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The Eastern Desert of Egypt during the Greco-Roman Period: Archaeological Reports

 | 
Jean-Pierre Brun
, 
Thomas Faucher
, 
Bérangère Redon
, 
et al.

Chronology of the Forts of the Routes to Myos Hormos and Berenike during the Graeco-Roman Period

Jean-Pierre Brun

Texte intégral

  • 1 The Mission archéologique française du Désert Oriental is funded by the Ministère des affaires étra (...)
  • 2 Whitcomb, Johnson 1982; Peacock, Blue 2006 and 2011.
  • 3 Sidebotham 2011 and 2018.
  • 4 Meyer 2018.

1This article aims to clarify the chronology of the forts situated along the caravan routes that linked Myos Hormos and Berenike on the Red Sea to Coptos on the Nile. Observations made here are based on the results of excavations carried out by the Mission française du Désert Oriental1 and on the research of American and British teams at Myos Hormos,2 Berenike3 and Wâdi Umm Fawâkhir.4

  • 5 Pantalacci 2018.

2When the Romans took over Egypt, they inherited a Ptolemaic system and infrastructure and before them from prehistoric times and from the Pharaonic period when, as Laure Pantalacci writes,5 Coptos was already the actual gateway to the resources of the desert and to traffic bearing products from eastern lands.

  • 6 Castel, Soukiassian 1989.
  • 7 Tallet, Mahfouz 2012
  • 8 Goyon 1957.

3Among the most important activities in the Eastern Desert were gold mining in various locations including Wâdi Umm Fawâkhir or Samût al-Beda, galena extraction in the Jabal al-Zayt,6 copper metallurgy at Aïn Sukhna,7 and the bekhen stone quarrying in the Wâdi al-Hammâmât.8 During the Old and Middle Kingdom periods expeditions to Punt crossed the desert to reach ports near Aïn Sukhna, Wâdi Gawasis (ancient Saww), and, likely, at the location where Berenike was later built.

4All these expeditions greatly improved knowledge of the desert that led to the creation of texts and even maps and to the construction of routes marked by stone cairns. These expeditions also dedicated rock sanctuaries to the god Min and marked the territory with commemorative inscriptions such as those of the well known expeditions to the Wâdi al-Hammâmât quarries.

Under the Ptolemies

  • 9 Faucher 2018.
  • 10 Sidebotham, Wendrich 2000, 2007 and 2011, pp. 107-108.

5Therefore, when the Macedonians seized Egypt, the desert was not terra incognita, but the Ptolemaic government had greater ambitions and other needs than those of previous rulers. Ptolemy Sôter and his successors had an imperious necessity to accumulate gold for their ambitious foreign policy in the eastern Mediterranean and the need, under Ptolemy II, III and IV, to capture war elephants by organizing hunts in eastern Africa. These two necessities caused the resumption of intensive gold mining from Ptolemy I9 and the concomitant creation of routes to reach the mines and to link the ports of Berenike and Nechesia to the city of Apollônos Polis (Fig. 1). It was by this relatively short route that war elephants disembarked at Berenice were conducted to the Nile at Apollônos Polis. A graffito of an elephant at the Paneion (al-Kanaïs) refers to these convoys10 as well as another one bearing the name of Satyros, the founder of Philotera, who travelled to Trogodytikè to capture elephants (I. Kanaïs 9).

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Map of the routes to Berenike and Myos Hormos in the second half of the 3rd century BC.

© Drawing J.-P. Brun

  • 11 Bagnall et al. 1996.
  • 12 Redon 2018.

6Excavations at the fort of Bi’r Samût, demonstrated that the route from Berenike to Apollônos Polis Mégalè was opened at the end of the reign of Ptolemy II, perhaps towards 257 BC, which is the date of the founding of the Bi'r 'Iayyan station on the route to Nechesia.11 These excavations also indicated that the fort of Bi’r Samût, was abandoned at the end of the 3rd century, perhaps in 206 BC, during the revolt of the Thebaïd, and that this route was never subsequently used.12

  • 13 Under Ptolemy IV, before the revolt of the Thebaid, part of the commercial traffic passed through t (...)
  • 14 About the discussion of the meaning of without water, see Cuvigny 2004, pp. 4-5. Strabo continues (...)
  • 15 The site of Laqîta was never properly surveyed or excavated, but in this oasis the water table is c (...)
  • 16 During the survey I did in 2008, I found potsherds which can be dated from the 3rd century BC: the (...)
  • 17 About Daghbag: Sidebotham, Hense, Nouwens, 2008, p. 219 and Klemm, Klemm 2013.

7As a matter of fact, the main route for light weight goods from Arabia passing through Berenike was, probably as early as Ptolemy II, that which joined Coptos13. I think we should accept Strabo’s assertion that Ptolemy II founded Berenike at a latitude where ships could easily reach and that he connected this port to Coptos by a route “without water”.14 It is not an anachronism: the trail had far fewer stations and wells at that time than during the Roman period, but there were already wells at Apollônos Hydreuma, at Kompasi and probably at Phoinikôn.15 Indeed, the site of Kompasi, recently ravaged by vandals looking for gold, was a gold mining centre from the Ptolemaic period:16 mining veins were opened nearby, miners’ houses and two large mills for crushing gold ore are partially preserved (Fig. 2, 3a and 3b).17 A road had to be traced probably from Phoinikôn in order to provision the mines and a well had to be dug to allow miners to live and work; trans-desert caravans subsequently also used this well. A graffito of an elephant incised on a rock cliff near the Paneion of Wâdi Minayh might also indicate that occasionally the trail leading to Coptos was used also to convey those animals. Although its original and primary role was related to gold mining, Kompasi certainly served as a stop on the route to Coptos. Phoinikon is an oasis where the water table is easy to reach. The qualification “without water” fits, on the contrary, with the long journeys between these wells which are distant one to another from about one hundred kilometres.

Fig. 2

Fig. 2

The site of Kompasi, gold mining centre during the early Ptolemaic period.

© J.-P. Brun, january 2000

Fig. 3a

Fig. 3a

Mills used to crush the gold ore at Kompasi.

© J.-P. Brun, january 2000

Fig. 3b

Fig. 3b

Mills used to crush the gold ore at Kompasi.

© J.-P. Brun, january 2000

  • 18 The archaeology of these forts proves, if needed, that the Apollônos polis situated by Strabo at a (...)
  • 19 The Periplus Maris Erythraei, that Arnaud 2012 has convincingly proved to be a scholarly compilatio (...)

8The final abandonment of the forts of Bi’r Samût, Abû Midrik and Abbad shows that after 206 BC, the Berenike-Apollônos Polis route was abandoned.18 It must, therefore, be concluded that the road to Berenike-Coptos was the only one used after the crisis. What was the reason for choosing a route longer than the one leading to Apollônos Polis? I suggest that it was due to a fiscal decision: the control of imported goods and the payment of taxes were already centralized at Coptos, the traditional gateway to the desert where the roads of the two ports, Berenike and Myos Hormos converged towards the nearby oasis of Phoinikon. A unique customs administration was, thus, sufficient for both ports and roads. In short, the system of “designated ports” where oriental goods by law had to be delivered under customs control, as the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea mentioned during the 1st century AD,19 had probably been established during the 3rd century BC.

