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Bill Thayer

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 p95  Article by Philip Smith, B.A., of the University of London
on p95 of

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

ANNO′NA is used to signify, 1. The produce of the year in corn,º fruit, wine, &c., and hence, 2. Provisions in general, especially the corn which, in the latter years of the republic, was collected in the storehouses of the state, and sold to the poor at a cheap rate in times of scarcity; and which, under the emperors,​a was distributed to the people gratuitously, or given as pay and rewards. [Congiarium; Frumentatio; Praefectus Annonae.]

Thayer's Note:

a collected . . . under the emperors: collected, that is, from the landowners of certain provinces — it was in fact a kind of tax. For the evolution of the term in the later Roman Empire, thru the meanings of "tax" and "salary", see Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, ch. 2, pp46‑47 (including notes).

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