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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

The Greek Pa-pyri                         267
doubt financial, we see that the institution of these games (which
would be organized by the local gymnasia) was closely bound
up with the cult of the royal house and was obviously not a
matter to which government circles were indifferent. Just as
the gymnasia had served the purpose of the Ptolemies, so in later
times we hear of the city of Oxyrhynchus celebrating the Ludus
Capitolinus, originally founded by Domitian; there is extant a
letter from the gymnasiarch to the head of the athletic organiza-
tion requesting him to round up as many competitors as possible;
no doubt for these games to prove a failure would savour of
It was typical of Rome to substitute for the informal and
perhaps casual encouragement of Greek education a defined and
organized system; so Augustus, wishing on the principle of
divide et impera to encourage the hellenized elements in Egypt
against the Egyptian influence which had grown in power under
the later Ptolemies, gave official recognition to the office of
gymnasiarch, and by abolishing the village gymnasia and grant-
ing financial privileges to the metropolites, made the towns
strongholds of Hellenism to a greater degree than they had been
before. Education was the road to a career for a Greco-
Egyptian; so Apion writes back from Misenum, where he has
joined the Roman fleet, to his father in the Faiyum:
cOn reaching Misenum I received three gold pieces for my travelling
expenses from Caesar and all is going well. I beg of you, my Lord
father, write me a letter, first that I may learn how you are, secondly
how my brother Is, thirdly that I may kiss your hand [the Greek word
has the double sense of hand and handwriting], for you have given me
a good education and with the gods' favour I hope to get on fast . . .
I have sent you my picture [presumably in uniform] by Euctemon.'
Most of the letters relating to education which have reached
us insist on the industry and application of the boys; one boy
goes so far as to rebuke his parent for not coming to see whether
his tutor is paying sufficient attention to him, but the inner