AD 221-222 

( Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, Austin, 1961, p. 229, n. 284


      The gold tax for crowns (aurum coronarium) had begun as a freewill offering by provincials on the accession of the emperors or on other festal occasions, but at the end of the second century A.D. it seems to have become a regular tax. The restoration of the date is due to Wilcken, who definitely assigns the edict to Alexander Severus. The experts in palaeography assign the preserved copy to the fourth century A.D., but the reason for copying an edict more than 100 years after its issue is unknown.
      The edict is on a papyrus reported in 1900.


      . . . Pius Felix Augustus, . . . consul, father of the fatherland . . . that my subjects may not be compelled to contribute beyond their means in showing their joy at my accession. Therefore, I have conceived this plan, relying on those precedents that I have resolved to follow, wherein my own ancestors, Emperors Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, are especially deserving of respect, and whose policy in other respects I am determined to adopt, so that if the current poverty of the treasury had not prevented me I should not have hesitated to display my generosity more clearly and should have remitted whatever arrears were owing on this account as well as whatever sums had been voted for crown gold, when I was named Caesar, and whatever sums still may be voted by the cities for the same reason. But for the reasons just stated I cannot remit these sums, yet I have not failed to see that this is all that the cities are able to pay, so far as I can judge from present circumstances.
      Therefore, all persons in all the cities of Italy and of the provinces shall know that I remit to them the monies voted for gold crowns on the occasion of my accession to the throne, to which I have come with the prayers and the good wishes of all. And be assured that I do this, not because of any superfluity of wealth, but in accordance with my own policy, whereby I have striven ever since I was named as Caesar to revive our sinking fortunes, not by extortion of taxes, but by economy alone, avoiding expenditures for private purposes. For my personal acquisition of wealth from any and every source is far less important than the extension of this Empire by generous conduct and benefits conferred, that my governors, whom I have sent to their provinces and whom I have chosen and tested with the greatest of care, should share with me in the policy of governing with utmost moderation. For the governors of the provinces must realize, more and more, with what great zeal it befits them to spare and to care for the provinces over which they rule when they all can see their emperor administering the affairs of state with such great propriety and wisdom and restraint.
      The magistrates in each city shall provide that copies of this my edict shall be posted in public, clearly visible, for all to read.
      Year 1, Payni 30.