Army and Egyptian Temple Building Under the Ptolemies
20 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2009
Date Written: October 2007
This paper examines building dedications to Egyptian gods that reveal the interplay between the military and state financing of Egyptian temples. I propose a new model of financing Egyptian temple building with the army as a source of private and local funding. I argue that officers or soldiers stationed in garrisons and soldier-priests were used as supervisors of temple construction for the king and even financed part of it to complement royal and temple funds. Three main conclusions emerge. First, the rather late date of our evidence confirms that temple building was increasingly sponsored by private and semiprivate funding and suggests that the army’s functions were becoming more diverse. Second, Egyptians were integrated in the army and soldiers were integrated into the local elite. Third, the formation of a local elite made of Greek and Egyptian soldiers acting for the local gods challenges the idea of professional and ethnic divisions.
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