Belfast Telegraph

Bankers would have felt at home in Egypt

By Robert McNeil

How distressing to learn that the founding document of the world's first nation-state depicts its leader taking a sharp instrument to the marriage prospects of his enemies.

Castration, decapitation, and general smiting were the order of the day. And you thought the Tory-Liberal coalition was bad.

This first nation-state was Egyptian, dating back 5,000 years. Their first king, Narmer Blenkinsop, was no David Cameron. At least Cameron's cuts are straight to the fiscals.

In a new book, The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt, Toby Wilkinson tells us the top nobs in the pyramid-littered country didn't mind having moobs, as muscles were thought fit only for poor labourers. Recent research reveals the pyramids weren't built by slaves, but by well-fed and well-housed men working flexi-time (take your time and your head got flexed).

But it couldn't have been fun working for the pharaohs. Worse than the council. Well up themselves. Sneferu, father of Khufu, liked to be known as The Possessor of Cosmic Order and the Perfect God. Fine, but if you set yourself up with a handle like that, you could never be seen by the masses blowing your beak or complaining about your haemorrhoids. Today, I suppose the nearest thing we have to Pharaohs are bankers: Possessors of Astronomical Bonuses and Perfect Sods.

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