Date on Senior Honors Thesis


Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

College of Arts and Sciences

Author's Keywords

Egypt; creolization; Romanization; post-colonial; Romanity; Rome


Past scholarship has analyzed Roman Egypt through the process of Romanization, but my research evaluates the province through creolization instead. The process of creolization is complex but affords indigenous populations more agency than terms like romanization. The thesis addresses the Egyptian and Greek continuities in language, religion, and way of life to display the extent of creolization. Analysis of Roman Egypt through the post-colonial lens better represents the changes that took place and the intent of the Roman principate. Much of the research derives from papyrological and archaeological sources to create a more nuanced understanding of what Roman Egypt looked like and how the cultural change took place. In the end, it is discovered that numerous continuities existed, stemming from both Egyptian and Greek cultures; the continuities present display a lack of interest from the Roman perspective of changing the cultures of Egypt. Many Romans not only allowed the existing cultural practices to continue, but Romans took interest in the traditions and took part in several. The importance of this thesis stems from its refutation of past scholarship and past understandings of the province and Roman imperialism as a whole. Roman imperialism was far less idealistic and was instead motivated by pragmatic motivators.

Lay Summary

The Roman annexation of Egypt was an important part of Roman expansion and imperialism. The annexation of the province marked the acquisition of one of the richest territories in the ancient world and coincided with the end of a brutal civil war. Scholars have analyzed Roman Egypt in the past, most often through Romanization or acculturation. Post-colonial scholarship has analyzed the province through creolization which affords the local population more agency in the analysis. Importantly, the cultural aspects of Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans blended and are displayed best through continuities present in the province. Through my research, it is displayed that not only did indigenous culture persist, but some aspects were adopted by Rome itself. Additionally, Romans did not attempt to change the culture of Egypt as much as previous scholarship has claimed. My research has looked at archaeological and textual evidence and post-colonial scholarship to create a more nuanced understanding of the province as a whole and the power structures that existed within it.