The disbursement of public moneys to meet the expenses of the Athenian polis in the fourth century B.C.1 was the duty of several financial officials known as tamiai; this does not include the tamiai of the sacred treasures who in the fourth century functioned as the custodians of the sacred treasures and did not usually make disbursements from them. The secular tamiai received money at the beginning of each prutaneia from which to meet specific categories of expense; they had no role in the creation of a financial policy.
Providing centralised financial planning were the theoric officials (c.350-336/5) and, after the emasculation of the theoric office, Lukourgos who, either directly or through a friend, dominated the finances for a period of twelve years (which I have dated as being from 335/4 to 324/3), and in the closing years of the fourth century, ho epi tei dioikesei (307/6 - 301/0). For the first half of the fourth century there was an antigrapheus of the revenues but the scant evidence for this official indicates that he probably did not provide the detailed financial guidance of the officials mentioned immediately above. Formulation of financial policy in the first half of the century was presumably the duty of the ekklesia and the boule; it would have been a desire for expert financial administration of the public finances which would have led first to the creation of the theoric officials, and then later of the other officials, Lukourgos and ho epi tei dioikesei. These latter two are treated here. Spatial considerations have prohibited a full treatment of the theoric officials, and a recent publication removed the need for one.2 There are, however, discussions of these officials in the section on Lukourgos, and these discussions serve to define the role of the theoric officials in public finance.
1. All dates throughout this work are B.C. unless otherwise specified.
2. Buchanan, J.J., Theorika: A Study of Monetary Distributions to the Athenian Citizenry During the Fifth and Fourth Centuries B.C. Locust Valley: Augustin, 1962; harshly criticised (correctly) by de Ste Croix CR2 14 (1964) 190-92.