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7 - Byzantine and Umayyad Egypt

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2024

Jane L. Rowlandson
Affiliation:
King's College London
Roger S. Bagnall
Affiliation:
Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York
Dorothy J. Thompson
Affiliation:
Girton College, Cambridge
Jelle Bruning
Affiliation:
Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, The Netherlands
W. Graham Claytor
Affiliation:
Uniwersytet Warszawski, Poland
Jennifer Cromwell
Affiliation:
Manchester Metropolitan University
Christopher J. Eyre
Affiliation:
University of Liverpool
Brian P. Muhs
Affiliation:
University of Chicago
Sarah J. Pearce
Affiliation:
University of Southampton
Christopher J. Tuplin
Affiliation:
University of Liverpool
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Summary

Covering late antique Egypt into the period of Arab rule, this chapter introduces documents and literary texts translated from Greek, Coptic, and Arabic. In the countryside, coloni joined slaves and dependents at work on the great estates of Byzantine Egypt, while in the cities slavery continued as before. Coptic literature from the same period introduces servitude within Christian monasteries. The writings of Shenoute and Gnostic texts regularly employ the vocabulary of slavery in a negative sense. The trade, employment, and emancipation of slaves continued. Conscripted labour is also documented. Children and adults donated to monasteries represent a new form of sacred servitude. With the Arab conquest of Egypt, war and raiding resurface as important sources of slaves. Nubia and the Near East were again key areas for their acquisition, and slaves are illustrated as active in most areas of life and integrated into the religious life of their owners’ households.

Type
Chapter
Information
Slavery and Dependence in Ancient Egypt
Sources in Translation
, pp. 343 - 431
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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