This section of the book is from the "Introduction To Public Finance" book, by Carl Copping Plehn.
In Athens we find a highly developed system of expenditures, almost communistic in character, and greater than that of other nations of Greece on account of the sources upon which the city treasury might draw and the peculiar circumstances in which the city was placed.1 The expenditure for public buildings and public works was particularly large, as were the extravagances of public festivals and sacrifices, of donations to the people, compensations for attending the assemblies, and the like. Peculiar to Athens, among all the nations of that era, was the assistance rendered at the public expense to the poor and especially to the children of those fallen in war. Regular expenditures are said to have varied from 400 to 1000 talents, or from $410,400 to $1,026,000. Extraordinary expenses in time of war were relatively small on account of the rendition of voluntary services by the citizens.
1 The outline in the text is necessarily very brief ; for a longer account see Boeckh, The Public Economy of the Athenians.
In Rome there was no distinct public budget in the earlier days of the republic.1 The public wealth was not distinct from the private wealth of the citizens. With the increase of the provinces and the receipt of tribute from them came regular methods of public expenditure. The items directly borne by the State were the cost of the priesthood, of buildings and other structures and roads, of the army, of the general administration, and of the distributions of food, grain for the city population, donations of money, oil, and wine. The army was first paid in 406 B.c. But for a long time afterward the remuneration amounted to little more than the reimbursement of expenses. At first the Emperor was supposed to live from his own private property, but as he had control of all the public revenues, the distinction was difficult to maintain. The later courts were extremely extravagant Greek, and especially Roman, expenditure had many features similar to modern expenditure. In classic civilisation, division of labour was sufficiently developed to render possible the payment of those who devoted all their energy to public affairs. But continuity of development is lacking.l See Marquardt, Rőmische Staatsverwaltung, Bd. II.
From the fall of Rome to the rise of feudalism there is a reversion to the earlier forms of public life. Public expenditure is not separable from private. The citizen serves the State without remuneration, and there are no public expenses proper.