  • 20 De Romanis 1996, p. 205. On this site and the pharaonic inscriptions: Lutz 2002.
  • 21 Bingen 1972. In the article “Le paneion d’Al-Buwayb revisité”, H. Cuvigny and A. Bülow-Jacobsen 200 (...)
  • 22 Colin 1998. Graffiti dated from the New Kingdom and the Ptolemaic or Roman period mentions people l (...)

9Evidence of frequent use of the Berenike-Coptos route during this period is sparse, in particular because no excavations have been conducted at Kompasi. I have already said that the trail was not as lavishly provided with forts and wells as the old route to Apollônos Polis, but there are indications of some Ptolemaic activity. A South Arabian inscription preserved on a rock at Bi'r Minayh indicates that a Minean traveller, probably an incense merchant, stopped at this well.20 The Paneion of Wâdi Minayh was frequented from the New Kingdom and several Ptolemaic graffiti21 and a demotic graffito were inscribed at the rock shelters of al-Buwayb. This demotic graffito, probably dating from the Ptolemaic period, mentions a man involved in the myrrh trade, one of the aromatic substances transiting through Berenike.22

  • 23 Cuvigny 2018.
  • 24 Brun 2003, pp. 129-133
  • 25 Fournet 1995.

10The caravans going to Myos Hormos stopped at the wells of Phoinikon and Persou and probably at the well of Bi'r Seyyalâ which was, perhaps, called Simiou (Fig. 4).23 The excavations I conducted in 1996 did not document Ptolemaic levels, but they revealed that the site had a long and complex history. When Raymond Weill visited Bi'r Seyyalâ on March 13, 1910, he noted that the fort, then much better preserved than today, measured 50 m in length by 36 m in width and that a building, no longer extant, existed 42 m south of the fort. Measuring 24 m long and 7,50 m wide, this now lost building preserved a plan similar to Roman hospitia like the one at Bi'r Baiza on the route to Berenike (Fig. 5). The site is now largely covered by thick alluvium and my investigations, too limited due to lack of time, did not reach the deepest strata.24 Between these wells, the caravans stopped near rocky shelters, such as Abu Ku' between Phoinikon and Persou, which preserve several Ptolemaic graffiti.25

Fig. 4

Fig. 4

The fort of Bi’r Sayyâla, perhaps called Simiou.

© J.-P. Brun

Fig. 5

Fig. 5

Plans of the fort of Bi’r Sayyâla. On the right: sketch drawn by Raymond Weill on March 13, 1910. On the left: plan of the ruins in 1996 by J.-P. Brun and N. Martin.

© J.-P. Brun and N. Martin

The situation during the Julio-Claudian dynasty

  • 26 Given the date of Strabo's passage, about ten years after the Roman takeover, it seems that the tra (...)

11The Roman conquest of Egypt did not change the situation much despite Strabo’s comment about the tenfold increase in commercial traffic to India from Myos Hormos (II, 5, 12).26 I think that the Roman administration did not change the system dating from the Ptolemies, and retained the role of Coptos as centre for the traffic and as place for the payment of taxes.

  • 27 Gasse 1988; Kayser 1993; Ballet 2018.
  • 28 Bernand 1972, I. Ko. Ko. 41; Kayser 1993, pp. 111-113.
  • 29 Cuvigny 2018 writes that the existence of proscynems dated from the reign of Nero does not assert t (...)
  • 30 There are two possible prefects of Egypt named Maximus: C. Magius Maximus, prefect in AD 14/15 and (...)
  • 31 Brun 2003, pp. 109-113.

12New stops on the route to Myos Hormos gradually supplemented older ones. Under Tiberius, a military post was established in the Wâdi al-Hammâmât to serve both as a base for the Graywacke quarries and as checkpoint.27 This post, unfortified, comprised several rooms attached to a naos dedicated in AD 18.28 Later inscriptions carved on the naos seem to indicate that it was occupied until AD 62.29 Another military post, probably unfortified, was also established in the mountains between Wâdi al-Hammâmât and Bi’r Sayyâla (Simiou?), at al-Zarqa, on the site where the fort of Maximianon was later built and which may already have borne this name30 (Fig. 6). The date of this settlement is not known, but if the name of Maximianon was given in honour of C. Magius Maximus, it could date, like that of Wâdi al-Hammâmât, from the beginning of the reign of Tiberius; this military checkpoint operated until Vespasian.31.

Fig. 6

Fig. 6

Plan of the remains of the unfortified military post, prior to the fort of Maximianon.

© Drawing J.-P. Brun

  • 32 Sidebotham 2011, table 8.
  • 33 Kennedy 1985.

13On the route to Berenike, caravans stopped at the old wells of Phoinikon, Kompasi, Apollônos Hydreuma and probably at Wâdi Lahma.32 At the beginning of the first century AD, the considerable increase in traffic, both at the ports and along the routes, posed the question of water supply. The Roman administration ordered the army to build cisterns to store water at Berenike, Myos Hormos, Kompasi and Apollônos Hydreuma (Fig. 7 and 8). The inscription ILS 2483 from Coptos commemorating this campaign bears no date,33 but it should be dated from the period of growing traffic, probably during the reign of Augustus.

Fig. 7

Fig. 7

Plan of Kompasi showing the location of the Roman cisterns.

© Drawing J.-P. Brun

Fig. 8

Fig. 8

The Roman cisterns of Kompasi after their partial destruction in 2014.

© J.-P. Brun

  • 34 Cuvigny 2000.
  • 35 Which F. de Romanis 1996 thought they dated the opening of the route.
  • 36 Survey 2008 by the author, E. Botte and L. Cavassa.
  • 37 Wâdi al-Hammâmât and al-Zarqa I previously mentionned.

14Graffiti inscribed in the rock shelters at Al-Buwayb34 and Wâdi Minayh35 may reflect the growing intensity of traffic rather than the opening of the route. As we know from surveys, Kompasi was used for more than two centuries before the appearance of the Augustan period graffiti36 (Fig. 9 and 10). At that time, the security conditions were good enough for the caravans to stop anywhere in the desert, in monte writes Pliny (HN VI, 102-103), without danger and the two checkpoints on the road to Myos Hormos, used primarily for the transmission of letters, were not fortified.37

Fig. 9

Fig. 9

Plan of the Paneion of Wâdi Minayh.

© Drawing J.-P. Brun

Fig. 10

Fig. 10

Inscription dated from the Augustan period in the Paneion of Wâdi Minayh.

© J.-P. Brun

During the Flavian and the Antonine periods

  • 38 Bagnall, Bülow-Jacobsen, Cuvigny 2001.

