By Paul Friedlander
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Additional resources for Epigrammata Greek Inscriptions in Verse from the Beginnings to the Persian Wars
The construction of monumental buildings as well as munificence outside the kingdom became a substitute for the tribute which the king did not pay (because, legally, it was not owed) to the imperial Roman state” (Gabba 1990:165). While there is no doubt that Herod was a great benefactor, the inscriptional evidence is meager. On a stone scale weight of Herod, Meshorer restored the letters EU as εὐεργέτου (genitive for benefactor; Meshorer 1970b:97: the transcription leaves a question mark, while the translation does not).
By the time of Herod, however, salaries were probably paid in silver, with the accounting often remaining in asses. Sometimes these salaries were calculated in gold aurei (three per stipendium), or bronze sestertii (300 per stipendium), in times when there is no reason to believe soldiers were actually paid in those coins (Wolters 2000–2001:580). It is most probable that different sums were paid in different metals and denominations. An average salary in Herod’s day would have been paid in silver (see previous section; Rappaport 1976:175 n.
It is possible that Herod’s forces served two-thirds of a year by the time of the lull in military operations following the Arbel caves operation, justifying a double salary payment. While we do not know whether Herod—who was not a stingy person—was paying his soldiers (and the Roman soldiers under his command) the going rate, the sum specified suggests he may have been. What is clear is that the payment fits the Roman salary model. The Greek payment model, opsonion, was monthly (Griffith 1935:274–316).