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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

review of ADAMS, Land Transport

Colin Adams, Land Transport in Roman Egypt. A Study of Economics and Administration in a Roman Province. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Pp. xiv, 331. ISBN 10: 0-19-920397-0. ISBN 13: 978-0-19-920397-0. $110.00.

Reviewed by Wim Broekaert, Ghent University (Wim.Broekaert@UGent.be)
Word count: 1555 words

Table of Contents

P.A.Brunt once described transport as 'the greatest failure of ancient technology'.1 Yet, in his penetrating study, Colin Adams (CA) convincingly argues that land transportation in Egypt was anything but a failure, and with good reason: requisition of animals used for the transportation of tax-grain played a vital part in the supply of Rome and Alexandria. Moreover, local trade in the desert depended heavily on the presence of professional transporters and the smooth functioning of numerous caravans. To prove this point, CA collects all ostraca and papyrological testimonies concerning the organisation of land transportation, analyses them with great scholarship and ultimately offers the reader a coherent and solid reconstruction of the various ways in which the Egyptians tried to bring goods to their destination.
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