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But this tax, or capitation, on the proprietors of land, would have suffered a rich and numerous class of free citizens to escape. With the view of sharing that species of wealth which is derived from art or labour, and which exists in money or in merchandise, the emperors imposed a distinct and personal tribute on the trading part of their subjećts”. Some exemptions, very strictly confined both in time and place, were allowed to the proprietors who disposed of the produce of their own estates. Some indulgence was granted to the profession of the liberal arts: but every other branch of commercial industry was affected by the severity of the law. The honourable merchant of Alexandria, who imported the gems and spices of India for the use of the western world; the usurer, who derived from the interest of money a filent and ignominious profit; the ingenious manufacturer, the diligent mechanic, and even the most obscure retailer of a sequestered village, were obliged to admit the officers of the revenue into the partnership of their gain : and the sovereign of the Roman empire, who tolerated the profession, consented to share the infamous salary of public prostitutes. As this general tax upon industry was colle&ed every fourth year, it was styled the Luftral Contribution ; and the historian Zofimus * laments that the approach of the fatal period was announced by the tears and ter** See Cod. Theod. l. xiii. tit. i. and iv.
C H. A. P. XVII. \--/ Capitation on trade and in
** Zosimus, l. ii. p. 115. There is probably as much passion and prejudice in the attack of Zosimus, as , in the elaborate defence
of the memory of Constantine by the zealous Dr. Howell. Hist. of the World, vol. ii. p. 20.
c H. A. P. ance to the success of the Roman arms; and even xvii. the cities of Italy, who admired the virtues of S- their vićtorious general, adorned the pomp of his
triumph by their voluntary gifts of crowns of gold, which after the ceremony, were consecrated in the temple of Jupiter, to remain a lasting monument of his glory to future ages. The progress of zeal and flattery soon multiplied the number, and increased the size, of these popular donations; and the triumph of Caesar was enriched with two thousand eight hundred and twenty-two massy crowns, whose weight amounted to twenty thousand four hundred and fourteen pounds of gold. This treasure was immediately melted down by the prudent dictator, who was satisfied that it would be more serviceable to his soldiers than to the gods: his example was imitated by his successors; and the custom was introduced, of exchanging these splendid ornaments for the more acceptable present of the current gold coin of the empire". The spontaneous offering was at length exacted as the debt of duty; and instead of being confined to the occasion of a triumph, it was supposed to be granted by the several cities and provinces of the monarchy, as often as the emperor condescended to announce his accession, his consulship, the birth of a son, the creation of a Caesar, a victory over the Barbarians, or any other real or imaginary event which graced the
19 See Lipsius de Magnitud. Romana. l. ii. c. 9. The Tarragonese Spain presented the emperor Claudius with a crown of gold of seven, and Gaul with another of nine, hundred pounds weight. I have followed the rational emendation of Lipsius. ,
annals 192 Cod. Theod. J. xii. tit. xiii. The senators were supposed to be exempt from the Aurum Coronarium ; but the iuri Oblatio, which was required at their hands, was precisely of the same nature.
observe some favourable circumstances which tended to alleviate the misery of their condition. The threatening tempest of Barbarians, which so soon subverted the foundations of Roman greatness, was still repelled, or suspended, on the frontiers. The arts of luxury and literature were cultivated, and the elegant pleasures of society were enjoyed by the inhabitants of a confiderable portion of the globe. The forms, the pomp, and the expence of the civil administration contributed to restrain the irregular licence of the soldiers; and although the laws. were violated by
Vol. III. - H power,