I picked up a bunch of Osprey books for cheaps in a local charity shop a few weeks ago, and I have been idly reading them over the break. So far the most interesting has been Turnbull’s book on ashigaru in feudal Japan. Very educational, but one section in particular caught my eye; it’s part of a call-up order sent in the mid-16th century:
All men from 15 to 70 years of age are ordered to come; not even a monkey tamer will be let off.
Now, if you also read my gaming blog you may recall that I mentioned a similar quote, this time in an ancient Egyptian context. Horemheb himself said:
As for those monkey-handlers who go around levying taxes in the South and North, extorting grain from the citizenry … My Majesty orders these to be suppressed entirely, to prevent them wronging persons by such fraud.
The author of the book I found it in commented:
The term ‘monkey-handler’ is not to be taken literally, but is probably the late Eighteenth-Dynasty equivalent of ‘shyster’. It goes without saying that the real handlers of monkeys can have done nothing to merit such an unjust reputation.
What is it with the monkeys?