This article discusses identity in Roman Egypt, covering collective identities, state identity, social classes and legal categories, shifts in collective identity, gender, ethnicity and cultural-religious identity, and names as identifiers of kinship bonds and of other collectivities. Identity is about one's place in society. As under the Ptolemies, descent was crucial to belonging to an elite group, and upward mobility was possible. Through wealth, civic donations, and networking, members of the elite were candidates for social promotion. But compared with Ptolemaic times, there was a downturn for the ordinary Egyptian man, woman, and their children, whose path towards the elite groups was limited in many respects. Compartmentalization gained the upper hand. After the Constitutio Antoniniana, wealth replaced descent as the crucial criterion to belonging to the elite.
This article examines the status, history, and development of the Jewish communities in Alexandria and Egypt during the Roman period, using the evidence from literary writings of Philo and Josephus, sub-literary texts (the Acta Alexandrinorum and the Oracle of the Potter), and documentary papyri. It considers the violence in Alexandria in 38–41