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ARABARCHES Under the Roman empire Egypt was divided into three governments (ἐπιστρατηγίαι), Upper, Middle, and Lower Egypt. The governor (ἐπιστράτηγος) of Upper Egypt, or the Thebais, was called also ἀραβάρχης, the district between the Nile and the Red Sea being known often as Arabia (C. I. G. 4751). An ἐπιστράτηγος Θηβαΐδος is mentioned first in the fourteenth year of the reign of Augustus, when the post was held by a certain Πτολεμαῖος Ἡρακλείδου, but after him the governors seem always to have been Romans. Cicero, however (Att. 2.17, 3), uses the word as a nickname for Pompeius, as we might say “Nabob,” or “Great Mogul.” We cannot take it here in its later technical sense, and must therefore suppose that Cicero derived his use of the word from some application of it no longer known to us. Orelli reads Alabarches, but there is no MS. authority for this form (Tyrrell, ad Cic. l.c.). [ALABARCHES] Juvenal (1.130) also uses the word in a connexion which almost excludes the notion of referring it to an important Roman official (inter quas ausus habere nescio quis titulos Aegyptius atque Arabarches).


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