publican(redirected from Publicani)
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publican[Lat.,=state employee], in ancient Rome, man who was employed by the state government under contract. As early as c.200 B.C. there was a class of men in Rome accustomed to undertaking contracts involving public works and tax collecting; the tax collectors made the most profit. The publicans were usually equitesequites
[Lat.,=horsemen], the original cavalry of the Roman army, chosen, according to legend, by Romulus from the three ancient Roman tribes; the equites were selected from the senatorial class on the basis of wealth.
..... Click the link for more information. , or capitalists. In the Gospels—which showed the general detestation, particularly in Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine, in which the publicans were held—the publicans mentioned were tax collectors. From the 1st cent. A.D. the abuses of the publicans began to be corrected, and by the end of the 2d cent. the publicans as a group had disappeared.
in ancient Rome, a person, usually an equite, who obtained state property—land, mines, saltworks—by bidding in order to exploit it. Publicans also obtained contracts for public construction or supply and the right to collect state taxes. In the case of major transactions, publican companies were established, which unrestrainedly exploited and ruined the population, especially in the provinces. From the time of the empire, beginning in the first century AD., publican activity was restricted, and tax collecting was transferred to state officials.