PUBLICANS

PUBLICANS
   or PUBLICANI
   a name given by the Romans to persons who farmed the public revenues; specially a class of the Jewish people, often mentioned in the New Testament, and specially odious to the rest of the community as the farmers of the taxes imposed upon them, mostly at the instance of their foreign oppressors the Romans, and in the collection of which they had recourse to the most unjust exactions. They were in their regard not merely the tools of a foreign oppression, but traitors to their country and apostates from the faith of their fathers, and were to be classed, as they were, with heathens, sinners, and harlots.

The Nuttall Encyclopaedia. . 1907.

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