15The situation changed during the last quarter of the first century. In AD 76-77, Lucius Iulius Ursus, prefect of Egypt, reacted to merchants grievances about the routes to Myos Hormos and Berenike, which were insufficiently equipped with wells and lacked enough security.38 Maybe some caravans had been attacked or ransomed by the desert dwellers attracted by the influx of precious goods and, in any case, the increase in traffic would have caused further water supply problems on the trails leading to Coptos. The prefect ordered the army to build a network of fortified wells approximately every 40 km. Thus, from any point on this route, the caravans could find a water source and a garrison at a maximum distance of 20 km (Fig. 11).

Fig. 11

Fig. 11

Map of the routes to Berenike and to Myos Hormos at the end of the first century AD.

© Drawing J.-P. Brun

  • 39 Sidebotham 1998.
  • 40 Bagnall, Bülow-Jacobsen, Cuvigny 2001.

16This decision prompted a huge program to dig wells and to build cisterns and forts. They were all constructed on the same plan, at Siket39 and all along the route Berenike-Coptos. At Didymoi (Fig. 12) and at Aphroditès Orous (Fig. 13), inscriptions provide the foundation dates.40 At Bi'r Baiza, probably already called Dios (Fig. 14), and at Xeron Pelagos, our excavations did not document any dedicatory inscriptions but the ceramic contexts of the earliest levels are contemporary to the beginnings of Didymoi (Fig. 15).

Fig. 12

Fig. 12

The fort of Didymoi.

© J.-P. Brun

Fig. 13

Fig. 13

The fort of Aphroditès Orous.

© J.-P. Brun

Fig. 14

Fig. 14

Plan of the fort of Bi'r Baiza.

© J.-P. Brun and M. Reddé

Samian ware” bowl Dragendorff 37 manufactured at La Graufesenque (Millau, Aveyron, France) under Vespasian and discovered in the layers of gravel resulting from the digging of the well of Xeron Pelagos (drawing Kh. Zaza).

© J.-P. Brun and K. Zaza

  • 41 If the toponym goes back to C. Magius Maximus, prefect in AD 14/15. If Maximianon recalled the name (...)
  • 42 Brun 2003, pp. 79-91.
  • 43 Brun 2003, pp. 112-114.
  • 44 About Persou, see Cuvigny 2018. The archaeological site of Bi'r Umm Fawâkhir was visited by Raymond (...)

17On the route to Myos Hormos, I suggest that the construction of the forts of Krokodilô and Maximianon was linked to the decision of Lucius Iulius Ursus.41 An early phase of Krokodilô took place before AD 103, date of the earliest ostrakon found in the southern rubbish dump since this dump began to be used shortly after a new gate was opened through the southern wall42 (Fig. 16). Similarly, the fort of Maximianon was built over the ruins of the previously mentioned military post, which was occupied at least until Nero’s time43 (Fig. 17). It is also possible that the fort of Krokodilô replaced the military post in Wâdi al-Hammâmât. The praesidium of Persou, near Bi’r Umm Fawâkhir, had already existed by that time for nearly half a century (Fig. 18).44

Fig. 16

Fig. 16

Plan of the fort of Krokodilô.

© J.-P. Brun and N. Martin

Fig. 17

Fig. 17

The fort of Maximianon.

© J.-P. Brun

Fig. 18

Fig. 18

Sketch of the site of Bi’r Umm Fawâkhir drawn by Raymond Weill, on March 10, 1910, before the destruction by modern mining.

© All rights reserved

  • 45 Brun 2003, pp. 199-200.

18Throughout the desert, in the quarries of Porphyrites, Ophiates and Mons Claudianus, and along the routes to Berenike and Myos Hormos, military presence peaked from the last quarter of the 1st century to the middle of the 2nd century. During the 2nd century, some forts were abandoned and replaced by others according to local needs (Fig. 19). In AD 115, the fort of Dios was moved from Bi'r Baiza to Bi’r Abû Qurayya, 5 km north (Fig. 20). I suggest the same pattern for those of Krokodilô and Bi'r al-Hammâmât. Krokodilô was abandoned during the reign of Hadrian and I think it was replaced by the fort of Bi'r al- Hammâmât 45 (Fig. 21). As the plan of the fort of al-Hamra is similar to the one of Bi'r al-Hammâmât, it is likely that this fort was also built during the second quarter of the 2nd century. The fort of Dawwi is not well dated: the rare ceramics found during the excavations carried out in 1997 indicate that it was occupied some time during the 2nd century; its plan is similar to that of Dios at Bi’r Abû Qurayya (Fig. 22); I cannot be more precise.

Fig. 19

Fig. 19

Map of the routes to Berenike and Myos Hormos during the 2nd century AD.

© Drawing J.-P. Brun

Fig. 20

Fig. 20

The fort of Dios.

© J.-P. Brun

Fig. 21

Fig. 21

Plan of fort of Bi’r al-Hammâmât.

© J.-P. Brun and N. Martin

Fig. 22

Fig. 22

Plan of fort of Dawwi.

© J.-P. Brun and N. Martin

19During the second half of the 2nd century, activity declined at Didymoi due to the collapse of the well: an inscription mentions its reconstruction during the reign of Marcus Aurelius in AD 176-177. Everywhere else in the forts along the two routes, there is no trace of abandonment, but some changes in the arrangement of the barracks indicate that they were adapted. When the dump was well-preserved, such as Maximianon or Dios, the regularity of the deposits during the second half of the 2nd century and the beginning of the 3rd century shows that these forts were permanently occupied and that the traffic was intense between Coptos and the ports on the Red sea (Fig. 23).

Fig. 23

Fig. 23

Section of the Maximianon dump.

© Drawing J.-P. Brun

During the Severan dynasty

  • 46 Reddé 2003, pp. 73-77.
  • 47 Such a date is suitable for a fort whose plan is a rectangle with rounded corners without tower, si (...)

20At the beginning of the 3rd century major changes occurred: the construction of a new fort at Qusûr al-Banât followed by the abandonment of the forts along the route to Myos Hormos and of the port itself (Fig. 24). The fort of Qusûr al-Banât lay between Phoinikon and Krokodilô. It was still in good condition in the early twentieth century when Raymond Weill visited it, but it is much deteriorated today (Fig. 25). The 1996 excavations by Michel Reddé discovered an incomplete inscription indicating that the praesidium was built when a certain Antoninus was ordinary consul.46 The most probable hypothesis is that Antoninus was Caracalla and that the inscriptions dates from the 3rd consulate of Septimius Severus associated with Caracalla in 202.47 Excavations recorded few ceramics in the fort and nothing precludes an occupation during the early 3rd century, but its duration seems to be short.

Fig. 24

Fig. 24

Map of the routes to Berenike and Myos Hormos at the beginning of the 3rd century AD.

© Drawing J.-P. Brun

Fig. 25

Fig. 25

The fort of Qusûr al-Banât.

© J.-P. Brun

  • 48 Cuvigny 2003, p. 220.
  • 49 Zitterkopf, Sidebotham 1989; about the signal towers near Myos Hormos: Peacock, Blue 2006, chapitre (...)
  • 50 Cuvigny 2003, p. 220.

