previous next


POLE´TAE (πωληταί). The poletae at Athens were a board of ten officials or magistrates which formed one of the departments of the Treasury. They were chosen by lot, one from each tribe (Harpocration, s. v. πωληταί). They were under the supervision of the Boule of Five Hundred, and its ratification was required to give validity to their proceedings. It was their duty to let out to farmers by a kind of auction the revenues arising from all tolls, customs, and taxes; to let on lease public lands, and plots of ground for mining purposes at Laurium. They superintended the Architecton in giving out the contracts for works to be done for the state, such as the building and repairing of the walls (C. I. A. 2.167). They likewise put up to public sale the property of public debtors who had failed to discharge their obligations to the state within the appointed time, and of,those who were in arrears with their income-tax (εἰσφορά), as well as the property and persons of such aliens who had been convicted on a γραφὴ ξενήας of usurping the rights of citizenship, and of metoeci, who had been convicted on a charge of not having enrolled themselves under a προστάτης (γραφὴ ἀπροστασίου), or on a charge of having failed to perform their obligations to their προστάτης (γραφὴ ἀποστασίου), and for not having paid the resident alien tax of 12 drachms (τὸ μετοίκιον). [METOECI.] They likewise put up fog sale all property confiscated (δημιόπρατα, δημευόμενα). They had also the duty of setting up public inscriptions (στῆλαι, C. I. A. 1.61), and under the direction of the Archon Eponymus, who supervised the property of orphans, let out on leases the property of minors. They elected a president (πρύτανις); and their office, where they put up for auction the various kinds of property, was called τὸ τωλητήριον (cf. [Dem.] c. Aristog. 787.57, τὸ τωλητήριον τοῦ μετοικίου).

We find the office of πωλητὴς in other parts of Greece, as, for instance, at Halicarnassus (Bullet. 5.212), where there seems to have been but a single poletes instead of a board; whilst at Cos we find on an inscription a board of poletae letting out the contract for the setting up of a proxenia-decree on a pillar (Cauer,2 160), and a similar board of poletae giving out a contract for the engraving of a similar pillar accords to the agreement drawn up by the Architecton (Cauer,2 181). Finally, we find at Epidamnus, the colony of Corcyra, a functionary called poletes, elected annually, Plutarch (Quaest. Gr. 29) says that the Epidamnians being neighbours of the Illyrians, and finding that their citizens became corrupted in their trading with the barbarians, elected a poletes through whom all bargains and barterings were carried out. [W.RI]

(Appendix). The statements in the article are confirmed by the account of the Poletae in 100.47 with some additional details. They are said to ratify the lease of revenues conferred on any τελώνης by the βουλή, in conjunction with the ταμίας τῶν στρατιωτικῶν and the superintendents of the theoricon. The Poletae deliver to the βουλὴ tablets (γραμματεῖα λελενκωμένα) stating the amount of payments (καταβολαὶ) to be made in each prytany. The greater number [p. 2.1071]were made in the 9th prytany of the year (cf. TELONES).

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: