Greece Public Finance

Greece Public Finance

Among the Hellenistic states, Egypt holds the first place for the excellence of its financial organization, the fundamental features of which date back to the ancient era of the Pharaohs, but it was perfected by the first Ptolemies, who developed and technically improved the system tax, so as to affect all the resources of the country. The most important of the direct taxes was that of land, which was levied in kind according to a very precise cadastre, and continuously kept informed, and was paid not according to a variable rate of the annual harvest, but in a fixed amount of moggi (artáb ē) applied to the single soil heaps (aroura), of different heights depending on the quality of the soil, the type of crop and the condition of the owner. Also affected was the ownership in livestock, slaves, buildings (according to 5% of the rent), and other ordinary taxes were those on inheritance, on the exercise of arts and crafts (cheir ō náxion), and the capitatio which weighed on all adults, except the priests. Extraordinary taxes were added to the ordinary ones: offers of gold crowns to the sovereign and officials, maintenance of these and their entourage on the occasion of voyages, contributions for the arming of ships, etc. There was also a whole series of taxes for the purposes of the local administration: assistance to the poor, baths, entertainment, maintenance of canals and dams, etc. And also for the expenses of the cult, as they exceeded the income from the properties of the temples, there were taxes, of which the most important was the apómoira on the vineyards, gardens and orchards. Among the indirect taxes the most important were the import duties, which affected the goods with 20-50% of the value,1 / 24 of value), those for the passage of goods from the countryside to the city, and the taxes that affected items of particular consumption: wine, beer, linen, papyrus. The registration tax of 10% on all contracts, sales and changes of ownership belongs to the same category as indirect taxes. Taxes were flanked by monopolies, such as those on salt, soda, castor and sesame oil and banking (in the sense that all banks were contracted out on behalf of the sovereign). Furthermore, the royal domains were very extensive, including the gold mines in the south of the country. To the income of Egypt were added those of foreign possessions, such as the tithe of wheat and vine in the possessions of Asia Minor and Thrace, the tribute (εἰσϕορά) of the Cyclades, the proceeds from the copper mines and forests of the island of Cyprus, the silphium monopoly in Cyrene, the forests of Lebanon, etc. The general amount of Egyptian income rose, at the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, according to a report by St. Jerome (In Daniel, XI, 5, p. 1122), 14,800 talents of silver (about 87 million and a half gold lire) and 1,500,000 artabe (about 600,000 hl.), Which figures are certainly exaggerated, but it is certain that that amount must have significantly exceeded the figure of 6000 talents, which from Diodorus (XVII, 52, 6) can be deduced for the Egyptian receipts in the middle of the century. I a. C., when Egypt had lost all neighboring territories.

Certainly fewer, by default and impossibility of a rigid centralization, were the income of the Seleucid empire, although this was much more extensive. The main sources were the land tax, in the form of the tithe of the products of the soil, the duties, the monopolies, the taxes of the subject Asian principalities, the proceeds of the very extensive state properties (including the forests of Asia Minor), although gradually decimated for the foundation of colonies, donations to mercenaries and sales. The total income at the time of Antiochus I and Antiochus II must have exceeded 11,000 Attic talents (about 82 million and a half gold lire), according to what Beloch induces from Diodorus (XIX, 56, 5).

According to, the resources of the kingdom of Macedonia were still much smaller, consisting especially in the incomes of the royal domains (among which the rich forests of the mountainous area, the gold and silver mines of the Pangeo, whose proceeds were evaluated, certainly with exaggeration, to 1000 talents per year, and those of silver of the bisaltic territory), in the land tax imposed on Macedonian subjects, which in the last days of the kingdom made 200 talents a year, and in the contributions imposed on the annexed territories.

Considerable, in relation to its extension, the income of the kingdom of Pergamum and its financial organization is exemplary: also here land tax, determined in a fixed percentage of the value of the land, taxes of some Greek cities, customs duties, very extensive state property income , management of factories, monopolies; but it is not possible, although several attempts have been made, to determine even with a large approximation the annual amount of these revenues.

The financial administration of the Greek states. – Financial legislation belonged to the bodies in which he resided and through which the sovereignty of the state was expressed; bodies that varied according to the different types of constitutions, but as for the specifically administrative field, the broadest powers were generally entrusted to the bulè. In Athens it presided over the preparation of the budget, assisted in the adjudication of taxes, supervised the exact realization of revenues; in Delphi, in Epidaurus, in Delos, the commissions that presided over the bulè mostly took over in these attributions. The collection of taxes was generally carried out by means of contractors, for which particular legislative provisions are mentioned in Athens, Sicily and Egypt. Often they merged into partnerships in order to build more capital.

Various and more or less numerous financial magistrates present themselves to us in the various states. Just a mention of those Athenians. The ἀποδέκται, instituted by Clistene, were the general receivers of the revenues, which had to pay, on the same day as the collection, to the magistrates, to whom they competed; the πωληταί presided over the procurement and sales of state assets, the πράκτορες collected the judicial fines, the ταμίαι τῶν ἱερῶν χρημάτν τῆς ‘Αϑηναίας 45 the treasure of Athena λτον, the πράκτορες kept the treasure of Athena λ4ν in the λτν of the λτν of the other ϑτν of the ιτν of Athena, the λ4ν of the ιαίας in the λτν of the other ϑτν of Athena in the λτν of the τν of the ιτν of the other τν of Athena -53 a. C. were deposited in the opisthodome of the Parthenon, but in the century. IV, these treasures having been united with those of Athena, the two colleges of ταμίαι were reduced to one. All the colleges mentioned up to now consisted of ten members, drawn up one for each tribe. L’ ἀντιγραϕεὺς τῆς διοικήσεως controlled the money paid by the apodetti into the chest of the senate, the ταμίας τοῦ δήμου administered the funds that were used to engrave the decrees, the preparation of crowns and the travels of the ambassadors. In the century IV. to. C., and more precisely in the period between 354 and 339, the ἐπὶ τὸ ϑεωρικόν acquired great importance through Eubulus, who invaded the attributions of the apodetti and the ἀντιγραϕεὺς τῆς διοικήσεως; but in 339 for the reform of Demosthenes the ταμίας τῶν στρατιωτικῶν passed to the foreground. Then arose as the pre-eminent financial magistracy that ἐπὶ τῆς διοικήσεως, sometimes held by only one and sometimes by several people. but in 339 for the reform of Demosthenes the ταμίας τῶν στρατιωτικῶν passed to the foreground. Then arose as the pre-eminent financial magistracy that ἐπὶ τῆς διοικήσεως, sometimes held by only one and sometimes by several people. but in 339 for the reform of Demosthenes the ταμίας τῶν στρατιωτικῶν passed to the foreground. Then arose as the pre-eminent financial magistracy that ἐπὶ τῆς διοικήσεως, sometimes held by only one and sometimes by several people.

In the Hellenistic states, finances constituted a department independent of the provincial administration, as Alexander the Great had already ordered. At the head were general stewards who resided in the capitals of the respective states, and on them depended stewards for the individual provinces which in turn had a large number of subordinate personnel under them.

Greece Public Finance