21Two facts should be pointed out: the ostraka published by H. Cuvigny show that the centurion Decimus commanded the fort.48 The presence of a centurion is noteworthy and would have been required by an important mission that I propose to identify as the construction of a network of watch towers connecting Myos Hormos to Coptos in order to transmit alarms and orders through optical signals.49 This network could have been established to alert the army commander in case of an attack by the “barbarians” (Fig. 26a and b). But this network never seems to have been completed. The towers were actually built between Phoinikon and Myos Hormos but not between Phoinikon and Coptos (Fig. 27). Consequently this network never operated, which explains why there are very few or no ceramics associated with the towers. These towers might be called skopeloi according to the ostrakon O. QAB148:50 the soldier Herennius informs his commander that he sent two containers of plaster or lime for works to be done in the skopeloi up to Krokodilô (Fig. 28).

Fig. 26a

Fig. 26a

A signal tower viewed from the fort of Bi'r al-Hammâmât.

© J.-P. Brun

Fig. 26b

Fig. 26b

Detail of the signal tower above the fort of Bi'r al-Hammâmât.

© J.-P. Brun

Fig. 27

Fig. 27

Map of the signal towers built between Phoinikon and Myos Hormos (drawing J.-P. Brun after Zitterkopf, Sidebotham 1989, complemented by Peacock, Blue 2006, Fig. 2.1.).

© J.-P. Brun

Fig. 28

Fig. 28

The ostrakon O.QAB 148 in which Herennius informs his superior that he has sent plaster for the works in progress on the skopeloi (interpretation H. Cuvigny; photo A. Bülow-Jacobsen).

© A. Bülow-Jacobsen

  • 51 Brun 2014.

22An operation of such magnitude and technicality could explain why a centurion had been sent to command the works, which were suddenly interrupted by the withdrawal of the army from the forts along the route. Indeed, the fort of Maximianon, the best known because the stratigraphy of the dump is complete, was no longer occupied after the Severian period: no ceramics, amphorae or glassware post-date the first quarter of the 3rd century. The ceramic assemblages of the other sites, such as Al-Hamra and Bi'r al-Hammâmât, are similar to that of the final levels of Maximianon, and I maintain that all the forts of the Myos Hormos road were decommissioned during the first quarter of the 3rd century.51

  • 52 Peacock, Blue 2006, pp. 88-114.
  • 53 Whitcomb, Johnson 1982, pp. 21-37.
  • 54 Peacock, Blue 2006, pp. 137-139; more generally on the abandonment of Myos Hormos: pp. 174-177.

23This decommissioning coincided with the nearly total abandonment of Myos Hormos caused by the silting up of the harbour.52 Shortly after the beginning of the 3rd century, most areas of the port were abandoned: the warehouses that once were probably an apotheke aromatike similar to that mentioned in an inscription from Berenike, the area of the public building in trench 2, the metal workshops in trenches 9 and 10, and the house called the Roman villa by Whitcomb and Johnson.53 The only area that remained occupied was the hollow of the hill where trench 8 of the University of Southampton discovered a dwelling 9 metres long, which was built during the first half of the 3rd century and abandoned around AD 250.54 This house, however, seems isolated: its occupation suggests only that boats, probably small, sometimes anchored in the old port. The major fact is that the rest of the settlement was abandoned (Fig. 29).

Fig. 29

Fig. 29

Plan of Myos Hormos (Peacock, Blue 2006, Fig. 1, 2, 5, 1 and 2011 Fig. 15, 23-24). Yellow: areas excavated by the University of Southampton; black: 1st and 2nd centuries buildings after the excavations of the University of Chicago and the University of Southampton; red: house still occupied towards the middle of the 3rd century.

© D. Peacock, L. Blue 2006

  • 55 Whitcomb, Johnson 1982, pp. 8-11; Whitcomb 1996.

24Siltation of the harbour was a constant issue since the foundation of Myos Hormos. During the 2nd century AD, the Romans dredged it: the American excavations found deposits on the northern edge of the channel that seemed to result from this dredging.55 With the techniques available during the Roman Empire, regular dredging could be accomplished: specially designed boats were part of the usual equipment of the ports, for example at Marseille and Naples. The decision not to dredge the port of Myos Hormos, the withdrawal of troops from the route and the abandonment of the signal towers network manifest a shift in the policy of the Roman administration which decided to mass the soldiers on the route to Berenike.

25From at least the time of Caracalla, detachments of Palmyrene archers were deployed in the desert (Fig. 30). They are mentioned in inscriptions found at Berenike56 and Coptos, and in ostraka documented in at least one desert garrison.57 They likely wore special tunics with arrow decorations similar to those on statues found at Palmyra; such clothes were discovered in 3rd century layers at Didymoi, Dios and Xeron Pelagos58 (Fig. 31).

Fig. 30

Fig. 30

Map of the routes to Berenike and Myos Hormos at the middle of the 3rd century AD.

© Drawing J.-P. Brun

Fig. 31

Fig. 31

Tunic worn by a Palmyrene archer.

© D. Cardon

  • 59 Leguilloux 2018.

26The arrival of these auxiliary troops marks a profound change in the organization of the forts. Until then, the barracks were regularly planned and their rooms kept so clean that, in the forts of Maximianon or Bi’r Baiza, there was no stratigraphy inside them: the floors were systematically cleaned up to the substratum and any waste had been transported to the extramural dump. After the arrival of the Palmyrene archers, new rooms of different sizes were built with tortuous walls; the soldiers stopped throwing their rubbish outside the fort; instead they left it inside the barracks, quickly creating thick strata of filling and rubbish, which help us to trace the evolution of the buildings. Within half a century, in forts like Didymoi, Dios or Xeron Pelagos, the ground rose nearly up to the catwalk (Fig. 32). This change inside the forts was also reflected in their diet: in the 3rd century, the soldiers no longer raised pigs as they had done previously during the 1st and 2nd centuries; instead they consumed mainly sheep and goats, as shown from archaeozoological analysis conducted by Martine Leguilloux.59

Fig. 32

Fig. 32

Irregularly shaped rooms built by the Palmyrene archers in the fort of Xeron Pelagos. Phase 3, second quarter of the 3rd century.

© J.-P. Brun

From Gallienus to Zenobia

27During the 3rd quarter of the 3rd century, the forts of Didymoi, Dios and Xeron Pelagos were partially abandoned, some barracks being filled with waste as in the north-western corner of Didymoi. At Xeron Pelagos, the middle of the 3rd century witnessed abandonment of rooms 7 and 8, the building of bread ovens and grain silos in the north-Eastern corner of the fort and the reuse of one of the cisterns as a rubbish dump. At Dios, the bottom of cistern 3 was also filled with trash and the latest occupation levels included the construction of small silos, grain milling facilities and large ovens (Fig. 33).

Fig. 33

Fig. 33

Ovens used during the final phase of Dios (excavated by M. Reddé).

