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Glossary of Technical Terms

Content section: 

archiphylakites

“chief guard”; head of the village guards

 

aroura

Egyptian area measure, measuring 2756 square meters (about half a football field); a person could live on the net produce of 2 arouras

 

Arsinoite nome

administrative unit comprising the modern Fayum basin; the Arsinoite nome was divided in three “divisions”: the Division of Herakleides, the Division of Themistos, and the Division of Polemon (southern part); Tebtunis, Kerkeosiris, and Oxyrhyncha were all situated in the Division of Polemon

 

artaba

Egyptian dry measure of variable capacity, about 40 liters; a person could live on about 10 artabas of wheat per year

 

basilikos grammateus

“royal scribe”; nome official, responsible for administration of the Crown revenues from the nome

cartonnage

material from which Egyptian funerary masks and other parts of mummy cases were made from the First Intermediate Period onward; made of layers of linen or papyrus covered with plaster; in Fayum some painted mummy portrait panels were made of cartonnage

 

 

cleruchic land

 

 

land granted by the king to soldiers (and a small number of civil servants) as a reward for services rendered

 

demotic

a more cursive form of hieratic writing, which developed from hieroglyphic writing; demotic writing appeared around 600 BCE  and began to replace hieratic writing in administrative contexts, whereas hieratic often continued to be used in religious texts until Coptic replaced both

dioiketes

highest-ranking official of Ptolemaic Egypt; "manager" of the country

 

drachma

the basic unit of currency in Graeco-Roman Egypt

 

ephebes

in Classical Greece, young men undergoing training in the gymnasium; in a looser sense prevailing in Graeco-Roman Egypt, those enrolled in a privileged class of citizens of Alexandria, membership in which also conferred tax benefits

 

epistates

overseer, supervisor; while there were several “overseers” on various levels of the administration, the epistates referred to most frequently is the epistates of the village, who could be called the local police chief

 

hieratic

a cursive form of hieroglyphic writing whereby original hieroglyphic signs were simplified, even down to a single stroke or dot, and signs were sometimes combined for simplicity

keramion

liquid measure of varying capacity

 

komarches

village official, more or less "mayor"

 

komogrammateus

village secretary, whose primary responsibility was the administration of the Crown revenues deriving from the lands of his village

 

metropolis

chief town of a nome

 

nome

geographical and administrative unit, more or less a province

 

obol

monetary unit, equal to 1/6 drachma

ostracon

(plural ostraca) a sherd of pottery, usually from broken vases, urns, or other vessels, or a fragment of stone; used as a writing surface in place of papyrus, especially for short documentary texts

prefect

governor of Egypt in the Roman period

 

prophetes

priestly office

 

sacred land

land granted by the king to gods (temples)

 

sitologos

official in charge of the local granary; responsible for grain revenues

 

strategos

highest-ranking nome official

 

talent

monetary unit, equal to 6,000 drachmas

 

topogrammateus

district secretary