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Philanthropy and Development in Southern Africa: Executive Summary

by Sarah Bracking

May 15, 2015
The Rosetta Stone, created in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic era under the reign of King Ptolemy V, is an archaeological gem for history buffs, documenting a decree in three ancient scripts: demotic, hieroglyphics, and ancient Greek. It is credited as the key to understanding the language of the ancient empire. But it was also key to their economics: the Stone was a virtual tax agreement granting mega exemptions to priests, military and other elites, and in the process, shifting the tax burden to the poor and the slaves. Operationalising poverty required governance: it would fall to the priests and other philanthropists to provide carefully managed 'relief' when things became unbearable. The purpose, of course, was maintaining the system rather than changing it.



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