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Title: Beer for the Gods and Coin for the Priests
Subtitle: Temple Involvement in the Beer Industry in Hellenistic Egypt
Author(s): DOGAER, Nico
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 51    Date: 2021   
Pages: 81-100
DOI: 10.2143/AS.51.0.3290245

Abstract :
The beer industry was a major branch of the ancient Egyptian economy. In pre-Hellenistic Egypt, temples played an important role in the brewing business. During the Hellenistic period, however, the Ptolemies are generally thought to have introduced a state or royal 'monopoly' on the production of beer. In the traditional view, based mainly on Greek sources, the temples continued to be active in beer production, but only as a privilege or an exception within the 'monopoly' framework. This study reviews all evidence for temple involvement in the beer industry of this period. In particular the Demotic Egyptian papyri show that these institutions played a more integral role in the operation and taxation of the beer industry, highlighting the heterogeneity of the Ptolemaic fiscal system that cannot be reduced to 'state monopolies'.

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