Egyptian Fiscal History in a World of Warring States, 664–30 bce

In: Journal of Egyptian History
Andrew Monson New York University, Department of Classics New York, ny 10003

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From China to the Mediterranean, interstate competition transformed the political, economic, and social order in the mid-first millennium bce. The case of Egypt from the Saite reunification in 664 bce to the Roman conquest in 30 bce illustrates this phenomenon, which resembles the rise of fiscal-military states under the pressure of war in early modern Europe. The New Fiscal History that has sought to explain this rise in Europe tends to produce a linear historical account of centralization and increasing fiscal capacity from feudal societies to the modern tax state. In Egypt, by contrast, the process was interrupted by integration into the imperial structures of Achaemenid Persia and Rome. It thus provides a convenient laboratory to compare the development of fiscal institutions in a political environment characterized by warring states, and one dominated by a single empire.

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