The Roman Emperor Vespasian (AD 9-79) is remembered as having, among other things, practiced strict economy in state and private expenditure, his frugality being vastly at odds with the financial recklessness of, for example, Nero’s reign. What was, however, one of the seemingly more bizarre financial measures he introduced?

Answer: He instituted a urine tax on Rome’s many public toilets. The ammonia extracted from urine was used as a cleaning agent and thereby was of significant value.

Source: General Historical Texts

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