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ANNONA 100.00%
A Latin word meaning the year's produce, especially in wheat, the staple food of the city population; it was afterwards applied to the corn provided by the State to feed that population. As Italian agriculture decayed, and the city population steadily increased, the question of its maintenance became a constant care to the State, which, on the conquest of the first two provinces, Sicily and Sardinia, at once doomed them, especially the former, to the task of victualling the armies and feeding Rome, by imposing a tithe on corn, and forbidding its exportation to any country but Italy. The tenth paid as tribute, and other corn bought up by the State, was sold by the aediles at a moderate price, usually on terms which prevented the treasury being a loser. Thus till the time of the Gracchi the cura annonae was confined to the maintenance of a moderate price; but the corn law of Gaius Gracchus, B.C. 123, laid on the State the obligation to deliver to any Roman householder on demand 6 1/4 bushels of wheat a month at a fixed price, which even in cheap times was less than half the cost price; and Clodius in B.C. 58 went further, and made the delivery entirely gratuitous. By the year B.C. 46, the number of recipients had risen to 320,000, and the yearly outlay to a sum equivalent to £650,000. Caesar then reduced the recipients to 150,000; but their number grew again, till Augustus cut it down to 200,000, whose names were inscribed on a bronze table, and who received their monthly portion on presentation of a ticket. This arrangement as a whole remained in force till about the end of the Empire, except that in the 3rd century bread was given instead of grain. And, side by side with these gratuitous doles, grain could always be bought for a moderate price at magazines filled with the supplies of the provinces, especially Egypt and Africa, and with purchases made by the State. The expenses of the annona fell mainly on the imperial treasury, but partly on that of the senate. From Augustus' time the cura annonae formed one of the highest imperial offices, its holder, the praefectus annonae, having a large staff scattered over Rome and the whole empire. The annona, like so many other things, was personified by the Romans, and became a goddess of the importation of corn, whose attributes were a bushel, ears of wheat, and a horn of plenty.
The Latin word for a present of oil and wine, given to the people in addition to the regular distribution of corn by magistrates and candidates for office (see ANNONA). The custom began in republican times. Under the Empire the word was further applied to the resents of oil, wine, and salt, and later OF ready money, which the emperor made regularly to the people on certain festive occasions, as on his accession and on his birthday. (See DONATIVUM.)
AEDILES 37.99%
The Curule Aediles, from B.C. 366, were taken at first from the Patrician body alone, soon after from Patricians and Plebeians by turns, and lastly from either. Elected yearly in the comitia tributa under the presidency of a consul, they were, from the first, officers of the whole people, though low in rank; they sat in the sella curulis, from which they took their name, and wore as insignia the toga praetexta. As in rank so in the extent of their powers they stood above the Plebeian Aediles, being entitled to exercise civil jurisdiction in market business, where the latter could only impose, a fine. The functions of the two were very much alike, comprising: (i) the superintendence of trade in the market, where they had to test weights and measures, and the quality of goods; to keep down the price of provisions, both by prohibitive measures, especially against regraters of care, and by the purchase and liberal distribution of food (cura annonae); and, as regards the money-market, to prosecute those who transgressed the laws of usury; (ii) the care of the streets and buildings within the city and the circuit of a mile outside, by cleansing, paving, and improving the streets, or stirring up those who were bound to do it; by seeing that the street traffic was unimpeded; by keeping in repair the temples, public buildings, and works, such as sewers and aqueducts, and seeing that these latter and the fire-apparatus were in working order; (iii) a superintendence of health and morals, including the inspection of baths, taverns, and low houses, the putting down of all that endangered public order and decency, e.g. games of hazard, breaches of sumptuary laws, introduction of foreign religions, etc.; (iv) the exhibition of Games (of which the Roman and Megalensian devolved on the curule, the Plebeian on the plebeian aediles), the supervision of festivities at the feriae Latinae and at games given by private men. The cost of the games given by themselves they defrayed partly out of a sum set apart by the State, but utterly inadequate to the large demands of later times; partly out of the proceeds of fines which were also spent on public buildings, and partly out of their own resources. Thus the aedileship became an expensive luxury, and its enjoyment less and less accessible to men of moderate means. Ambitious men often spent incredible sums in getting lip games, to win the people's favour with a view to higher honours, though the aedileship was not necessary as a stepping-stone to these. In Cicero's time the legal age for the curule Ledileship was thirty-seven. From B.C. 366 their number was unchanged, till Caesar in B.C. 44 added two more, the Plebeian Aediles Ceriales, to whom alone the cura annonae and the management of the ludi Ceriales were entrusted. Under the Empire the office of aedile lost much in importance by some of its functions being handed over to separate officers, especially by the transference of its jurisdiction and its control of games to the praetors; and it fell into such contempt, that even Augustus had to make a tenure of it, or the tribuneship, a condition of eligibility to the praetorship; and succeeding emperors often had to fill it by compulsion. In the 3rd century A.D. it seems to have died altogether.
