Egypt

Required readings

(52 pages)

  • Ray, John (2002). Reflections of Osiris: Lives from Ancient Egypt, Oxford University Press, Chapter 2, "A Farmer's Problems," pages 23-39. If you can get the book, buy it. There is a very short summary of the history of Egypt which is required knowledge.

Get into the mood of Heqanakhte. It may be useful to have the right mind frame. To undo our packaging of the past, let us look into the future: for Heqnakhte, the pyramids look like Saint Denis for us. If he could have predicted the future, from our point of view, Julius Caesar would be coming in the year 4000 and we would be in the year 6000.

Start on p. 153 "All these taxes, so far as we know, were farmed,.... The important question (for us) is stated on p 155, "why did they farm the other taxes?" This prepares for p. 155, "The same principle is observable in the collection of the land revenue in Ptolemaic Egypt...". Required: p.153-159. (The rest of the article in the chapter on Rome).

  • Manning, Joe (2013). "Egypt", Peter Fibiger Bang and Walter Scheidel, eds, chapter 2 in The Oxford Handbook of the state in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean. (p. 61-89). Not all the pages are required, but by now, you should know what to select for the main arguments about causality, geographic determinism, taxation, information and enforcement.
  • More discussion of Wittfogel (hydraulics and despotism) for Egypt in Manning's draft. (not required but useful).

Other readings

  • Manning, Joe (2009). "Economic policy under the Ptolemies," chapter 5 (part of) in The Last Pharaohs: Egypt under the Ptolemies 305-30 BC.