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VICE´SIMA a tax of 5 per cent. (1) Vicesima libertatis (C. I. L. 10.3875). When a slave was manumitted, the state claimed 5 per cent. on his value, by a law passed in 357 B.C. (Liv. 7.16; Cic. Att. 2.1. 6, 2; Wilmanns, Exempla Inscriptionum Latinarum, 314). The fund thus raised was for some time at least kept in reserve ad ultimos casus; e.g. it was used in a crisis of the Second Punic War, B.C. 209 (Liv. 27.10). The amount was doubled by Caracalla and reduced to its original rate by Macrinus (D. C. 67.9, 68.12). The tax, like others, was farmed to publicani (Arrian, Epict. 2.1, 26; 4.1, 33; C. I. L. 10.3875); but under the Empire it came to be managed by procuratores. The slave paid it (Arrian, Epict. 4.1, 33); if the master chose to pay, the slave was said to enjoy gratuita libertas (Suet. Vesp. 16).

(2) Vicesima hereditatium et legatorum, legacy-duty. This differs from all other vectigalia by touching Roman citizens only: it was thus a sort of set-off against the disappearance of tributum and the absence of land-tax from Italy. Every Roman citizen had to pay to the aerarium militare (AERARIUM) 5 per cent. on any inheritance or legacy left him. None were exempt except the nearest relatives of the deceased (sui heredes) and persons whose legacy or inheritance did not exceed a certain (unknown) sum (D. C. 55.25, Ivi. 28; Plin. Paneg. 37, 39; Hist, Aug. M. Aur. 11). Peregrini and Latini who had become Roman citizens had, in a legal sense, no relatives, and were therefore obliged in all cases to pay the duty (Plin. Paneg. 37). It is often said to have been introduced by Augustus, in A.D. 6; but it is probably older (Plin. Paneg. 42, and Hirschfeld, Untersuchungen, p. 62; also VOCONIA LEX); or was at least tried by the triumvirs in B.C. 40 (App. BC 5.67). It was of course unpopular (D. C. 56.28). Caracalla, in granting the Roman citizenship to all subjects of the Empire, a step which would of itself make the tax far more productive, also doubled the amount; but Macrinus brought it back to 5 per cent. (Id. 67.9, 68.12; Hist. Aug. Heliog. 12). It had disappeared altogether before Justinian (Cod. Just. 6, 33, 3). We do not know whether it had to be paid by citizens on property situated in the provinces. The tax was farmed out to publicani, and afterwards managed by procuratores Augusti vicesimae hereditatium; a statio hereditatium occurs in inscriptions [STATIONES FISCI]. (O. Hirschfeld, Untersuchungen aus dem Gebiete der römischen Verwaltungsgeshichte, 1876.)


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