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COLA´CRETAE (κωλακρέται or κωλαγρέται: the latter is the more correct form, now restored to Aristophanes by Dindorf on the authority of the Ravenna manuscript), the name of very ancient magistrates at Athens. They derived their singular name, “collectors of hams,” from the circumstance that they received the hams from the animals sacrificed on certain occasions, not as a perquisite for themselves, but in aid of the meals in the Prytaneium, for which they had to provide (ἐκ τοϋ ἀγείρειν τὰς κωλᾶς: with these κωλαῖ cf. the Homeric μηροί, so often mentioned as the prime parts). This name is in itself a proof of their antiquity. The Colacretae were traced back to the times of the kings, when they had the control of financial matters; and in later times acted as the treasurers of the Naucrariae, out of whose funds they paid the expenses of the sacred embassies (θεωρίαι) sent to Delphi or elsewhere, and those of the public tables in the Prytaneium. The legislation of Solon left them untouched; but Cleisthenes deprived them of the charge of the finances, which he transferred to the APODECTAE now first appointed. When, however, the practice of paying the dicasts was introduced by Pericles, [p. 1.470]this payment was assigned to the Colacretae; and we again find them an important magistracy in the time of Aristophanes (Aristoph. Wasps 695, 724; Av. 1541: the scholia on these passages are the most important sources of our information). (Etym. M., Phot., Hesych., Suid., Tim.; Ruhnken on Timaeus, s.v. Boeckh, P. E. p. 173 ff. tr. Lewis2 = i.3 213 ed. Frankel, 1886 ; Schömann, Antiq. 1.327, E. T.) In his second edition Boeckh pointed out that there is no documentary evidence for the existence of the Colacretae after B.C. 403 (the archonship of Eucleides), but that this does not prove that they had ceased to exist. On this point compare Fränkel, note 302.

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