a term used either (i.) in a narrow
sense, = dues levied on ager publicus;
below: or (ii.) in a wide sense,=all regular and ordinary sources of Roman
revenue, as distinct from the extraordinary tributum
[TRIBUTUM]. As many of these
are treated in separate articles, we need only give a list of [p. 2.933]
them here and explain those which are not
- 1. The tithes paid to the state by those who occupied
state-domains in Italy or the provinces [DECUMAE; AGRARIAE LEGES]. Rents of houses and buildings on
public lands, solarium.
- 2. The sums paid by those who kept their cattle on the public
- 3. Products of the public forests; money raised by sale of timber
and of tar (picariae; vectigal picariarum;
Cic. Brut. 22, 84).
- 4. Income from public buildings and works; markets; bridges [PORTORIUM]; sewers
(Ulpian, Dig. 7, 1,
water-supply [AQUAEDUCTUS]; baths [BALNEAE]: see Dureau de la Malle,
Économie Politique des Romains, Bk.
iv. cc. 22, 23; and Hirschfeld (cited below).
- 5. The revenue derived from the salt-works [SALINAE].
- 6. The revenue derived from mines (metalla;
fodinae aurariae, ferrariae, &c.) and from minerals
of every description. This branch of the public income cannot have
been very productive until the Romans had become masters of foreign
countries. Till that time the mines of Italy were worked, but this
was presently forbidden by the senate (Plin. Nat. 3.138; 33.78; 34.2). We do not know the date
of this measure, or its motive. It was perhaps passed from distrust
of publicani (cf. Livy, 45.18), or to discourage local minting.
Mommsen, Staatsrecht, 3.1117, says the working was
forbidden “in the agrarian interest.” The mines of
conquered countries were, like the salinae, partly left to individuals (Plut. Crassus, 2; Tac.
Ann. 6.19), companies (Cic.
Phil. 2.1. 9, 48), or
towns, on condition of a certain rent being paid, or they were
worked for the direct account of the state, or farmed by publicani. In the last case, however, the
profits of the publicani were limited
by the lex censoria or contract
settling how many labourers might be employed (Plin. Nat. 33.78). The emperors by
degrees got nearly all mines, and quarries too, into their own
hands, as belonging either to the fiscus or to the patrimonium
Caesaris, whether they were found in imperial. or in
senatorial provinces. These were then either let to contractors
(conductores metalli), or worked
directly for the emperor by procuratores who had the right to employ soldiers and the
forced labour of criminals (ad metalla
damnatio), or else the right of working was sold to
private persons and the product taxed. Among the richest mines known
were the gold mines of Aquileia (Plb.
34.10) and of Vercellae (Plin.
Nat. 33.4; Strabo, 5.1, 12), and the Spanish silver and
iron mines (Plb. 34.9; Liv. 34.21). The gold and silver mines of
Macedonia (Hdt. 5.17; Liv. 39.24) were closed by the senate;
iron was still allowed to be worked (Liv.
45.18, 29). There were also
various mines in Thrace, Illyricum, Noricum, Africa, Sardinia, and
Britain. (See on the last C. I. L. vii. p. 220 sq.; Hübner in Rhein. Mus. N. F. 12). Revenue was also raised in
like manner from sandpits (arenariae;
Dig. 7, 1, 9), chalk-pits (cretifodinae;
Dig. 7, 1, 13; 24, 3, 7), marble-and
ordinary stone-quarries (lapicidinae),
grindstone-and millstone-quarries (cotoriae;
Dig. 39, 4, 15), and the vermilion-works in Spain (Plin. Nat. 33.118). (O.
Hirschfeld, Die Bergwerke; Untersuchungen, 1876; J.
Binder, Die Bergwerke im römischen
Staatshaushalt. 1880.) [METALLUM 2.]
- 7. Revenue from letting-out public fisheries (Plb. 6.17; Servius on Verg. G.
- 8. The customs-duties [PORTORIUM].
- 9. Quirquagcsima (or Quinta et
venaliurm; a duty on slaves sold [QUINQUAGESIMA].
- 10. Centesima rerum venalium [CENTESIMA], a duty on
other articles sold. The produce of this tax, like that of No. 11,
belonged to the aerarium militare [AERARIUM].
- 11. Vicesima hereditatium see VICESIMA
- 12. Vicesima manumissionum see VICESIMA
- 13. The tribute imposed on foreign countries. It has been thought
that this was by far the most important branch of the public
revenue; but it is difficult to maintain this against the words of
Cicero (pro Leg. Manil. 6, 14), “ceterarum
provinciarum” (except Asia) “vectigalia tanta sunt
ut iis ad ipsas provincias tutandas vix contenti esse
possimus.” So Mommsen writes (Hist. Rome, E.
T., Bk. 4.100.11) of the republican period: “The only
provinces yielding a considerable surplus were perhaps Sicily,
and more especially Asia.” The provincial tribute took
different forms. It might be (i.) decumae of the produce of land (i. e. land left to the
old owners, and regarded more as private than as public property,
though it was still technically ager
publicus). The decumae of
course Varied in amount from year to year (App. BC 5.4). The persons paying this charge were called
vectigales. Or the charge was (ii.)
stipendium, a tax of fixed amount.
