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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

The Greek Papyri                        273
Arsinoite but the Crocodilopolite nome may indicate that
Antiochus wished to suppress a name that honoured the Ptole-
maic house. From the Roman period we have the two edicts
of Germanicus of A.D. 19, in one of which he rebukes the
Alexandrines for paying him the semi-divine honours proper
to the emperor alone (his threat that, if they continued in this
course, he would be obliged to show himself less frequently to
them, may have seemed inadequate to his uncle Tiberius): the
famous letter of the emperor Claudius to the Alexandrines:
a copy, though incomplete, of the revolutionary Constitute
Antoniniana of Caracalla, conferring the Roman citizenship on
all the inhabitants of the empire, apart perhaps from the dediticii r
the text of the proclamation issued by the prefect of Egypt intro-
ducing Diocletian's changes in the method of assessment for
taxation, and so fundamentally changing the economy of the
empire, which proves conclusively that the capitatio bumana
was extended to Egypt. One result of Diocletian's monetary
reforms can be seen in a letter in which an official who has
1 inside information of a measure to reduce the face value of an
imperial coin writes to his agent 'to make haste to spend all the-
Italian silver that you have on purchases, on my behalf, of goods
of every description at whatever price you find them'. From-
the same period comes a copy of a circular letter, probably from
the chancery of the bishop of Alexandria, denouncing the tenets,
and above all the practices, of the new sect of the Manichees
—the earliest witness that we have to the spread of the religion
of Mani; that the danger to the Church remained is shown by
the recent discovery in the Faiyum of a number of Manichaean
codices in Coptic.
But these, after all, are the exceptions; the subject of the-
documentary papyri is the ordinary rather than the extra-
ordinary, government seen not with the eyes of the statesman
or the political historian, but as it affected the masses of the
people. To describe the intricacies of the administrative system: