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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

From Rome to the Periphery: Rethinking Identity in the Metropoles of Roman Egypt
by Cameron, Myles Allen, M.A., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2015, 83; 1601747
Abstract (Summary)

Prior to the addition of Egypt to the imperial state of Rome, the presence and influence of Roman culture in Egypt was not as strong as it was in other regions surrounding the Mediterranean. Under Augustus’ rule, Egypt was added to Rome’s growing empire and the grain which grew so very well along the Nile began to flow out of Egypt towards Rome. Egyptian cities such as Alexandria became entrepots for Rome where trade was centered. This addition to the empire provided larger and different markets of exchange which enabled goods and ideas to be transferred within the cities of Egypt. These goods and ideas permeated the centers of exchange and their surrounding regions. As the influence of Rome grew within the metropoles of Egypt during its imperial reign, the lines which previously categorized and defined the boundaries of ethnicity and identity in the region began to blur.

In the wake of decolonization, historians have postulated that identity has become less of an absolute within modern empires. Recently there has been an increase of scholarship surrounding the phenomenon of identity in the ancient world, specifically looking at identity within imperial political systems. This work will utilize some aspects of modern imperial theory to attempt to show that identity within Rome’s empire was in many ways similar to more modern imperial states. I will be using a variety of primary sources to supplement the secondary academic work I will also utilize. Specifically I will be looking at Imperial decrees, coins, papyrus documents (personal letters, receipts, legal documents, and army discharges), inscriptions, material culture, public spaces, and recent archaeology (funeral arrangements and Roman Mummies). Through looking at and analyzing these primary sources I will attempt to show how identity formation in Roman Egypt was blurred and not set by clear distinctions. The use of multiple differing primary sources and modern imperial theories have not, to my understanding, be attempted thus far. Nor has my claim been argued, that while there was a Romanization of those in Egypt, there was also a slight Egyptianzation of those Romans living in Egypt.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Thomason, Allison K.
Commitee: Miller, Jennifer, Springer, Carl P.
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Department: Historical Studies
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 55/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Classical Studies, Ancient history
Keywords: Coins, Egypt, Empire, Identity, Papyrus, Roman Egypt, Rome
Publication Number: 1601747
ISBN: 978-1-339-14261-6
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