Wednesday, March 20, 2013
The pharaohs of ancient Egypt were masters of personal publicity -- magnificent temples, pyramid tombs, walls awash with paintings and hieroglyphs proclaiming their greatness. Modern dictators have emulated them. The exalted view of themselves has come through the milennia but it is being counterbalanced increasingly by studies into how average Egyptians lived. The answer to that is apparently not well. Ancient Egypt was a land of haves and have-nots and the wealthy were the tip of a sprawling society. The hype of greatness obscured the reality of hand-to-mouth living. It is not surprising that it was this way. One would hardly expect much else. From a PR perspective, pharaohs of old were poor practitioners. They ignored their citizenry more than listened to them. People were disposable tools in the factory building the ruler's legacy. Why didn't the people rebel? Perhaps they didn't know better or they didn't know how. The result was that the arrogance of leadership was unbridled. It produced magnificent ruins but no enduring social betterment.