), a tax. In
enumerating here the taxes of Athens (about which city we know most) we may
take the opportunity to mention all the chief sources of Athenian revenue.
They may be divided into three groups,--taxes paid at Athens, taxes paid
abroad or by foreigners for the benefit of Athens, and income derived not
from taxes but from the corporate property of the state.
A. The taxes imposed by the Athenians and collected at home were either
ordinary or extraordinary. The former constituted a regular source of
income; the latter were only raised upon emergency.
(1) The ordinary taxes were generally farmed out; see TELONES
They included (i.) the
customs and harbour dues; see PENTECOSTE
(ii.) Duty paid on all sales in the market (ἐπωνία
). The amount is unknown (though Boeckh
in the 3rd edit. of his Staatshaushaltung
thinks it was 1 per
cent.). Xen. de Vect. 4
probably alludes to the ἐπωνία;
of Aristoph. Ach. 896
may be identical with
it. (iii.) The διαπύλιον
gate-money is probably different from the above. (iv.) A τριώβολον
was paid by freedmen (Harpocr. s. v.
). (v.) The same amount was
probably paid by slaveowners for each slave (Xen.
de Vect. 4
, 25). This, Xenophon says, was a
very productive tax before the Spartans fortified Dekeleia and encouraged
the Athenian slaves to run away. (vi.) The πορνικὸν
of unknown amount. It was farmed separately (Aeschin.
§ 134). (vii.) The law-court fees
(πρυτανεῖα, παράστασις, παρακαταβολή,
q. v.) were a lucrative item, especially under the Athenian Empire, when the
allies brought suits to be decided at Athens (Thuc.
). (viii.) Δερματικόν.
value of the skin, horns, &c., of the victims slain at certain
public sacrifices (cf. the usage at Sparta, Hdt.
). (ix.) Μετοίκιον.
The poll-tax of the resident aliens [METOECI]: 12 drachmae annually, probably paid by
men only. Freedmen paid this tax in addition to the τριώβολον
(Harpocr. s. v. μετοίκιον
). (x.) The resident aliens also paid a special
entrance-fee for the sale of their goods in the market (Dem.
p. 1309.34. In this passage, however, the words
are sometimes understood
of the μετοίκιον
(2) The extraordinary taxes at Athens were (i.) the εἰσφορὰ
or property-tax [EISPHORA
]. [p. 2.772]
This fell also
pp. 609, 612). (ii.) The compulsory services called λειτουργίαι
institution also found existing elsewhere (Hdt.
). Some of these at least were shared by μέτοικοι
p. 462.18). (iii.)
Voluntary contributions on extraordinary occasions (ἐπιδόσεις
) [EPIDOSIS]: see
B. Of taxes paid by foreigners for the benefit of Athens. (i.) The tribute,
], of the allied states formed in the
flourishing period of the Republic a regular and most important source of
revenue. In B.C. 413 it was changed to a 5 per cent. duty on all commodities
exported or imported by the subject states [EICOSTE
]. (ii.) A temporary duty of 10 per cent.
) on merchandise passing from or
into the Euxine was established in B.C. 409. (Xen. Hell. 11.2. 2
; cf. 4.8, 27, 31; Dem. Lept.
p. 475.60). The charge on other articles may have really helped the Athenian
revenue; but the charge on corn must have raised the price of corn at
Athens. (iii.) Plunder taken in war: sale of prisoners for slaves.
C. Other sources of revenue were derived by the Athenians from (i.) certain
lands of which the state held the tithes. (This however is doubtful; see
Vol. I. p. 604.)
(ii.) Rents from public lands (Aristoph. Wasps
): from pastures, forests, mines, saltworks, rivers; also, the
sum paid by the lessee of the theatre. The mines (μέταλλα
) must have here constituted the largest item. The
silver mines of Laurion, which also yielded other substances, afforded a
considerable sum to the state, being rented by persons who worked for their
own profit, paying to the state first a sum of money for the privilege of
working, and secondly 1-24th of the net produce. The collection of the
latter charge was itself probably farmed-out. The labour of mining was
performed by slaves. Some particulars about the mining system may be found
in Demosthenes' speech against Pantaenetus. The mines at Laurion were
exhausted in the time of Strabo (ix.
); the scoriae or waste-products (σκωρία,
) were then being reworked, and they can now be again
worked at a profit. The valuable gold mines of Skapte Hyle in Thrace (Hdt. 6.46
) became Athenian property by the
conquests of Cimon. (iii.) Fines and confiscations: see TIMEMA, DEMIOPRATA, and EPIBOLE
These various sources of revenue, of which Aristoph. Wasps 655
gives a rough enumeration (omitting the Leitourgiai), produced in B.C. 423,
according to Aristophanes, an annual income of 2000 talents. Xen. Anab. 7.1
, says that the Athenians began the Peloponnesian War with 1000
talents coming in annually. Boeckh's calculations (in the 3rd edit. of the
vol. i. p. 510) bring him nearest to
Aristophanes' estimate. But during the Peloponnesian War the income fell
enormously, and it is not easy again to arrive at anything like a fixed sum.
(See, however, Dem. Philipp.
iv. p. 141.37.) The orator
Lycurgus, “almost the only statesman of ancient times who really
understood finance” (Boeckh), is said to have raised the total
revenue for a time to 1200 talents (Plutarch, Vit. Dec. Orat.
A land-tax, or charge on the produce of land, seems to have been not uncommon
in Herodotus' time (6.46), but we do not hear of it at Athens unless it be
under the tyranny of the Peisistratidai, who took 5 per cent. (Thuc. 6.54
): the charge seems to have ended with