ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 46 (2009) 267-270
Tomasz Derda, 'Apotvoitgg vop6q: Administration of the Fayum under Roman Rule. The Journal of Juristic Papyrology, Supplements 7.
Warszawa: Faculty of Law and Administration, Institute of Archaeology, and Fundacja im. Rafala Taubenschlaga, 2006. xviii + 345 pages
+ plate. ISBN 83-918250-6-X.
Derda (D.) offers a detailed study of the administrative divisions within
the Arsinoite nome in Roman times (the first four centuries of Roman rule)
and of the administrative superstructure in which the nome fitted rather than
a study of the administration (its personnel, their competencies, etc.) per se.
He does not offer fasti ofnome officials, which can be found elsewhere (except
those of officials at the level of the komogrammateiai included in the fourth
chapter), nor a discussion of taxation, but provides a tentative chronology of
changes over time in the period studied. Some of this is speculative and will no
doubt stimulate further studies. One wonders why the cover shows a picture
of a papyrus from the Hermopolite nome (P.Ryl. 2.86), and few will subscribe
to D's idea that life in villages of the Arsinoite nome "must have simply been
boring" (p. 111; certainly not in comparative perspective).
D.'s study will be the first port of call for those interested to find out where
(literally and notionally) some institution, official, or place in the Arsinoite
nome fitted in at a given moment in the first four centuries of Roman rule
and how this may have changed in the course of this period. D. dates major
reforms in the third century rather than the fourth, which he sees as a period
of transition (a more detailed account of the period after 341 is available in B.
Palme, "Praesides und correctores der Augustamnica," Antiquity Tardive 6, 1998,
123-135). After the fourth century the evidence from villages at the outskirts
of the Arsinoite nome (accounting for ca. 30% of all papyri) dries up as did the
villages themselves, so that it would be hard to produce a follow-up study for
Late Antiquity conceived along the same lines. Most of the evidence from the
later period comes from the capital of the nome itself, which is not very well
known in the earlier period.
The Arsinoite nome was traditionally divided into three merides, which
go back to Ptolemaic times. Depending on the period, in Roman times there
were three strategoi or just two, when two merides (Themistos' and Polemon's)
were combined under one strategos (the other being Herakleides' meris). D.
dates the division of the nome under three strategoi to after AD 60 (before that
one strategos governed the nome as a whole; to get there D. offers an ingenious
hypothesis to avoid having two strategoi at the same time in the early period
on p. 95, footnote 99, sub 2: Dionysodoros was strategos before and after one