Caro-Memphites and Aramaeo-Syenians: What the Case of the Carians Tells Us about Religious Practices and Burial Customs of Foreign Groups in Persian Egypt

Recorded: April 14, 2023
Event: Achaemenid Workshop 1
Citation: Schütze, Alexander. "Caro-Memphites and Aramaeo-Syenians: What the Case of the Carians Tells Us about Religious Practices and Burial Customs of Foreign Groups in Persian Egypt." Pourdavoud Center: Achaemenid Workshop 1 (April 14, 2023).

by Alexander Schütze (Maximilian University of Munich)

Identity and religiosity are central themes in the study of the Judeo-Aramaeans of Elephantine, as evidenced by a large number of relevant publications in recent years. However, the institutional context of the Persian empire, which structured the everyday life of foreign groups in Achaemenid Egypt, has not been sufficiently considered. This is also true for the material culture as well as the burial customs of the Judeans and Arameans at Elephantine/Syene and elsewhere. Here, a comparison with other groups defined by their (perceived) ethnicity may be useful. The case of the Carians in particular lends itself to comparative study, for not only is this group extraordinarily well documented by dozens of monuments, Herodotus devotes much attention to the religious practices of the Carians in his Egyptian Logos. In this paper, the case of the Carians will be compared with other foreign groups that dwelled in Egypt in the service of the Persian crown. In particular, their involvement in Egyptian cults will be subject to reconsideration. This paper thus brings together current research on the Judeo-Aramaic community at Elephantine in Persian Period Egypt and on the second book of Herodotus’ Histories, combining them in a new perspective.

About the Speaker

Alexander Schütze is a scholar trained in the field of Egyptology and specializing in Saite and Persian Period Egypt. Since 2015, he has held the position of Akademischer Rat auf Zeit at the Institute for Egyptology and Coptic Studies at LMU Munich. Prior to this, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Graduate School “Archaeology of Pre-modern Economies” at the universities of Cologne and Bonn, and a Lecturer for Coptic Studies and Study Course Coordinator at the Institute for Egyptology of LMU Munich. Dr. Schütze is an active member of the excavation project of the universities of Munich and Cairo at the animal necropolis of Tuna el-Gebel (Middle Egypt); he also collaborated with the online database project Trismegistos (Leuven/ Cologne) as well as the Altägyptisches Wörterbuch project (Berlin/Leipzig). He received a PhD in Egyptology at the University of Leipzig with a dissertation on the administration of a province of the Persian empire under the rule of the Achaemenids. His research interests include the administration of Late Period Egypt, Aramaic texts from Persian Period Egypt, Herodotus’ Egyptian logos, and funerary culture in Late Period and Greco-Roman Egypt.