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This article begins by noting that military revolutions and civil wars in early modern Europe provide an unduly narrow framework for understanding the transition from a domain to a tax state. Taking Anglo-Saxon England as a case study, it is suggested that political restrictions led to the establishment of direct and indirect taxation, thereby providing rulers with revenues which surpassed those from domain resources. The main section of the article uses sources from coinage and wills to poetry and letters in order to give a general idea of the chronological development of a medieval tax state. This analysis challenges the views of the new fiscal historians, who argue that a collapse in a medieval domain state acts as the precondition for the emergence of a tax state. Instead, this article suggests that new policies arose because of the need of Anglo-Saxon kings and their advisers to take account of the requirements of ecclesiastical authorities, as well as a heavy revenue imperative, in paying for resistance against the Vikings. The article ends with a discussion of the comparative applications of the contexts and catalysts which lead to the adoption of pioneering fiscal policies.