Greece Public Finance Part I

Greece Public Finance Part I

In the sec. It goes. C. military expenses, which previously had burdened individual citizens, largely passed to the state. By extending the service of the heavy infantry to the citizens of the poor classes, it was justifiable to pay them for the heavy armor, and with the continuous development and prolongation of the wars it was not possible to do without passing on to the treasury the expenses for the maintenance of the army. . It should be added that the use introduced by the tyrants of hiring mercenary militias was imitated; Athens in the century V had a corps of 1000 Scythian archers, purchased on the slave markets of Pontus, and a corps of 1200 knights were added to this.

At the end of the century V in Athens about 4 donations a day were paid to the infantryman, double or perhaps quadruple to the cavalier; but the number of hoplites, especially due to the high cost of the armor, remained rather scarce; the Athenian hoplites at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war did not exceed 13,000, to which were added 1200 knights, and it was already a lot if the Peloponnesian league was able to maintain an army of 20,000 heavily armed. On the other hand, the expenses that the navy required were much greater, since it consisted almost exclusively of triremes: in fact, the cost of a trireme seems to have been in the century. V of an Attic talent, and his armament involved about 200 sailors and soldiers, each paid about 3 donations a day, altogether almost half a talent a day. And as many as 300 triremes made up the Athenian fleet at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, 120 that of Corcira, 30 that of Corinth, 40 that of Megara; and if we add the cost of the arsenals and fortifications, we will have an idea of ​​the military expenses of that time: 2400 talents cost the siege of Potidea (432-430 BC), 2000 the defense of Syracuse (415- 413 BC), and about 12,000 are the total expenses of the first ten years of the Peloponnesian war.

Military expenses were added to those deriving from the principle, which became particularly popular in democratic states, of remunerating citizens for many of the political, judicial and administrative functions entrusted to them. In Athens, Cleisthenes already established that the Pritans were supported at public expense, and after the Persian wars, the senators were given a daily allowance of one drama, which implied a total expenditure of thirty talents a year. The expenses for the daily allowances of the popular judges (first two donations per session, then raised to three by Cleon during the Peloponnesian war) can be counted at 60-90 talents per year, since, with Ephialtes the competence of the juries, and subjected to with Pericles the allies, several thousand jurors were needed every day. And the state had to contribute largely to the expenses for worship, which grew with the increase in the sumptuousness of the sacred banquets and with the general increase in prices, so that the income proper to the temples was no longer enough for them. For the small Panathenaeus of 415-14 9 talents were taken from the treasury; and 6 talents, even in the straits of the Decelea war, were granted by the state for the great Panathenaeans. Even greater expenses for the construction of temples (the Parthenon is estimated at a thousand talents, the Propylaea at about 300, the gold of the colossal statue of Athena at 616, and the total expenses for the periclee constructions of the Acropolis in 2012). Much minor in the century. V expenses for public buildings, almost nil those for public education.

All these expenses had to be covered almost exclusively by means of taxes, and, since the state properties in the Greek states that succeeded the monarchies were generally not very significant (except for the Cretan cities, Macedonia and Attica for the silver mines del Laurio), and since direct taxes, regardless of the period of tyranny, were adopted only in extraordinary circumstances for the reason that the Greek democracies saw in any direct taxation a serious limitation of personal freedom, the Greek public finance of the classical age was based almost exclusively on indirect taxes, of which the main ones were: import and export duties, levied in ports (ἐλλιμένιον), an example of which we already find in Crisa, port of Delphi, around 600 BC. C., and that generally it did not exceed 2-5% of the value of the goods (in Athens indeed 1% before the occupation of Decelea by the Spartans); duties in the markets (ἀγορᾶς τέλος, in Athens διαπύλιον, a kind of consumer duty); sales taxes concluded before magistrates; judicial competences.

Greece Public Finance 1

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