Hi! Because I'm creating an Earth-based fantasy campaign of the Late Bronzw Age (see "My mythic sandbox" in General Discussion), I'm curious what level cleric a pharaoh would have to be. Since the price list is based on an assumption that 1sp = 1 English penny (1/240th pound of silver) and 1gp is a piece of equal weight with a 1:10 exchange rate, xp=gp means each pound of gold a pharaoh had buried with him would represent 240 xp he had in life.
Because of tomb robbers (adventurers), we know very little about how much gold the average pharaoh had. However, the unlooted tomb of minor pharaoh Tutankhamun revealed a solid gold coffin weighing 243.4 pounds (see http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/tutcoffins.htm )!
In ACKS, that's 58,416 gp/xp. Bringing that much gold out of the ground to civilization would send a cleric from 0 xp to 7th level! Given the funerary treasures, and a pharaoh having other sources of domain income besides gold, what would their minimum level be?
Shouldn't the answer also depend on how big you want the pharoah's demesne to be? Which would be a parameter you have some control over. As you mention, we don't have a great idea of what size real-life pharoah hoards were. So you could pick some number that is at least 7 based on gameplay considerations to use for minimum level and still have a veneer of historicity.
Also, the ACKS book does not discuss it super extensively, but I think the forum consensus is that RAW allows you to have rulers who are of a lower level than the "Demographics of Heroism" article suggests, particularly if the realm in question is old and/or decadent. So that gives you a bit more leeway.
A few ways to work with this:
Divide the amount of gold by 33 to get how much the pharaoh's income could have been. In this case, that's 1770gp/mo - probably around 7th level, going by henchmen wages.
Multiplying an NPC's XP value by 80% is a good method by which to guess at their wealth - in this case, multiply your GP amount by 1.2 to get the XP amount - still about 7th level.
That being said, it's likely that gold wasn't everything the character owned - 'capital' in the above post references equipment, structures, etc.
Actually, what would be a neat exercise is to figure out who all was buried with him - servants, animals, etc - and take the GP value of the slaves and animals or XP value of NPCs slain to go with him into the afterlife and count all that up to get the pharoah's level.
One could also claim the value of the pyramid itself as a structure as part of that value as well, for that matter, under the theory that whatever else wasn't buried with him , the value of the pyramid was "fair trade" for what didn't go in the tomb - immovable structures, objects d'art, etc, etc. That actually ties somewhat nicely into ACKS' assumptions about levels vs power - a higher level pharoah naturally gets a larger pyramid because the value of such would be based on their level/wealth/income.