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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Y. Broux, Double Names and Elite Strategy in Roman Egypt

Double Names and Elite Strategy in Roman Egypt
Peeters, Leuven
Studia Hellenistica, 54
Authors:  Broux Y.
Year: 2015
ISBN: 978-90-429-3125-1
Pages: VIII-317 p.
Price: 94 EUR

In this detailed study of double names in Egypt, Yanne Broux explores how the age-old tradition of polyonymy flourished under Roman rule. While in the Ptolemaic period double names were mainly bilingual and were thus connected to the concept of ethnicity, they underwent a significant change starting around the middle of the first century AD and culminating in the third. Broux argues that this shift from Ptolemaic Greek-Egyptian to Roman Greek-Greek double names was the outcome of two structures introduced by the Romans: the strict social hierarchy on the one hand, and the municipalization of the metropoleis, which led to the rise of the local elite, on the other. This resulted in a strong emphasis on Greek identity and descent, and double names lent themselves exceptionally well for this purpose. They bring to the fore the importance that the local elite attached to Greek identity and descent, and, perhaps as a wink to the (forbidden?) tria nomina, provided a means to distinguish their prominent bearers from the rest of the Egyptian population.