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ALABARCHES a Roman official stationed at Alexandria under the Empire. Josephus applies the title (Ant. 18.6, 3; 19.5, 1; 20.5, 2) to Alexander Lysimachus, the brother of the famous Philo. It has been conjectured that he was a subordinate of the Jewish ethnarch (Franz, Corp. Inscr. Gr. 3.2, 291 a); and others have suggested that he collected certain taxes, deriving the name from ἀλάβη, “ink,” and translating it scripturae magister. This suggestion receives some support from the mention of vectigal Alabarchiae per Aegyptum atque Augustaneam constitutum in Cod. Just. 4.61, 9; but the reading there is doubtful. An epigram of Palladas of Alexandria (Anth. Pal. ii. p. 430) commiserates an ass, because ἐξ ἀλαβαρχείης γραμματικοῦ γέγονεν--i. e. because he has come from a rich house into a poor one. Some scholars regard the word as a corruption of ARABARCHES but this word denotes an entirely different office (cf. Marquardt, Röm. Staatsverw. 1.289, note 1). [ARABARCHES] The title is also found in Lycia (C. I. G. 4867).


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