Security and Water on Egypt’s Desert Roads: New Light on the Prefect Iulius Ursus and Praesidia-building under Vespasian
By Roger S. Bagnall,A. Bulow-Jacobsen and H. Cuvigny
Journal of Roman Archaeology, Vol.14 (2001)
Introduction: During recent years several teams have surveyed and excavated along the roads between Coptos in the Nile Valley and the Red Sea. This article is the result of co-operation between two of them, namely the Dutch-American team working in Berenike since 1994 and the French team that has excavated stations on the Coptos-Myos Hormos road between 1994 and 1997 and later at Didymoi in the North end of the Coptos-Berenike road. A chance visit to Berenike gave the key to a deeper understanding of the origins and history of the road that leads there from Coptos, because an inscription, that could easily have been understood in a purely local context, was suddenly seen to have at least two rather exact, though almost illegible, parallels at other stations. The three inscriptions are published below, two of them for the first time.