Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
When Cleopatra VII Philopator took her own life after Egypt’s defeat at Actium an empire died as the legend was born. Egypt, ruled by the Macedonian Ptolemys for three hundred years, was now a province of the Roman Empire. This death is more a political fiction of Rome’s, however, than any kind of real defeat. For while the government ran as that of a Roman territory, Egypt’s influence on the Mediterranean world and beyond was extensive.
Egypt was the grain basket of Rome, so the Emperors kept a close eye on the country. Romans of all classes, from governors to soldiers, travelled in and out of Egypt’s borders. All these travelers took Egyptian ideas out with them, and it is in this fashion that Egyptian influence spread as far as Britain.
I argue in my thesis that the most vivid example of Egypt’s sway can be seen in the areas of religion and philosophy. These areas of influence manifest in three ways Hellenistic/Egyptian Paganism, Christianity/Judaism, and Philosophy. This thesis rests on four types of sources. The two largest sources are papyrus fragments (including, but not limited to, official decrees and correspondence) and classical sources (including but not limited to Herodotus, Plutarch, and Socrates). Building inscriptions, e.g. those found on the walls of temples, are the third form. Finally, secondary sources, for example, contemporary historians like Jean Bingen, Sir William Tarn, and David Frankfurter.
Michael, Dana F., "Search for a greater truth: religion and philosophy in Roman Egypt." (2013). Electronic Thesis Collection. 115.