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 At present Egypt is a (Roman) province, pays considerable tribute, and is well governed by prudent persons, who are sent there in succession. The governor thus sent out has the rank of king. Subordinate to him is the administrator of justice, who is the supreme judge in many causes. There is another officer, who is called Idiologus, whose business it is to inquire into property for which there is no claimant, and which of right falls to Cæsar. These are accompanied by Cæsar's freedmen and stewards, who are intrusted with affairs of more or less importance. Three legions are stationed in Egypt, one in the city, the rest in the country. Besides these there are also nine Roman cohorts, three quartered in the city, three on the borders of Ethiopia in Syene, as a guard to that tract, and three in other parts of the country. There are also three bodies of cavalry distributed in convenient posts. Of the native magistrates in the cities, the first is the expounder of the law, who is dressed in scarlet; he receives the customary honours of the country, and has the care of providing what is necessary for the city. The second is the writer of records, the third is the chief judge. The fourth is the commander of the night guard. These magistrates existed in the time of the kings, but in consequence of the bad administration of affairs by the latter, the prosperity of the city was ruined by licentiousness. Polybius expresses his indignation at the state of things when lie was there: he describes the inhabitants of the city to be composed of three classes; the (first) Egyptians and natives, acute but indifferent citizens, and meddling with civil affairs. Tile second, the mercenaries, a numerous and undisciplined body ; for it was an ancient custom to maintain foreign soldiers, who, from the worthlessness of their sovereigns, knew better how to govern than to obey. The third were the Alexandrines, who, for the same reason, were not orderly citizens;1 but still they were better than the mercenaries, for although they were a mixed race, yet being of Greek origin, they retained the customs common to the Greeks. But this class was extinct nearly about the time of Euergetes Physcon, in whose reign Polybius came to Alexandreia. For Physcon, being distressed by factions, frequently exposed the multitude to the attacks of the soldiery, and thus destroyed them. By such a state of things in the city the words of the poet (says Polybius) were verified: “‘The way to Egypt is long and vexatious.’2”
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