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p1002 Salarium

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p1002 of

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

SALARIUM, a salary. The ancients derive the word from sal, i.e. salt (Plin. H. N. XXXI.41); the most necessary thing to support human life being thus mentioned as a representative for all others. Salarium therefore comprised all the provisions which the Roman officers were supplied, as well as their pay in money. In the time of the republic the name salarium does not appear to have been used; it was Augustus who in order to place the governors of provinces and other military officers in a greater state of dependence, gave salaries to them or certain sums of money, to which afterwards various supplies in kind were added (Suet. Aug. 36; Tacit. Agric. 42; Treb. Poll. Claud. 14 and 15; Flav. Vopisc. Prob. 4). Before the time of Augustus, the provincial magistrates had been provided in their provinces with everything they wanted, through the medium of redemptores (πάροχοι), who undertook, for a certain sum paid by the state, to provide the governors with all that was necessary to them. During the empire we find instances of the salarium being paid to a person who had obtained a province, but was nevertheless not allowed to govern it. In this case the salarium was a compensation for the honour and advantages which he might have derived from the actual government of a province, whence we can scarcely infer that the sum of 10,000 sesterces, which was offered on such an occasion (Dion Cass. LXXVIII.22), was the regular salarium for a proconsul.

Salaria were also given under the empire to other officers, as to military tribunes (Plin. H. N. XXXIV.6; Juv. III.132), to assessores [Assessor], to senators (Suet. Nero, 10), to the comites of the princeps on his expeditions (Suet. Tib. 46), and others. Antoninus Pius fixed the salaries of all the rhetoricians and philosophers throughout the empire (Capitol., Ant. Pius, 11), and when persons did not fulfil their duties, he punished them by deducting from their salaries (Capitol., ibid. 7). Alexander Severus instituted fixed salaries for rhetoricians, grammarians, physicians, haruspices, mathematicians, mechanicians and architects (Lamprid. Alex. Sev. 44); but to how much these salaries amounted we are not informed. Respecting the pay which certain classes of priests received, see Sacerdos.


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