from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Icon tools.svg This article or section was due to content flaws on the quality assurance side of the editorial history entered. This is done in order to bring the quality of the articles in the field of history to an acceptable level. Articles that cannot be significantly improved are deleted. Please help fix the shortcomings in this article and please join the discussion !
Tribute - Apadana, Persepolis, Iran

Tribute ( Latin tributum "levy", "tax"; literally "assigned", to tribuere "to assign") historically denotes a levy or tax . The tribute was paid as a sign of submission or loyalty to the vassal . As a rule, these were regular payments in cash or in kind that were not only economically significant but also expressed the balance of power.


Various ancient states demanded tribute ( ancient Greek φόρος ὑποτελείας phóros , German 'carrying' ) from the areas or peoples they had subjugated or threatened. In the case of alliances , the weaker party gave the stronger party the tribute as a token of allegiance and for funding certain projects - usually to fund the military . Tribute was not only paid in the form of money , valuables were also available and people who were held hostage for illegal behavior. The term can also be applied to religious donations, for temple service or other shrines .

Athens took tribute from the other cities of the Attic League . Babylon , Carthage and Rome took tribute from their provinces and vassal states.

In ancient Rome, the term originally referred to a tax paid by the citizen to the state, which the state could but did not have to repay: The Roman Republic demanded tribute from its citizens in the form of the equivalent of property tax with the aim of waging war . Since 167 BC However, Roman citizens were then exempt from the tributum , even if an inheritance tax was reintroduced under Emperor Augustus .

In late antiquity , tributes played an important role in Roman foreign policy towards Teutons, Huns and Persian Sassanids ; The emperors tried to reinterpret the payments to the barbarians as "aid money" ( subsidies ) in order to counteract the appearance of inferiority.

It also happened that intruders like Vikings or Celts demanded tribute (see: Danegeld ) instead of raiding the place so that it could buy itself free by paying a certain amount of valuables; a regular tribute then resembled a protection payment .

To stop paying tributes was a massive provocation that called the hierarchy between donor and recipient into question. When, for example, King Henry I stopped paying tribute to the Hungarians in the 10th century , this was tantamount to a declaration of war.

Various medieval rulers forced tribute from their vassals or peasants , officially in exchange for protection. From this the medieval tax system developed .

Usage today

The symbolic meaning of tribute as a sign of respect and submission has been preserved in the phrase "pay tribute to someone ". In today's everyday language, tribute often describes the recognition that is given to a person, an activity or a product (see also tribute album ).

It is also said that “something demands a high toll” in the sense of “something demands high sacrifices (pay)”, e.g. B. a natural disaster, disease or war.

On the original meaning of "dispensing" recalls the Hydrographic the term tributary : A tributary ( Engl. Tributary ) is always tributary compared to the larger river into which it flows .

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Tribute  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations