Select Papyri, 2.216


Original text: PFay 20
Date: A.D. 222.

Proclamation of the Emperor Caesar, son of the deified Marcus Antoninus Pius, grandson of the deified Septimius Severus Pius, Marcus Aurelius Alexander Pius Felix Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, holder of the tribunician power, consul, father of his country.

. . . lest for the purpose of making an annual (?) manifestation of their joy at my accession to empire they should be compelled to contribute more than they are able. Wherefore I have formed this design, not wanting in precedents, among which I sought to follow the example of Trajanus and Marcus, my own ancestors and emperors who have made themselves specially worthy of admiration, whose policy in other matters also I am resolved to emulate, so that, if the poverty of the government in these times had not prevented me, I should have offered a much more conspicuous proof of my magnanimity, and should not have hesitated to remit likewise whatever arrears were still owing from the past for contributions of this sort and whatever sums had been already voted under the title of crowns for my proclamation as Caesar or should still be voted for the same reason by the cities. But though I fear that I cannot remit these for the reason which I have stated a little above, yet I have not failed to observe that these, as far as I can see under present circumstances, are all that the cities can afford to pay. Therefore let all persons in all the cities both in Italy and in other countries know that I remit to them the sums due in place of golden crowns on the occasion of my accession to the empire, to which I have attained in accordance with the wishes and prayers of all, and that I do this not owing to a superfluity of wealth but to my personal policy, in pursuance of which I have always striven since I became Caesar to restore our declining fortunes, not by extortion of taxes but by economy only, avoiding expenditure on private ends. For it was not my aim to amass money by every means, but rather by liberality and kindnesses to increase the welfare of this empire, in order that my governors whom I have sent abroad to occupy charges, and whom I tested and selected with the utmost care before dispatching, should likewise make it their purpose to behave with the utmost moderation. For the governors of the provinces will learn more and more how zealously it behoves them to spare and be considerate for the peoples over whom they have been placed, when they are able to see the emperor also conducting the business of his realm with so much propriety and moderation and self-restraint. Let the magistrates in each city see to it that copies of this my edict are set up in public in full view of those who wish to read. Year 1, Pauni 30.

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