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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


IV. The Revolution

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter XI - The Commonwealth and its Economy


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Page 18

Aggregate Financial Result

If we sum up, the income which Rome drew from the provinces was not properly a taxation of the subjects in the sense which we now attach to that expression, but rather in the main a revenue that may be compared with the Attic tributes, by means of which the leading state defrayed the expense of the military system which it maintained. This explains the surprisingly small amount of the gross as well as of the net proceeds.

There exists a statement, according to which the income of Rome, exclusive, it may be presumed, of the Italian revenues and of the grain delivered in kind to Italy by the -decumani- up to 691 amounted to not more than 200 millions of sesterces (2,000,000 pounds); that is, but two-thirds of the sum which the king of Egypt drew from his country annually. The proportion can only seem strange at the first glance.

The Ptolemies turned to account the valley of the Nile as great, plantation-owners, and drew immense sums from their monopoly of the commercial intercourse with the east; the Roman treasury was not much more than the joint military chest of the communities united under Rome's protection. The net produce was probably still less in proportion.

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