CURA 37.14%
The Latin term for the superintendence of a special department of business, such as the distribution of corn (annona), making of roads, regulation of watercourses, aqueducts and the like. The officers entrusted with these special duties were termed curatores. In the republican age they were extra ordinem. In the civil law cura denotes the guardianship of a madman (furiosus) or a spendthrift (prodigus). The curator who managed his property and represented him at law was originally the next agnatus, but afterwards he was always appointed by the authorities. Since 200 B.C. it was also customary to appoint curatores for young persons under twenty-five, under certain conditions, to protect them against being overreached in legal proceedings. From the time of Marcus Aurelius, who made the legality of certain transactions dependent on the co-operation of a curator, the cura minorum became a standing institution.
The original custom in Greece and Italy was to grind the corn and bake the necessary supplies at home; a usage which maintained itself in large houses even after grinding and baking (for the two went together) bad become a separate trade. Bakers first appear in Greece as a distinct class in the 6th century B.C.; in Rome there is no sign of them till about B.C. 171. The millers or "pounders" (pistores) at Rome were usually either freedmen or citizens of a low class; but the position of the trade was improved by the care taken by the State to provide good and cheap bread of full weight. As early as the time of Augustus the State was served by a collegium or guild of bakers, which was subsequently organized by Trajan. In his time it consisted of 100 members nominated by the emperor, with special privileges, and subordinate to the proefectus annonoe (seeANNONA). In the 3rd century A.D. the monthly distribution of bread was succeeded by a daily one. This naturally led to a considerable increase in the number of public bakeries. At the beginning of the 4th century A.D. there were 254, distributed through the fourteen regiones of Rome. Side by side with these there existed a number of private bakeries, which made it their business to provide the finer sorts of bread, so numerous in antiquity. Baking was carried on sometimes in furnaces (such as are found in Pompeii), sometimes in the klibanos or kribanos (Latin clibanus). This was a clay vessel with a lid on the top and small holes in the sides, wider at the bottom than at the top. To heat it they surrounded it with hot ashes. The ancients were unacquainted with rye, and made their bread mostly of wheat, with several varieties depending on the quality of the flour and the mode of preparation. The loaves were generally round, and divided into four parts, to facilitate breaking them.
