Silent Sunday – Aurelia and Caius

Aurelia and Caius – lifelong enemies(?)

Read about the Aurelia/Caius grudge match

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO,  PERFIDITAS,  SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA,  INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO.  CARINA, a novella, and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories, are now available.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series.

Download INCEPTIO, the series starter, FREE as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

Romans are gathering at Eboracum...

Eboracum Roman Festival banner

Yes, it’s the time of year the Romans invade York. Along with the governor of Britannia and the mighty marching men of six legions (escaping from their humdrum 21st century lives) come a load of riff-raff and camp followers including a bunch of scribblers.

But the good news is that these are seven of the best scribblers. They’ll be lurking in the Hospitium in the Yorkshire Museum gardens during Saturday and Sunday 10 am-4pm each day. If you’re not completely taken over by the Roman living history camp, kids’ army, demonstrations, Roman parades and activities for all ages, come and discover some fascinating fiction. Plus, the authors will be delighted to sign the books you buy.

Simon Turney (S J A Turney)  
With in excess of 25 novels available and 5 awaiting release, Simon is a prolific writer, spanning genres and eras and releasing novels both independently and through renowned publishers including Canelo and Orion.

Look out for Roman military novels featuring Caesar’s Gallic Wars in the form of the bestselling Marius’ Mules series, Roman thrillers in the Praetorian series, set during the troubled reign of Commodus, adventures around the 15th century Mediterranean world in the Ottoman Cycle, and a series of historical fantasy novels with a Roman flavour called the Tales of the Empire.   https://simonturney.com

Ruth Downie
In her own words, Ruth wasn’t looking for the Romans. ‘We only went to Hadrian’s Wall because we thought our children should do something educational on holiday.

Sheltering from the rain in a museum, I read, “Roman soldiers were allowed to have relationships with local women, but they were not allowed to marry them.” Obviously, here was a terrific story waiting to be told. All I had to do was find out everything there was to know about Roman Britain, invent things to fill the gaps, and work out how to put it all together in a novel…

So arose the Ruso (and Tilla) Medicus series of now nine books.

When she’s not researching or writing the Ruso novels, Ruth spends the occasional joyous week grovelling in mud with an archaeological trowel, because Roman Britain is still there. Underneath our feet.   https://ruthdownie.com

Alex Gough
The Emperor's Sword coverAlex’s books are  based around the adventures of Carbo the veteran centurion whose attempts to retire in peace are constantly thwarted. In his real, non-writing time, he’s a vet with some impressive technical books to his name.

He confesses to a decades long interest in Ancient Roman history, and the Carbo series (Watchmen of Rome, Bandits of Rome and the short story collection Carbo and the Thief) is the culmination of a lot of research into the underclasses of Ancient Rome.

His next book, The Emperor’s Sword (Imperial Assassin Book 1), features Roman scout Silus deep behind enemy lines in Caledonia.   http://www.romanfiction.com/books/

L J Trafford

Front cover of Palatine by LJ TraffordL. J. Trafford is the author of the The Four Emperors series. After gaining a degree in Ancient History, she toured across the amphitheatres of Western Europe. A collision with a moped in Rome cut her journey short; she returned to the UK battered and impressively bruised.

She spent several years working as a tour guide, which ended up being the perfect introduction to writing as she relied on creativity and entertainment when telling the history of the tour.

LJ now works in London doing something whizzy with computers, but still finds time to jump back in time to bring tales of Ancient Rome to her readers! Lively ( 😉 ) and witty on social media, she hosts the #phallusthursday Tweet – unmissable!    @traffordlj

Paul Chrystal
Paul works in medical publishing, but combines it with being history advisor to local visitor attractions such as the National Trust in York and ‘York’s Chocolate Story’, writing features for national newspapers and broadcasting on BBC radio.

A contributor to several history magazines, he’s the author of over 100 books published since 2010 on classical history, social histories of chocolate, coffee and tea, transport and local history of towns and cities in Yorkshire, Durham and Greater Manchester.

He regularly reviews for and contributes to ‘Classics for All’ and has contributed to a 6-part series for BBC2 ‘celebrating the history of some of Britain’s most iconic craft industries’, in this case chocolate in York.  From 2019  he’s edited York Historian, the journal of the Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society.   http://www.paulchrystal.com 

Jane Finnis
Write something about yourself,” they said, and I thought wow, at last I can tell the world how brilliant, charming and beautiful I am. Then they spoilt it all by saying, “But stick to the truth.” Oh well…

Jane’s been fascinated by the past ever since as a child she walked along the Roman roads of East Yorkshire and discovered that York’s medieval Minister was built over something even older, a Roman fortress.

