At Empire's Edge: Exploring Rome's Egyptian Frontier by Robert B. Jackson

By Robert B. Jackson

While Egypt grew to become a province of the Roman Empire in 30 BC after the deaths of Antony and Cleopatra, its sizeable and mysterious frontier lands had a tremendous impression at the trade, politics and tradition of the empire. This account - half background and half gazetteer -focuses on Rome's Egyptian frontier, describing the traditional fortresses, temples, settlements, quarries and aqueducts scattered through the area and conveying a feeling of what existence used to be like for its population. Robert Jackson has journeyed, via jeep and walking, to almost each recognized Roman website within the quarter, from Siwa Oasis, forty five kilometers from the trendy Libyan border, to the Sudan. Drawing on either archaeological and historic details, he discusses those websites, explaining how Rome extracted unique stone and helpful metals from the mountains of the japanese barren region, channelled the wealth of India and East Africa in the course of the barren region through ports at the crimson Sea, built and manned fortresses within the far away oases of the Western wasteland, and facilitated the growth of agricultural groups within the barren region that at last skilled the earliest large-scale conversions to Christianity in Egypt. Illustrated with many photos, the quantity might be important to archaeologists, classicists, and travelers to the quarter.

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21 THE RESIDENTS OF MONS PORPHYRITES Aside from the information provided by the inscriptions mentioned above, scholars know relatively little about the people who ran the daily operations of Mons Porphyrites. Of the hundreds of ostraca found in the rubbish heaps next to the main settlement, only a few furnish information about the men (and possibly women) who lived and worked there. qxd 1/30/02 5:16 PM Page 17 THE HILLS OF SMOKE about the military’s role at the settlement. 22 But the question of who performed the wrenching labor of quarrying the porphyry remains a mystery.

29 One expert on Roman remains in the Eastern Desert concludes that the drawings are of merchant vessels, but adds that dating the ships is di

Ible in the southeast section of the village. This typical stone tank, approximately 3 meters wide, was sunk into the ground and coated with a thick layer of lime plaster. A ledge on the inside may have supported a wooden cover intended to reduce evaporation. Of course, the men in the quarries also needed water as they labored throughout the day, and it was carried up to them with di

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