: the latter is the more correct
form, now restored to Aristophanes by Dindorf on the authority of the
Ravenna manuscript), the name of very ancient magistrates at Athens. They
derived their singular name, “collectors of hams,” from the
circumstance that they received the hams from the animals sacrificed on
certain occasions, not as a perquisite for themselves, but in aid of the
meals in the Prytaneium, for which they had to provide (ἐκ τοϋ ἀγείρειν τὰς κωλᾶς
: with these
cf. the Homeric μηροί,
so often mentioned as the prime parts).
This name is in itself a proof of their antiquity. The Colacretae were
traced back to the times of the kings, when they had the control of
financial matters; and in later times acted as the treasurers of the
Naucrariae, out of whose funds they paid the expenses of the sacred
) sent to Delphi or
elsewhere, and those of the public tables in the Prytaneium. The legislation
of Solon left them untouched; but Cleisthenes deprived them of the charge of
the finances, which he transferred to the APODECTAE
now first appointed. When, however, the
practice of paying the dicasts was introduced by Pericles, [p. 1.470]
this payment was assigned to the Colacretae; and we again find
them an important magistracy in the time of Aristophanes (Aristoph. Wasps 695
1541: the scholia
on these passages are the most important sources of our information).
Phot., Hesych., Suid., Tim.; Ruhnken on
Timaeus, s.v. Boeckh, P. E.
p. 173 ff. tr. Lewis2 = i.3 213 ed. Frankel, 1886 ;
1.327, E. T.) In his second edition
Boeckh pointed out that there is no documentary evidence for the existence
of the Colacretae after B.C. 403 (the archonship of Eucleides), but that
this does not prove that they had ceased to exist. On this point compare
Fränkel, note 302.