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Title: Egypt, Rome and Aegyptophilia : rethinking Egypt's relationship with ancient Rome through material culture
Author: Mackenzie, Vanessa E.
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis is concerned to demonstrate that Egypt had an important part to play in the formation of the Roman empire. There is a tendency for Classical scholarship to discuss Rome’s relationship with Egypt in terms which fall very far short of the way in which Rome’s encounters with Greek culture are treated. Within scholarship today, any perceived problems with Egypt are still often overstated, while any respect which the Romans may have held for Egyptian culture is dismissed, underplayed or only grudgingly accepted. I intend to re-appraise certain aspects of Egyptian/Egyptianising material culture in order to demonstrate that while some areas of the Roman literary corpus are scattered with apparently derogatory remarks about Egypt, the material evidence tells a quite different story. The aim of this thesis is to examine Egyptian/Egyptianising material culture in order to put the evidence of written texts into a fuller cultural context and perspective. I shall take a chronological approach and intend to focus primarily on artefacts found in the public sphere. The exception will be Chapter Four in which I shall discuss notions about Egypt in the private sphere. The final Chapter will conclude with Hadrian’s era in which the Villa at Tivoli may be seen as an expression of the merging of aspects of both public and private. Octavian’s so-called ‘propaganda’ campaign is central to the question of how scholarship deals with encounters between Egypt and Rome. After Egypt’s incorporation into the new empire of Rome, it was not in Octavian’s interests to continue a hostile disparagement of the country, given his status as pharaoh. I will argue that Octavian set in motion a rehabilitation of the country’s reputation by a policy of appeasement towards Egypt and by incorporating aspects of Egypt’s culture into Rome. It is my contention that Egypt had a greater role to play in the ideology of Rome’s empire, particularly through its first Emperor, than modern scholarship allows. I conclude that the ‘question of Egypt’ while complex, fluid and often contradictory, nevertheless was very much less negative than modern scholarship portrays.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D051 Ancient History