Quaestor, in Roman history, two quaestores parricidii, who acted as public prosecutors in cases of murder, or any capital offense, existed in Rome during the period of the kings. Two quaestores classici, who had charge of the public money, were first appointed about 485 B.C. They also had charge of the funds of the army, to which they were paymasters. The number of quaestors was increased to eight, 265 B.C. Sylla raised the number to 20, and Julius Caesar to 40. During the time of the emperors their number varied; and from the reign of Claudius I. (41-54) it became customary for quaestors, on entering office, to give gladiatorial spectacles to the people; so that none but the wealthiest Romans could aspire to the office.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

Ques"tor (?), n. [L. quaestor, contr. fr. quaesitor, fr. quaerere, quaesitum, to seek for, ask: cf. F. questeur.] Rom. Antiq.

An officer who had the management of the public treasure; a receiver of taxes, tribute, etc.; treasurer of state.

[Written also quaestor.]

⇒ At an early period there were also public accusers styled questors, but the office was soon abolished.


© Webster 1913.

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