© J.-P. Brun

28The last layers of occupation of these forts contained many vases with white calcareous fabric and some amphorae imported from outside Egypt: African amphorae 2a, Dressel 30, Kapitan II, imitations of “Gauloise 4” amphorae produced in Cilicia (Fig. 34) and in Syria and handmade vases produced by the desert dwellers (Eastern Desert Ware) (Fig. 35).

Fig. 34

Fig. 34

Cilician Amphora copying the “Gauloise 4” type from Xeron Pelagos. Phase 4. Third quarter of the 3rd century AD.

© Drawing J.-P. Brun

Fig. 35

Fig. 35

Eastern Desert Ware”from the final phase of Dios. Third quarter of the 3rd century AD.

© Drawing K. Zaza

  • 60 Cuvigny 2014.
  • 61 Two emperors only reigned 11 years and more during this period: Severus Alexander (222-235) and Gal (...)

29This phase has been highlighted by the discovery of 96 ostraka of the same type: they are wheat receipts released to individuals bearing “barbarian” names (Fig. 36). H. Cuvigny published them in an article entitled “Papyrological evidence on 'barbarians' in the Egyptian Eastern desert”.60 These texts indicate that, during the 11th year of the reign of a non specified Emperor (but the associated ceramics show that this Emperor should be Gallienus), thus in AD 264, the Roman army distributed large quantities of grain to Trogoditi/Blemmiae.61 We have to imagine that an agreement had been reached between the Roman administration and the chief of the barbarians called Baratit to distribute grain to his dependants. The reason for this distribution could be related to the incapacity of the army to maintain a strong presence in the area. The last soldiers stationed in the forts could no longer resist the growing pressure of the barbarians and the administration had to find a compromise establishing a form of cooperation with the barbarians through food distributions, a policy known elsewhere in the empire in the same period, for example in Germany. The transformation of some barracks into sheepfolds might be explained by an increased presence of barbarians in the forts themselves.

Fig. 36

Fig. 36

Receipts of distribution of wheat found at Xeron Pelagos. Phase 4 (excavations by M. Reddé).

© J.-P. Brun

30This massive distribution seems to have been punctual because we found no other testimony of this practice. However, the presence of numerous ovens in the latest levels of the forts of Dios and Xeron Pelagos suggests the need for baking bread in large quantities. As we know that there were fewer soldiers than before, these ovens might have been used to bake bread to be distributed to the nomadic populations.

  • 62 We know from the ostraka from Xeron that Baratit was living towards the middle of the 3rd century. (...)
  • 63 Desanges 1978, pp. 350-351.

31This management system did not last. The last soldiers were withdrawn a few years after the distribution of AD 264: these ostraka were discovered in the latest occupation levels and the ceramic wares discovered in these forts do not include objects from the late third century. On the other hand, the mention of Baratit, chief of the barbarians, both on the ostraka of Xeron and on an ostrakon found at Didymoi shows that the two forts (and probably all those on the route to Berenike) were still occupied after 260.62 It is probable that when Zenobia seized Egypt in 270, she probably withdraw the Palmyrene archers leading to the abandonment of the route to Berenike. The withdrawal of the army allowed the Blemmyes to seize Phoinikôn (Olympiodorus of Thebes in Photius 30, 62), soon after Coptos to 279/280 (Zosimus I, 71, 1)63 and perhaps Berenike. The trade of the Red Sea and the exploitation of the quarries suffered greatly with these events and Berenike seems almost abandoned during the late 3rd century beginning of the 4th century.

Under Diocletian and his successors

  • 64 El-Saghir et alii 1986.

32After his victory over Blemmyes in AD 296, the repression of the peasant revolts, of that of L. Domitius Domitianus and the pacification of the Thebaïd, Diocletian re-established imperial authority by installing the Legio III Diocletiana in a camp built in the temple of Louqsor. This legionary camp of 3.72 ha built for about 1,500 people, was dedicated in AD 301.64

33The policy of military affirmation continued in the following years with the founding, in AD 309-311, of a fort at Abu Sha'ar on the Red Sea coast, in order to restore security and to protect trade, as an inscription from the main (western) gate of the installation indicates. As Myos Hormos was definitely silted up, the army looked for another port further north to replace it as a base for its naval and land patrols. Indeed, the Blemmiae may have engaged in piracy against merchant ships and the Roman government would have had to secure the coast.

  • 65 The Notitia dignitatum Or. 31, 49, written between 379 and 397, mentions the ala VIII Palmyrenorum (...)
  • 66 Sidebotham 2002; 2011, pp. 259-282.

34On the other hand, the army did not reoccupy the forts along the route to Berenike after the crisis. The only base where the army maintained a garrison was perhaps the oasis of Phoinikon, but we are not certain.65 The final abandonment of the forts indicates a change in commercial practices. As it was difficult to cross the desert because of the danger, ships had to seek other means to go further north up to Klysma. Given prevailing wind conditions, the goods arriving from India and elsewhere aboard large ships were probably transferred at Berenike to smaller boats more able to reach Klysma and the Nile canal. This type of transfer is common in seaports where goods arriving on large vessels were transferred to smaller boats able to go up a river, for example, at Rome or at Arles. Such a change might explain the renaissance of Berenike during the mid-fourth century according to evidence from excavations directed by S. Sidebotham66 (Fig. 37).

Fig. 37

Fig. 37

Plan of the excavations of Klysma conducted by B. Bruyère (reworked by F. Bessière and interpreted by J.-P. Brun).

© F. Bessière and J.-P. Brun

Late Antiquity

  • 67 Riley 1981.
  • 68 Brun 2015.
  • 69 These bottles, characterised by their form and the horizontal grooves on the rim and the body, as w (...)
  • 70 Byzantine graffiti of the Wâdi Minayh: Cuvigny, Bülow-Jacobsen 1999, pp. 157-159, n°42-52. 5th and (...)
  • 71 The scarcity of Late Antique ceramics in the forts of Didymoi, Dios, Xeron Pelagos and Falakron sho (...)

35From that time, the ruins of forts were sporadically visited as evidenced, at Didymoi, Dios and Xeron Pelagos, by the discovery of few fragments of Late Roman 1, Late Roman 3, Late Roman 7 amphorae,67 of a vase made at Axum68 (Fig. 38) and of a bottle of wine from the Great Oasis69 (Fig. 39). These vases are datable to between the late 4th and the early 6th century. Sometimes caravans ventured across the desert coming from Berenike, perhaps after having reached an agreement with the Blemmiae: graffiti at Wâdi Minayh show that the route was still used during the Proto-Byzantine period,70 even if it was not secured by the army and that the wells were no longer maintained.71

Fig. 38

Fig. 38

Axumite hand made vase found in a level of abandonment of the fort of Didymoi. 4th century AD (drawing and picture J.-P. Brun).

© J.-P. Brun

Fig. 39

Fig. 39

Jug type Gempeler T813 found in a level of abandonment of the fort of Didymoi (drawing and picture J.-P. Brun). 5th century AD.

