Rethinking Pharaonic Government: Constitutional Lessons from Ancient Egypt
Conventional wisdom tells us that the first civilisation to be governed in a manner comparable to our own was Ancient Greece—the world’s first democracy. Such discourse has contributed to popular belief that earlier civilisations, of which Egypt is probably the best-known example, might be interesting in myriad ways but surely have little to offer scholars of modern government. Egypt, according to established narrative, was an absolute monarchy, where Pharaoh did as he pleased and all else fell into place around this. Yet was this really so? In this article, it will be demonstrated that the reality was not so simple, with the Ancient Egyptian framework for government and justice being based on far more than the will of one man.