Order and Chaos in Roman Administrative Terminology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines one of the mechanisms used by the Roman administration in Egypt to organize data: ‘all-embracing’ categories, and the manner in which the imperial government divided and categorized the provincial population. The concentration is on taxes and registration. Differences are found in the categorizations most commonly employed in different parts of the province and in different types of document, meaning that individuals could be labelled differently depending on context. While many categories had their roots in the previous regime, there were a few significant innovations, most notably the invention of the category of ‘the Egyptians’ to encompass all who were not Roman or Alexandrian. This has significant implications for the creation of a unified set of rules, applicable to this category of people in all legal cases and thus transformed the legal landscape from that under the Ptolemies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLaw in the Roman Provinces
EditorsKimberley Czajkowski, Benedikt Eckhardt
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9780198844082
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameOxford studies in Roman society and law


  • Administration
  • Roman Egypt
  • Ptolemaic Egypt
  • tax
  • legal categories
  • Roman law


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