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A Religious Continuity between the Dynastic and Ptolemaic Periods? Self-Representation and Identity of Egyptian Priests in the Ptolemaic Period (332–30BCE)

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Chapter Summary

For many Greek and Roman visitors to Egypt, the continuity of religious life between the Pharaonic and Hellenistic periods seemed obvious. During the Ptolemaic period, the social composition of the priesthood in Egyptian temples underwent a sweeping change due to the increasing control of the temples by the royal administration. The author obtained a concrete information on the family origin or the precise functions of Egyptian priests through self-referential material. The available material allows a chronological distinction between two phases. The first phase coincides with the first century of Macedonian domination, the emphasis was on establishing a relationship between Macedonian power and the priesthood. The second phase can likewise be divided in two sub-phases: a) from the battle of Raphia (217 BCE) to the reign of Ptolemaios VIII Euergetes II (145-116 BCE) and b) after 125 BCE, when the majority of the temples were headed by royal officials.

Keywords: Battle of Raphia; Egyptian Priests; Hellenistic period; Macedonian domination; Ptolemaic period; Ptolemaios VIII Euergetes II



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