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Aerarium (from Latin "aes", in its derived sense of "money") was the name (in full, "aerarium stabulum" - treasure-house) given in
Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
to the
public treasury In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociology, sociological concept of the ''Ö ...

public treasury
, and in a secondary sense to the public finances.


''Aerarium populi Romani''

The treasury contained the monies and accounts of the state
finances Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial system. It is concerned with the creation and management of money Image:National-Debt-Gillray.jpeg, In a 1786 James Gillray caricatu ...
. It also held the standards of the
legion Legion may refer to: Military * Roman legion The Roman legion ( la, legiō, ) was the largest military unit of the Roman army The Roman army (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic b ...

legion
s; the public laws engraved on brass, the decrees of the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
and other papers and registers of importance. These public treasures were deposited in the
temple of Saturn The Temple of Saturn (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

temple of Saturn
at the
Forum Romanum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Throug ...

Forum Romanum
, on the eastern slope of the
Capitoline Hill The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill ( ; it, Campidoglio ; la, Mons Capitolinus ), between the Forum Forum (plural forums or fora) may refer to: Common uses * Forum (legal), designated space for public expression in the United States *For ...
. During the
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...
, they were in the charge of the urban
quaestor A ( , ; "investigator") was a public official in Ancient Rome. The position served different functions depending on the period. In the Roman Kingdom, ' (quaestors with judicial powers) were appointed by the king to investigate and handle murders. ...
s, under the supervision and control of the Senate. This arrangement continued (except for the year 43 BC, when no quaestors were chosen) until 28 BC, when
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
transferred the aerarium to two ''praefecti aerarii'', chosen annually by the Senate from ex-
praetor Praetor ( , ), also pretor, was the granted by the government of to a man acting in one of two official capacities: (i) the commander of an , and (ii) as an elected ' (magistrate), assigned to discharge various duties. The functions of the magi ...
s. In 23 these were replaced by two praetors (''praetores aerarii'' or ''ad aerarium''), selected by lot during their term of office.
Claudius Claudius ( ; Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial p ...

Claudius
in 44 restored the quaestors, but had them nominated by the emperor for three years. In 56,
Nero Nero ( ; full name: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68) was the fifth . He was by the Roman emperor at the age of 13 and succeeded him to the throne. Nero seems to have been popu ...

Nero
substituted two ex-praetors selected under the same conditions.


''Aerarium sanctius''

In addition to the common treasury, supported by the general taxes and charged with the ordinary expenditure, there was a special reserve fund, also in the temple of Saturn, the ''aerarium sanctum'' (or ''sanctius''). This fund probably originally consisted of the spoils of war. Afterwards it was maintained chiefly by a 5% tax on the value of all
manumitted Manumission, or enfranchisement, is the act of freeing slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for another person (a slaver), while treated as prop ...
slaves. This source of revenue was established by a
lex Manlia Lex or LEX may refer to: Arts and entertainment * ''Lex'', a daily featured column in the ''Financial Times'' Games * Lex, the mascot of the word-forming puzzle video game ''Bookworm'' * Lex, the protagonist of the word-forming puzzle video ga ...
in 357. This fund was not to be touched except in cases of extreme necessity. Under the emperors, the Senate continued to have at least the nominal management of the aerarium, while the emperor had a separate exchequer, called
fiscus Fiscus, from which comes the English term ''fiscal,'' was the name of the personal chest of the emperors of Rome. The word is literally translated as "basket" or "purse" and was used to describe those forms of revenue collected from the provinces ...

fiscus
. However, after a time, as the power of the emperors increased and their jurisdiction extended until the Senate existed only in form and name, this distinction virtually ceased.


''Aerarium militare''

Besides creating the ''fiscus'', Augustus also established in AD 6 a military treasury ''(aerarium militare)'' as a fund for veterans' retirement benefits. It was largely endowed by the emperor himself and supported by the proceeds of new taxes, an
inheritance tax An inheritance tax is a tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interre ...
and a sales tax on auctions. Its administration was in the hands of three ''praefecti aerarii militaris''. At first these were appointed by lot, but afterwards by the emperor, from senators of praetorian rank, for three years.


''Tribuni aerarii''

The ''tribuni aerarii'' ("tribunes of the treasury") have been the subject of much discussion. They are supposed by some to be identical with the ''curatores tribuum'', and to have been the officials who, under the Servian organization, levied the war-tax () in the tribes and the
poll-tax A poll tax, also known as head tax or capitation, is a tax levied as a fixed sum on every liable individual (typically every adult), without reference to income or resources. Head taxes were important sources of revenue for many governments fr ...
on the ''
aerariiThe ''aerarii'' (from Lat. '' aes'', "bronze" or "money" in its subsidiary sense of " poll tax") were a class of Roman citizens not included in the thirty tribes of Servius Tullius Servius Tullius was the Roman mythology, legendary sixth king of ...
''. They also acted as paymasters of the equites and of the soldiers on service in each tribe. By the lex Aurelia (70 BC) the list of judices was composed, in addition to senators and equites, of tribuni aerarii. Whether these were the successors of the above, or a new order closely connected with the equites, or even the same as the latter, is uncertain. According to
Theodor Mommsen Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen (; 30 November 1817 – 1 November 1903) was a German classical scholar Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity, and in the Western world traditionally refers to the study of Anci ...

Theodor Mommsen
, they were persons who possessed the equestrian census, but no public horse. They were removed from the list of judices by
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
, but replaced by Augustus. According to Madvig, the original tribuni aerarii were not officials at all, but private individuals of considerable means, quite distinct from the curatores tribuum, who undertook certain financial work connected with their own tribes. Then, as in the case of the equites, the term was subsequently extended to include all those who possessed the property qualification that would have entitled them to serve as tribuni aerarii.


Publicum

Prior to the
decemvirate The decemviri or decemvirs (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
in 451 BC, there was a separate institution known as the ''publicum''. On a number of occasions it is recorded that various patricians incurred the anger of the plebs by paying the spoils from war into the publicum rather than the aerarium, for example Quintus Fabius Vibulanus in 485 BC following a
victory The term victory (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the pow ...
over the
Volsci The Volsci (, , ) were an Italic Osco-Umbrian The Osco-Umbrian, Sabellic or Sabellian languages are a group of Italic languages, the Indo-European languages that were spoken in Central and Southern Italy by the Osco-Umbrians before being replaced ...

Volsci
and
Aequi 300px, Location of the Aequi (Equi) in central Italy, 5th century BC. The Aequi ( grc, Αἴκουοι and Αἴκοι) were an Italic tribe The Italic peoples were an ethnolinguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) is ...
. From this it has been argued that the publicum was a fund administered by the patricians, but this has been disputed by others.
Albert SchweglerAlbert Schwegler (10 February 18195 January 1857) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of wisdom'. Th ...
, ''Römische Geschichte'', II, 286


References

{{Reflist


External links


Aerarium
(article in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities) Economy of ancient Rome Government of the Roman Empire Economic history of Italy