Collecting Taxes in Roman Egypt
In both The Deadliest Lie and The Deadliest Sport, the reader hears of the complex array of taxes imposed on all males (slaves included) between 14 and 60 years of age. The only exceptions were Roman citizens, priests, scholars in the Museum, and non-Roman, high-ranking officials.
Although most appointed as tax collectors had bid successfully for the post, by Miriam’s time, some were given the task against their will. They were then responsible for handing over a certain amount of money to Rome. How they collected it was of no concern to the authorities. In fact, some were known to whip their victims even after death to extort payment from relatives for the release of the body.
Why did the tax collectors resort to any cruelty to exact payment? They knew they had to make up the money they failed to collect but could keep any surplus for themselves.