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Camel, O Camel, come and fetch and carry

Mødedato: Tirsdag d. 7/6 2016 kl. 18.00
Lokale: KUA1 22.0.11

camel-o-camel-1Camel, O Camel, come and fetch and carry
ved Dr. Jennifer Cromwell, Post.Doc. ToRS, Københavns Universitet

Fulgt af sommerfesten kl. 19.30

After the introduction of the camel (dromedary) into Egypt at the end of the first millennium BC, it became the most important beast of burden in the country. They were used by the Roman military, for transport to the quarries and ports of the eastern desert, by monasteries throughout the land, and a camel is central to the life and cult of St Mena. Yet, before the Ptolemaic period, the camel is barely attested in Egypt, despite being perfectly designed for life in the desert and along the cultivation’s edge.

This paper will fall in two parts. The first deals with the scant evidence for camels in Egypt during the Pharaonic Period, even though it had been domesticated in the Arabian peninsula at least by the start of the second millennium. The second part examines the importance of camels within a monastic context: the roles camels played, who was responsible for their care, and who benefited from their by-products. Two main cases studies illustrate the different uses of camels, depending on location and need: the monastery of Wadi Sarga, south of Asyut, and the monastic communities along the Theban west bank.