The Palmyrene Diaspora in Egypt: Dependency, Sustainability and Reuse

Cobb, Matthew (2023) The Palmyrene Diaspora in Egypt: Dependency, Sustainability and Reuse. In: Exchange and Reuse: Economy and Circularity at Roman Palmyra. Studies in Palmyrene Archaeology and History, 8 . Turnhout, Brepols, pp. 113-129. ISBN 978-2-503-60342-1

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How did cities like Palmyra manage their resources for immediate and longer-term needs? Do we find evidence of reuse and circularity in their economic activity, or were they wasteful and destructive? And how costly were these transactions in economic, social, and ecological terms? These important questions coincide with our own concerns about the ecological impact of present-day economic practices, as well as a growing academic interest in recycling, reuse, and waste management in Antiquity. While most of the papers in this volume focus on the city of Palmyra, the present paper explores these subjects in relation to the Palmyrene diaspora of Egypt. This community consisted of soldiers, shipowners, and merchants operating in the circuit linking the Nile emporion of Koptos with the Red Sea port of Berenike, some of whom will have also travelled along wider Red Sea networks of trade. The benefit of examining this community is that it opens up the possibility of subsequent comparative analysis with those living in Palmyra. It can also add to the body of case studies from Antiquity which provide insights into economic growth and its environmental impact. Moreover, the environmental conditions in the Eastern Desert region are such that both organic and non-organic remains have survived, allowing us to address questions about sustainability, recycling, and reuse that are often less feasible for other parts of the Roman Empire. Consequently, we can investigate how the Palmyrene diaspora adapted to different environmental, economic, and security challenges, relying on varied (local) resources and networks of support.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Institute of Education and Humanities > Academic Discipline: Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Matthew Cobb
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2023 11:49
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2023 11:49

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