The title given by the Romans to officials of many kinds, who were all however appointed, not elected. Thus, under the Republic, praefecti iure dicundo was the name of those who were appointed by the praetor to administer justice in those Italian communities which were called praefecturae (q.v.); even later these townships retained the name for the judges elected by themselves. In the republican armies the six Roman officers appointed by the consuls to command the contingents sent by the Italian allies to the consular armies were called praefecti socium (officers in command of the allies), while their cohorts were led by native praefecti cohortium. In the times of the Empire these titles were borne by the commanders of the auxiliary cohorts, while the officers of the cavalry divisions were praefecti equitum. Military engineering was tinder the direction of a praefectus fabrum (pioneers); the several fleets of the Empire under a praefectus classis (see SHIPS). Praefectus castrorum (camp-commander) was the name, under the Empire, of the commander in the permanent camps of the legions, usually a centurion who had completed his term of service. His chief functions were, in time of peace, to superintend garrison-service (i.e. to distribute the watches and other duties); in war, the arrangement and supervision of the camp, the transportation of the baggage, and the construction of roads, bridges, and entrenchments. This title of praefectus was also given to the knight who commanded the legions stationed in Egypt; while an imperial governor called praefectus Aegypti, administered that country, which was treated as an imperial domain, and outside the general provincial administration. At a later time each legion had upon its staff of officers its own commander of the camp, styled praefectus Legiones, to whom in 3 A.D. even the command of the legion was transferred. Praefectus vigilum was the commander of the cohorts organized by Augustus to make Rome secure by night. A very high and influential office under the Empire was thatof the praefectus praetorio, the commander of the imperial guard (see PRAeTORIANI). Originally a purely military office, it acquired in process of time an ever-increasing importance. It had attached to it the control of affairs in the emperor's absence, criminal jurisdiction over Italians outside Rome, and the like. Sometimes ambitious men contrived to employ this position to obtain for themselves the real power in the State, and raised whom they pleased to the imperial throne, sometimes ascending it themselves. After the praetorians were disbanded by Constantine in 324, the four who were then praefecti praetorio were made governors of the four praefecturae into which that emperor divided his dominions. Another important office under the Empire was that of the praefectus urbi (city prefect). Such an office had existed in the time of the kings and in the early years of the Republic, to supply the place of the king or the consuls when absent. When the latter came to be represented by the praetors, it was only during the feriae Latinae (at which festival all magistrates were present) that a praefectus urbi Latinarum was appointed. Augustus revived it in its old form. On several occasions he appointed a praefectus urbi during his absence from the city. The city prefecture first became a standing office for the maintenance of public order in Rome after Tiberius. Subsequently the praefectus urbi (whose authority extended a hundred miles from Rome, and who had three city cohorts to assist him) exercised, together with the police authority enforced at an earlier period by the aediles, a correlated criminal jurisdiction, which in course of time expanded so much that the city prefecture became the highest criminal authority at Rome. After the transfer of the seat of empire to Byzantium, the praeefectus urbi united in himself the military, administrative, and judicial powers in what was once the capital, and was now formed into a separate district for purposes of administration. One of the most important offices under the Empire was that of the praefectus annonae (corn-supply, see ANNONA), whose duty it was to provide Rome with the necessary corn, and whose countless subalterns were distributed over the whole Empire. For the praefectus aerarii (State chest) see AeRARIUM.
In Italy. In Italy also the existence of the community was regarded as based upon agriculture. This is proved by the practice of marking the site of the future walls of a new town by a furrow drawn with the plough. At Rome especially, the body of irremovable peasantry long formed the core of the commonwealth. In political life the free peasant was the only factor held in account, and accordingly in war the object was to increase the number of free peasants by planting them out on as much of borderland as could be wrested from the enemy. In early times agriculture was thought the only respectable calling in which a Roman citizen could engage; and manual labour on the land was held in unqualified esteem and as bringing no disgrace even upon persons in high place. Husbandry was mainly directed to the raising of grain, the ordinary cereal being at first spelt, till, in the 5th century B.C., wheat began to take a place beside it. They also cultivated barley, millet, and leguminous plants, as well as turnips, greens, and herbs for fodder. On irrigation and drainage the Italians bestowed much pains. They had no lack of grass-lands, either for pasture or haymaking; and from an early time these were artificially watered. The cultivation of the vine and olive extended as that of grains declined (see below); so did the growth of orchard-fruit, which, under the late Republic and the early Empire, received a vast expansion both from the improvement of native kinds and the introduction and naturalization of many foreign fruits. In earlier times the prime favourite among fruit trees had been, as in Greece, the nutritious fig. Agriculture proper was ruined by the acquisition of the first extra-Italian possessions, Sicily and Sardinia; for the corn supplied by the provincials as tribute in kind began to be used, not only in provisioning the armies, but in feeding the urban population. (See ANNONA.) As the State, to humour the rabble of Rome, sold this corn at the lowest possible prices, sometimes even below its value, the growth of cereals ceased to be profitable; farmers kept it down to a minimum, and took to cattle-breeding or raising wine and oil. These branches of industry not only flourished in the face of competition, but with judicious management were highly remunerative. The death-blow was given to the Italian peasantry by the increasing employment of slaves and the absorption of small farms in large estates (see LATIFUNDIUM). On these, besides the growth of wine, oil, and fruit, the breeding of birds, game, and cattle was carried on, as well as woodcraft, and special industries, pottery, charcoal-burning, and others. Farming implements, in addition to the plough (q.v.) usually drawn by oxen, which was much the same among Greeks and Romans, and always very imperfect, included a great variety of spades, hoes, and mattocks, and among Romans the harrow, the use of which among the Greeks is doubted. The season for sowing all cereals was usually autumn. At harvest the stalks were cut with the sickle about half-way down, and the rest left standing as stubble, to be either burnt or utilized for manure. The process of threshing (q.v.) was very defective. (For ancient works on husbandry, see GEOPONICI.)
