previous next


TA´MIAS (Ταμίας) was a name given to any person who had the care, management, or dispensing of money, stock, or property of any description, confided to him, as a steward, butler, housekeeper, storehousekeeper, or treasurer. The word is applied metaphorically in a variety of ways. But the ταμίαι who will fall under our notice in this article, are more especially the treasurers of the temples and the revenues of different Greek states.

The name and office of ταμίαι occur in inscriptions throughout the Grecian world. One of the duties most commonly assigned to them was that of paying the expenses of public sacrifices; they are likewise mentioned as responsible for payments for the setting up of pillars with inscriptions, for honorary crowns, for the entertainment of foreign ambassadors and the salaries of those sent out for contracts for leases on behalf of the state, for lending at interest on its account, &c. (See lists of towns and inscriptions, mostly from Dittenberger, in Gilbert, Stoatsalterth. 2.334, and the Index.)

In ancient times every temple of any importance had property belonging to it, besides its furniture and ornaments; and a treasury where such property was kept. Lands were attached to the temple, from which rents accrued; fines were made payable to the god; trophies and other valuables were dedicated to him by the public; and various sacred offerings were made by individuals. The wealthiest of all the temples at Athens was that of Athena in the Acropolis, in which were kept the spoils taken from the Persians (τὰ ἀριστεῖα τῆς πόλεως), besides magnificent statues, painting, and other works of art (Dem. c. Timocr. 741.129). To the goddess large fines were specially appropriated by the law or given by decree of the courts or the assembly; and besides this she received a tenth of all the fines that went to the state, a tenth of all confiscations and prizes taken in war, a sixtieth of the tribute paid by the subject-allies [HELLENOTAMIAE]. Her treasurers were called ταμίαι τῶν ἱερῶν χρημάτων τὴς Ἀθηναίας (C. I. A. 1.117 if., 188), or shortly, ταμίαι τῆς θεοῦ (ib. 1.324, &c.), and ταμίαι τῶν τῆς θεοῦ (See-Urk. p. 465; C. I. A. 2.612, &c.), even simply ταμίαι (ib. 1.273, 299). They appear to have existed from an early period. Herodotus (8.51, 53) relates that the ταμίαι τοῦ ἱεροῦ with a few other men awaited the attack of Xerxes upon the Acropolis, and perished in its defence. They were ten in number, chosen annually by lot from the class of Pentacosiomedimni, and afterwards, when the distinction of classes had ceased to exist, from among the wealthiest of Athenian citizens (Harpocr. and Suid., s. v. *tami/ai: Poll. 8.97; C. I. A. 1.32, 299).

In early times there seem to have been as many boards of ταμίαι as there were temples; but in the archonship of Antilochides, 435-4 B.C., they were all united into one board (probably also of ten members), the ταμίαι τῶν ἄλλων θεῶν: while those of Pallas still remained distinct (C. I. A. 1.32, 194). Their treasury was at this time transferred to the same place as that of Athena, to the Opisthodomos of the Parthenon, where the state-treasures were also kept (Aristoph. Pl. 1193). In the archonship of Eucleides (B.C. 403), or soon after, these two boards were consolidated into one, now called οἱ ταμίαι τῶν ἱερῶν χρημάτων τῆς Ἀθηναίας καὶ τῶν ἄλλων θεῶν (C. I. A. 2.2, 642 if.). After a few years--the date is fixed by inscriptions at between 390-385 B.C. (Gilbert, 1.236 n.)--they were again separated, and in the time of Demosthenes we find the two bodies of ταμίαι still subsisting, οἱ τῶν τῆς θεοῦ and οἱ τῶν ἄλλων θεῶν (Dem. c. Timocr. p. 743.136).

All the funds of the state were considered as being in a manner consecrated to Pallas; while on the other hand the people reserved to themselves the right of making use of the sacred monies, as well as the other property of the temples, if the safety of the state should require it (Thuc. 2.13). It is to be observed that, though the state-treasure (ὅσια χρήματα) and the sacred treasure (ἱερὰ χρήματα) were kept for security in the same place, the Opisthodomos, they were always under distinct management. On this point the statement of Boeckh (P. E. p. 164=Sthh.3 1.200), that the ταμίαι τῆς θεοῦ were the common treasurers of both funds, requires correction from the researches of Kirchhoff (Abh. d. Berl. Akad. 1876; Fränkel, n. 268 on Boeckh). In the fifth century the state treasure was in the custody of the Hellenotamiae; the ταμίαι τῆς θεοῦ, and those of the other gods, drew from the sacred treasure what was required for religious purposes, of course on their own responsibility; and they advanced money out of it to the state, in the form of loans bearing interest (C. I. A. 1.273), though in hard times the repayment was often delayed. After the Peloponnesian war there must have been for a long time little or no reserve in the state treasury, and no special provision for its custody was wanted.

