd half of III c., unknown) fragmentary official letter; P.Tebt. III.2 884 (210, Arsinoites) account of expenditure, machimoi of Ptolemaios; II c.: SB XVI 12375 (180, Arsinoites): list of names; P.Iand. VIII 146 (c. 180, Arsinoites), account, mention of Herakles the machimos; P.Köln X 412 (178–128, Arsinoites) royal decree; P.Tebt. III.2 887 (173, Tebtunis) account of an oil merchant; P.Mil. II 32 = P.Med. I 32 (160–159, Lykopolis): fragment of petition; P.Heid. VIII 418 (155–144, Herakleopolis) letter of the Basilikos grammateus to the topogrammateus; P.Tebt. III.2 912 (II c., Tebtunis) official correspondence, Achilleus the machimos; P.Tebt. I 81 (Late II c., Magdola) land survey; PSI XIII 1314 (II c., Arsinoites) report of episkepsis; P.Tebt. III.2 894 (114, Tebtunis) accounts of a club; BGU VI 1216 (110, Memphis or Aphroditopolis) official correspondence; I c.: BGU XIV 2440 (II–I c., Herakleopolites) land survey; SB XX 14106 (95–94?, unknown) compilation of prostagmata, [nauklêromachimoi].

103 I thank Pierre-Loup Sartre, who is preparing the edition of DOC 2, for showing it to me.

104 Poregebthis son of Apynchis (Egyptian names), a machimos heptarouros in P.Tebt. 1108, lines 78–9 (124–121 b.c.) is also found in P.Tebt. IV 1107, line 316 (112 b.c.) as belonging to the group of ‘Greek cultivators’ (Hellênôn geôrgôn, line 279); rather than being of Greek origin with an Egyptian name, as Goudriaan (n. 57), at 125 and doc. 15 mistakenly argues, Keenan and Shelton (n. 97), at 95 suggest that the Hellênoi geôrgoi were Egyptian cleruchs: this designation did not mean anything about their origin but might be a conservatism from the time where cleruchs were Greek; for Clarysse and Thompson (n. 36), in vol. 2.141 n. 83 Apynchis was one of the Hellênôn geôrgoi, ‘the cultivators of the Greeks’, i.e. Egyptians cultivating the klêroi of cleruchs, the adjective Hellên perhaps referring to a fiscal status of ‘tax Hellênes’.

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