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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 9

This amounted, e. g. for all Macedonia, to 600,000 -denarii- (24,000 pounds), for the small island of Gyaros near Andros to 150 -denarii- (6 pounds, 10 shillings), and was apparently on the whole low and less than the tax paid before the Roman rule. Those ground-tenths and pasture-moneys the state farmed out to private contractors on condition of their paying fixed quantities of grain or fixed sums of money; with respect to the latter money-payments the state drew upon the respective communities, and left it to these to assess the amount, according to the general principles laid down by the Roman government, on the persons liable, and to collect it from them.(9)

9. The mode of proceeding was apparently as follows. The Roman government fixed in the first instance the kind and the amount of the tax. Thus in Asia, for instance, according to the arrangement of Sulla and Caesar the tenth sheaf was levied (Appian. B. C. v. 4); thus the Jews by Caesar's edict contributed every second year a fourth of the seed (Joseph, iv. 10, 6; comp. ii. 5); thus in Cilicia and Syria subsequently there was paid 5 per cent from estate (Appian. Syr. 50), and in Africa also an apparently similar tax was paid--in which case, we may add, the estate seems to have been valued according to certain presumptive indications, e. g. the size of the land occupied, the number of doorways, the number of head of children and slaves (-exactio capitum atque ostiorum-, Cicero, Ad Fam. iii. 8, 5, with reference to Cilicia; --phoros epi tei gei kai tois somasin--, Appian. Pun. 135, with reference to Africa).

In accordance with this regulation the magistrates of each community under the superintendence of the Roman governor (Cic. ad Q. Fr. i. 1, 8; SC. de Asclep. 22, 23) settled who were liable to the tax, and what was to be paid by each tributary ( -imperata- --epikephalia--, Cic. ad Att. v. 16); if any one did not pay this in proper time, his tax-debt was sold just as in Rome, i. e. it was handed over to a contractor with an adjudication to collect it (-venditio tributorum-, Cic. Ad Fam. iii. 8, 5; --onas-- -omnium venditas-, Cic. ad Att. v. 16). The produce of these taxes flowed into the coffers of the leading communities--the Jews, for instance, had to send their corn to Sidon--and from these coffers the fixed amount in money was then conveyed to Rome.

These taxes also were consequently raised indirectly, and the intermediate agent either retained, according to circumstances, a part of the produce of the taxes for himself, or advanced it from his own substance; the distinction between this mode of raising and the other by means of the -publicani- lay merely in the circumstance, that in the former the public authorities of the contributors, in the latter Roman private contractors, constituted the intermediate agency.

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