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7 Placing Royal Administration and State Revenue

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Chapter Summary

Old Kingdom Egypt is commonly assumed to have functioned as a state controlled economy, in part as the crown had evident economic activities in both the capital and the provinces. Evidence of provincial administration at the dawn of the Old Kingdom, in the Third Dynasty, is sparse, existing only on vessels from the Step Pyramid complex. In the third millennium BC, a distant administrator equated to a distant and ephemeral authority figure with no on-the-ground knowledge of his nomes or their populations. The central administration is often assumed to have been maintained through 'staple finance', where the pharaoh received utilitarian and agricultural goods from the populace through taxes. The Palermo Stone references two events which scholars regularly treat as revenue-generating and synonymous with provincial taxation: the Following of Horus in the First through Third Dynasties and the Census from the Second through Fifth Dynasties.

Keywords: Horus; Old Kingdom Egypt; Palermo Stone; pharaoh; provincial administration; provincial taxation; third millennium BC



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