Shield money

A man between twenty and forty years old who does not serve as a soldier must pay shield money for a notional replacement. The poorest men are only obliged to serve as rowers or archers: their shield money is one obol per day (the pay of a rower or an unarmoured archer). Men of the next rank by wealth should serve as peltasts: their shield money is one and a quarter obols per day (the pay of a peltast providing his own panoply). Men of the middle rank by wealth should serve as hoplites or [[[officer]]s: their shield money ranges from two obols per day (the pay of a hoplite providing his own panoply) to fifteen per day (nine per day for a tagmarkh with his own panoply, one per day for his mahout, and five per day to feed his elephant). The richest men pay ship money instead of shield money.

In the Archaic Period, shield money is usually due for the duration of a campaign from such men as will not, or are not called to, serve in the campaign. Shield money receipts are used to pay mercenaries, or to defray other costs of the war. In most states, an upper limit is placed on the number of days per year a militiaman must serve without pay, and usually a man who does not serve must pay shield money for no more than this many days per year. (The limit averages thirty days per year.) Metics living under the protection of a state must pay shield-money, they are rarely allowed to serve in the militia instead.

In the Classical Period, even in peace-time, the imperial government collects shield money from warrior-age metics and from citizens who do not drill with the militia. Shield money receipts, totalling over one hundred and twenty million obols per year, are the mainstay of government revenue. They are collected by the episkopoi and used to pay the troops of their tagmai.

In the Decadent Period the prefects are required to hand shield money receipts to the tagmarkh for the support of the tagma. They therefore prefer that citizens actually do their militia service, and that metics be made citizens, but they dare not take obvious action along these lines, for fear of the ire of the polemarkh.

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.