Revenue and Authority of Irish Kings

From A Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland 1906

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CHAPTER II....continued

4. Revenue and Authority.

The revenue of the king or ruling chief, of whatever grade, which enabled him to support his court and household, was derived from three main sources. First: he was allowed, for life or for as long as he continued chief, a tract of land, which varied in size according to the rank of the king. Second: payments from the individual chiefs, farmers, and artisans, over whom he ruled: all according to their means. These were almost always paid in kind:—cattle and provisions, plough-oxen, hogs, sheep, with mantles and other articles of dress, dyestuffs; and sometimes gold and silver reckoned in ounces. Third: payment for lending stock, as described in chap. iv., sect. 5. But in addition to all this he might have land as his own personal property: and there were other minor sources of income.

A king usually secured the allegiance of his sub-kings and chiefs by taking hostages; so that every king had hostages residing in his palace, who all lived in one particular house, specially allotted to them.

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