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Networks of the Theban desert: social, economic and religious interactions in late Byzantine and early Islamic Thebes
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 21:15 authored by Richard Leigh Burchfield
This thesis examines the range of interactions which bound the Egyptian town of Jeme (Medinet Habu), and the nearby monasteries of the Theban necropolis, to each other and to other, more distant communities in the seventh and eighth centuries CE. In doing so, it also seeks to assess the importance of this west Theban community in the exchange networks that covered Egypt as a whole, and the Hermonthite and Koptite nomes in particular. An examination of the range of interactions which bound the Egyptian town of Jeme (Medinet Habu), and the nearby monasteries of the Theban necropolis, to each other and to more distant communities in the seventh and eighth centuries CE, with an emphasis on the importance of this west Theban community in the exchange networks that covered Egypt as a whole, and the Hermonthite and Koptite nomes in particular. The communities of western Thebes, and especially the town of Jeme, are ideal for this study since large amounts of documentary evidence in Coptic survive from multiple sites within well-defined chronological limits. While Jeme is the main focus, this thesis also concentrates on three of the many contemporary monastic communities in the area: the monastery of Apa Phoibammon, the monastery of Epiphanius, and the solitary monk Frange. These three communities are ideal since they have the largest bodies of documentary evidence attesting them, which makes network studies more viable, and since they are of different sizes and natures (monastery, laura, hermitage), making them a representative sample of the range ofcommunities present on the Theban mountain. Where relevant, material from other sites, in 2particular the monastery of Apa Paul, is also taken into consideration. The relationship between Jeme and the larger monastic communities of western Thebes was close and interdependent, and it is argued that the presence of Jeme allowed the monasteries to flourish, and that their success in turn increased Jeme’s own status. These close knit communities then formed a regional hub which, while not a site of the same importance as the nome capitals, was still of significant economic and religious importance to the communities of the Hermonthite and Koptite nomes. An understanding of the nature of the west Theban communities and how they fitted in to broader exchange networks not only demonstrates the symbiotic relationship between monastic and secular communities, but provides the groundwork for future sociological studies of the region, whose discussions can now be framed in the light of the regional importance of western Thebes.
Table of ContentsIntroduction - Background and goals -- Section I. Methods and location designators -- Section II. Monasteries, churches and Jeme : a west Theban community -- Section III. Beyond western Thebes : interactions between Jeme and communities beyond the Theban necropolis -- Section IV. A west Theban hub : monastic networks -- Conclusion. Jeme and the network of Western Thebes -- Appendix A. Toponyms connected with western Thebes -- Appendix B. -- Catalogue of connections established in Sections II, III and IV, and a discussion of their dates -- Appendix C. Greek location designators in Coptic documentary texts from Thebes.
NotesTheoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 324 -340. Includes bibliographical references
Awarding InstitutionMacquarie University
Degree TypeThesis PhD
DegreePhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Ancient History
Department, Centre or SchoolDepartment of Ancient History
Year of Award2014
Principal SupervisorMalcolm Choat
RightsCopyright Richard Leigh Burchfield 2014. Copyright disclaimer: http://mq.edu.au/library/copyright
Extent1 online resource (xvi, 340 pages) 1 map
Former Identifiersmq:52779 http://hdl.handle.net/1959.14/1130289
network theoryStrategic alliances (Business) -- Egypt -- Thebes (Extinct city)Medinet HabuThebesMonasteriesIslamic EgyptJemeJeme (Extinct city) -- Social life and customsThebes (Egypt : Extinct city) -- Social life and customsStrategic alliances (Business)Egyptian monasticismMonasteries -- Egypt -- Thebes (Extinct city) -- HistoryWestern Thebes