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973

PUBLICAN!.

produce, were not sold at Rome, but in the dis­tricts of Sicily itself, according to a practice estab­lished by Hiero. (Cic. c. Verr. ii. 3, 64, &c.) The persons who undertook the farming of the public revenue of course belonged to the wealthiest Ro­mans. Their wealth and consequent influence may­be seen from the fact, that as early as the second Punic war, after the battle of Cannae, when the aerarium was entirely exhausted, the publican! ad­vanced large sums of money to the state, on condi­tion of repayment after the end of the war. (Val. Max. v. 6. § 8 ; Liv. xxiv. 18 ; compare xxiii. 48, &c.) But what class of Romans the publicani were at this time is not stated ; scarcely half a century later however we find that they were principally men of the equestrian order (Liv. xliii. 16) ; and down to the end of the republic, as well as during the early part of the empire, the farming of the public revenues was almost exclusively in the hands of the equites ; whence the word equites and publicani are sometimes used as synonymous. (Cic. c. Verr. i. 51, ii. 71, ad Att.ii. 1 ; Suet. Aug. 24 ; Tacit. AnnaL iv. 6.)

The publicani had to give security to the state for the sum at which they bought one or more branches of the revenue in a province ; but as for this reason the property of even the wealthiest in­dividual must have been inadequate, a number of equites generally united together and formed a company (socii, societas or corpus), which was re­cognized by the state (Dig. 3. tit. 4. s. 1), and by which they \vere enabled to carry on their under­takings upon a large scale. Such companies ap­pear as early as the second Punic war. (Liv. xxiii. 48, 49.) The shares which each partner q\ such a company took in the business, were called partes, and if they were small, particulae. (Cic. pro RaUr. Post. 2 ; Val. Max. vi. 9. § 7.) The responsible person in each company, and the one who contracted with the state, was called manceps (Fest. 5. v. Manceps; Pseudo-Ascon.mDivinat. p. 113, ed. Orelli.) [manceps] ; but there was also a magister to manage the business of each society, who resided at Rome, and kept an extensive cor­respondence with the agents in the provinces. (Cic. ad Att. v. 15, c. Verr. ii. 74.) Pie seems to have held his office only for one year ; his representa­tive in the provinces was called sub magistro, who Jiad to travel about and superintend the actual business of collecting the revenues. The apxiTs-Xwvt]s in St. Luke (xix. 2) was probably such a sub magistro. The magister at Rome had also to keep the accounts which were sent in to him (tabu­lae acceptl et expensi). The credit of these com­panies of publicani and the flourishing state of their finances were of the utmost importance to the state, and in fact its very foundation: of this the Romans were well aware (Cic. pro Leg. ManiL 6), and Cicero therefore calls them the " ornamentum civitatis et firmamentum reipublicae." (Comp. pro Plane. 9.) It has been alread3r men­tioned that the publicani, in case of need, acted as a kind of public bank and advanced sums of money to the state (compare Cic. ad Fain. v. 20), which therefore thought them worthy of its es­pecial protection. But they abused their power at an early period, in the provinces as well as at Rome itself; and Livy (xlv. 18) says, " ubi pub-licanus est, ibi aut jus publicum vanum, aut liber-tas sociis nulla." (Compare Liv. xxv. 3, 4.) Nobody but a Roman citizen was allowed to

PUBLICAN!.

become a member of a company of publicani ; freed-men and slaves were excluded. (Pseudo^Ascon. in Divinat. p. 113 ; Cic. c. Verr. iii. 39.) No Roman magistrate however, or governor of a pro­vince, was allowed to take any share whatever in a company of publicani (Cic. c. Verr. iii. 57), a rcgu* lation which was chiefly intended as a protection against the oppression of the provincials. During the later period of the empire various changes were introduced in the farming of the public reve­nues. Although it was, on the whole, a rule that no person should be compelled to take any share in a company of publicani, yet such cases some­times occurred. (Burmann, Vectig. Pop. Rom. p. 138, &c.) From the time of Constantine the leases of the publicani were generally not longer than for three years. (Cod. 4. tit. 61. s. 4.) Several parts of the revenue which had before been let to publicani, were now raised by especial offi­cers appointed by the emperors. (Burmann, L c. p. 141, «fec.)

All the persons hitherto mentioned as members of these companies, whether they held any office in such a company or not, and merely contributed their shares and received their portions of the profit (Cic. ad Att. i. 19 ; Nepos, Att. 6), did not themselves take any part in the actual levying or collecting of the taxes in the provinces. This part of the business was performed by an inferior class of men, who were said operas publica?iis dare, or esse in operis societatis. (Val. Max. vi. 9. § 8 ; Cic. c. Verr. iii. 41, ad Fam. xiii. 9 ; compare c. Verr. ii. 70, pro Plane. 19.) They were en­gaged by the publicani, and consisted of freemen as well as slaves, Romans as well as provincials. (Cic. c. Verr, ii. 77, de Prov. Cons. 5.) This body of men is called familia publicanorum, and comprehended, according to the praetor's edict (Dig. 39. tit. 4. s. 1), all persons who assisted the publicani in collecting the vectigal. Various laws were enacted in the course of time, which were partly intended to support the servants of the publicani in the performance of their duty, and partly to prevent them from acts of oppression. (See Digest. 39. tit. 4 : De Publicanis et vccti-galib. ct commissis ; Gains, iv. 28.)

The separate branches of the public revenue in the provinces (decumae, portoria, scriptura^ and the revenues from the mines and saltworks) were mostly leased to separate companies of publicani; whence they were distinguished by names de­rived from that particular branch which they had taken in farm ; e. g. decumani, pecuarii or scrip-turarii, salinarii or mancipes salinarum, &c. (Pseudo-Ascon. 1. c.; compare decumae, portorium, salinae, scriptura.) On some occasions, how­ever, one company of publicani farmed two or more branches at once ; thus \ve have an instance of a societas farming the portormm and the scrip-tura at the same time. (Cic. c. Verr. ii. 70.) The commentator, who goes by the name of Asconius, asserts that the portitores were publi­cani who fanned the portorium ; but from all the passages where they are mentioned in ancient writers, it is be}Tond all doubt that the portitores were not publicani properly so called, but only their servants engaged in examining the goods imported or exported, and levying the custom-duties upon them. They belonged to the same class as the publicans of the New Testament. (St. Luke, v. 27, 29.) Respecting the impudent

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