New publication: Gottesdiener und Kamelzüchter

With „Gottesdiener und Kamelzüchter“ (Servants of God and Camel Breeder), Benjamin Sippel has now published his dissertation submitted to the University of Erfurt in the Harrassowitz publishing house. It deals with the everyday and social life of the Sobek priests in the Fayum of the imperial period and is at the same time volume 144 of the series „Philippika – Altertumswissenschaftliche Abhandlungen“.

When Octavian conquered Egypt (30 B.C.), several large temples that cultivated the cult of the crocodile god Sobek were enthroned in the villages on the edge of the Fayum. Rich archaeological, epigraphic and papyrological evidence has been handed down from this region for the following three centuries, illustrating the daily life of the priesthood between ritual acts, temple administration and family life under Roman rule.

Benjamin Sippel is the first to paint a picture of the relations of the Sobek priests of Fayum among themselves, with their village communities and with state officials. The focus is on the villages of Bakchias, Narmuthis, Soknopaiu Nesos, Tebtynis and Theadelphia. Four thematic areas form the core of the study: (1) the peculiarities of naming among priestly families, (2) the efforts of the temple colleges to attract a Hellenistically educated audience, (3) the secular earning opportunities for priests and (4) the sources of conflict in the temple environment. On the one hand, Sippel succeeds in deconstructing the stereotype of Egyptian priests as an ‚indigenous elite‘. On the other hand, the study closes a research gap by shedding light on the situation of the Egyptian Sobek cults in the Fayum under Roman rule.

More information about the publication here. (German only)