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ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 47 (2010) 267-273 Reviews Willy Clarysse and Dorothy J. Thompson, Counting the People in Hellenistic Egypt. Volume 1: Population Registers (P.Count). Volume 2: Historical Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. xxvi + 694 pages + 5 plates; xxii + 395 pages. The volumes reviewed here follow the standard practice in papyrology of collecting the known (or in this case most of the known) documents that concern a particular institution or type of document.1 Many of the texts have been previously published, others are presented for the first time, but what makes these two volumes of the highest importance to Ptolemaic papyrology and history is the fact that the authors have identified a variety of document types all relating to the process of the census and have thoroughly discussed the historical implications. Many improvements to reading and interpretations are offered in these volumes, and some new texts are presented. Some of them (e.g. Text 8) from the village of Mouchis (cf. the comments by the editors, 1:235) may be related to several other collections, including Stanford. There are many fascinating details in these papyri that can hardly be summarized here. Suffice it to say that Volume 1, presenting 44 Greek and ten demotic Egyptian papyri, is one of the most significant volumes of Ptolemaic papyri to be published in decades. The texts are extremely well edited and presented in a user-friendly format, with Greek or demotic transcription on the left hand side and translations on the right. Most of the texts also receive healthy commentary. Five photographs are provided but these are more for the purposes of providing an impression of the layout of some of the texts. Fortunately, very high quality digital images can be viewed by following the URL links provided at the beginning of each edition. The texts hardly present a uniform Ptolemaic system, and that is an important observation. The local nature of the Ptolemaic census, shown by the two languages used, and in the variety of vocabulary and administrative practice deployed, reveals an important aspect of Ptolemaic state building, viz. that it was established on many local traditions. As is becoming increasingly clear, there were both environmental and historical limitations to Ptolemaic centralization.2 1J.G. Manning (JGM) discusses vol. 1, and Walter Scheidel (WS) vol. 2. 2 See already the brief comments by E.G. Turner in CAH 7 (1984) 146-147.
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