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AURUM CORONA´RIUM When a general in a Roman province had obtained a victory, it was the custom for the cities in his own provinces, and for those from the neighbouring states, to send golden crowns to him, which were carried before him in his triumph at Rome. (Liv. 38.37, 39.7; Festus, s. v. Triumphales Coronae.) This practice appears to have been borrowed from the Greeks; for Chares related, in his history of Alexander (ap. Athen. 12.539 a), that after the conquest of Persia, crowns were sent to Alexander, which amounted to the weight of 10,500 talents. The number of crowns which were sent to a Roman general was sometimes very great. Cn. Manlius had 200 crowns carried before him in the triumph which he obtained on account of his conquest of the Gauls in Asia (Liv. 39.7). In the time of Cicero, it appears to have been usual for the cities of the provinces, instead of sending crowns on occasion of a victory, to pay money, which was called aurum coronarium (Cic. Leg. Agr. 2.2. 2, § 59; Gel. 5.6; Monum. Ancyr.). This offering, which was at first voluntary, came to be regarded as a regular tribute, and seems to have been sometimes exacted by the governors of the provinces, even when no victory had been gained. By a law of Julius Caesar (Cic. in Pis. 37, § 90), it was provided that the aurum coronarium should not be given unless a triumph was decreed; but under the emperors it was presented on many other occasions, as, for instance, on the adoption of Antoninus Pius (Capitolin. Anton. Pius, 100.4).

Later, the aurum coronarium became a complimentary present to the emperor on stated occasions, such as his accession, happy events in the imperial family, rebus prospere gestis, indulgentiarum laetitia, or, lastly, amore proprio (Cod. Theod. 12.13, 4). The “feudal incidents” and “benevolences” of more modern times may have been connected with, and are certainly not without analogy to, these Roman customs. In the impoverishment of the empire this burden, among others, fell exclusively upon the decuriones, curiales, or municipal senators, whose onerous dignity was made the pretext of many exactions (id. 12.13, 1-3; 12.12, 15). The payment was excused by Alexander Severus (Lampr. Al. Sev. 32), and by Julian (Amm. Marc. 25.4; Cod. Theod. 12.13, 1), but levied more stringently than ever by Valentinian and Theodosius (Cod. 10.74).

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hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Cicero, Against Piso, 37
    • Cicero, On the Agrarian Law, 2.2.2
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 7
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 38, 37
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 5.6
    • Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum, 25.4
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