© J.-P. Brun

  • 72 Meyer 2018.
  • 73 Brun 2003, pp. 80 et 91.
  • 74 Sidebotham 1994.
  • 75 Peacock, Blue 2006, p. 26. About monachism in the Oriental desert: Fournet 2018.

36On the route to Myos Hormos, there was intense exploitation of the gold mines at Bi’r Umm Fawâkhir during the 5th and 6th centuries; it caused a brief re-occupation of the ruins of some forts along the route between Coptos and the mines.72 Laquîta certainly was then used at least as a stop and watering point. The gate of the fort of Krokodilô was partly cleared to install a makeshift camp.73 Finally, Christian hermits settled here and there for temporary periods or longer, especially in the fort of Abû Sha'ar between the late 4th and the 6th century,74 in the north-western area of Bi’r al-Nakhîl and in many other places where huts interpreted as laurae have been identified.75 Sacking of the pagan sanctuaries in the forts of Didymoi and Dios seems due to the action of these monks who travelled the desert in the fifth century (Fig. 40).

Fig. 40

Fig. 40

The sanctuary of the fort of Dios sacked in the 5th century.

© J.-P. Brun

37The extremely precarious living conditions imposed by the climate meant that the occupation of settlements in the desert depended entirely on the political decision to acquire gold, precious stones, granite or porphyry, or to organize the transit of elephants, troops or caravans carrying precious and taxable goods from Arabia or India. As such, the occupation of the fortresses is the barometer of the power of the Ptolemies and of the Roman emperors. When their power was strong, actions were clearly visible on the ground: exploitation of gold and precious stones mines, granite and porphyry quarries, foundation and maintenance of ports, wells and forts. When their power weakened, desert road infrastructure was gradually abandoned. At first the quarries, then the fortresses and finally the ports that survived until the weakness of demand combined with natural constraints and insecurity put an end to all extractive or commercial activities. Archaeological evidence points to phases of growth during the late 4th and the 3rd century BC, from the late 2nd century BC to the beginning of the 3rd century AD, from the beginning of the 4th to the beginning of the 6th century and of decline in the late third and early 2nd century BC, in the early 3rd century AD on the route to Myos Hormos, in the late third and early 4th century on that of Berenike, and from the middle of the 6th century elsewhere.

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Notes

1 The Mission archéologique française du Désert Oriental is funded by the Ministère des affaires étrangères, l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale et la Fondation du Collège de France (direction: H. Cuvigny 1993-2013; from 2014, B. Redon).

2 Whitcomb, Johnson 1982; Peacock, Blue 2006 and 2011.

3 Sidebotham 2011 and 2018.

4 Meyer 2018.

5 Pantalacci 2018.

6 Castel, Soukiassian 1989.

7 Tallet, Mahfouz 2012

8 Goyon 1957.

9 Faucher 2018.

10 Sidebotham, Wendrich 2000, 2007 and 2011, pp. 107-108.

11 Bagnall et al. 1996.

12 Redon 2018.

13 Under Ptolemy IV, before the revolt of the Thebaid, part of the commercial traffic passed through the Paneion (al-Kanais), if the inscription I. Kanais 8 actually comes from this place (in fact, the stone, now in a private collection, has been attributed by Bernand 1972 to the Paneion, but this is only a hypothesis, see Desanges 1978, pp. 299-300).

14 About the discussion of the meaning of without water, see Cuvigny 2004, pp. 4-5. Strabo continues: Experience has shown the great utility of his enterprise, and now all the goods from India and Arabia, as well as those of the Ethiopian products which pass through the Arabian Gulf, are conveyed to Coptos, port of trade for this kind of commodities (Geography 17, 1, 45).

15 The site of Laqîta was never properly surveyed or excavated, but in this oasis the water table is close to the ground and vegetation, including palm trees, grows naturally. Laquîta-Phoinikon was a step for the expeditions to the quarries of bekhen in the Wâdi al-Hammâmât.

16 During the survey I did in 2008, I found potsherds which can be dated from the 3rd century BC: the gold mine could be opened by Ptolemy I or II.

17 About Daghbag: Sidebotham, Hense, Nouwens, 2008, p. 219 and Klemm, Klemm 2013.

18 The archaeology of these forts proves, if needed, that the Apollônos polis situated by Strabo at a short distance from Coptos is indeed Apollônos polis Mikra, which welcomed travelers in symbiosis with the city of Min (Cuvigny 2004). Indeed, there is no testimony of the frequentation of the route to Apollônos polis Megalè (Edfu) in the late Ptolemaic period (after the 2nd century) and during the Roman Empire.

19 The Periplus Maris Erythraei, that Arnaud 2012 has convincingly proved to be a scholarly compilation written during the second century AD using differents sources, states that Berenike and Myos Hormos are the two designated ports (ἀποδεδειγμένων) on the coast of the Erythrean sea (§1). The debate concerns the meaning of the term ἀποδεδειγμένων. Does it simply mean recognized, important or even mentioned (previously in a list) (Arnaud 2012, pp. 35-36)? Or is it more official and precise, meaning prescribed, made obligatory to be port of landing of goods on the coast of Egypt because under military control (Casson 1989, pp. 273-274)? I think that the two occurrences of the term in the text (in reference to Myos Hormos and Berenike §1 and to Moscha, port of incense §32) support the second meaning. This official meaning is confirmed by an ostrakon found at Myos Hormos and commented by H. Cuvigny [http://www.college-de-france.fr/site/jean-pierre-brun/seminar-2013-12-03-10h00.htm]: a simple fisherman, called Pakybis, needs a pass delivered by the paralemptès (receiver of the customs), called Avitus, to sail to the port of Philotera. This indicates that ships were not allowed to anchor elsewhere than in one of the designated ports unless specific authorization. A relatively early indication of the convey of exotic goods to Coptos may be found in an inscription dated to 130 BC mentioning Sôtèrichos, an officer in charge of ensuring the safety of those who bring the cargoes of incense and other exotic products from the desert of Coptos (I.Pan 86; De Romanis 1996, pp. 132-134).

20 De Romanis 1996, p. 205. On this site and the pharaonic inscriptions: Lutz 2002.

21 Bingen 1972. In the article “Le paneion d’Al-Buwayb revisité”, H. Cuvigny and A. Bülow-Jacobsen 2000, linked that Ptolemaic graffiti to people coming from the gold mines of Kompasi “Bien que certains invoquent Pan de la Bonne Route”, les hommes qui sont passés par Al-Buwayb à l'époque ptolémaïque ne revenaient pas d'expéditions risquées en terre lointaine. I.Ko.Ko. 158 (ptolémaïque d'après la paléographie) suggère la raison qui conduisit un de ces hommes en ces lieux: ce sklèrourgos originaire de Coptos adresse sa dédicace à “Pan Donneur d'or et de la Bonne Route; il se rend à des mines d'or ou en revient.” But we should not apply this indication to all graffiti, especially as at least one of them has been written by Pakhes who was probably trading myrrh.

