Chapter

However, that was public calamity and the common grief of all once the census was taken up in the provinces and cities. Because census agents were spread everywhere exacting everything, there was hostile disturbance and the likeness of horrible captivity. Fields were measured out piece by piece; vines and trees were counted; animals of every kind were marked down; men were counted individually; in the cities, urban and rustic population were united; all the marketplaces were packed with families; each one was present with his children and his slaves. Tor-turings and beatings resounded; sons were held up against their parents; the most faithful slaves were questioned and harassed against their masters, and even wives against husbands. If all things else failed, men were tortured to self-accusation, and when pain had overcome them, crimes which were not their own they had ascribed to them. No excuse was made for age or health. The sick and weak were brought out; the ages of individuals were reckoned, years being added to the young and taken away from the old. Everything was full of grief and sadness.

The things which those of old had done against conquered peoples by right of war, he dared to do against Romans and those subject to Romans because his forefathers had been subjected to a census which Trajan victoriously imposed upon the constantly rebelling Dacians as a punishment. After this, men put down a price for their heads, gave a fee for life. And faith was not put in the same census takers, but others were sent in their wake to find out more in formation, and the process was ever repeated. Though these did not find out anything, they added what they pleased, so that they might not seem to have been sent in vain. Meanwhile, the animals diminished in number and men died; nevertheless, taxes were exacted for the dead, so that it was not free of charge either to live or to die.

There remained only the beggars from whom nothing could be exacted as a fee. Misery and hard luck had made them safe from every kind of injury. But, indeed, that "reverent" man pitied them so that they should not want! He ordered them all to be collected, carried off on ships, and dumped into the sea. Such a merciful man, to see to it that there would be no one in wretched circumstances under his rule! Thus, while he takes care that no one avoids the census through pretense of destitution, he kills a multitude of the truly destitute contrary to all human principles.

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