) were property confiscated at Athens and sold by public
auction. The confiscation of property was one of the most common sources of
revenue in many Greek states; and Aristophanes (Aristoph. Wasps 659
103, with the Scholia) mentions the δημιόπρατα
as a separate branch of the public revenue at Athens.
A chapter of Boeckh's Public Economy
is devoted to this
subject (book iii. ch. 14; cf. also 2.8, p. 197, E. T. =
3 1.251). These sales. were under
the direction of the POLETAE
), who presented their reports to the
people in the first assembly of each prytany (Pollux, 8.95); they also set
up lists of δημιόπρατα
(probably after the
sale) upon tablets of stone in the Acropolis, at Eleusis (where many
forfeitures; accrued to the temple of Demeter and Cora under the law of
), and elsewhere. Several
fragments of such lists are preserved in inscriptions; one of the most
important, throwing: light on the prices realised by the Poletae, is
discussed in Boeckh-Fränkel (2.129 ff.). The danger of confiscation
was constantly impending over public debtors, such as the farmers of the
revenue and their sureties, and those in arrear with taxes (ὑπερήμεροι
): and it was aggravated by the
encouragement given to informers, especially when, as in the time of the
Social War, the treasury was labouring under chronic deficits (cf. Boeckh,
3 1.511). For examples of the harshness with which the law of
distraint might be carried out, and the suffering thereby caused to
individuals, see Dem. c. Androt.
p. 610.56 ff.; c.
p. 762.197; and the speech against Neaera, p. 1347.6 ff.
Not only the contents of a house might be taken under an execution, but the
very doors were sometimes wrenched off (Lys. de Bon.
§ 31 ; Dem. c. Timocr.
1. c.). On
in general, see
Boeckh--un>Fränkel, Index, s. v.
Meier, de Bonis
p. 160 ff.