Greece. In the Homeric poems the Greeks are not represented as a people with a spontaneous inclination to commerce. Indeed, the position of the oldest Greek cities, far away from the sea, sufficiently shows that their founders can have had no idea of trade as a means of getting wealth. Greek navigation in ancient times was almost exclusively subservient to war and piracy, to which, for a long time, no stigma was attached in public opinion. And the trade carried on with Greece by the Asiatics, especially the Phoenicians, who then ruled the Greek seas, can hardly have been very active. The Greeks, having no agricultural or industrial produce to offer, could not have tempted many foreigners to deal with them. But in the centuries succeeding the Homeric age, the commerce of Greece was revolutionized. The islands, especially Aegina and Euboea, were foremost in commercial undertakings; the only continental town which was at all successful in this way being Corinth, which was favoured by its incomparable position. It was the foundation of the Hellenic colonies in Asia Minor that first occasioned the free development of Greek trade. The exertions of the Ionians were mainly instrumental in creating two things indispensable to its success, namely, commercial activity, excited by contact with the ancient industries of the East, and a maritime power in the proper sense, which made it possible to oust the Phoenicians from the naval supremacy which they had so long maintained. This new commercial activity necessitated a larger use of the precious metals, and the establishment of a gold and silver coinage, which the Ionians were the first among the Greeks to adopt. This proved a powerful stimulus to the development of commerce, or rather it was the very condition of its existence. Miletus took the first place among the trading colonies. The influence of these cities upon their mother country was so strong that even the Dorians gradually lost their national and characteristic dislike of trade and commerce, and threw themselves actively into their pursuit. Down to the 6th century B.C., Greek commerce had extended itself to the coasts of the Mediterranean and the inland seas connected with it, especially towards the East. It was not until a later time that Athens joined the circle of commercial cities. Even in Solon's time the Athenians had lived mainly by agriculture and cattle-breeding, and it was only with the growth of the democratic constitution that their commercial intercourse with the other cities became at all considerable. The Persian wars, and her position as head of the naval confederacy, raised Athens to the position of the first maritime power in Greece. Under the administration of Pericles she became the centre of all Hellenic activity, not only in art and science, but in trade. It was only Corinth and Corcyra whose western trade enabled them to maintain a prominent position by the side of Athens. The Greeks of Asia Minor completely lost their commercial position after their conquest by the Persians. The naval supremacy of Athens, and with it its commerce, was completely annihilated by the Peloponnesian war. It was a long time before the Athenians succeeded in breaking down the maritime power of Sparta which that war had established. Having done so, they recovered, but only for a short time, a position of prominence not at all equal to their former supremacy by sea. The victory of the Macedonian power entirely destroyed the political and commercial importance of Athens, whose trade now fell behind that of other cities. The place of Athens, as the first maritime and commercial power, was taken by the city of Rhodes, founded in 408 B.C. By the second half of the 4th century B.C. the trade of Rhodes had extended itself over the whole known world, and its maritime law was universally observed until a much later period. After the destruction of Corinth in the middle of the 2nd century B.C. the island of Delos enjoyed a brief but brilliant period of prosperity. Among the commercial cities of the Graeco-Macedonian empire, Alexandria in Egypt took the first place, and rose indeed to be the centre of European and Eastern trade. It was mainly through Alexandria that intercourse was kept up between Greece and the Eastern countries opened up by the campaigns of Alexander the Great. One of the most important routes followed by Grecian traffic was that leading to the Black Sea, the coasts of which were fringed with Greek colonies. Besides Byzantium and Sinope, the chief commercial centres in this region were Olbia, Panticapaeum, Phanagoria, and Phasis, from which trade-routes penetrated far into the barbarian countries of the interior. Other main routes led by Chios and Lesbos to the coasts of Asia Minor and by the Cyclades to that part of the Asiatic coast where lay the great cities of Samos, Ephesus, and Miletus. Hence they continued to Egypt and Cyrene, by Rhodes and Cyprus and the coast of Phoenicia. But in travelling to these parts from the Peloponnesus, they