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Quaestor

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Quaestor was an official in the Roman Republic. The name of this office comes from the word “to follow” (quaerere). Position of quaestor was the first office taken by a Roman in his political career at the age of 30 after 10 years of military service.

The office of quaestor was established in 447 BCE. There were only two quaestors then. However, as the state developed, their number increased. From 421 BCE there were four, from 267 to eight, from Sulla to 20, and from Caesar’s time to 40. Under Sulla’s dictatorship, an age census was also introduced, based on 30 years for both patricians and plebeians. The office of quaestor automatically gave a seat in the senate. Until 409 BCE They were elected at tribunal assemblies (comitia tributa), then the right to elect them was transferred to the people’s committee. Their term of office was one year, as is the case for most offices, beginning on 5 December.

The quaestors acted at different levels of government. And so there were curule quaestors, called city quaestors (quaestores urbani), who looked after the state archives, guarded the keys of the state treasury, accepted payments and made payments at the request of the senate.

During the early republic, they served as an investigative judges and public prosecutors in criminal cases. They were appointed by consuls to assist in fulfilling their duties. Later, the quaestor dealt with the administration of the public treasury, entrusting his judicial powers to the aediles and tribunes. Generally, their functions are: supervision of the state treasury, collection and distribution of money, tax collection, management of the military treasury (payment of wages, sale of loot, etc.).

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