previous next


PORISTAE (πορισταί). Very little has come down to us concerning the constitution and functions of this magistracy. All that we know is that it was at Athens a sort of financial board, appointed probably only from time to time when necessary for the purpose of raising extraordinary supplies (πόρους πορίζειν). The office is thus described: πορισταί εἰσιν ἀρχή τις Ἀθήνησιν ἥτις πόρους ἐζήτει (Bekker, Anecd. 294, 19). From this we may infer that they were a kind of committee who discussed how the money required for a special purpose might best be raised (by some special means). They were evidently regarded as belonging to the Treasury department, as we find the term united with ταμίαι in Demosthenes (Philipp. 1.49.33), and in like manner Antiphon classes them with the poletae [POLETAE] and practores [PRACTORES]. (De Chor. § 14.)

They were probably a committee of ways and means appointed to deal with such an emergency as that which forms the subject of the First Philippic. Hence it is that Demosthenes urges the Athenians to become their own poristae and treasurers. If such an institution no longer existed at Athens, there would have been no force in the allusion. We may also infer from an allusion in Aristophanes (Aristoph. Frogs 1505) that the office existed in his time. It is likewise not improbable that the assumption by robbers of the euphemistic name poristae arose from an allusion to an actual official body of that name (Arist. Rhet. 3.2, 10, οἱ λῃσταὶ αὑτοὺς ποριστὰς--commissioners of ways and means--καλοῦσι νῦν). Hitherto no record of the existence of a like board elsewhere in Greece has reached us, either in the ancient texts or inscriptions.


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