First off, please let me say that I don't mean to offend anyone. I am SURE the conditions in the Egyptian Army where very harsh and far from "a picnic" for all involved.
Now, I was reading this book (Ramesses by Joyce Tyldesly) and found a passage that had me actually giggling because it rememnded me sooo much of those old grandpas telling about how they had to walk to school, 20 miles, through 10 feet of snow, with no shoes, uphill both
ways.... you know which story I am talking about? Well, here is the passage, Tyldesly gives credit for it from: "This passage is also known as as Papyrus Lansing. For a full translation and commentary consult Lichtheim, M. (1976), Ancient Egyptian Literature 2: The New Kingdom, Los Angeles: 168-75 "
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
"Come let me tell you the woes of the soldier . . . He is called up to go to Syria. He is not permitted to rest. There are no clothes and no sandals. The weapons of war are assembled at the fort of Sile. He has to march uphill, through the mountains. He drinks water only every third day, and then it is tainted and smells of salt. His body is racked with sickness. The enemy comes and surrounds him with weapons, and his life ebbs away from him . . . When the army is victorious the captives are handed over to pharaoh and must be escorted to Egypt. The foreign woman faints on the march; the soldier is forced to support her. While he is supporting the woman he drops his pack and it is stolen. His own wife and children are back home in the village; he dies and does not reach it. If he survives he is worn out through marching . . ."
OK, now tell me doesn't that sound like the same sort of story?
PS Tyldesley does go on to explain: "This is, of course, a highly biased account. Papyrus Anastasi was a schoolbook written specifically to encourage young men to become proffesional scribes and as such did not hesitate to exxaggerate the uncongenial nature of all other professions."