Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Medieval Income Taxes

Papal taxes, begun in the 12th century, required Catholic clergy to pay one-fortieth of their income to support the crusaders. The practice was continued by later popes. Originally, the taxes went directly to the crusaders.
In the 13th century, the collection of taxes supported crusades outside the Holy Land, such as Pope Gregory IX’s war against Frederick II, the Holy Roman Emperor. The taxes went straight to the pope to distribute as he saw fit, or in some cases, to a nobleman who promised to go on crusade.
During the 14th and 15th centuries, papal taxes were used for wars against the Ottoman Turks and others. Next time you pay income taxes, remember that it’s not a new institution, and nothing much has changed. Working citizens still have to pay, and don’t have much to say about how the governing body spends it.

The image is of Mercury, god of Commerce, handing a bag of gold to the financier of the Revolutionary War.

6 comments:

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Taxes are no joking matter! My husband spends a great deal of time working on ours.

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Great blog. As with sex, nothing much new has been invented involving taxes, too. Both have been around for eons.....

Janet Lane said...

Taxes to fund wars. Reminds me of that song, "Everything old is new again." Interesting blog, Joyce. Thanks for sharing!

Joyce Moore said...

Jacqueline: No, they're sure no fun. I always do mine, and I used Intuit this year (online) for first time. You still have to do all the work, but they have little reminders which help. It's my least favorite time of year!

Joyce Moore said...

Anna: Thanks for stopping by. Yep, you're right. The Pope, or kings, or Congress--nothing's changed.

Joyce Moore said...

Hi Janet: Nice to see you. We still have to get that login problem straightened out. Glad you liked the blog.