At Empire's Edge: Exploring Rome's Egyptian Frontier

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Columbia University]On: 12 November 2014, At: 12:06Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>History: Reviews of New BooksPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:</p><p>At Empire's Edge: Exploring Rome's Egyptian FrontierJohn K. Evans aa University of Minnesota , USAPublished online: 23 Jul 2012.</p><p>To cite this article: John K. Evans (2002) At Empire's Edge: Exploring Rome's Egyptian Frontier, History: Reviews of New Books,31:1, 43-43, DOI: 10.1080/03612759.2002.10526353</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content) contained in thepublications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representationsor warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Anyopinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not theviews of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should beindependently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses,actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoevercaused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyoneis expressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Britain M ~ I S very often strongly affected by decisions taken elsewhere in the empire. It is an interesting suggestion that the end of Roman Britain was the result not just of Con- stantine I I l \ withdrawal of the legions, but also of the deliberate rejection of imperial agents and qystem of administration by the local inhabitants, coupled with attacks by Picts and Swts from Ireland and, in the 440s. the decis~oit by Saxon mercenaries hired to protect the Komano-British to remain perma- nently in thc country. </p><p>The seven contributors to the volume are all established. active scholars in Britain, whose own publications are cited in a brief further reading bection. Numerous maps, illustra- tions, a lengthy chronology, and a list of emperors complement the book. Its intended audience includes students, scholars (of Ancient Rome or Britain), and general read- ers; tone and allusions are, understandably, more familiar to British than American read- ers. The laudable emphasis on the nature of the evidenct. and the current state of scholarly opinion makes The Roman Era very valuable, as it doe\ not duplicate but rather supplements or supersedcs other works in this field. </p><p>CHARLES D. HAMILTON San Diego State University </p><p>Jackson. Ktrbert 3. At Empires Edge: Exploring Romes Egyptian Frontier New Haven: Yale University Press </p><p>Publication Date: April 2002 </p><p>Thousands of miles and thousands of hours went into writing At Empires Edge. The extensive bibliography hints at long years in the library, but the 100 illustrations that bring the text to life were accumulated even more slowly--c)n foot, in a jeep, or from the back of a camel. In fact, Robert B. Jackson, who is presently chairing the history department at the American International School of Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman, has devoted more than twerrt) years to this project. The results are impressive. </p><p>The book examines the Roman presence in the deserts io the east and west of the Nile, and more briefly, in the zone south of the First Cataract. Sites large and small are surveyed, as is the elaborate road network that linked them together. There is little social or politi- cal history, but the military challenge posed by the descrt tribes to the Roman garrison forces is made abundantly clear. and the eco- nomic importance of the region to Romes distant emperors is efficiently explained. The eastern desert, for example, was not simply an obstacle to be crossed by the caravans that carried Indian luxury goods from Red Sea ports to the Nile valley. Quarries in that dis- trict were for centuries a major source of the porphyry and granite used on building pro- jects throughout the empire. </p><p>3.50 pp., 937.50, ISBN 0-300-0856-6 </p><p>The text is attractively written, and excel- lent maps and a serviceable index make it easy to navigate. In an effort to bring the desert to life, Jackson quotes judiciously from some of the documents discovered at the var- ious sites. Here he might have done more to illustrate the tedium of garrison life, but read- ers will at least catch a glimpse of the day-to- day concerns of the civilian populace. Jack- son uses the archaeological evidence more creatively: In the desert, water is more pre- cious than gold-a truism that is scored forcefully throughout the book. </p><p>An academic text that would not be out of place in a tourists backpack, the work should attract a wide readership. It will appeal to classicists, archaeologists, and ancient histo- rians who want to know the current state of research in the Egyptian deserts. Anyone, however, who proposes to explore these deserts will find it indispensable. As a travel guide, it supersedes everything currently in print on this remote and inhospitable region. </p><p>JOHN K. EVANS University of Minnesota </p><p>Di Cosmo, Nicola Ancient China and Its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History New York: Cambridge University Press 369 pp.. $70.00, ISBN 0-521-77064-5 Publication Date: July 2001 </p><p>This new book by University of Canterbury historian Nicola Di Cosmo explores the cul- tural and political relations between the early Chinese state and its nomadic barbarian adversaries to the north from 900 to 100 B.C. Along the way, Di Cosmo offers several inter- esting new interpretations to an increasingly complex historical and archaeological record. For example, instead of seeing the incipient Great Wall as a structure to keep out progres- sively more hostile invaders, he sees these outposts as attempts by the Chou polity to control the movements of all people-be they nomads, merchants, farmers, or enemies- along their distant borders. In other words, the walls were a part of an overall expansionist strategy . . . meant to support and protect their political and economic penetration into areas thus far alien to the Chou world (155). </p><p>There is no other book that covers the same territory in quite the same way, although Wat- sons Cultural Fmntiers in Ancient East Asia (1971), Pruseks Chinese Statelets and the Northern Barbarians in the Period 1400-300 B.C. (1971), and even Lattimores classic Inner Asian Frontiers .f China (1940) come to mind. Probably Barfields 1989 ethnohistory, The Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China, 221 B.C. to A.D. 1757, is the closest in scope, though his approach is much broader than Di Cosmos. Although the book is intend- ed for specialists in Chinese or Central Asian history, I am certain that anthropologists, political scientists, and others will find much </p><p>here of interest. Di Cosmo writes well and offers fascinating anecdotes at just the right times. Although the technical details and debates may daunt the average undergraduate at first, even moderately interested readers will get caught up in this exciting story of horse riders galloping across the steppes. The book also contains a bibliography of some 500 sources (about a quarter in Chinese) and a Chi- nese character index for 750 names and terms. </p><p>The opposition between a civilization and its enemies is a perennial one, and the problems that the Chinese faced on their northern frontier two millennia ago are, oddly, not so different in many places in the world now. More important, however, Ancient China and Its Enemies examines how cul- tures reify themselves through their historical canon. Di Cosmo nicely shows how Chinese historians of the period created a master nar- rative of Chinese-northem relations that has lasted until today. The lessons-hoose your rhetoric, and your enemies, carefully-are ones that should not be forgotten, as once again events in Inner Asia take on primary importance in world affairs. </p><p>JAMES STANLAW Illinois State University </p><p>Ray, William The Logic of Culture: Authority and Identity in the Modern Era Oxford: Blackwell </p><p>Publication Date: February 2002 214 pp.. $22.9.5, ISBN 0-631-21343-0 </p><p>William Ray, a professor of French literature at Reed College, surveys the many and con- tentious meanings given to culture in the mod- ern era and seeks to uncover how those mean- ings all share a common logic or grammar. For Ray, the unifying logic of culture is not a fixed canon of cultural standards, nor is it an instrument of bourgeois oppression, nor is it simply a vehicle for self-expression. In Rays reading, the logic of culture is the logic of Hegel: Culture is defined as a dynamic inter- play between the individual and society or a permanent dialectic between autonomy and community (8). </p><p>The book announces its themes and teases out complex variations, as the subjects and objects of culture chase each other around for 192 pages. At the center of the dialectic stands the modem, autonomous individual, trained up in the norms of culture, yet also self-aware and critical of that culture. In creating the autonomous individual, culture perpetuates itself and at the same time creates the motor for cultural change by perpetuating the ethic </p><p>Fall 2002 43 </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Col</p><p>umbi</p><p>a U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 12:</p><p>06 1</p><p>2 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li></ul>