Published on November 1, 2007
Finances publiques et histoire: Finances publiques et histoire Egypt, 2700 BC-First century AD/ Part 2-The Greco-Roman period The Hellenistic world-trends: The Hellenistic world-trends 300-200 BC continuities with 4th century Post-200 BC: the coming of Rome Migration, ending ca. 250 BC Foundation of cities by kings-an important tax base Stock of knowledge:Ps-Aristotle, Oikonomikos a key text; agricultural manuals War (soldiers) frequent, and productive, but costly. Alexander the model Coinage [Alexander took from Persian treasuries 312 tons of gold and 2000 tons of silver = adding 25,000,000 dr/yr to the money supply from 330-290 BC. This is roughly four times the estimated annual revenues of the fifth-century Athenian empire!] euegetism, the practice of individuals giving gifts, in money or kind, to public institutions, especially poleis, in return for public recognition and status, played a fundamental (though unpredictable) role in the finances of Greek and western Asia Minor poleis New technology, military, water-lifting Ptolemaic Egypt: Ptolemaic Egypt 332-30 BC Decline after 210 BC?? A very rich state, but we do not know income Totalizing power of state exaggerated, so too is “efficiency” of the system Not a planned economy Greek fiscal institutions led to greater revenue capture? 50,000+ documents Problems of interpretation: Problems of interpretation Intention vs. reality Testable hypotheses? Lumpiness of information (NB-the gap in documents 301-265 BC paralleled by gap in narrative sources!) Specificity of information Trustworthiness of information Cartonnage creates many biases in documents Archives-specific texts survive Negative evidence How can we assess change over time? Greek/demotic divide in terminology Regions The shadow of Ptolemy II: The shadow of Ptolemy II Royal dynasty Major fiscal reforms establishing: royal banks, granaries, the salt tax, monetization of taxation, cartonnage A planned economy? The legislation of Ptolemy II: The legislation of Ptolemy II Fragmentary, alluded to very often though Comprehensive? Adjective law ~ rules Empowers courts to decide law assigned to it Hence bilingual family archives Inter alia selecting judges, enforcement, maximum interest rates Perhaps related to this is the Egyptian text known as the Hermopolis Legal code An “integrated legal system” (or better, a complex of norms) sanctioned by royal will for a political goal Sets maximum interests rates at 24% per annum BureaucracyOn these texts, see comments and Bibliography in Manning, Land and power in Ptolemaic Egypt: Bureaucracy On these texts, see comments and Bibliography in Manning, Land and power in Ptolemaic Egypt P. Rev. From planned to reactive economy; Bingen’s re-addition P. Tebt 703-the classic statement of link from capital to the nome Irrigation,complaints against Karnak Ostracon UPZ I, 14 The Senpoeris affair- the reach of the bureaucracy Bureaucracy: Bureaucracy P. Rev. From planned to reactive economy; Bingen’s re-addition P. Tebt 703-the classic statement of link from capital to the nome Irrigation,complaints against Karnak Ostracon UPZ I, 14 The Senpoeris affair- the reach of the bureaucracy The economy: The economy Role of the state vs. role of demographic change economic intensification- increased urbanization, increased long-distance trade, and increased monetization structure- intensified agrarian production, royal banks, and royal granaries Greek as administrative language Incentive structure Contract wage labor, in the agricultural sphere as well as for short-term building projects, canal building and the like, was common, payment, daily or monthly, being done in kind as well as cash Ptolemaic taxation policy, and the creation of banks, that required some taxes to be collected, or at least calculated, in terms of money played key roles in monetization The paucity of price data preserved in the papyri is a serious barrier to understanding the long-term performance of the Ptolemaic economy Slide13: Occupation status (ethnê) were important factors in taxation and in tax collection as well as in the Ptolemaic legal system A complex taxation scheme, regionally variable The path of economic and institutional change in the Ptolemaic period can be traced back to the Saite (650-525 BC) social and political reforms, and to Persian imperial rule There were new fiscal institutions which allowed greater capture of revenue, at least over the short term, but the continuation of ancient structures, the structure of the bureaucratic system that was developed over the course of the third century BC, and the concessions to local elites, severely limited potential for sustained per capita economic growth. Rostovtzeff’s view that we are dealing not so much with a “radical change” in the economy as with “its partial improvement and its systematic organization” is sound Alexandria: Alexandria The new political center ca. 200,000 in 3d century BC Roughly 14% of Ptolemaic population at height Required 500 tons grain/day Reclamation of the Fayyum: Reclamation of the Fayyum Archives tell us of the activity under Ptolemy II and III, 260’s-240’s BC Arable trebled (5% of arable) Many new settlements, movement of population, experimentation Administrative centralization> census, tax districts Zenon Archive: Zenon Archive “An Egypt in miniature” ? Largest archive, 261-39 BC, but estate 257-48 BC A model estate, experiments, w/ economies of scale for labor & production, potential