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The QLess Blog

How old is the custom of standing in line?

Jan 15 By Alex Bäcker | Categories: Announcements

The Vator.tv video about QLess got me thinking about the origins of standing in line. We now know it goes back at least as far as the Egyptians. Tim recently found two references to standing in line in Ancient Egypt:

"We have a picture of them lined up awaiting their turn as an itinerant barber, who has set up his stool under a tree, shaves a customer, leaving him with a cranium as smooth and shiny as a billiard ball".*

* Lionel Casson, Everyday life in ancient Egypt, p. 24, JHU Press.

A second reference is found in the tomb of Userhat, who lived during the reign of Amenhotep II was the 7th Pharaoh of Egypt's 18th Dynasty, usually dated from 1427 to 1400 BC:

"The left half of this scene shows simple soldiers in the three upper registers. They have bags with provisions in their hands and are lined up before the supply depot waiting for their food."

Sigrid Hodel-Hoenes and David Warburton: Life and death in ancient Egypt: scenes from private tombs in new kingdom Thebes, p. 75.

It's not everyday that you get to improve on a custom that has been ingrained across humankind for at least three thousand years.

--Alex

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