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NAUCRA´RIA (ναυκραρία), a subdivision of the inhabitants of Attica in early times, for purposes of taxation as applied to military equipment.

The institution of ναυκραρίαι and ναύκραροι has been for a long time a much-debated point: see Schol. in Aristoph. Cl. 37, οἱ πρότερον ναύκραροι εἴτε ὑπὸ Σόλωνος κατασταθέντες εἴτε καὶ πρότερον. That their establishment was due to Solon is the view of Gilbert (Jahrb. Class. Phil. 111.1875, p. 9 ff.) and of Stein (on Hdt. 5.71). We have the testimony of a fragment of Aristotle to this effect; see Photius, s. v. ναυκραρία: τὸ πρότερον οὕτως ἐκάλουν ναυκραρία καὶ ναύκραρος: ναυκραρία μὲν ὁποῖόν τι συμμορία καὶ δῆμος, ναύκραρος δὲ ὁποῖόν τι δήμαρχος, Σόλωνος οὕτως ὀνομάσαντος, ὡς καὶ Ἀριστοτέλης φησί: καὶ ἐν τοῖς νόμοις λέγει, ἐάν τις ναυκραρίας ἀμφισβητῇ καὶ τοὺς ναυκράρους τοὺς κατὰ ναυκραρίαν: ὕστερον δὲ ἀπὸ Κλεισθένους δῆμοί εἰσιν καὶ δήμαρχοι ἐκλήθησαν: ἐκ τῆς Ἀριστοτέλους πολιτείας ὃν τρόπον διέταξε τὴν πόλιν Σόλων: φυλαὶ δὲ ἦσαν τέσσαρες κάθαπερ πρότερον καὶ φυλοβασιλεῖς τέσσαρες: ἐκ δὲ τῆς φυλῆς ἑκάστης ἦσαν νενεμημέναι τριττύες μὲν τρεῖς, ναυκραρίαι δὲ δώδεκα καθ᾽ ἑκάστην. From this passage it has been held that Solon constituted, out of the members of each of the four old Ionic tribes, three large divisions, called τριττύες, subdividing each τριττὺς into four ναυκραρίαι. Thus there were in all (4 [multi] 3 =) 12 τριττύες and (12 [multi] 4 =) 48 ναυκραρίαι. So also Pollux, 8.108: ναυκραρία δ᾽ἠ-ν τέως φυλῆς δωδέκατον μέρος καὶ ναύκραροι ἦσαν δώδεκα, τέτταρες κατὰ τριττὸν ἑκάστην:--and Hesychius, s. v. ναύκλαροι: τινὲς δὲ ἀφ᾽ ἑκάστης φυλῆς δώδεκα. In the formation of the ναυκραρίαι, neighbouring members of the same tribe would seem to have been grouped together in such a way that a ναυκραρία was practically a local district or parish, and came to be so regarded: this follows from its comparison above to the Cleisthenean demos, and from the fact that the single surviving name of a ναυκραρία (Phot. s. v. Κωλιάς, Bekker, Anecd. 275, 20) is clearly a local designation.

