Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Death tax?

During the back-and-forths of the wars of succession following Alexander's death, the people of Athens revolted against Phocion, who'd ruled Attica on behalf of Cassander, and condemned him to death by hemlock:
The executioner underestimated the amount of hemlock needed, and (with Phocion still to drink) refused to prepare more unless he first got the price of it, 12 drachmas. In the end Phocion asked one of his friends for the money, complaining that in Athens it was impossible even to die unless you paid for the privilege.
-- Peter Green, Alexander to Actium, at 751 n.46.

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