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PhD Defence

Framing Egypt: Roman literary perceptions of Egypt from Cicero to Juvenal

Wednesday 9 November 2016
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof. M.J. Versluys
  • Prof. I. Sluiter

About the dissertation

This is an comprehensive study of Roman literary references to Egypt without preference for one particular period, author or subject, in contrast to most previous scholarship. In doing so, it shows that these references vary greatly, are context-dependent, and cannot be rightly understood when interpreted only within the normative and fixated frameworks of negative perceptions of contemporary Egypt or positive perceptions of Egypt’s antiquity.

Moreover, this study suggests that approaching Roman literary references from the notion of Roman self-representationis useful for understanding and explaining their multifarious and sometimes contradictory messages. This observation does not imply that every reference to Egypt is therefore ‘Roman’.

On the contrary, Egypt was occasionally framed as the Other. Yet the omnipresence of Egypt in Roman literature is of major importance when the Roman identity is at st ake. Egypt, then, is neither only the Other, nor only the Self, but always a polyvalent notion in terms of identity-making.


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PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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