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5 - Ptolemaic 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

This chapter introduces slavery during the three centuries of Ptolemaic rule in Egypt for which papyri, recycled in mummy casing or discovered archived together, provide a wealth of texts in both Greek and Egyptian Demotic. Greek settlers brought a developed form of slavery to Egypt. Traditional forms of dependence, however, continued in domestic as in temple contexts, where sacred slaves were dedicated to a god. The terminology of slavery is scrutinised and Greek city law codes examined for information on slaves. The third-century BC archive of Zenon provides many details on where slaves came from and how they were acquired. Slaves are mainly found in a domestic context but there is some evidence for workshop employment, especially in textiles; evidence for their use in agriculture is minimal. To gain their freedom slaves might benefit from testamentary grants but running away was the more usual method.

Type
Chapter
Information
Slavery and Dependence in Ancient Egypt
Sources in Translation
, pp. 211 - 273
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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