revenue for officials State’s need for revenue, soldiers Exceptional and brief, but cf. Egyptian plantations of elites, Persian period estates of officials, and the Heroninus archive of 3d century AD New technology: New technology Water-lifting- the saqiyah and archimedean screw introduced A product of the library at Alexandria? Iron-agricultural tools Technology generally slow to reach countryside, and these devices probably not widespread until Roman times Not widespread until private investment by large estates, 3d century AD P. Edfu 8 and new technology: P. Edfu 8 and new technology 3d century BC petition to the king from a Kleruch, and firesignaller (!) asking for an audience with the king to show him a new irrigation machine that will “save the country.” Many questions: date? A literary text? A Greek entrepreneur who had seen irrigation works in the Near East? Views of land tenure: Views of land tenure Economists traditionally understand the form of land tenure as arrangements for the supply of labor. Either in Marxist terms of power and class struggle between landowners and peasants, or in terms of the "principal-agent" problem. Another approach to land tenure is to understand it as arrangements for finance. There are three choices, all of them in evidence in Greco-Roman Egypt. These are; the wage, the fixed-term and the share contract. tenure conditions: tenure conditions On state-controlled and new land, leases dominated tenure conditions. On temple land, privately-held land Main Categories of land: Royal, Kleruchic, Temple Conception of property: Conception of property Property bound up within families> joint “possession” Land bound to state service Terminology is vague (cf. Rome):e.g. land is “in the possession of” (lit. “under”) someone. Partible inheritance system (“diverging devolution”) leads to concept of “shares” Private legal documents show the fully developed concept of private property rights Right of conveyance, exclusive possession Contracts were registered Use of mortgages Ptolemaic taxation-grain land[largely the ancient system]: Ptolemaic taxation-grain land [largely the ancient system] Highly variable fiscality by region Royal land-leased to royal farmers with fixed rent + fixed charges. A large % of land in the Fayyum, but elsewhere also. Wheat. King provided seed loan, no written lease, high annual turnover (30%) Other land (soldier’s land) a sharecrop agreement Temple land-financed the temple, also contained private land. A harvest tax collected Tax paid in installments into royal granaries. Tax receipt issued. Ptolemaic taxation-fiscal measures[Greek fiscal institutions]: Ptolemaic taxation-fiscal measures [Greek fiscal institutions] It appears to be typically “Asian” i.e. tax anything that moves (see the index of Préaux) An elaborate system Coinage, banks, auctions Tax farming ~ royal banks ~ cash private “capitalists” bankers and tax farmers make budget and bid and post a surety bond. Farm went to highest bidder? Tax collected by state officials. Excess went to tax farmer coinage: coinage A major innovation in taxation Monetization became widespread capitation taxes calculated in money terms Fodder crops, fruit trees also taxed in coin But social impact of coinage minimal? Salt tax: Salt tax A kind of head or poll tax. Lower tax rate for “hellenes” >> incentives Progressively declining rates through 3d century Paid in coin Rosetta stone temples and taxes: Rosetta stone temples and taxes Note-a time of serious revolt across Egypt (196 BC) The king “assigns” temple revenues in money & grain Confirm temple revenue Remits priests duty to come to Alexandria annually! “some taxes remitted, others reduced …sop that people live in prosperity Nile flood in year 8 was high, spent money on blocking several canals and placing cavalry and soldiers to guard temples freed from artaba/aroura tax & vinyard tax(temporarily!) Temples freed from what was owing to state ingrain and silver up until year 8 Ptolemaic state revenue: Ptolemaic state revenue Porphyry, via Jerome, Commentary on Book of Daniel (3d century AD) gives us a (reliable?) figure of annual revenue of Ptolemy II of 14,800 talents in coin, and 1.5 million artabas (23-32 kg) of wheat. 200,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry, 2000 chariots, 500 elephants, 1500 warships, and 1000 supply ships, and 740,000 talents in his treasury! The revenue in coin = 500,000-750,000 man/years labor, or 14-21 % of GDP? Revenue in wheat probably 6 million artabas, or 500,000 persons (avg. consumption adult male= 1 artaba/month) But what is Jerome’s figure? War booty also important In any case, Ptolemaic economy was the largest in the Mediterranean before Rome if we look at war indemnities imposed by Rome on the Hellenistic states Early Roman Egypt: Early Roman Egypt Peak of population, 2d century AD: 5 million, 30 % urban Land tenure remains more or less as Ptolemaic, but now a recognized category of private land, from military holdings & other: 50% in Fayyum, 75% in Upper Egypt A deliberate attempt to create a propertied class for state liturgies Protection of property rights led to formation of large estates Tax on land (tributum soli) paid into state treasury Paid in wheat, at fixed levels (20-50%) A annual poll tax based on a census, all males 14-65 Grain supply to Rome: Grain supply to Rome Sicily and north Africa still the major suppliers to Rome Less than 5 million artabas wheat of a total of 45 million annually to Rome, or 11 %.