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p94 Angaria

Article by Philip Smith, B.A., of the University of London
on pp94‑95 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

ANGARIA (ἀγγαρεία, Hdt. ἀγγαρήϊον) is a word borrowed from the Persians, signifying a system of posting, which was used among that people, and which, according to Xenophon, was established by Cyrus. Horses were provided, at certain distances, along the principal roads of the empire; so that couriers (ἄγγαροι), who also, of course, relieved one another at certain distances, could proceed without interruption, both night and day, and in all weathers (Herod. VIII.98; III.126; Xen. Cyrop. VIII.6 §17; Suid. s.v.). It may easily be supposed that, if the government arrangements failed in any point, the service of providing horses was made compulsory of individuals; and hence the word came to mean compulsory service in forwarding royal messages; and in this sense it was adopted by the Romans under the empire, and is frequently found in the Roman laws. The Roman angaria, also called angariarum exhibitio or praestatio, included the maintenance and supply, not only of horses, but of ships and messengers, in forwarding both letters and burdens; it is defined as a personale munus; and there was no ground of exemption from it allowed, except by the favour of the emperor (Dig. 50 tit. 4 s18 §§4, 29; tit. 5 s10, 11; Dig. 49 tit. 18 s4 § 1; Cod. Theod. 8 tit. 5; Cod. Justin. 12 tit. 51).

According to Suidas, the Persian word was originally p95applied to any bearers of burdens, and next, to compulsory service of any kind.


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