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Power and Public Finance at Rome, 264-49 BCE$
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James Tan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190639570

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190639570.001.0001

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The Plight of Taxpayers in the Second Punic War

The Plight of Taxpayers in the Second Punic War

(p.118) 5. The Plight of Taxpayers in the Second Punic War
Power and Public Finance at Rome, 264-49 BCE

James Tan

Oxford University Press

Hannibal’s invasion imposed unsustainable fiscal burdens on the Roman citizenry. Voters remained a relatively empowered body familiar with the First Punic War, but after the disaster at the Battle of Cannae in 216, they submitted to the leadership of the elite, and for five years patiently did all that was asked of them. Eventually, however, the burdens and sacrifices became too great. In 211 and 210, tensions grew, and senators responded by inviting the voters to have a greater say in how the war was to be fought; in 210, the wealthy even provided the metals needed to pay new rowers and to spare taxpayers the expense of further contributions. This situation could not persist, but fortunately for Rome, the tide of the war turned and the legions began earning profits through the capture of foreign cities. These windfalls eased the pressure on taxpayers and prevented further dissent.

Keywords:   Hannibal, Rome, tributum, Cannae, Flaminius, iugerum, pleb

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