The persons who paid this were called stipendiarii [STIPENDIARII]. It was (α) tributum soli, a
land-tax. This might be paid in money or in kind (even in hides or
skins, Tac. Ann. 4.72). Or it was
capitis (Dig. 15, 8, 7; φόρος σωμάτων of App. Syr. 50), which might again be a
property-tax on wealthy people, or a tax on trades (cf. No. 14), or
a poll-tax (ἐπικεφάλσιον: plur.
ἐπικεφάλια in Cic. Fam. 5.1. 6, 2; paid in Britain, D. C. 62.3), so as to reach people who had
no land, or no cultivated land. But little is known of these
charges. Some of them seem to have varied with a man's census (Cic. Ver. 2.53, 131); and an unproductive estate was
perhaps valued and charged according to the number of its columns or
of its doors [COLUMNARIUM; OSTIARIUM]. The
poll-tax (exactio capitum,
Cic. Fam. 3.8, 5) amounted in Syria and Cilicia to 1
per cent. of a man's census (App. Syr.
50), and was specially heavy for the Jews. It was farmed to
publicani in Cicero's time.
Josephus, Bell. Jud. 2.16, 4 (ἡ καθ᾽ ῥκάστην κεφαλὴν εἰσφορά), may mean
poll-tax or may use the term more widely. To the above items of
provincial tribute must be added a payment in kind; a supply of
corn [ANNONA] or
other necessaries (wine, oil, meat, fodder; Vegetius, 3.3). This
was probably a later development of the frumentum in cellam of republican times [PROVINCIA]. In
most provinces it was annona
militaris, i.e. it fed the army of occupation and the
officials, and was paid over on the spot. But Africa and Egypt
had to meet not only the annona
militaris, but also the annona
civica; i.e. they had to find food for Rome, and
later for Constantinople. [p. 2.934]Africa had
to feed Rome for eight months, Egypt for four (Josephus,
Bell. Jud. 2.16, 4). For Britain, see Tac.
Agr. 19, 31.
- 14. Taxes on professions or trades (Suet.
Gal. 40; Hist. Aug., Alex. Sev. 24, 32;
Cod. Theod. 13, 1).
- 15. A tax on obstinate celibacy [AES UXORIUM]. The Lex Julia et Papia Poppaea
of Augustus' time (which see) imposed penalties very like taxation
on unmarried persons of a certain age: see Tac. Ann. 3.25; Plin. Paneg. 42.
- 16. Temporary taxes. (α) A kind of
ship-money, levied on coast-towns for their defence against the
pirates (Cic. Ver. 5.17, 19, 24). (β) Octava. In B.C. 31 all liberti living in Italy and: possessing property of at
least 200 sestertia had to pay a tax of
12 1/2 per cent. on their property (D. C. 1.
6, 51.3). (γ) Temporary exactions imposed between the death of
Caesar and the consolidation of the power of Octavianus (Cic. ad Brut. 1, 18; App. BC
4.5, 32; 5, 67;
D. C. 46.31, 47.16, 48.31 and 34, 1. 10;
and see TRIBUTUM). (δ) The new taxes of Caligula (Suet. Cal. 40). Among them was the QUADRAGESIMA LITIUM. They were probably all repealed by
Claudius. (ε) The new taxes of
Vespasianus (Suet. Vesp. 16, 23; D. C. 66.14). On the vectigal urinae, see Dureau de la Malle,
Économie politique des Romains, Bk.
(ζ) Special charge on senators,
imposed by Commodus (D. C. 72.16).
Here we may add, as sources of revenue, though they are not
strictly vectigalia, Nos.
- 17. AURUM
- 18. Booty taken in war; product of sale of prisoners, &c.
- 19. Profit made out of the coinage.
- 20. Windfalls of various kinds [BONA CADUCA;
BONA VACANTIA]. Fines and confiscated property.
- 21. Legacies to emperors, sometimes of enormous amount (Suet. Aug. 101, Gal.
38; Tac. Ann. 2.48, 16.11; D. C.
58.16), looked after by special procuratores.
Under the Republic the senate was the highest authority in matters of
finance, but the censors carried out or supervised the details. The
collection of duties, taxes, and tributes, was let for the most part to
for a fixed sum and a fixed
number of years [CENSOR; PUBLICANI]. Under the
Empire the authority of the senate was curtailed by the division of
provinces between senate and emperor, which led to a separation between
the senate controlled the former, the emperor the latter
[AERARIUM; FISCUS]. The chief finance-minister
of the early Empire was described, as a
afterwards called procurator a
then procurator summarum
his successive titles and functions O. Hirschfeld in the Jahrb. f.
The total income of Rome from all sources cannot be even approximately
discovered for any period. Plut. Pomp. 45
has the general statement that before Pompey's Eastern conquests the
) amounted to 200,000,000 sesterces; and beyond this we
cannot well go.
(See Naquet, Des Impôts indirects chez les Romains,
1875; O. Hirschfeld, Untersuchungen aus dem Gebiete der
1876; S. Herrlich,
De aerario et fisco Romanorum quaestiones,