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Loyalty and Dissidence in Roman Egypt


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 (ISBN-13: 9780511402227)


The Acta Alexandrinorum are a fascinating collection of texts, dealing with relations between the Alexandrians and the Roman emperors in the first century AD. This was a turbulent time in the life of the capital city of the new province of Egypt, not least because of tensions between the Greek and Jewish sections of the population. Dr Harker has written the first in-depth study of these texts since their first edition half a century ago, and examines them in the context of other similar contemporary literary forms, both from Roman Egypt and the wider Roman Empire. The study of the Acta Alexandrinorum literature, which, as this book demonstrates, was genuinely popular in Roman Egypt, offers a different and more complex perspective on provincial mentalities towards imperial Rome than that offered by the study of the mainstream elite literature of the Principate. It will be of interest to classicists and ancient historians, but also to those interested in Jewish and New Testament studies.

ANDREW HARKER studied for his doctorate at King’s College London before lecturing at the University of London. He now teaches Classics in Hertfordshire.


The Case of the Acta Alexandrinorum

Andrew Harker

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Andrew Harker, 2008

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2008

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Harker, Andrew, 1975–
Loyalty and dissidence in Roman Egypt: the case of the Acta Alexandrinorum / Andrew Harker.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-521-88789-2 (hardback)
1. Egypt–History–30 B.C.–640 A.D.–Sources. 2. Alexandria (Egypt)–History–Sources.
3. Rome–History–Empire, 30 B.C.–476 A.D.–Sources. I. Title.
DT93.H37 2008
932.022–dc22      2007048557

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or
accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to
in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such
websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


Note on abbreviations
1 Introduction page 1
2 The embassies to Gaius and Claudius 9
3 The Acta Alexandrinorum: Augustus to the Severans 48
4 The Acta Alexandrinorum: The historical background 99
5 Between loyalty and dissent: The Acta Alexandrinorum and contemporary literature 141
6 Conclusion 174
Appendix I: Editions of the Acta Alexandrinorum and related texts 179
Appendix II: The status of the Alexandrian Jews 212
Appendix III: The ‘dubious or unidentified’ fragments 221
Bibliography 225
Index 251

Note on abbreviations

Literary sources and journals are cited by their standard abbreviations, as found, for example, in OCD3. Other frequently used abbreviations are:

Acta Musurillo, Acta Alexandrinorum, Lipsiae, 1961.
AFA Acts of the Arval Brethren.
Agr. Philo, De agricultura.
Alex. Philo, Alexander.
APM Musurillo, The Acts of the Pagan Martyrs, Oxford, 1954.
DiO Dio Cassius.
GC J. H. Oliver, Greek Constitutions, Philadelphia, 1989.
L.A. Philo, Legum allegoriarum.
Pack2 R. Pack, The Greek and Latin Literary Papyri from Greco-Roman Egypt, 2nd edn, Ann Arbor, 1965.
Prob. Philo, Quod omnis probus liber.
Reg. et imp. apophth. Plutarch, Regum et imperatorum apophthegmata.
Spec. Philo, De specialibus legibus.

All papyri are cited according to the latest version of the Checklist of Editions of Greek and Latin Papyri, Ostraca and Tablets published on the World Wide Web. I have used the abbreviation CPJ rather than the Checklist’s C.Pap.Jud. for the sake of convenience.

All citations of Eusebius, Chron. Hieron. are from the edition of Helm 1984. All citations from Byzantine sources (Georgius Syncellus, John Malalas, the Chronicon Paschale) are from the Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae series.

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