generally sailed by way of Crete, which had been long celebrated for its maritime enterprise. Round the promontory of Malea, the southernmost point of the Peloponnese, and by Corcyra, they sailed northwards to the coasts of the Adriatic, or westward to Italy and Sicily Regular traffic beyond Sicily was rendered impossible by the jealousy of the Carthaginians and Etruscans, who were masters of the commerce in this region, and whose place was afterwards taken there by the Romans. A considerable land-traffic was carried on by the colonies with barbarians of the interior. But in Greece, Proper the mountainous nature of the country and the absence of navigable rivers were unfavourable to communication by land, and the land-traffic accordingly was entirely thrown into the shade by the maritime trade. The only opportunity for commerce by land on a large scale was afforded by the great national festivals, which brought together great crowds of people from every part of Greece, and secured them a safe conduct (see EKECHEIRIA). In this way these festivals exactly corresponded to our trade fairs. The exports of Greece consisted mainly in wine, oil, and manufactured goods, especially pottery and metal wares. The imports included the necessaries of life, of which Greece itself, with its dense population, artificially increased by slavery, did not produce a sufficient quantity. The staple was wheat, which was imported in large quantities from the coasts of the Black Sea, Egypt, and Sicily. Next came wood for houses and for ships, and raw materials of all kind for manufacture. The foreign manufactures imported were mostly objects of luxury. Finally we should mention the large number of imported slaves. Comparing the circumstances of the ancient Greek maritime commerce with those of modern trade, we may observe that the ancients were much hampered by having no commission agencies and no system of exchange. The proprietor of the cargo sailed with it, or sent a representative with full powers. No transaction was carried on without payment in ready money, which was often rendered difficult by the existence of different systems of coinage. With uncivilized tribes, notably those on the Black Sea, a system of barter long maintained itself. As no goods could be bought without cash payments, and men of property generally preferred to lend out their capital to borrowers at high interest, a system of bottomry was extensively developed in Greek maritime trade. The creditor usually took care in lending the capital necessary for loading the ship, to secure a lien on the ship, or the cargo, or both. With this he undertook the risks of the business, charging interest at a very high rate, generally 20 to 30 per cent. The written contract contained other specifications as to the ship and the rate of interest, for the breach of which certain customary penalties were fixed. These had reference to the destination of the ship, and, generally speaking, to the route and the time to be occupied, to the character and value of the wares, and to the repayment of the loan; the latter to determine whether it should be made on the ship's arriving at its destination, or on its return home. In the first case the creditor would often sail with the ship, if he had no representative on the spot or at the port for which she was bound. At Athens, and no doubt in other cities, the interests of the creditor were protected by a strict code of laws. Fraudulent appropriation of a deposit was punishable with death; dilatoriness in payment with imprisonment. The creditor was allowed to seize not only the security, but the whole property of the debtor. In other respects Athenian legislation secured several advantages to traders, Commercial cases only came before the law courts in winter, when navigation was impossible, and they had to be decided within a month. In ordinary cases of debt the creditor could only seize on the debtor's property; but in commercial cases he was liable to e imprisoned if condemned to payment. In other matters aliens had to be represented in court by a citizen; in commercial cases they could appear in person. It was the duty of the Thesmothetae to see to the preparation of these cases. The trial was carried on and the verdict given by a special tribunal, the Nautodicae (see NAUTODICAe). Merchants could easily obtain the considerable privilege of exemption from military service, though they were not legally entitled to it. In general it may be said that the Greek states, in consideration of the importance of trade, went very far in providing for its interests. They did their best to secure its safety and independence by force of arms, and concluded treaties with the same end in view. This is especially true of those agreements which regulated the legal relations of the citizens of the two states in their intercourse with each other, and prescribed the forms to be observed by the citizens of one state when bringing suits against those of another. The institution of proxeni, corresponding