Archaeology of Empire in Achaemenid Egypt

Henry P. Colburn

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A study of the material culture of Egypt during the period of Achaemenid Persian rule, c. 526-404 BCE
  • Read the blog post 'How to Find Persians in Egypt: The Archaeology of Achaemenid Egypt'
  • Provides a clear overview of the archaeological evidence for Achaemenid Egypt, including temples, tombs, irrigation works, statues, stelae, seals and coins
  • Demonstrates how different types of evidence, both textual and archaeological – including material of uncertain provenance – can be used to address a single historical question
  • Offers critical discussion of the dating criteria used by archaeologists for Egyptian Late Period material
  • Elucidates strategies used by the Persians to establish and maintain control of Egypt
  • Examines how these strategies may have affected the lives of people living in Egypt during the 27th Dynasty
  • Creates a new explanatory model for the introduction of coinage to ancient Egypt

Previous studies have characterised Achaemenid rule of Egypt either as ephemeral and weak or oppressive and harsh. These characterisations, however, are based on the perceived lack of evidence for this period, filtered through ancient and modern preconceptions about the Persians.

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List of FiguresList of TablesAcknowledgmentsNote on Conventions and AbbreviationsSeries Editor’s PrefaceMaps

  1. The Study of Achaemenid Egypt
  2. Urban Experiences: Memphis
  3. Rural Experiences: The Western Desert
  4. Representation and Identity
  5. Social Practices: Drinking Like a Persian
  6. Coinage and the Egyptian Economy
  7. Experiencing Achaemenid Egypt

BibliographyIndex

This accessible new academic treatment sets out to challenge the prejudices of earlier commentators (starting with the ancient Greeks), and illustrates very effectively the ways in which scholarship is as prone to bias as any other aspect of human activity.
Campbell Price, Ancient Egypt Magazine
It will be widely read by students of Achaemenid Egypt, of the Achaemenid empire in general (which as a discipline as well as a historical reality is nothing if not the assemblage of its diverse parts), and of the wider world of later pre-Hellenistic history.
Journal of the American Oriental Society, Christopher J. Tuplin
Written lucidly for a broad readership, Colburn’s book masterfully recovers a critical era of Egyptian history until now muted by traditional hegemonies of periodization. This is a must-read for Egyptologists, Classicists, and Achaemenid studies specialists, as well as for empire theorists and art historians/archaeologists concerned with projections of identity in the cross-hairs of globalization.
Margaret Cool Root, University of Michigan
Henry Colburn is Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow in Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He is the author of numerous essays on the art and archaeology of the Achaemenid Empire. This is his first book, based on his PhD which he received in 2014.

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