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Triangular LandscapesEnvironment, Society, and the State in the Nile Delta under Roman Rule$
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Katherine Blouin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199688722

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199688722.001.0001

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In the Heart of the Fringe

In the Heart of the Fringe

The Socio-economics of Marginal Land

(p.208) 7 In the Heart of the Fringe
Triangular Landscapes

Katherine Blouin

Oxford University Press

The Nile Delta is an area rich in environments that are structurally marginal from the point of view of agrarian production: semi-arid and arid zones, lakes, marshes, and lagoons with sweet, brackish, or salt water. Yet, although these areas have traditionally been portrayed negatively, the reality of their value for ancient communities is indisputable. This was notably true in ancient Egypt, as evidence going back to the third millennium BC shows. Through an examination of Mendesian evidence, this chapter reflects on the socio-economics of marginal environments in the north-eastern Nile Delta. Ancient data shows how semi-arid, wet, and submerged lands were subject to a flexible and diversified exploitation that attests to the quantitative and qualitative importance of these ecologies. At the same time, they raise the issue of potential competitive interplays between local socio-economic strategies and agro-fiscal agendas.

Keywords:   marginal land, semi-arid land, arid land, lakes, wetlands, economy

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