The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Census



of the censorship in his Handbuch der R'umiscfien Atteriliumer, vol. ii. part ii. p. 191., &c. Compare Niebuhr, History of Rome, vol. ii. p. 397 ; Arnold, History of Rome, vol. i. p. 346, &c.; Gb'ttling, RomiscUe Staatsverfassung, p. 328, &c. ; Gerlach, Die Romisclie Censur in ihrem Verh'dltnisse zur Verfassung, Basel, 1842 ;• Dureau de la Malle, Economie Politique des Remains, vol. i. p. 159, &c.)

CENSUS. —1. greek. —The Greek term for a man's property as ascertained by the census, as well as for the act of ascertaining it, is ri/x^yua. The only Greek state concerning whose arrange­ment of the census we have any satisfactory in­formation, is Athens ; for what we know of the other states is only of a fragmentary nature, and does not enable us to form an accurate notion of their census. Previous to the time of Solon no census had been instituted at Athens, as a citizen's rights were always determined by birth ; but, as Solon substituted property for birth, and made a citizen's rights and duties dependent upon his pro­perty, it became a matter of necessity to ascertain by a general census the amount of the property of the Athenian citizens. According to his census, all citizens were divided into four classes: 1. Xleprafcocno^eSiyUz/oj, or persons possessing landed property which yielded an annual income of at least .500 medimni of dry or liquid produce. 2. 'j7r7T6?5, i. e. knights or persons able to keep a war-horse, were those whose lands yielded an an­nual produce of at least 300 medimni, whence they are also called 'rpLanoffio^i^voi. 3. Zev-yiraty i. e. persons able to keep a }roke of oxen (£euyos), were those whose annual income con­sisted of at least 150 medimni. 4. The &rjres contained all the rest of the free population, whose income was below that of the Zeugitae. (Plut. Sol. 18, and the Lexicographers, s.vv.) These classes themselves were called rL^j^ara ; and the constitution of Athens, so long as it was based upon these classes, was a timocracy (ri^oKparia or airb Tiii.fifjLvt.Twv TroAireia). The highest magistracy at Athens, or the archonship, was at first ac­cessible only to persons of the first class, until Aristides threw all the state offices open to all classes indiscriminately. (Plut. Arist. 1, 22.) The maintenance of the republic mainly devolved upon the first three classes, the last being exempted from all taxes. Sometimes we indeed find mention of a &if)TiKbv reAos, and the expression sttitikov TeAejV, to pay the tax of &r)Tts (Dem. c. Maca-rt. p. 1067; Bekker, Anecd. Graec. p. 261 ; Etym. M. s. v.) ; but this cannot be understood of a special tax which the fourth class had to pay, but must be ex­plained in a more general sense, for re'Aos reAe?;/ means generally, to perform the duties arising out of persons being connected with one or other of the classes.

In regard to the duties which the above-men­tioned census imposed upon the first three of the classes, we must distinguish certain personal obli­gations or liturgies (\siTovpyiai) which had to be performed by individuals according to the class to which they belonged [leiturgiae], and certain taxes and burdens which were regulated according to the classes ; so that all citizens belonging to the same class had the same burdens imposed upon them. As the land in the legislation of Solon was regarded as the capital which yielded an annual income, he regulated his system of taxation by the value of the land which was treated as the taxable


capital. There is a passage in Pollux (viii. 130, 132) in which he says that a pentacosiomedimnus expended one talent on the public account, a iinrebs thirty minae, and a ^vylrris ten minae. Now this seems to be impossible ; for, as Solon (Plut. SoL 23) reckoned the medimnus of dry produce at one drachma, we must suppose that a member of the first class was reckoned to have an annual income of 500 drachmae, or the twelfth part of a talent, But the difficulty may be solved in this manner. The valuation which Solon put upon the land of an Athenian citizen was in reality neither the real value of the property, nor the amount of the pro­perty tax, but only a certain portion of the real property which was treated as the taxable capital, Solon in his census ascertained a person's landed property from its net annual produce ; and the number of medimni which it was supposed to pro­duce were reckoned as so many drachmae. But the produce was probably not calculated higher than was done when the estate was let out to farm, The rent paid by a farmer was probably not much more than eight per cent, as it was in the time of. Isaeus. (De Magn. Hered. § 42.) Now, if we suppose that in the time of Solon it was 8| per cent, the net produce of an estate was exactly ^ of the value of the property, and accordingly the valuo of the property of a person belonging to the first class was one talent; in the second, 3600 drachmae and in the third, 1800 drachmae. Solon, in taxing the citizens, was wise enough to see that the same standard could not be applied to all the three classes, for the smaller a person's income is, the smaller ought to be the standard of taxation. Accordingly, a person belonging to the first class, being the wealthiest, had to pay a tax of his entire property, while only a portion of the property of the persons belonging to the two other classes was regarded as taxable capital ; viz. persons of the second paid the tax only of |-, and persons of the third class only of | of their property. Lists of this taxable property (aTroypac/jcu) were kept at first by the naucrari, who also had to conduct the census (Hesych. s. v. vavKXapos), and afterwards by the demarchi (Har-pocrat. s. v. S-fi/jiapxot). As property is a fluctuating thing, the census was repeated from time to time, but the periods differed in the various parts of Greece, for in some a census was held every year, and in others every two or four years. (Aristot. Polit. v. 8.) Every person had conscientiously to state the amount of his property, and if there was any doubt about his honesty, it seems that a counter-valuation (ai/Tiri^cris) might be made. Now, supposing that all the taxable capital of the Athe­nian citizens was found to be 3000 talents, and that the state wanted 60 talents, or ^ part of it, each citizen had to pay away 5g part of his tax-. able property ; that is, a person of the first class paid 120 drachmae (the 50th part of 6*000), a per­son of the second, 60 drachmae (the 50th part of 3000), and a person of the third class, 20 drachmae (the 50th part of 1000). It is, however, not im­probable that persons belonging to the same class had to pay a different amount of taxes according as their property was equal to the minimum or above it; and Bockh, in his Public Economy of Athens, has made out a table, in which each class, is subdivided into three sections.

This system of taxation according to classes, and based upon the possession of productive estates, underwent a considerable change in the time of the,

About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of