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Select Papyri, 2.215


EXTRACTS FROM A LETTER OF CARACALLA

PGiess 40 Col.2
Date: A.D. 215.

All Egyptians in Alexandria, especially countryfolk, who have fled from other parts and can easily be detected, are by all manner of means to be expelled, with the exception, however, of pig-dealers and river boatmen and the men who bring down reeds for heating the baths. But expel all the others, as by the numbers of their kind and their uselessness they are disturbing the city. I am informed that at the festival of Sarapis and on certain other festal days Egyptians are accustomed to bring down bulls and other animals for sacrifice, or even on other days ; they are not to be prohibited for this. The persons who ought to be prohibited are those who flee from their own districts to escape rustic toil, not those, however, who congregate here with the object of viewing the glorious city of Alexandria or come down for the sake of enjoying a more civilized life or for incidental business.

A further extract :   For genuine Egyptians can easily be recognized among the linen-weavers by their speech, which proves them to have assumed the appearance and dress of another class ; moreover in their mode of life their far from civilized manners reveal them to be Egyptian countryfolk.


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