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quaestor (old orthogr., QVAISTOR, Epit. of the Scipios, et saep.), ōris, m. [contr. from quaesitor, from quaero],
- I. a quætor, the title of a class of Roman magistrates, some of whom had charge of the pecuniary affairs of the State, while others conducted certain criminal trials (but only, it would seem, as delegates or commissioners of the people): quaestores a quaerendo, qui conquirerent publicas pecunias et maleficia, quae triumviri capitales nunc conquirunt: ab his postea, qui quaestionum judicia exercent, quaestores dicti, Varr. L. L. 5, § 81 Müll.: et quia de capite civis Romani injussu populi non erat lege permissum consulibus jus dicere, propterea quaestores constituebantur a populo, qui capitalibus rebus praeessent: hique appellabantur quaestores parricidii, quorum etiam meminit lex duodecim tabularum, Dig. 1, 2, 2, § 23; cf.: parricidii quaestores appellabantur, qui solebant creari causā rerum capitalium quaerendarum, Paul. ex Fest. p. 221 Müll. (cf. Fest. p. 258, 31). But they were commonly called simply quaestores, Liv. 2, 41, 11; 3, 24, 3; Cic. Rep. 2, 35, 60.
As a standing magistracy, the quæstors were treasurers of State, treasurers. They distributed their duties among themselves by lot, Cic. Verr. 2, 1, 13, § 34; id. Mur. 8, 18. Of these the quaestor urbanus or aerarii, who remained at Rome, took charge of the treasury, of the public revenues and expenditures, of the standards deposited in the aerarium, etc., Plaut. Capt. 1, 2, 2; Cic. Har. Resp. 20, 43; id. Verr. 1, 4, 11; Liv. 7, 23; 26, 47; Val. Max. 5, 1, 1; Tac. A. 13, 28. The quæstors appointed as assistants to the consuls or prætors for the provinces, called quaestores provinciales or militares, provided for the payment and provisioning of the troops, collected the imposts, and, in the absence of the governor, acted in his stead, Cic. Div. in Caecil. 19, 61; id. Planc. 11, 28; id. Sen. 10, 32; Liv. 26, 47. Service in the higher offices of State began with the quæstorship, the lowest of them which conferred a seat in the Senate, to which no one was legally eligible before the age of twenty-five, Tac. A. 11, 22. Augustus instituted a new sort of quæstors, quaestores candidati or principis (Caesaris), who conveyed the imperial messages to the Senate, Plin. Ep. 7, 16, 2; Lampr. Alex. Sev. 43, 3: oratio principis per quaestorem ejus audita est, Tac. A. 16, 27; Dig. 1, 13, 1; cf. candidatus, 2. The emperor Constantine appointed quaestores palatii or chancellors, Cod. Th. 1, 8; 6, 9; 7, 62, 32; Cassiod. Var. 6, 5; called QVAESTOR INTRA PALATIVM, Inscr. Orell. 1188.
- II. Trop.: quaestor non imperii, sed doloris mei, Cic. Red. in Sen. 14, 35 (bracketed as dub. by B. and K.).