Sub-project S 10805: The Framework of Imperial Power in Late Antique Egypt (284-641 AD): Governors, Military Commanders, and their officia | Project leader: Bernhard Palme

The sub-project contributes to the history of imperial rule and the highly elaborate provincial administration of the Later Roman Empire. Provinces and dioceses were the decisive institutions of the administration, while military districts (ducatus) were crucial for the defense of the Empire. The sub-project examines the development of these institutions in Egypt from the Tetrarchy to the Arab Conquest (284-641 CE). A core area of the Empire, Egypt, is an outstanding subject for a case study: First, its civil administration, jurisdiction, and military organization developed untouched by external threats; second, Egypt offers an extraordinary (papyrological) documentation. Our efforts concentrate on four goals: i) A fully documented account of the development of provincial divisions of Egypt and of the duchies (ducatus) including a prosopography of the governors and military commanders (duces); ii) A comprehensive study of the military units and troop deployment, complementing the picture of the public institutions in this province and highlighting the strategic concepts; iii) A reconstruction of the hierarchical structure of the bureaux (officia) as well as the tasks, career patterns and competences of the officiales; iv) Justinian's reform of the civil and military organization (Edict XIII), and the last one hundred years of Roman rule in Egypt, witnessing a growing power of local elites and socio-economic tensions. The outcome of the project, in which papyrological documentation plays the chief part, is intended to be a systematic interpretive description of the civil and military framework of imperial power in Egypt. This also provides a very concrete (Late) Roman perspective on the overarching topics of the NFN about concepts and mechanisms of government as well as the structure and strategies of imperial rule.