Drawing on archaeological findings and an unusual combination of Greek and Egyptian evidence, Dorothy Thompson examines the economic life and multicultural society of the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis in the era between Alexander and Augustus. Now thoroughly revised and updated, this masterful account is essential reading for anyone interested in ancient Egypt or the Hellenistic world.
The relationship of the native population with the Greek-speaking immigrants is illustrated in Thompson's analysis of the position of Memphite priests within the Ptolemaic state. Egyptians continued to control mummification and the cult of the dead; the undertakers of the Memphite necropolis were barely touched by things Greek. The cult of the living Apis bull also remained primarily Egyptian; yet on death the bull, deified as Osorapis, became Sarapis for the Greeks. Within this god's sacred enclosure, the Sarapieion, is found a strange amalgam of Greek and Egyptian cultures.
Dorothy J. Thompson is a fellow of Girton College, University of Cambridge, and a member of the faculty of classics at the University of Cambridge. She is a fellow of the British Academy and an honorary president of the International Association of Papyrologists.
"This thoroughly revised edition of a masterpiece of historical writing examines with precision and verve the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis in the period between Alexander and Augustus. . . . She is especially sensitive to the syncretic, sometimes cacophonous, metropolitan life produced by a population drawn from throughout the Mediterranean basin, and by the confrontation of classical civilization itself on the verge of cultural upheaval, as Roman power gradually eclipsed Greek prestige and influence--with a civilization that reached back millennia. The result is a meticulous, vivid portrait of a profoundly foreign world."--The Atlantic
"[A] masterful analysis of the surviving evidence for ancient Memphis."--John F. Oates, American Journal of Philology
"[T]his book greatly enhances understanding of Egyptian history in the Ptolemaic period and the author is to be congratulated on her skill in welding the disparate sources into such an attractive whole."--Amélie Kuhrt, History
"[A] book of utmost importance to all readers interested in ancient civilizations. . . . Thompson's concentration on the Hellenistic period provides a penetrating study of all aspects of this city from the time of Alexander to Augustus."--C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, Choice
"This, in so many ways, is a book aimed at students and for that target audience is successful, and would make a sensible purchase."--Kate Phizackerley, Egyptological.com
"Scott Soames' new book, What Is Meaning?, is an important book, both in the issues it raises and in its shortcomings. It is the first serious discussion of meaning (not 'semantic content' or some other term designed to sidestep the real issue) by a leading analytic philosopher of language in a long while, and its findings lead to a more realistic understanding of meaning and language."--Sergeiy Sandler, European Legacy
Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations and Tables viii
A Note on Transliteration xix
Chapter 1: The Second City 1
Chapter 2: Economic Life in Memphis 29
Chapter 3: Ethnic Minorities 76
Chapter 4: Ptolemies and Temples 99
Chapter 5: The Undertakers 144
Chapter 6: Apis and Other Cults 177
Chapter 7: Between Two Worlds: The Sarapieion 197
Chapter 8: Roman Memphis: An Epilogue 247
A. Memphite Professions Additional to Those Recorded in the Zenon Archive 259
B. The Undertakers' Archive 260
C. A Property Settlement in 197 B.C. 262
D. Apis Bulls of the Ptolemaic Period 263