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TELO´NES (τελώνης). Most of the taxes and duties at Athens were farmed by private persons, who took on themselves the task of collecting, and made payments in respect thereof to the state. They were called by the general name of τελῶναι, while the farmers of any particular tax were named after it ἐλλιμενισταί, εἰκοστῶναι, πεντηκοστῶναι, or, as the farmers and collectors were often the same persons, εἰκοστολόγοι, πεντηκοστολόγοι, &c. The tax or duty was let to the highest bidder. Several persons (like a societas of Roman publicani) often joined in the speculation (Plut. Alc. 5); the principal or chairman of the company, in whose name the bidding took place, and who was responsible to the state, was called ἀρχώνης (Andoc. de Myst. § 133). Of course securities were required from the farmer or the company for the payment of the dues (Dem. c. Timoc. p. 745.144; Andoc. l.c.). The office was frequently undertaken by resident aliens, citizens disliking it on account of the vexatious proceedings to which it led. The farmer had power to search for and seize contraband or uncustomed goods (Demosth. Pantaen. p. 958.6); he watched the harbours, markets, and other places to prevent smuggling; brought a (πάσις [PHASIS] or other legal process against persons whom he suspected of defrauding the revenue, or even arrested them and took them before a magistrate. To enable him to do all this, he was exempted from military service ([Dem.] c. Neaer. p. 1353.27). The taxes or duties were thus let out (τέλη ἐκδιδόναι) by the ten πωληταὶ acting under the authority of the senate [POLETAE]. The payments (καταβολαὶ τέλους, Dem. c. Timoc. p. 731.98), regulated by the νόμοι τελωνικοί (ib. p. 732), were made at stated Prytaneiai in the senate-house ([Dem.] c. Neaer. l.c.). There was usually one payment made in advance (προκαταβολή); the succeeding one or ones were probably called προσκαταβλήματα. (This, at any rate, is the account of Suidas; but it seems inconsistent with Demosthenes' use of προσκαταβλήματα in p. 731. Boeckh, edit. 3, accepts Suidas' account and supposes Demosthenes to be speaking inexactly.) On any failure in payment the farmer became ἄτιμος (c. Neaer. l.c.) if he was a citizen, and might be imprisoned (Dem. c. Timoc. pp. 745, 746). If the debt were not paid by the end of the ninth Prytaneia (probably the ninth of the year, the last but one, not the ninth from incurring the debt) it was doubled, and, if it were not then paid, the debtor's property was forfeited to the state (Andoc. de Myst. § 73; Dem. c. Timoc. p. 730). (See the speech of Demosthenes against Timocrates, and Boeckh's Staatshaushaltung, edit. 3, p. 406 ff.)


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