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Cosmopolitanism and EmpireUniversal Rulers, Local Elites, and Cultural Integration in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean$
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Myles Lavan, Richard E. Payne, and John Weisweiler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190465667

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190465667.001.0001

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Toward a Translocal Elite Culture in the Ptolemaic Empire

Toward a Translocal Elite Culture in the Ptolemaic Empire

(p.103) 5 Toward a Translocal Elite Culture in the Ptolemaic Empire
Cosmopolitanism and Empire

Christelle Fischer-Bovet

Oxford University Press

This chapter challenges the widespread view that Ptolemaic rulers generally interacted with Egyptian and Hellenized subjects in distinct languages. Already the first Ptolemaic kings orchestrated transcultural moments which brought together different ethnic groups. This is visible in the introduction of a cult of queen Arsinoe II, who was revered as benefactor for “all mankind,” and in the creation of a new cultural memory of Persian invaders as common enemies of Greek and Egyptian populationsEfforts to create a translocal elite intensified in the mid-third century as illustrated by the trilingual decrees issued by Egyptian priests. Such practices of assimilation created a translocal elite culture whose participants defined themselves not through their ethnicity but through their association with the royal court.

Keywords:   Ptolemaic, translocal, local elites, Egyptian priests, Arsinoe II, Cultural Memory, Egyptian inscriptions

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