Rulers of Egypt 30 BC-c.AD 600.
    When the Romans conquered Egypt in 30 BC, the mass of the people at first experienced few obvious changes. Unlike other major Roman provinces, Egypt was not governed directly by members of the Roman Senate, but became the personal possession of Octavian *Augustus, who appointed a viceregal governor entitled Prefect who was directly responsible to him. Thus, Egypt no longer had its own king or capital city, and it was no longer an independent nation but merely a district whose main purpose was to supply grain for the people of Rome.
    The administrative system which had been set up by the *Ptolemies was basically retained and the principal magistrates kept their posts. The administration's main function now was to collect taxes and in return for this tribute, Egypt received little benefit and the country generally experienced a continuing decline. There was no long-term investment in Egypt's future, although, in the atmosphere of political stability that Roman rule provided, the economy flourished in terms of the goods— corn, papyrus, and glass—which were produced for Rome.
    Greek was still the official language, as it had been under the *Ptolemies, and Hellenistic culture continued to predominate in the Greek cities of Egypt. The Roman emperors carried on the *Ptolemaic policy of representing themselves as pharaohs, since this gave them the religious authority to rule Egypt and, as far as they were concerned, to exploit its resources. Some Roman emperors completed Egyptian temples for the same reasons: additions were made to the temples at Denderah, Esna, Philae and Kom Ombo, and wall-scenes show the emperors as pharaoh in the company of the Egyptian gods.
    Christianity was adopted throughout Egypt, and the Edict of *Theodosius I (AD 384) marked the end of the ancient religion; it formally declared Christianity to be the religion of the Roman Empire and ordered the closure of temples to other gods.
    In AD 395, the Imperial possessions were divided into eastern and western portions and Egypt, as part of the eastern empire, now came under the control of Byzantium.
BIBL. Bell, H.I. Egypt from Alexander the Great to the Arab Conquest. Oxford: 1956; Hoffman, A.K. Egypt after The Pharoahs: 332 BC-AD 642from Alexander to the Arab Conquest. London 1986. Jones, A.H.M. The Later Roman Empire, 284-602. Oxford: 1964.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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