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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

The Greek Papyri                        277
of strategus was a civil one whose holder was responsible for
the general administration of his nome and in particular for the
proper functioning of the taxation system—at the time of the
great Jewish revolt in the eastern provinces which almost
assumed the proportions of a civil war and caused widespread
damage and loss of life. The position grew so desperate in
Egypt that the strategus had to call out a levy en masse of the
peasants and place himself at its head to hold the rebels till
reinforcements of Roman legionaries could arrive—an incident
which has no parallel in the history of the office. We find him
writing to the prefect requesting sixty days' furlough to set his
own affairs in order after his long absence (his tenure of his
office was unusually long) and the havoc caused by the revolt
of the 'godless Jews'. His immediate superior was the epistrate-
gus of the Thebaid, who sends him instructions about the
inspection of lands and adds a hint that the Natives' are not to
be subjected to extortion or false accusation. It is another
epistrategus, Flavius Philoxenus, who writes, in a letter which
is that of a man whose mother tongue is Latin rather than
Greek, to introduce to Apollonius a friend of his: he concludes
Treat him as you would myself. Need I say more ? You know
my disposition. Farewell.' Hadrian's accession to the throne
was celebrated in the nome with speeches and dramatic per-
formances, and among Apollonius' papers is a draft of the
libretto of the pageant in which Demos and Phoebus announced
the good news to the people and which hints that the festivities
were also to include a fountain flowing with wine.
The routine business of his office is represented by long reports
from the land surveyors on the state of the irrigation, by sworn
attestations from village officials or peasants that so much land
will be cultivated, by a report from the city-clerk on men suit-
able to act as city police in which the names of the streets—
Isis Crescent, Street of the Women's Bath—are of interest.
Public baths, both for men and women, were a Greek innovation;