FRAL - Programme franco-allemand en Sciences humaines et sociales

DimeData: On-line Platform for Editing Roman Period Accounts from the Soknopaios Temple in Dimê (Fayum) – DimeData

Submission summary

Previous research has blamed the Romans for the decline of the Egyptian temples. The current view, however, is that Rome played a stimulating role on the Egyptian economy. Against this background the temple in Dimê is particularly suitable to explore the economic situation of an Egyptian temple under the Roman administration of a province and to test the new perception. On the one hand the documentation in Greek and Egyptian is extremely abundant in general, on the other hand the sources elucidating the business life of the temple in particular, among them at first rank the accounts have survived in great numbers. The temple's accountancy produced these lists in demotic script of which just the better preserved scrolls of more than 1 m length sum up to 800 pieces. Their analysis will force us to revise our picture :
- of the internal economic structure of a regional Egyptian temple;
- of the integration of the 'temple' as an administrative and economic centre into the Roman administrative and fiscal strategy in Egypt;
- of the clergy as a community and its social status, and
- of the religious practice in Dimê and the neighbouring sanctuaries.

The considerable number of sources in Egyptian Demotic in a period when Greek finally replaced Demotic as administrative language is another particularity that raises again the issue of bilingualism in Roman Egypt. The project's objective is to make available the unpublished corpus of accounts from the temple in Dimê on an on-line platform for editing texts to scholars of Ancient History and Egyptologists and to put our knowledge and picture of an Egyptian temple's life on a new basis. This will allow us new insights into the Roman regulatory actions facing these indigenous institutions that were highly influential up to the Ptolemaic period. The study of the account scrolls of the temple in Dimê and by this of the financial system, the administration and the priestly economic competences in comparison to the competences and privileges that the Roman central administration granted, will yield new findings concerning the influence of Egypt's integration into the Roman Empire on a traditional Egyptian institution. This research, which is founded on an abundant and largely unpublished corpus, is devoted to a new approach to ancient economy and the ancient financial system.

Project coordination

Marie-Pierre Chaufray (Ausonius : institut de recherche sur l'Antiquité et le Moyen-Age)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


IRAM Ausonius : institut de recherche sur l'Antiquité et le Moyen-Age
Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

Help of the ANR 465,481 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: August 2018 - 36 Months

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