Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Censors, two officers of the Roman state whose duty it was in the first place to check and regulate the census or list of citizens, a duty which, as it involved the removal from the list of unworthy citizens, caused them to become in time the dreaded arbiters of morals and manners. They were elected by the Comitia Centuriata, originally for five years (called a lustrum) and afterwards for eighteen months. They were the highest officers of the state except the Dictator, and had vast equitable powers. They had also charge of the public revenues and of public works. Till 351 B.C. they were always patricians, in 339 B.C. it was enacted that one of them should be a plebeian, and in 131, for the first time, both were plebeians. The magistracy was abolished by Sulla, and though restored shortly afterwards never recovered its position. We last hear of it under Augustus in B.C. 32. After this its powers were absorbed by the emperor.