Egypt in the period from the reign of the emperor Constantine to the Arab conquest was both a vital part of the Late Roman and Byzantine world, participating fully in the culture of its wider Mediterranean society, and a distinctive milieu, launched on a path to developing the Coptic Christian culture that we see fully only after the end of Byzantine rule. This book is the first comprehensive survey of Egypt to treat this entire period including the first half-century of Arab rule. Twenty-one renowned specialists present the history, society, economy, culture, religious institutions, art and architecture of the period. Topics covered range from elite literature to mummification and from monks to Alexandrian scholars. A full range of Egypt's uniquely rich source materials - literature, papyrus documents, letters, and archaeological remains - gives exceptional depth and vividness to this portrait of a society, and recent archaeological discoveries are described and illustrated.
1. Introduction Roger S. Bagnall; Part I. The Culture of Byzantine Egypt: 2. Poets and pagans in Byzantine Egypt Alan Cameron; 3. Higher education in early Byzantine Egypt: rhetoric, Latin, and the law Raffaella Cribiore; 4. Philosophy in its social context Leslie S. B. MacCoull; 5. Coptic literature in the Byzantine and early Islamic world Stephen Emmel; 6. Early Christian architecture in Egypt and its relationship to the architecture of the Byzantine world Peter Grossmann; 7. Coptic and Byzantine textiles found in Egypt: corpora, collections, and scholarly perspectives Thelma Thomas; 8. Between tradition and innovation: Egyptian funerary practices in late antiquity Françoise Dunand; Part II. Government, Environments, Society and Economy: 9. Alexandria in the fourth-seventh centuries Zsolt Kiss; 10. The other cities in later Roman Egypt Peter van Minnen; 11. Byzantine Egyptian villages James Keenan; 12. The imperial presence: government and army Bernhard Palme; 13. Byzantine Egypt and imperial law Joëlle Beaucamp; 14. Aristocratic landholding and the economy of Byzantine Egypt Todd Hickey; 15. Gender and society in Byzantine Egypt Terry Wilfong; Part III. Christianity: The Church and Monasticism: 16. The institutional church Ewa Wipszycka; 17. The cult of saints: a haven of continuity in a changing world? Arietta Papaconstantinou; 18. Divine architects: designing the monastic dwelling place Darlene Brooks Hedstrom; 19. Monasticism in Byzantine Egypt: continuity and memory James Goehring; 20. Depicting the kingdom of heaven: paintings and monastic practice in late antique Egypt Elizabeth Bolman; Part IV. Epilogue: 21. The Arab conquest of Egypt and the beginning of Muslim rule Petra Sijpesteijn.
This is an excellent collection of essays, each of which deserves much more comment than can be reasonably expected here. As a whole the volume covers an extremely wide range of topics across the entire scholarly spectrum of research into Byzantine Egypt, while each contribution successfully offers lucid and penetrating analyses of specific topics. This book will quickly and deservedly find a wide readership among all those interested in Egypt in the Byzantine world, and will no doubt serve as a helpful spur to future research. BCMR