22 Colin 1998. Graffiti dated from the New Kingdom and the Ptolemaic or Roman period mentions people looking for gold or stones but also travelers using this route for commercial reasons. At Wâdi Minayh, a man called Nehesy is called expedition director who may be either a rock mining expedition director or a caravan leader. At the Paneion of al-Buwayb, a demotic graffito, probably from the Ptolemaic period, mentions The perfumer Pakhes, son of Panebourshy who was to be implied in the importation of the myrrh, which would be a proof of the passage of the caravans carrying resins from that time.

23 Cuvigny 2018.

24 Brun 2003, pp. 129-133

25 Fournet 1995.

26 Given the date of Strabo's passage, about ten years after the Roman takeover, it seems that the trade increase began during the reign of Cleopatra.

27 Gasse 1988; Kayser 1993; Ballet 2018.

28 Bernand 1972, I. Ko. Ko. 41; Kayser 1993, pp. 111-113.

29 Cuvigny 2018 writes that the existence of proscynems dated from the reign of Nero does not assert that the military post was still occupied towards the middle of the 1st century because these inscriptions could have been written after the abandonment of the place. The naos was still visited. Nevertheless, the ceramic assemblage, according to Ballet 2018, is clearly dated from the 2nd quarter and the middle of the 1st c. AD, but the ceramic contexts cannot give such a precise date to resolve this question.

30 There are two possible prefects of Egypt named Maximus: C. Magius Maximus, prefect in AD 14/15 and L. Laberius Maximus, prefect in AD 83 (Cuvigny 2018). Both of them are arguable. The first would imply that the name of Maximianon passed normally from the early post to the Flavian fort. The second would imply that the Flavian fort was built in AD 83, six years after the forts of the series Didymoi-Aphroditès-Siket. I think that the permanence of the toponyms favours the first hypothesis.

31 Brun 2003, pp. 109-113.

32 Sidebotham 2011, table 8.

33 Kennedy 1985.

34 Cuvigny 2000.

35 Which F. de Romanis 1996 thought they dated the opening of the route.

36 Survey 2008 by the author, E. Botte and L. Cavassa.

37 Wâdi al-Hammâmât and al-Zarqa I previously mentionned.

38 Bagnall, Bülow-Jacobsen, Cuvigny 2001.

39 Sidebotham 1998.

40 Bagnall, Bülow-Jacobsen, Cuvigny 2001.

41 If the toponym goes back to C. Magius Maximus, prefect in AD 14/15. If Maximianon recalled the name of L. Laberius Maximus, we would imagine another campaign of well digging six years later, in AD 83.

42 Brun 2003, pp. 79-91.

43 Brun 2003, pp. 112-114.

44 About Persou, see Cuvigny 2018. The archaeological site of Bi'r Umm Fawâkhir was visited by Raymond Weill on March 10th, 1910, before the destruction by modern mining: on the sketch he then drew, we see the ancient miners settlement and confused ruins around the well among which an "old cistern" that could belong to the praesidium of Persou: see Aufrère 2002; Brun 2003, pp. 195-197. On the Byzantine phase of the Bi'r Umm Fawâkhir: Meyer 2018 with bibliography.

45 Brun 2003, pp. 199-200.

46 Reddé 2003, pp. 73-77.

47 Such a date is suitable for a fort whose plan is a rectangle with rounded corners without tower, similar to that of Tisavar (Ksar Rilane in Tunisia) built under Commodus CIL VIII, 11048. See Reddé 2018.

48 Cuvigny 2003, p. 220.

49 Zitterkopf, Sidebotham 1989; about the signal towers near Myos Hormos: Peacock, Blue 2006, chapitre 2.

50 Cuvigny 2003, p. 220.

51 Brun 2014.

52 Peacock, Blue 2006, pp. 88-114.

53 Whitcomb, Johnson 1982, pp. 21-37.

54 Peacock, Blue 2006, pp. 137-139; more generally on the abandonment of Myos Hormos: pp. 174-177.

55 Whitcomb, Johnson 1982, pp. 8-11; Whitcomb 1996.

56 Sidebotham 2011, pp. 220, 260, 264.

57 Sidebotham 2011; Cuvigny 2012.

58 See the Dominique Cardon’s talk: [http://www.college-de-france.fr/site/jean-pierre-brun/symposium-2016-03-31-09h30.htm].

59 Leguilloux 2018.

60 Cuvigny 2014.

61 Two emperors only reigned 11 years and more during this period: Severus Alexander (222-235) and Gallienus (253-268). The second emperor is the right one because the ostraka were discovered in the last layers immediately preceding the abandonment of the fort, and because hand made vases, glass wares as well as the amphorae are datable from the middle of the 3rd century (Among them Rütti AR 171 glass bottles, African 2a and Dressel 30 amphorae).

62 We know from the ostraka from Xeron that Baratit was living towards the middle of the 3rd century. This data implies that the stratigraphic unit 215 of the Didymoi dump, from which the ostrakon O.Did. 41 has been discovered and the group of stratigraphic units attributed to the period 11 (Brun 2011, pp. 128-129) must be placed in the period 12 (during the middle and the 3rd quarter of the 3rd century); two other ostraka mentioning Baratit were discovered inside the fort (O.Did. 42: SU 10504 and O.Did. 43: SU 12805): Cuvigny 2011, pp. 107-111.

63 Desanges 1978, pp. 350-351.

64 El-Saghir et alii 1986.

65 The Notitia dignitatum Or. 31, 49, written between 379 and 397, mentions the ala VIII Palmyrenorum at Phoinikon, but it could be an outdated information describing a situation from the second half of the 3rd century when the Palmyrene archers were actually deployed in the forts along the route to Berenike.

66 Sidebotham 2002; 2011, pp. 259-282.

67 Riley 1981.

68 Brun 2015.

69 These bottles, characterised by their form and the horizontal grooves on the rim and the body, as well as their kaolinitic fabric covered with a yellow slip are common in the oasis of Kharga. At Kysis (Douch), P. Ballet has fixed the chronology: the Didymoi bottle can be attributed to her phase III, dated from the second half of the 4th- beginning of the 5th century (Ballet 2004, pp. 222-224; 1998 et 2001). These bottles are frequent in the necropolis of Kysis: in tomb 20 (room II, p. 54), in tomb 36 (room I, p. 85), in tomb 45 (room I, p. 97) (Dunand et alii 1992, pp. 54, 85, 97 et 238, pl. IV, 2 et 84). The chronologic data of the necropolis are not precise but a dating in the 4th- beginning of the 5th century fits with the glasswares and with the imitations of ARS. I think that these containers were used for a quality wine produced in the oasis. At Douch and Didymoi, this vases are internally pitched; their use as funerary offering at Kysis is also a clue of such a use. These bottles are also known at Eléphantine: Gempeler 1992 type T813.

70 Byzantine graffiti of the Wâdi Minayh: Cuvigny, Bülow-Jacobsen 1999, pp. 157-159, n°42-52. 5th and 6th centuries pottery from Bi’r Minay: Lutz 2002, pp. 385-386.

