The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

CENSOR.

to the highest bidder for the space of a lustrum or five years. The act of letting was called venditio or locatio, and seems to have taken place in the month of March (Macrob. Sat. i. 12), in a public place in Rome (Cic. de Leg. Agr. i. 3, ii. 21). The terms on which they were let, together with the rights and duties of the purchasers, were all specified in the leges censoriae, which the censors published in every case before the bidding com­menced. (Cic. ad Qit. Fr. i. 1. § 12, Verr. iii. 7, de Nat. Deor. iii. 19, Varr. de Re Rust. ii. 1.) For further particulars see publicani. The cen­sors also possessed the right, though probably not without the concurrence of the senate, of imposing new vectigalia (Liv. xxix. 37, xl. 51), and even of selling the land belonging to the state (Liv. xxxii. 7). It would thus appear that it was the duty of the censors to bring forward a budget for a lustrum, and to take care that the income of the state was sufficient for its expenditure during that time. So far their duties resembled those of a modern minister of finance. The censors, how­ever, did not receive the revenues of the state. All the public money was paid into the aerarium, which was entirely under the jurisdiction of the senate ; and all disbursements were made by order of this body, which employed the quaestors as its officers. [aerarium ; senatus.]

In one important department the censors were entrusted with the expenditure of the public money; though the actual payments were no doubt made by the quaestors. The censors had the general super­intendence of all the public buildings and works {opera puUica) ; and to meet the expenses connected with this part of their duties, the senate voted them a certain sum of money or certain revenues, to which they were restricted, but which they might at the same time employ according to their discretion. (Polyb. vi. 13 ; Liv. xl. 46, xliv. 16.) They had to see that the temples and all other public build­ings were in a good state of repair (aedes sacras tueri and sarta tecta exigere, Liv. xxiv. 18, xxix. 37, xlii. 3, xlv. 15), that no public places were en­croached upon by the occupation of private persons (loca tueri, Liv. xlii. 3, xliii. 16), and that the aquaeducts, roads, drains, &c. were properly at­tended to. [aquaeductus ; viae ; cloacae.] The repairs of the public works and the keeping of them in proper condition were let out by the censors by public auction to the lowest bidder, just as the vectigalia were let out to the highest bidder. These expenses were called ultrotributa ; and hence we frequently find vectigalia and ultrotributa con­trasted with one another. (Liv. xxxix. 44, xliii. 16.) The persons who undertook the contract were called conductores, mancipes, redemptores, sus-ccptores, &c. ; and the duties they had to discharge were specific^, in the Leges Censoriae. The censors had also to superintend the expenses connected with the worship of the gods, even for instance the feeding of the sacred geese in the Capitol, which were also let out on contract. (Plut. Quaest. Rom. 98 ; Plin. //. N. x. 22 ; Cic. pro Rose. Am. 20.) Besides keeping existing public works in a proper state of repair, the censors also constructed new ones, either for ornament or utility, both in Rome and in other parts of Italy, such as temples, basilicae, theatres, porticoes, fora, walls of towns, aqueducts, harbours, bridges, cloacae, roads, &c. These works were either performed by them jointly, or they divided between them the money, which

265

CENSOR.

had been granted to them by the senate. (Liv. xl. 51, xliv. 16.) They were let out to contractors, like the other works mentioned above, and when they were completed, the censors had to see that the work was performed in accordance with the contract: this was called opus probare or in acccp-turn referre. (Cic. Verr. i. 57 ; Liv. iv. 22, xlv. 15 ; Lex Puteol. p. 73, Spang.)

The aediles had likewise a superintendence over the public buildings ; and it is not easy to define with accuracy the respective duties of the censors and aediles: but it may be remarked in general that the superintendence of the aediles had more of a police character, while that of the censors had reference to all financial matters.

After the censors had performed their various duties and taken the census, the lustrum or solemn purification of the people followed. When the censors entered upon their office, they drew lots to see which of them should perform this purification (lustrum facere or condere, Varr. L. L. vi. 86 ; Liv. xxix. 37, xxxv. 9, xxxviii. 36, xlii. 3 0) ; but both censors were obliged of course to be present at the ceremony. [lustrum.]

In the Roman and Latin colonies and in the municipia there were censors, who likewise bore the name of quinquennales. They are spoken of under colonia.

A census was sometimes taken in the provinces, even under the republic (Cic. Verr. ii. 53, 56) ; but there seems to have been no general census taken in the provinces till the time of Augustus. This emperor caused an accurate account to be taken of all persons in the Roman dominion, together with the amount of their property (Ev. Lucae, ii. 1, 2 ; Joseph. Ant. Jud. xvii. 13. § 5, xviii. 1. § 1. 2. § 1.) ; and a similar census was taken from time to time by succeeding emperors, at first every ten, and subsequently every fifteen years. (Sa-\\gny, RomischeSteucrverfassung, in Zeilscltr'tft, vol. vi. pp. 375—383.) The emperor sent into the provinces especial officers to take the census, who were called Censitores (Dig. 50. tit. 15. s. 4. § 1 ; Cassiod. Var. ix. 11 ; Orelli, Inscr. No. 3652) ; but the duty was sometimes discharged by the im­perial legati. (Tac. Ann. i. 31, ii. 6.) The Censi­tores were assisted by subordinate officers, called Censuales, who made out the lists, &c. (Capitol. Gord'ian. 12 ; Symmach. Ep. x. 43 ; Cod. Theod. 8. tit. 2.) At Rome the census still continued to be taken under the empire, but the old ceremonies connected with it were no longer continued, and the ceremony of the lustration was not performed after the time of Vespasian. The two great jurists, Paulus and Ulpian, each wrote works on the census in the imperial period ; and several extracts from these works are given in a chapter in the Digest (50. tit. 15), to which, we must refer our readers for further details respecting the imperial census.

The word census, besides the meaning of " valua­tion " of a person's estate, has other significations, which must be briefly mentioned : 1. It signified the amount of a person's property, and hence we read of census senatorius, the estate of a senator ; census equestris^ the estate of an eques. 2. The lists of the censors. 3. The tax which depended upon the valuation in the census. The Lexicons will supply examples of these meanings.

(A considerable portion of the preceding article has been taken from Backer's excellent account

Pages
About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index

264

265

266
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.