). 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
). The office is thus described: πορισταί εἰσιν ἀρχή τις Ἀθήνησιν ἥτις πόρους
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
1.49.33), and in like manner Antiphon
classes them with the poletae [POLETAE
] and practores [PRACTORES
]. (De Chor.
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.
3.2, 10, οἱ λῃσταὶ αὑτοὺς
--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.