to that of the modern consuls, was of immense benefit to the trading community. The Greek governments did a great deal in the way of constructing harbours, warehouses, and buildings for exchange in the neighbourhood of the harbours. The superintendence of the harbour traffic, like that of the market traffic, was entrusted to special government officials; in Athens, for instance, to the ten overseers of the Emporium (see AGORANOMI). The Athenians had also a special board, called metronomi, to see that the weights and measures were correct. It was only in exceptional cases that the freedom of trade was interfered with by monopolies, nor was it usual to lay prohibitions upon imports. Prohibitions of exportation were, however, much commoner. In many states, as e.g. in Macedonia, it was forbidden to export building materials, especially wood for ship-building; and no grain might be exported from Attica. Again, no Athenian merchant was permitted to carry corn to any harbour but that of Athens; no citizen or resident alien could lend money on the security of ships carrying corn to any place but Athens. Even foreigners who came with corn into the harbour of Athens were compelled to deposit two-thirds of it for sale there. To prevent excessive profits being realized in the corn trade, it was made a capital offense for any private citizen to, buy up more than 50 bushels at a time, or sell it at a profit of more than an obolos a bushel. The corn trade was under the superintendence of a board called sitophylakes. In the prevailing activity of commerce, the tolls on exports and imports were a plentiful source of revenue to the Greek government. In Greek society petty trading was thought a vulgar and sordid pursuit, and was left to the poorer citizens and resident aliens. In Athens the class of resident aliens included a great number of the larger dealers; for the wealthier and more respectable citizens liked lending their capital to others engaged in trade better than engaging in trade themselves. Italy. In Italy an active commerce was early carried on at sea by the Etruscans, the other Italian peoples taking only a passive part in it. But Rome, from a very early time, became the commercial centre of Middle Italy. It was situated on a river deep enough to admit large vessels, the upper course and tributaries of which were also navigable. Its position was much improved by the harbour at the colony of Ostia, said to have been constructed under king Ancus Martius. So long as the Etruscans and Carthaginians and (as in later times) the Greek cities of Southern Italy and Sicily, like Tarentum and Syracuse, ruled the sea, the maritime power and commerce of Rome were restricted within very narrow limits. Even as late as the middle of the 4th century B.C. the traffic of Rome was confined to Sardinia, Sicily and Africa. But, with the extension of the Roman power, Roman commerce assumed wider dimensions. At the end of the republican period Roman ships were on every sea, and there was a flourishing interior trade in Italy and all the provinces. Wherever there was a navigable river it was used for communication with the happiest results. After the second Punic War, Rome gradually acquired the character of a great commercial city, where the products of the whole world, natural and industrial, found a market. The most considerable import was corn, and this at all periods of Roman history (see ANNONA). The chief exports of Italy were wine and oil, to which we must add, after the development of Italian industry, manufactured goods. The trading harbour of Rome was Puteoli (Pozzuoli), on the Bay of Naples, while Ostia was used mainly by corn-ships. Petty dealing was regarded unfavourably by the Romans as by the Greeks; but trade on a large scale was thought quite respectable, though in older times members of the senate were not allowed to engage in it. Most of the larger undertakings at Rome were in the bands of joint-stock companies (see PUBLICANI), the existence of which made it possible for small capitalists to share in the profits and risks of commerce. It was indeed an old maxim of business men at Rome that it was better to have small shares in a number of speculations than to speculate independently. The corn trade, in particular, was in the hands of these companies. The government allowed them to transport corn from Sardinia, Sicily, Spain, Africa, and Egypt to Rome; whole fleets of vessels, constructed for the purpose, being appointed to this service. Foreign trade was subjected to a number of restrictions. The exportation of certain products was absolutely prohibited; for instance, iron, whether unwrought or manufactured, arms, coin, salt, and gold; and duties were levied on all imports. There were also numerous restrictions on trade in the interior, as each province formed a unit of taxation, in which toll had to be paid on entering or leaving it. Among the state monopolies, the most important was that of salt.
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