At school she became completely hooked on Roman history when she read t Robert Graves’s I, Claudius and Claudius the God. After studying history at London University, she worked for some years in radio, mostly as a freelance broadcaster for the BBC.

Her Aurelia Marcella series is set in Yorkshire around a mansio, an official inn/way station and there’s a lot of murder about… http://www.janefinnis.com/books/

Alison Morton (That’s me!)

Alison Morton writes the award-winning Roma Nova alternative history thriller series featuring modern Praetorian heroines.

She blends her deep love of Roman history with six years’ military service and a life of reading historical, adventure and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected an MA History.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, Alison misspent decades clambering over Roman sites throughout Europe. Fascinated by the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain), at their creation by the complex, power and value-driven Roman civilisation, she started wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women…

Now she continues to write thrillers, cultivates a Roman herb garden and drinks wine in France with her husband. (This is my blog 😉 )

Do come to the Hospitium in the museum grounds and say salve! – we’re all quite nice people really –  or we’ll start a coup, force feed each other with fish garum sauce or possibly fall on our swords. See you there!

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO,  PERFIDITAS,  SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA,  INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO.  CARINA, a novella, and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories, are now available.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series.

Download INCEPTIO, the series starter, FREE as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

Taxing times the Roman way

French tax forms

As I sit down to fill in my tax return I’m looking for any distraction. This year in France, it’s compulsory to do it online. Aurelia and Carina have their ownbusiness managers in Roma Nova with some poor souls in their office tasked to complete the wretched things.

Anyway… My mind wandered off to thinking about how the ancient Romans were taxed. Today we have income tax, company/corporation tax, sales taxes/VAT, excise duties (car tax (UK), alcohol, cigarettes), local taxation, inheritance tax, to name but a few. But how similar are our taxes to theirs?

Globally, taxation under the Roman Empire was about 5 percent of gross product. Individuals typically paid from 2 to 5 percent. The tax code was complex;  direct and indirect taxes, some paid in cash and some in kind (hopefully not weeks’ old fish). Taxes might be specific to a province (read local authority/state), or special types of property such as fisheries or salt evaporation ponds (rateable value).

Tax revenue in Rome had one principal object – to maintain the military. Taxes in kind were accepted from less-monetised areas, especially if it was  grain, animals or goods supplied to army camps.

Roman tax collector calculating someone's taxes on an abacus (Metz, ca. 225 AD)

Roman tax collector calculating someone’s taxes on an abacus (Metz, ca. 225 AD)

The primary source of direct tax revenue was, unsurprisingly, individuals, who paid a poll tax (ha!) plus a tax on their land (rates/council tax), construed as a tax on its produce or productive capacity (business tax).

Supplemental forms could be filed by those eligible for certain exemptions; for example, Egyptian farmers could register fields as fallow (set aside) and tax-exempt depending on flood patterns of the Nile (tax credits).

The amount of tax payable was determined by the census, which required each head of household to make a declaration to the censor’s official and provide a head count of his household. He (and almost exclusively ‘he’) also had to account for  property he owned that was suitable for agriculture or habitation.

Read Lindsey Davis’ adventure “Two for the Lions” about the room for abuse and, although we love Falco, how tax collectors could make a not un-useful fee for this work.

A major source of indirect-tax revenue was the portoria – customs and tolls on imports and exports – including among provinces. (Thanks to free trade within the EU, we no longer have this in Europe – at present.)

Special taxes were levied on the slave trade. Toward the end of his reign, Augustus instituted a 4 percent tax on the sale of slaves, which Nero shifted from the purchaser to the dealers, who responded by raising their prices. An owner who manumitted a slave paid a “freedom tax”, calculated at 5 percent of value. (No legal modern equivalent, TG, but it does have echoes of stamp duty on property transactions.)

Inheritance tax of 5 percent was levied when Roman citizens above a certain net worth left property to anyone but members of their immediate family (inheritance tax). Revenues from the estate tax and from a one percent sales tax on auctions went toward the veterans’ pension fund (aerarium militare).(How sensible – MOD, please note.)

Low taxes helped the Roman aristocracy increase their wealth, which globally equalled or exceeded the revenues of the central government. An emperor sometimes replenished his treasury by confiscating the estates of the “super-rich”, but in the later period, the resistance of the wealthy to paying taxes was one of the factors contributing to the collapse of the Empire. (A chilling lesson for modern times which we would do well to take notice of.)

So the principle and methodology of taxation were two more things the Romans did for us. If we’re not careful with the one in the last paragraph, it may do for us as well.

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO,  PERFIDITAS,  SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA,  INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO.  CARINA, a novella, and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories, are now available.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series.

Download INCEPTIO, the series starter, FREE as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.