Schömann, however (Jahrb. Class. Phil. 111.1875, p. 454 ff.), and Duncker (Gesch. Alt. v. p. 120, ed. 5) contest the correctness of this view, so far as the institution of ναυκραρίαι by Solon is concerned. They hold that the words of Aristotle quoted by Photius (see above) by no means amount to an assertion that Solon established the ναυκραρίαι, and they hold that what he did was perhaps to re-organise a previously existing method of subdivision, and modify it to suit his new constitution. The well-known passage in Hdt. 5.71 is of cardinal importance in this question. In relating the abortive attempt of Cylon to make himself tyrant of Athens, Herodotus, referring to the defeated revolutionists who had taken refuge at the shrine of Athena, uses the words τούτους ἀνιστᾶσι μὲν οἱ πρυτάνεις τῶν ναυκράρων, οἵπερ ἔνεμον τότε τὰς Ἀθήνας. (Stein, in loc., very reasonably suggests the emendation ναυκραριέων, “representatives of the ναυκραρίαι,” i. e. the ναύκραροι.) Unless Herodotus is mistaken in his use of the words, this passage is proof positive that the ναυκραρίαι existed some time before Solon, and probably some time before Cylon also. It is not, however, easy to see in what sense the ναύκραροι could be said, at that period of time, νέμειν, i. e. to govern, τ̀ας Ἀθήνας. Stein and others therefore maintain that Herodotus, perhaps following an account which sought to lessen the responsibility of the Alcmaeonidae for the murder, has erroneously attributed to the ναύκραροι what was really done by the nine ἄρχοντες, and that the account given by Thucydides of the Cylonian revolution is specially intended to correct Herodotus on this point. See Thuc. 1.126: χρόνου δὲ ἐπιγιγνομένου οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι τρυχόμενοι τῇ προσεδρείᾳ ἀπῆλθον οἱ πολλοί, ἐπιτρέψαντες τοῖς ἐννέα ἄρχουσι τὴν φυλακὴν καὶ τὸ πᾶν αὐτοκράπορσι διαθεῖναι ἂν ἄριστα διαγιγνώσκωσι: τότε δὲ τὰ πολλὰ τῶν πολιτικῶν οἱ ἐννέα ἄρχοντες ἔπρασσον.

The derivation of the word (ϝαῦς and the root καρ, by metathesis κρα,, as seen in κραίνω; see G. Meyer, Curtius' Stud. vii. p. 175 f., in opposition to Wecklein, Bayr. Ak. 1873, p. 42 f., who connects ναυ- with ναίω, “to dwell” ) suggests the object of the institution, which was to provide Athens with a fleet. The ναυκραρίαι were thus the predecessors of the συμμορίαι (Bekk. Anecd. 283, 20: ναύκραροι: οἱ τὰς ναῦς παρασκευάζοντες καὶ τριηραρχοῦντες--Aristot. in Phot. s. v. ναυκραρία: ναυκραρία μὲν ὁποῖόν τι συμμορία).

Besides superintending the building of the ships and acting as captains when built, the ναύκραροι assessed the amount of taxation annually due from each ναυκραρία, and dealt with the money thus collected (Poll. 8.108, τὰς δὲ εἰσφορὰς τὰς κατὰ δήμους διεχειροτόνουν οὗτοι καὶ τὰ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀναλώματα).

Each ναυκραρία provided two horsemen and one ship (Pollux, l.c.: ναυκραρία δὲ ἑκάστη δύο ἱππέας παρεῖχε καὶ ναῦν μίαν, ἐφ᾽ ἧς ἴσως ὠνόμαστο). The whole organisation, as part of the military force of Attica, was subject to the πολέμαρχος (Bekk. Anecd. l.c.: ναύκραροι . . . τῷ πολεμάρχῳ ὑποτεταγμένοι).

With the institution of δῆμοι by Cleisthenes the ναυκραρίαι probably ceased to exist, at all events as a working part of the state organisation. One authority indeed (Cleidemus in Phot. s. v. ναυκραρία) tells us that they continued, being raised from 48 to 50, five from each of the new tribes, furnishing in all 100 ἱππεῖς and 50 ships. Boeckh (Staatshaush. Ath. ed. 3, i. pp. 323, 636, note c) sees a confirmation of this in the fact that, according to Herodotus 6.89, the Athenians in the war against Aegina before the Persian invasion could only muster 50 ships of their own. [A.H.C]

(Appendix). The passage in 100.8 clearly makes the ναυκραρίαι date from a period before Solon: not only the context, but the tense ἦσαν νενεμημέναι admits of no other explanation. The transference of the duties to the demarchi is stated in 100.21.

hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Aristophanes, Clouds, 37
    • Herodotus, Histories, 5.71
    • Herodotus, Histories, 6.89
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.126
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