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The Last Pharaohs:
Egypt Under the Ptolemies, 305-30 BC
J. G. Manning

Paperback | 2012 | $32.95 | £27.95 | ISBN: 9780691156385
280 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 8 halftones. 7 line illus. 2 tables. 1 map.
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The history of Ptolemaic Egypt has usually been doubly isolated--separated both from the history of other Hellenistic states and from the history of ancient Egypt. The Last Pharaohs, the first detailed history of Ptolemaic Egypt as a state, departs radically from previous studies by putting the Ptolemaic state firmly in the context of both Hellenistic and Egyptian history. More broadly still, J. G. Manning examines the Ptolemaic dynasty in the context of the study of authoritarian and premodern states, shifting the focus of study away from modern European nation-states and toward ancient Asian ones. By analyzing Ptolemaic reforms of Egyptian economic and legal structures, The Last Pharaohs gauges the impact of Ptolemaic rule on Egypt and the relationships that the Ptolemaic kings formed with Egyptian society. Manning argues that the Ptolemies sought to rule through--rather than over--Egyptian society. He tells how the Ptolemies, adopting a pharaonic model of governance, shaped Egyptian society and in turn were shaped by it. Neither fully Greek nor wholly Egyptian, the Ptolemaic state within its core Egyptian territory was a hybrid that departed from but did not break with Egyptian history. Integrating the latest research on archaeology, papyrology, theories of the state, and legal history, as well as Hellenistic and Egyptian history, The Last Pharaohs draws a dramatically new picture of Egypt's last ancient state.


"Manning's book is one of the most thought-provoking studies on the Hellenistic world to have appeared for quite some time, and it will be essential reading for anyone concerned with this remarkable period."--John Ray, Times Literary Supplement

"Manning has produced a deep and meaningful study of the social and political relationships inherent in the Ptolemaic economy."--Timothy Howe, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"Following his study of land tenure and use in Hellenistic Egypt, Manning presents a well-supported analysis of the formation of the Ptolemaic state in the fourth and third centuries BCE."--Choice

"Integrating the latest research on archaeology, papyrology, theories of the state, and legal history, as well as Hellenistic and Egyptian history, The Last Pharaohs draws a dramatic picture of Egypt's last ancient state."--Heritage Key

"This book, using latest archaeological technique combined with analysis of Ptolemaic documents, sets into a clear yet far ranging perspective the reality of Egypt in a 300 year span from the ancient to the Roman world."--Stephen Cox Trust

"The Last Pharaohs has a place alongside [the works of] Gunther Holbl and Werner Huss."--Paul McKechnie, Ancient West and East


"This fascinating book has broad views that should appeal to many people who are neither specialists on ancient Egypt nor the ancient Greek world. J. G. Manning has a perfect knowledge of his subject."--Alain Bresson, University of Chicago

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Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations ix
Preface xi
Abbreviations xv

CHAPTER 1: Egypt in the First Millennium BC 19
CHAPTER 2: The Historical Understanding of the Ptolemaic State 29
CHAPTER 3: Moving beyond Despotism, Economic Planning, and State Banditry 55
Ptolemaic Egypt as a Premodern State

CHAPTER 4: Shaping a New State 73
The Political Economy of the Ptolemies
CHAPTER 5: Creating a New Economic Order 117
Economic Life and Economic Policy under the Ptolemies

CHAPTER 6: Order and Law 165
Shaping the Law in a New State

CHAPTER 7: Conclusions 202

The Trial Record of the Property Dispute Held at the Temple of Wepwawet in Asyut, Upper Egypt, 170 BC before the Local Laokritai-judges

Bibliography 217
Index 259
Index of Sources 263

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