Payments made to the temples were received by the treasurers in the presence of some members [p. 2.761]of the senate, just as public monies were by the Apodectae; and then the treasurers became responsible for their safe custody. They had no discretionary power of dealing with the treasure committed to their care; it was by a special decree that Androtion obtained authority to melt down the golden crowns (Dem. c. Androt. p. 615.70); and if the story is true that they once lent money to the bankers for their own profit (Schol. ad Dem. c. Timocr. p. 743.136), it; was an act of embezzlement. As to fines, see EPIBOLE, PRACTORES; and on the whole of this subject, Boeckh, bk. ii. ch. 5.

The treasurer of the revenue, ταμίας or ἐπιμαλητὴς τῆς κοινῆς προσόδου, was a more important personage than those last mentioned. He was not a mere keeper of monies, like them, nor a mere receiver, like the Apodectae; but a general paymaster, who received through the Apodectae all money which was to be disbursed for the purposes of the administration (except the property-taxes which were paid into the war-office, and the tribute from the allies, which was at first paid to the Hellenotamiae, and afterwards to other persons hereafter mentioned), and then distributed it in such manner as he was required to do by the law: the surplus (if any) he paid into the war-office or the Theoric fund. As this person knew all the channels in which the public money had to flow, and exercised a general superintendence over the expenditure, he was competent to give advice to the people upon financial measures, with a view to improve the revenue, introduce economy, and prevent abuses. He is variously called ταμίας τῆς κοινῆς προσόδου (Decret. ap. Ps.-Plut. Vitt. X. Oratt. p. 852 B; in p. 841 B it is simply ταμίας), or τῶν κοινῶν τροσόδων (Plut. Arist. 4), or ἐπὶ τῆς διοικήσεως (spurious decrees, ap. Dem. de Cor. p. 238.38, p. 265.115), or more usually ἐπὶ τῇ διοικήσει: this last appears to have been the official title (see Inscrr. in Gilbert, 1.233 n.): and was the nearest approach that Athenian institutions admitted to a modern finance minister or “Chancellor of the Exchequer.” To him Aristophanes refers in Eq. 948. He was elected by χειροτονία, and held his office for four years, but was capable of being re-elected. A law, however, was passed during the administration of Lycurgus, prohibiting re-election (Vitt. X. Oratt. p. 841 C.); so that Lycurgus, who is reported to have continued in office for twelve years, must have held it for the last eight years under the names of other persons. On the financial career of Lycurgus, see Mahaffy, Gr. Lit. 2.366. The power of this officer was by no means free from control; inasmuch as any individual was at liberty to propose financial measures, or institute criminal proceedings for malversation or waste of the public funds; and there was an ἁντιγραψεὺς τῆς διοικήσεως appointed to check the accounts of his superior. On the πορισταὶ who at one time assisted him in his duties, see Antiph. de Chor. § 49; Aristoph. Frogs 1505; Fränkel, n. 273 on Boeckh. [PORISTAE]

The money disbursed by the treasurer of the revenue was sometimes paid directly to the various persons in the employ of the government, sometimes through subordinate pay offices. Many public functionaries had their own paymasters, who were dependent on the ταμίας τῆς προσόδου, receiving their funds from him, and then distributing them in their respective departments. Such were the τριηροποιοί, τειχοποιοί, ὁδοποιοί, ταψροποιοί, ἐπιμεληταὶ νεωρίων, who received through their own ταμίαι such suns as they required from time to time for the prosecution of their works. The payment of the judicial fees (δικαστικὸν) was made by the κωλακρέται. [COLACRETAE] The ταμίαι of the sacred vessels, τῆς Παράλου and τῆς Σαλαμινίας, acted not only as treasurers, but as trierarchs; the expenses (amounting for the two ships together to about sixteen talents) being provided by the state. They were elected by χειροτονία (Demosth. c. Mid. p. 570.171; Pollux, 8.116). Other trierarchs had their own private ταμίαι, for the keeping of accounts and better dispatch of business (Boeckh, P. E. bk. ii. ch. 6; Schömann, Antiq. Jur. Publ. pp. 250, 312).

