Philo was concerned to locate his group very carefully on a certain hill between the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Mareotis. He indicates the surrounding villages and buildings, and the little houses in which senior members of the Mareotic group live. He also shows us two meeting places: a semneion where the seventh-day assemblies take place, and a sumposion where the forty-ninth-day dinner is held. In fact, a further dimension of Philo's rhetoric of gender in De Vita Contemplativa concerns space. In creating a vision of what is good, Philo sought at times to create an ideal spatial arrangement which would vouchsafe the virtue of the group members. Along with this, Philo gives details about the personal space of the group members as signified by clothing. Clothing is a primary indicator of gender, and can be the first step towards the gendering of space in general. This chapter examines the spaces Philo constructs — communal, personal, and sacred — within the context of what we know about spatial arrangements in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt.
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