The ploion hellenikon of Roman Egypt: What was Greek about it?

Emad Khalil
Director Centre for Maritime Archaeology and Underwater Cultural Heritage
Faculty of Arts,
Alexandria University

The ploion hellenikon (‘Greek boat’) was amongst the most common general-purpose transport vessels in Roman Egypt. A number of papyri from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD mention them; however, it is not clearly understood why these vessels carried such a name. What was so different about them that made the Egyptians call them the Greek boats? Was that name associated with functional or structural features in this type of Nile vessels? This paper will be looking at several aspects of riverine transport in Roman Egypt, with particular emphases on Nile vessels, aiming to shed light on the distinctive features and characteristics of the ploion hellenikon.

The ploion hellenikon of Roman Egypt: What was Greek about it?

To reference this article we suggest:

Khalil, Emad. 2012. The ploion hellenikon of Roman Egypt: What was Greek about it? BMSAES 19: 39–50. http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/online_journals/bmsaes/issue_19/khalil.aspx

Contact the author
emadkhalil@hotmail.co.uk