Greece Public Finance Part II
The total revenue from taxes should not be thought of for the century. V too high, given the small extension that the different states had on average: in Athens itself, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, it did not exceed 5-600 talents per year; but a very burdensome substitute for tax burdens was represented by the lack of remuneration for the exercise of the highest courts, and by the expenditure that accompanied some offices, such as co-ordination, for which the costs of setting up, exercising, maintenance and salary of the choirs of the dramatic performances, the gymnasiarch which involved similar expenses for the participants in the gymnastic competitions and, above all, the trierarchy, for which a ship had to be armed and kept in efficiency for the entire duration of the service, a very heavy burden heavy and ruinous. A separate management and budget had the taxes that Athens imposed in the century. V to his allies, to provide for the common war expenses. In the first evaluation made by Aristide they imported 460 Attic talents, that is more than three million gold lire a year, then fluctuated, to rise in 425-24 to an evaluation of 960 talents, with a realization, certainly, somewhat lower. The leftovers were capitalized and the alloy case, which was previously in Delos,1 / 60 of the tax. The treasure of the league in 454-53 would have been, according to reports from Diodorus, of 10,000 talents, but this figure has no basis, while the figure of 6000 talents that Thucydides (II, 13, 3) gives for the beginning of the Peloponnesian War.
Passing from the sec. V to IV the parable of the expenses in the main Greek states, due to the perpetuation of wars and the growing democratic abuse of daily allowances, donations for parties and shows, and other distributions of public money to the people goes up again. In Athens, Fr. for example, the daily allowance was extended to the citizens who participated in the assemblies, and first had the height of one offering for each session, then of two, then of a play and sometimes more; and Eubulus (not Pericles, nor Cleophon, see Beloch, Griech. Gesch., II, 1, p. 398 and III, 1, p. 343) introduced in 371 a. C. the ϑεωρικόν, that is, the donation to citizens of free admission to the theater, and similar donations were then extended to other festivals, and from one drama per citizen, which was the original amount, they rose to greater shares, in so that the expenditure for this chapter ended up swallowing up every surplus of the budget.
For these reasons it happened that Athens and most of the Greek states at this time found themselves in constant need of money, and the problem of increasing the income of the state was imposed upon them; but since the system of indirect taxes in the century. V had been developed organically and almost completely, there was no other way but to increase the rate (in Athens the import and export duty, which had been fixed at 1% of the value of the goods, was doubled after the war of Decelea) and special care was also taken to curb the greed of the companies that contracted out the collection of taxes. Despite all the need, he held firm to the principle of not having recourse to direct taxes except in extraordinary cases, almost exclusively of war, but while before in the imposition of these extraordinary taxes had proceeded roughly, they began to think of a more equitable distribution, and in fact in Athens, when the war with Sparta was rearmed in the year of the archontate of Nausinian (378-77 BC), it was proceeded to a census of all the movable and immovable property of all citizens. The percentages applied in these wealth taxes appear quite high, because, p. for example, in the decade following the archontate of Nausinicus the total withdrawals in Athens amounted to 10%, on average 1% per year, without saying that Dionysius of Syracuse in the grips of the war with the Carthaginians came to withdraw 20% of the property; but it must be remembered that, in any case, it was a question of quite extraordinary burdens. It persisted in the system of liturgies, but it was only right to correct him. If already in the Peloponnesian War, the unbearable burden of the Trierarchy had been divided between two taxpayers, and it was then allowed to entrust it to entrepreneurs, under the responsibility of those who were obliged to do so, in 357-56 a very radical innovation was introduced, since with the 1200 wealthiest citizens a certain number of symmories were formed, that is, of groups, each of which had to arm one or more ships in time of war, with which the performance was much mitigated and more equally distributed. However, the injustice remained that each of the subjects had to pay the same contribution, regardless of the degree of his wealth, and it was for this that Demosthenes, in the last war against Philip, became the author of a law that proportioned the contribution of individuals to wealth. respective. In any case, whatever the fiscal pressures that were exerted, they were always insufficient in times of extraordinary needs, and it was thus that soon the treasures of the temples were put in hand. Already at the time of the Archidamic War, Athens, in the form of interest-bearing loans, had drawn not only from the treasure of Athena Poliade, which was essentially a state treasure, but also from that of the other gods. However, once the peace had occurred, it had loyally sought to pay these debts; but, when the war was on fire, she had to resort again to the same source, and this time, after the defeat, it was no longer possible for her to honor her commitments. The example given by Athens of secularization of sacral treasures was then in the course of the century. IV imitated by Dionysius of Syracuse, the Arcadians and the Phocians. However such treasures, more or less rich, they were destined to run out more or less quickly, and hence the need for spontaneous loans as long as there was someone who, out of patriotism or ambition, would answer the appeal, forced, when the appeal remained in vain. Nor is that enough: in some cases, unfortunately, the Greek states, in order to fill the gaps in their squalid balance sheets, did not abstain from unworthy means, such as the forced confiscations of private assets.