The duties of the Ἐλλμνοταμίαι are spoken of in a separate article. [HELLENOTAMIAE]

The war fund at Athens (independently of the tribute) was provided from two sources: 1st, the property-tax [EISPHORA], and 2ndly, the surplus of the yearly revenue, which remained after defraying the expenses of the civil administration, τὰ περιόντα χρήματα τῆς διοικήσεως ([Dem.] c. Neaer. p. 1346.4). They had under them a treasurer, called ταμίας τῶν στρατιωτικῶν, who gave out the pay of the troops, and defrayed all other expenses incident to the service. Demosthenes, perhaps on account of some abuses which had sprung up, recommended that the generals should have nothing to do with the military fund, but that this should be placed under the care of special officers, ταμίαι καὶ δημόσιοι, who should be accountable for its proper application: τὸν μὲν τῶν χρημάτων λόγον παρὰ τούτων λαμβάνειν, τὸν δὲ τῶν ἔργων παρὰ τοῦ στρατηγοῦ (de Cherson. p. 101.47). The notion of Boeckh (P. E. p. 181 = Sthh3. 1.223), Meier (in Att. Process), and Schömann (Ant. Jur. Publ. p. 252, n. <7), that one of the Strategi was called στρατηλὸς ε_πὶ τῆς διοικήσεως, is now rejected (Fräinkel, n. 322 on Boeckh; Lipsius, Att. Process, p. 120, n. 243). No such phrase occurs among the special titles of Strategi gathered from inscriptions by Gilbert (Staatsalterth. 1.221 f.).

So much of the surplus revenue as was not required for the purposes of war, was to be paid by the treasurer of the revenue into the Theoric fund; of which, after the Archonship of Euclides, special managers were created. [THEORICA.]

Lastly, we have to notice the treasurers of the demi, δήμων ταμίαι, and those of the tribes, (ψυλῶν ταμίαι, who had the care of the funds belonging to their respective communities, and performed duties analogous to those of the state treasurers. The demi, as well as the tribes, had their common lands, which were usually let to farm. The rents of these formed the principal part of their revenue. φύλαρχοι, δήμαρχοι, and other local functionaries were appointed for various purposes; but with respect to their internal economy we have but scanty information. (Schömann, Assemblies, pp. 371-378 = 349-355 tr. Paley; Ant. Jur. Publ. pp. 203, 204.) [C.R.K] [W.W]

(Appendix). The ταμίαι, who were required by the law of Solon to be πεντακοσιομέδιμνοι (cc. 7, 8, 47), are undoubtedly the ταμίαι τῆς θεοῦ. Here, again, a legal fiction came in: the property qualification was never actually repealed, but the poorest man was eligible in practice (100.47). What is said of their duties contains nothing new, the passages having been extracted by the grammarians. The ταμίαι τοῖς ἄλλοις θεοῖς or τῶν ἄλλων θεῶν, i. e. of all except Athena, are mentioned 100.30; the passage, however, refers to the short-lived rule of the Four Hundred. The ταμίαι of the sacred triremes (see p. 761 b) are mentioned in Ἀθ. πολ. 100.61: χειροτονοῦσι δὲ καὶ ταμίαν τῆς Παράλου καὶ ἄλλον τῆς [τοῦ Ἄ]μμωνος (cf. THEORIS; Gilbert, Staatsalterth. 1.330, n. 3). On this ταμίας see also Köhler in Mittheil. des archäol. Instituts, 8.165 ff. Inscriptions show that the ταμίας of the Paralos could also be trierarch of another ship: C. I. A. 2.804 b, line 66, and ib. 808. The ταμίας τῶν στρατιωτικῶν (p. 761 b), in addition to his military duties, is curiously enough associated with the βουλὴ in matters connected with the Panathenaic festival (100.49). See also App. s. v. ADYNATI

hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Aristophanes, Frogs, 1505
    • Aristophanes, Plutus, 1193
    • Herodotus, Histories, 8.51
    • Herodotus, Histories, 8.53
    • Plutarch, Aristeides, 4
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.13
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: