publicanˈpʌb lɪ kən
publican, tavern keeper (noun)
the keeper of a public house
the landlord of a public house
a tax collector in ancient Rome
In antiquity, publicans were public contractors, in which role they often supplied the Roman legions and military, managed the collection of port duties, and oversaw public building projects. In addition, they served as tax collectors for the Republic, bidding on contracts for the collection of various types of taxes. Importantly, this role as tax collectors was not emphasized until late into the history of the Republic. The publicans were usually of the class of equites. At the height of the Republic's era of provincial expansion the Roman tax farming system was very profitable for the publicani. The right to collect taxes for a particular region would be auctioned every few years for a value that approximated the tax available for collection in that region. The payment to Rome was treated as a loan and the publicani would receive interest on their payment at the end of the collection period. In addition, any excess tax collected would be pure profit for the publicani. The principal risk to the publicani was that the tax collected would be less than the sum bid.
In antiquity, publicans (Greek τελώνης telōnēs (singular); Latin publicanus (singular); publicani (plural)) were public contractors, in whose official capacity they often supplied the Roman legions and military, managed the collection of port duties, and oversaw public building projects. In addition, they served as tax collectors for the Roman Republic (and later the Roman Empire), farming the taxes of the Roman provinces, and bidding on contracts (from the Senate in Rome) for the collection of various types of taxes. Importantly, this role as tax collectors was not emphasized until late into the history of the Republic (c. 1st century BC). The publicans were usually of the class of equites. During the republican era, civil service, which was the size of modern middle-sized city governments, dealt with organising public policy for nearly thirty million people. The solution for the day-to-day operation of public administration was the extensive use of private contracting in the implementation of public policies. The earliest accounts of contracting describe contracts for feeding sacred hens, which were honoured for warning the citizens of Rome of approaching enemies, on the hill of Capitolium in Rome in 390 BC.Private organisations, societas publicanorum, and their managers, the publicani, took care of most public duties, such as constructing public buildings, supplying equipment for the army, operating mines and, most importantly, collecting taxes. The societies participated in tenders for public duties. Those who offered the lowest price won construction deals, and those who guaranteed the highest amount of collected taxes for the Senate succeeded in tax collection tenders. The management structure of the societies represented a core-periphery structure with a relatively small permanent management structure and a large short-term operative work-force, which could be adjusted according to successes and losses in consecutive competitive tenders. The societas publicanorum were probably the first type of limited liability shareholder-owned companies. A legal structure for limiting liability in purely private business activity did not exist at the time. To limit personal liability, which could lead to slavery and the confiscation of all personal property, early entrepreneurs invented the practice of common slave ownership, in which a jointly owned slave served as chief executive officer of the enterprise. As slaves were ‘things’ responsible for only their own cost, they liberated the owners of their personal liabilities.
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"publican." Kamus.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 4 Dec. 2023. <https://www.kamus.net/english/publican>.