Studies in Late Antiquity Editorial Preface That late antique--or Byzantine--Egypt was for long the outcast of papyrological studies (as of other areas of ancient studies) is well known. Even scholars who early on through great effort advanced our knowledge of the field were inclined to look upon this phase of Egypt's history as decadent and dull. To select one statement for many: Sir Harold Bell's article, 'The Byzantine Servile State in Egypt," JEA 4 (1917) 86-106, both in title and contents, vividly represents this view. In recent decades, however, papyrologists have redirected attention to late antique Egypt, and they have done so without the prejudices of earlier generations. At the start, the focal points were efforts to sort out the details of the Diocletianic reforms and the special problems of the fourth century; but more recently, there has been a broadening of interest even into the later centuries--fifth, sixth, and seventh. Here, more and more, we can expect a convergence of papyrological studies with those of Coptic scholars working primarily on seventh and eighthcentury materials. For the latter, a good orientation will be found in Terry Wilfong's bibliographic survey of Jeme and its environs (BASP 26 [1989] 89-145). Earlier neglect and current interest serve to make the publication of this group of eleven studies especially gratifying to the editors of BASP. The impetus for this section came from the presentation of five of them in the colloquium "Egypt from Cambyses to Constantine--and Beyond," which preceded the Fourth International Congress of Demotists at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, in September, 1990. These articles, by Farber, Husson, Keenan, MacCoull, and Wilfong, all given at the same session, form the core of this part of the volume. The authors of these articles are individually and corporately grateful to Professor Bezalel Porten for proposing and organizing the special session on late antique Egypt and for his careful reading of some of the preliminary manuscripts. They are also grateful to Professor Janet H. Johnson for including this session as part of the colloquium, and for graciously agreeing to the publication of these papers in BASP. Finally, 0
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