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Royal Land in Ptolemaic Egypt: A Demographic Model

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Recent studies in Ptolemaic agrarian history have emphasized the regional differences between the Fayyum and the Nile Valley, where private land was more extensive. This article proposes a demographic model that regards communal rights on royal land in the Fayyum as an adaptation to risk and links privatization with population pressure. These correlations and their reflection in Demotic and Greek land survey data raise doubts about the common view that patterns of tenure on royal land in the Fayyum can be attributed to more intensive state control over this region. De récents travaux relatifs à l'histoire agraire de l'Egypte Lagide ont mis en évidence les différences régionales entre le Fayoum et la vallée du Nil, où la terre privée était prédominante. Cet article propose un modèle démographique qui considère les droits communaux sur la terre royale dans le Fayoum comme une stratégie d'adaptation aux risques et lie la privatisation de la terre avec la pression démographique. Ces corrélations, attestées dans les documents cadastraux, remettent en question le consensus selon lequel l'organisation de la culture de la terre royale dans le Fayoum était soumise à un contrôle étatique plus strict.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Classics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA;, Email:


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