Lucas Gericke

The City of Heracleopolis magna in Roman Times. An Urban Biography

Embedded in the SNF-funded project “Urban Biographies of the Roman and Late Antique Worlds: Antinoopolis and Heracleopolis in Egypt, c. 100 – c. 650 CE”, my dissertation project aims to produce an ‘urban biography’ of the Middle Egyptian nome metropolis of Heracleopolis magna in Roman times. Located at the Bahr Yusuf south-east of the Fayum, Heracleopolis was an important regional centre which could already look back, upon the coming of Roman rule, on 3000 years of history. Though hundreds of papyri provide detailed insights into the workings of this city under Roman rule, previous research has been centred almost exclusively around its Pharaonic period, when Heracleopolis was, during the First Intermediate Period, the capital of Egypt. Integrating papyrological, archaeological, literary, and other evidence, this study will cover political, social, economic, cultural, and religious aspects of the city’s history from the Augustan period until the middle of the 4th c. A.D. The ultimate goal is to carve out, by a comparative approach, the individual profile of the city in the context of Roman Egyptian urbanism, and to determine the multiple factors that shaped this profile (which was, of course, subject to historical change).

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