censor(redirected from censors)
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censor(sĕn`sər), title of two magistrates of ancient Rome (from c.443 B.C. to the time of Domitian). They took the census (by which they assessed taxation, voting, and military service) and supervised public behavior. They also had charge of public works and filled vacancies among the senators and knights.
in ancient Rome, one of the highest magistracies. There were two censors, who were elected by the comitia centuriata (Centuriate Assembly) once every five years. According to classical tradition, the office was created in 443 B.C. Originally held only by patricians, it was opened to plebeians in 351 B.C. The censors conducted the census, supervised morals, compiled lists of senators and equites (after the late fourth century), and administered state finances. The office gradually lost its importance, and under Sulla the censors were essentially deprived of their authority. Beginning with Julius Caesar in the mid-first century B.C, the Roman ruler assumed the power of the censors. Subsequently, in the imperial age the office was eliminated.