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Ch. 5: Aurum, Gold

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ROMAN STANDARD OF CURRENCY.             221
the nominal amount of the assessment, whilst he reduced the real burthen upon the taxpayer by striking first halves,* and afterwards thirds of the aureus; and in­tending, if possible, to issue quarters (a thing found impracticable), thus making the caput, who had in the previous reign paid in one aureus the value of ten, by this singular expedient for lowering the tax, now pay but one-thirtieth of that amount. To obviate similar injustice it was afterwards specified in the ordinances that the payment was to be made in aurei of so many to the ounce,-)" of which, when Julian was Cassar in Gaul, f Ammian mentions incidentally six went to the ounce, the regular weight of the aureus after Constantino's regulation, and of the succeeding Bezant, down to the end of the Empire. Yet long after Julian's time the publicani had revived the old method of extorting more than their due from the oppressed provincials, for Majorian in an edict reprobates their exacting payment in the gold of the Antonines, thereby raising the tax nearly 50 per cent., for this coinage was to that of the Lower Empire as 110 to 72, and orders that no aureus, if of full weight, should be refused in pay­ment of the tribute, " except the base Gallic one," i.e. the autonomous Celtic.
That from the beginning of the Imperial régime the taxes had been paid in gold, and no longer in silver, appears from the anecdote told by Suetonius of Caligula, that, wishing to view the tangible income of the state, he
Ch. 5: Aurum, Gold Page of 377 Ch. 5: Aurum, Gold
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