HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







A History Of The Church In Six Books by Evagrius

THE same emperor completed an extraordinary and divine achievement, namely, the entire abolition of the tax called chrysargyrum: which transaction I must now detail, though the task needs the eloquence of Thucydides, or something still more lofty and graceful. I will, however, myself describe it, not in reliance upon powers of language, but encouraged by the nature of the action.

There was imposed upon the Roman commonwealth, so singular in its magnitude and duration, a tax vile and hateful to God, and unworthy even of Barbarians, much more of the most Christian empire of the Romans: which, having been overlooked, from what cause I am unable to say, until the time of Anastasius, he most royally abolished. It was imposed, both on many other classes of persons who procured their livelihood by an accumulation of petty gains, and also upon women who made a sale of their charms, and surrendered themselves in brothels to promiscuous fornication in the obscure parts of the city; and besides, upon those who were devoted to a prostitution which outraged not only nature but the common weal: so that this mode of revenue proclaimed, as distinctly as a direct enactment, that all who chose, might practise such wickedness in security. The impious and accursed revenue raised from this source, the collectors paid at the end of every five years into the hands of the first and most dignified of the prefects: so that it formed no unimportant part of the functions of that office, and had its separate exchequer, and accountants, men who regarded the business as a military service, suited, like the rest, to persons of some distinction.

Anastasius, being informed of the circumstance, laid the matter before the senate, and justly declaring it to be an abomination and unparallelled defilement, decreed that it should be utterly abolished; and committed to the flames the papers which were vouchers for its collection. With the desire also of making this measure a complete sacrifice to God, and of preventing any of his successors from reviving the ancient shame, he puts on the appearance of vexation, and accuses himself of inconsiderateness and excessive folly, saying, that in the too eager pursuit of novelty he had neglected the interests of the commonwealth, and had rashly and thoughtlessly abolished so important a revenue, which had been established in former times and confirmed by so long a continuance, without duly weighing the impending dangers, or the expenses necessary for the maintenance of the army, that living bulwark of the empire, nor yet for the service of God. Accordingly, without betraying his secret thoughts, he proclaims his desire to restore the before-mentioned revenue; and having summoned those who had been in charge of the levy, he told them that he repented of the step, but knew not what course to take, or how to rectify his error, now that the papers had been burnt which could be vouchers for the particulars of its exaction. And while they, on their part, lamented the abolition of the levy, not in semblance but in reality, on account of the unrighteous gain which had thence accrued to them, and were professing the same perplexity as the emperor, he urged and exhorted them to employ every mode of search, in the endeavour to procure from among documents preserved in various quarters, a statement of the entire levy. Supplying each individual with money, he despatched him to collect materials, enjoining him to bring every paper which threw light upon this matter wherever it might be found; that by means of the utmost circumspection and minute attention, a statement of the business might be again put together. Accordingly, on the return of those who were engaged in the execution of these orders, Anastasius put on a pleased and gladsome appearance, and was in reality rejoiced in having compassed the object on which he was bent. He also made particular enquiries, both how they were discovered and in whose possession, and whether any thing of the same kind was still remaining: and on their affirming that they had expended great pains upon the collection, and swearing by the emperor himself, that no other paper which could be a voucher was preserved throughout the whole empire, Anastasius again lighted up a great pile with the papers thus produced, and drenched the ashes with water, with the intention of removing every trace of this levy; so that there might appear neither dust, nor ashes, nor any remnant whatever of the business, through imperfect combustion.

In order, however, that, while we are thus extolling the abolition of this impost, we may not seem to be ignorant how much has been written under passionate feelings on the subject by former authors, let me produce these matters, and shew their falsehood, and that more especially from their own statements.








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com