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officials in ancient Rome.
Under the kings the quaestors were judges in criminal cases; under the republic they were junior magistrates, assistants to the consuls in financial matters, and, prior to 240 B.C., assistants in court cases as well. During the imperial period quaestors were responsible for paving roads, organizing the games, and publishing government edicts. The post of quaestor was held by patricians, but beginning in 421 B.C. it was opened to plebeians; it became the first stage of a political career. At first the quaestors were elected by the consuls; after 447 B.C., they were elected by the Comitia Tributa (a popular assembly). Initially there were two quaestors; beginning in 421 B.C. there were four (two serving in Rome and two being attached to commanders in chief on campaigns), and from 267 B.C. there were eight. During the rule of Sulla there were as many as 20 quaestors, and under Caesar the number grew to 40. Under the emperors the number reverted to 20.