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Fiscus originally meant woven basket in Latin . Later the term was used one after the other:

  1. Money basket, cash register
  2. Treasury
  3. Imperial private treasury


In the principate , the Roman Empire, Fiscus was the name for the emperor's personal property, in particular that part of this property that flowed from the imperial provinces and formed the emperor's income and from which he covered his personal household - in contrast to the aerarium ( the flow of money from the senatorial provinces due to the Senate ). The Fiscus is thus an indication of the separation of power between the emperor and the senate in the early empire. In later years, as the emperor's power grew and that of the Senate dwindled, so did the size of the Fiscus . The satirist Juvenal wrote that much in the Adriatic caught turbot to Rome had sent to him to the fiscus of the emperor Domitian incorporate.

middle Ages

According to the usage in the Roman Empire, the Fiscus was the property of the ruler in the early Middle Ages, the imperial domain of the Gallo-Romans , a villa on this domain at the time of the Merovingians and Carolingians ( Fisc ).

Some Fisci served as meeting places for the greats of the empire, so that imperial assemblies and synods were named after them (for example Attigny , Ponthion , Quierzy , Clichy etc.).

Even in the early Middle Ages, the ruler's household was financed from the Fiscus - especially against the background of the subjects' constant refusal to pay taxes and the inability of the uneducated nobility to remedy the situation. The habit of the kings to repeatedly give away parts of the extensive fiscus to secure the loyalty of the nobility required a sustained policy of conquest to compensate for the loss. When this policy of conquest came to a standstill and at the same time inheritance divisions became common, the income of the respective rulers was reduced accordingly.

The word soon goes out of use, and was only used by modern historians to refer to royal income, above all to extraordinary income (i.e. beyond tax revenue ).

Modern times

Nowadays the state is referred to as the state as an economic entity with the Treasury , even if in common parlance the term is often limited to financial management .