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Taxation And Imposts

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Chapter Summary

Mediaeval public finances lacked most modern appurtenances. There was no budget and no serious economic planning, no income tax and real accounting, but there were revenues and expenditure, direct and indirect taxes and the wherewithal to run town and country, in peacetime and in war. The oldest direct tax levied on Jews was the gisia, dating back to Arab times, and the augustale (after the coin by that name), going back to pre-Aragonese times (probably Emperor Frederick II). King Alphonso was the first Aragonese king to impose a large tax on all Jewish communities in Sicily. The Crown enjoyed the income from most indirect taxes, including those on exports and imports, from and to Sicily, and those on internal production, movement and consumption of goods. The dimensions of exports, and their relative importance to the Sicilian economy, and hence to taxation, have been downplayed in recent research.

Keywords: Aragonese king; Jewish communities; public finances; Sicilian economy; taxation



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