71 The scarcity of Late Antique ceramics in the forts of Didymoi, Dios, Xeron Pelagos and Falakron shows that nobody was living there anymore and that the official and organised supply ceased after c. AD 270.

72 Meyer 2018.

73 Brun 2003, pp. 80 et 91.

74 Sidebotham 1994.

75 Peacock, Blue 2006, p. 26. About monachism in the Oriental desert: Fournet 2018.

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1
Légende Map of the routes to Berenike and Myos Hormos in the second half of the 3rd century BC.
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 212k
Titre Fig. 2
Légende The site of Kompasi, gold mining centre during the early Ptolemaic period.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun, january 2000
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 192k
Titre Fig. 3a
Légende Mills used to crush the gold ore at Kompasi.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun, january 2000
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 240k
Titre Fig. 3b
Légende Mills used to crush the gold ore at Kompasi.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun, january 2000
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 268k
Titre Fig. 4
Légende The fort of Bi’r Sayyâla, perhaps called Simiou.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 184k
Titre Fig. 5
Légende Plans of the fort of Bi’r Sayyâla. On the right: sketch drawn by Raymond Weill on March 13, 1910. On the left: plan of the ruins in 1996 by J.-P. Brun and N. Martin.
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 156k
Titre Fig. 6
Légende Plan of the remains of the unfortified military post, prior to the fort of Maximianon.
Crédits © Drawing J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 152k
Titre Fig. 7
Légende Plan of Kompasi showing the location of the Roman cisterns.
Crédits © Drawing J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 120k
Titre Fig. 8
Légende The Roman cisterns of Kompasi after their partial destruction in 2014.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 188k
Titre Fig. 9
Légende Plan of the Paneion of Wâdi Minayh.
Crédits © Drawing J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 276k
Titre Fig. 10
Légende Inscription dated from the Augustan period in the Paneion of Wâdi Minayh.
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 248k
Titre Fig. 11
Légende Map of the routes to Berenike and to Myos Hormos at the end of the first century AD.
Crédits © Drawing J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 316k
Titre Fig. 12
Légende The fort of Didymoi.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 160k
Titre Fig. 13
Légende The fort of Aphroditès Orous.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 156k
Titre Fig. 14
Légende Plan of the fort of Bi'r Baiza.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun and M. Reddé
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 188k
Titre Fig. 15
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 64k
Légende “Samian ware” bowl Dragendorff 37 manufactured at La Graufesenque (Millau, Aveyron, France) under Vespasian and discovered in the layers of gravel resulting from the digging of the well of Xeron Pelagos (drawing Kh. Zaza).
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-17.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 148k
Titre Fig. 16
Légende Plan of the fort of Krokodilô.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun and N. Martin
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-18.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre Fig. 17
Légende The fort of Maximianon.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-19.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 120k
Titre Fig. 18
Légende Sketch of the site of Bi’r Umm Fawâkhir drawn by Raymond Weill, on March 10, 1910, before the destruction by modern mining.
Crédits © All rights reserved
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-20.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 308k
Titre Fig. 19
Légende Map of the routes to Berenike and Myos Hormos during the 2nd century AD.
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-21.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 260k
Titre Fig. 20
Légende The fort of Dios.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-22.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 104k
Titre Fig. 21
Légende Plan of fort of Bi’r al-Hammâmât.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun and N. Martin
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-23.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 88k
Titre Fig. 22
Légende Plan of fort of Dawwi.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun and N. Martin
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-24.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 168k
Titre Fig. 23
Légende Section of the Maximianon dump.
Crédits © Drawing J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-25.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 160k
Titre Fig. 24
Légende Map of the routes to Berenike and Myos Hormos at the beginning of the 3rd century AD.
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-26.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 260k
Titre Fig. 25
Légende The fort of Qusûr al-Banât.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-27.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 260k
Titre Fig. 26a
Légende A signal tower viewed from the fort of Bi'r al-Hammâmât.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-28.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre Fig. 26b
Légende Detail of the signal tower above the fort of Bi'r al-Hammâmât.
Crédits © J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-29.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 192k
Titre Fig. 27
Légende Map of the signal towers built between Phoinikon and Myos Hormos (drawing J.-P. Brun after Zitterkopf, Sidebotham 1989, complemented by Peacock, Blue 2006, Fig. 2.1.).
Crédits © J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-30.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 428k
Titre Fig. 28
Légende The ostrakon O.QAB 148 in which Herennius informs his superior that he has sent plaster for the works in progress on the skopeloi (interpretation H. Cuvigny; photo A. Bülow-Jacobsen).
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-31.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 288k
Titre Fig. 29
Légende Plan of Myos Hormos (Peacock, Blue 2006, Fig. 1, 2, 5, 1 and 2011 Fig. 15, 23-24). Yellow: areas excavated by the University of Southampton; black: 1st and 2nd centuries buildings after the excavations of the University of Chicago and the University of Southampton; red: house still occupied towards the middle of the 3rd century.
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-32.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 240k
Titre Fig. 30
Légende Map of the routes to Berenike and Myos Hormos at the middle of the 3rd century AD.
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-33.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 212k
Titre Fig. 31
Légende Tunic worn by a Palmyrene archer.
Crédits © D. Cardon
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-34.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 284k
Titre Fig. 32
Légende Irregularly shaped rooms built by the Palmyrene archers in the fort of Xeron Pelagos. Phase 3, second quarter of the 3rd century.
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-35.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 172k
Titre Fig. 33
Légende Ovens used during the final phase of Dios (excavated by M. Reddé).
Crédits © J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-36.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 176k
Titre Fig. 34
Légende Cilician Amphora copying the “Gauloise 4” type from Xeron Pelagos. Phase 4. Third quarter of the 3rd century AD.
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-37.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 132k
Titre Fig. 35
Légende “Eastern Desert Ware”from the final phase of Dios. Third quarter of the 3rd century AD.
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-38.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 32k
Titre Fig. 36
Légende Receipts of distribution of wheat found at Xeron Pelagos. Phase 4 (excavations by M. Reddé).
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-39.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 156k
Titre Fig. 37
Légende Plan of the excavations of Klysma conducted by B. Bruyère (reworked by F. Bessière and interpreted by J.-P. Brun).
Crédits © F. Bessière and J.-P. Brun
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-40.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 536k
Titre Fig. 38
Légende Axumite hand made vase found in a level of abandonment of the fort of Didymoi. 4th century AD (drawing and picture J.-P. Brun).
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-41.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 108k
Titre Fig. 39
Légende Jug type Gempeler T813 found in a level of abandonment of the fort of Didymoi (drawing and picture J.-P. Brun). 5th century AD.
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-42.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 100k
Titre Fig. 40
Légende The sanctuary of the fort of Dios sacked in the 5th century.
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5239/img-43.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 144k

Auteur

Professor at the Collège de France, Chair of Techniques and Economies in the Ancient Mediterranean

© Collège de France, 2018

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

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