Visibility and Violence in Petitions from Roman Egypt
Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 48, (2008) 181–200
20 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2015
Date Written: February 11, 2008
The study of violence and violent behavior is of special sociological import. At moments of conflict, as anthropologist Anton Blok has noted, core values are disputed and interpreted; status and position, which on a daily basis are often tacitly assumed and unarticulated, can be highlighted and reified into positive rights and duties — such as the ability to be free from insult, the duty of others to respect one’s personal territory, or the right to bring offenders to justice and have them punished. When disputes turn violent the stakes are raised: personal integrity can be threatened, challenged, or violated, and one’s position within a community can be endangered. From Roman Egypt — defined for the purpose of this paper as the period from Augustus to Justinian — we have numerous accounts of violent behavior, especially in the form of petitions for redress by legal authorities.
Keywords: Roman History, Roman Law, Violence, Egypt, Papyrology
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