John F. Bauschatz - Assistant Professor, Department of Classics, The University of Arizona
In this lecture Bauschatz will draw on a large body of evidence for the cultural, social and economic interactions between state and citizen to demonstrate that in Ptolemaic Egypt (330–30 B.C.) police officials enjoyed great autonomy, but also that government assistance, via these officials, was readily available to even the lowest levels of society when crimes were committed. Throughout the nearly 300 years of Ptolemaic rule, victims of crime in all areas of the Egyptian countryside called upon local police officials to investigate crimes, hold trials and arrest, question and sometimes even imprison wrongdoers. The police system in place to tend to their needs was efficient, effective and largely independent of central government controls. The unique evidence for policing in Greco-Roman Egypt – thousands of documentary papyri – provides the kind of immediacy and detail unavailable in the data from any other ancient society. This evidence demonstrates compellingly and conclusively that a multifaceted police system existed and thrived in at least one region of the ancient Mediterranean, and suggests the possibility of parallels in others. This lecture is sponsored by The Archaeological Institute of America Dallas-Fort Worth Society.
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