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On The Fringe: Trade And Taxation In The Egyptian Eastern Desert

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates the role of the Egyptian Eastern Desert as a fiscal frontier of the Empire. It is already well known that this area played an important role as a commercial route connecting the Roman World and the Far East. The documents which are connected to the process by which goods and their transporters passed through the customs gate at Berenike are discussed. The chapter explains the structure of the ostraka to shed some light on the organisation of this control. It aims to concentrate on the quintanensis in order to assess how the evidence of his role can be used to illuminate the organisation of taxation on trade in the Eastern Desert. In conclusion, the combined analysis of both new and old documents clearly shows the high level of control of the Roman State of this frontier area.

Keywords: Berenike; Egyptian Eastern Desert; ostraka; Roman World; taxation



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