COLLOQUIUM: Christelle Fischer-Bovet, USC, "In search of fame? Local elite strategies under the Ptolemies"

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

402 Cohen Hall

Acts of benefaction (euergetism) toward the local community by Ptolemaic officials, officers and priests belonging to different but also at times intersecting cultural spheres are an essential mechanism for increasing one’s own social capital and, to some extent, for becoming famous. This is clear from honors granted to them by the community, especially statues, and recorded in honorific decrees and in Egyptian autobiographic inscriptions on statues. The paper argues that through minimal adjustments, the local elites belonging to both the Greek and the Egyptian cultural spheres of the Ptolemaic empire used rather similar strategies to secure or to increase their social capital or fame. Euergetism was not a concept limited to the cultural sphere of the Greek poleis but on the contrary, essential aspects of being a benefactor converged in the Greek and in the Egyptian cultural spheres. There was a visible homogenization of euergetism and of honors granted in response to it within the territory of the Ptolemaic empire.