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March 1, 2013     Post-Gazette
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Page2 POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 1,2013 Stir e ep_K_ Nostra by Prof. Edmund Turiello A weekly column highlighting some of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. FAENUS Most of our concerns today seem to be centered around "faenus" which is the Latin term for interest, debt, profit, gain or financial advantage. In early Greece the rate of interest on invested capital was not restricted by law but was left entirely to arrange- ments between the parties concerned. The average rate was considered to be quite high, far higher than the rental fee for houses or for land. This was due to the scarcity of ready cash and the difficulty in accumu- lating any large amount of capital. During the time of Demosthenes (about 300 B.C.) twelve percent was regarded as a rather low rate of interest and higher rates, up to eighteen per- cent, were quite common. In bottomry (insurance on ship- ping cargo) the ordinary rate of interest at Athens was twenty percent. In the event of failure in the payment of interest due, it was permis- sible to charge compound interest. Interest was com- puted and charged by one of two different methods. It was quite usual to agree on the amount of a monthly pay- ment or by an annual pay- ment based upon a fraction of the principal. Interest was usually paid on the last day of each month but yearly payments were also possible. In early Rome, as at Athens, the rate of interest was originally unrestricted and it was not until after much work was done that a standard rate of eight and one third percent was estab- lished. The law limited the interest rate for Roman citizens, but usury (goug- ing) was quite the common practice were foreigners were concerned. The exchange of commerce between foreign countries prompted changes in inter- est payments. Money was no longer lent by the year but by the month and monthly interest was paid on the first day of each month. Notice of intention to recall a loan was given on the ides (13 th or 15 th of the month) and re- imbursement took place on the first day of the following month. The regular rate of interest under this system was one percent monthly, or twelve percent per year. The accumulation of large fortunes in Rome at the end of the Republic lessened the rate of interest that was charged. The chief field for usury was then directed toward the provinces, where the inhabitants were com- pelled to raise loans at any price because of exorbitant taxes. Justinian, the great Byzantine emperor, was the one who eventually fixed a permanent interest rate in ordinary investments at six percent, in commer- cial enterprises at eight per- cent and in bottomry (previ- ously unlimited) at twelve percent. It is certainly a great mys- tery to me why our ancestors were so concerned about money an interest. All they had to do was to look to their government leadership like we do. If you need more money ... just print it ... how simple can you get? The Judean Langone Scholarship Foundation They gave it their best shot but there didn't seem to be much interest. Unfortunately The Judean Langone Scholarship Founda- tion will not be able to contribute at the present time to the Elliot School and St. John School. They will try again in the spring. Their goal is to donate at least $I,000 to each school and they plan to meet this goal. But it did not happen with the recent rummage sale. Also they did not get enough interest in the raffle. They will hang on for one more week. If anyone would like to purchase some tickets, please contact Elizabeth at 857-312-0086. Elizabeth Langone Rattigan thanks you for your continued support. Our representative will be available to: Accept payments. (Check or money order ony-no cash, please.) Process elderly or disabled persons discount orms. Arrange payment plans for delinquent accounts. Resolve billing or service complaints. Review water consumption data for your property. Explain BWSC customer programs. Need more information? Call the Community Services Department at 617-989-7000. Boston Water and Sewer Commission 980 Harrison Avenue Boston, MA 02119 www.bwsc.org State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz Appointed Chairman of Public Service Committee State Representative Aaron Michlewitz was re- cently appointed Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Service by Speaker Robert DeLeo. "It is truly an honor to be named Chairman of the Public Service Committee. I am excited to start working with the members of the committee and to take on this new challenge," said Representative Michlewitz. "I want to thank Speaker DeLeo and my colleagues for appointing me to this posi- tion. The Public Service committee deals with such a wide variety of issues from pensions, collective bar- gaining agreements and employee benefits. I am look- ing forward to deepening my understanding of these is- sues and tackling them in order to ensure that the Commonwealth maintains its financial integrity while still meeting its obligations to its public servants." The Public Service Com- mittee deals with all mat- ters concerning salaries, civil service, retirement of public employees and col- lective bargaining for state employees and other public employees. With over 400 pieces of legislation falling under its purview this ses- sion, it is considered one of the busiest committee's in the Legislature. Commit- tees are now in the process of organizing the legislation that it has been assigned and scheduling public hear- ings. Committees have un- til March of 2014 to hold pub- lic hearings on legislation before deciding how to rule on the bills. Michlewitz served as the Chair of the Election Laws Committee last session. In a little under 4 years since being sworn in, Michlewitz has also served as the Chair of the Boston Delegation, as well as Vice-Chair of the Transportation Committee. PASSPORT DAY IN THE USA The Boston Passport Agency at I0 Causeway Street, Boston, is host- ing Passport Day in the USA, a spe- cial event on Saturday, March 9, 2013 from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm. to provide passport information to U.S. citizens and to accept pass- port applications. On this day only no appointments are needed for applicants at the Boston Passport Agency. You may apply for a pass- port for routine or expedited ser- vice. Hundreds of local accep- tance facilities around the country are joining the Department of State in celebrat- ing Passport Day in the USA 2013, a national passport acceptance and outreach event. U.S. citizens must present a valid passport book when entering the United States by air. U.S. citizens entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda at land borders and seaports of entry must present a passport book, passport card or other travel documents approved by the U.S. Government. More information on Passport Day in the USA and how to apply for a U.S. passport is available at traveLstate.gov. U.S. citizens may also obtain passport information by phone, in English and Spanish, by calling the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 877-487-2778. r INCOME TAX PREPARATION ESTABLISHED IN 1938 e-mail: gmagoon@aol.com CELEBRATING 75 YEARS IN BUSINESS Financial Services Professional Tax Consultant Personal & Business Year Round Service M.P. & Co. TAX & FINANCIAL SWRVlC00 GRACE PREVITE MAGOON, EA 617-569-0175 146 Maverick Street, East Boston, MA 02128 .,....