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ARISTOCRACY.                                        29
portant power in the state, that of the censors. Livy ascribes
its origin to the military duties of the consuls, which left them
no leisure to hold the census, so that it had been neglected
for many years. But he also acids that the proposition was
welcomed in the senate " in order that there might be more
patrician magistrates in the republic. (Liv., iv-,  8.) It
had then, we may suppose, a motive for its existence in the
patrician spirit, which is so much the more probable because
the tribunes with consular power exceeded the consuls in
number* The office was opened to plebeians after the Licin-
ian plebiscite of 387, and probably as a consequence of this
law without any other express legislation. With the growth
of Rome it increased in importance and dignity. Besides the
quinquennial census and lustrum, the financial affairs of Rome
fell into the censors' hands, with a certain moral supervision
over the community, the lectio scnatns, and other business,
For this office able and experienced men of years were
usually selected, and the optimates, in the later Roman aris-
tocracy, generally were the incumbents, In 403 u. ,,
both censorships were thrown open to plebeians, and shortly
after it was made necessary that one censor should be of that
The Quaestors, first mentioned in 269 u, c. a little after
the tribunate was instituted, may have been coeval in their
origin with the consuls,-with whom they were closely asso-
ciated. In the year 333 U. c,, their number, at first two, was
enlarged to four, and at the same time the office was thrown
open to plebeians, the first properly patrician magistracy
on which that party relinquished its exclusive hold. (Livy
iv,, 43-)* It was, perhaps, their supervision of the military
chest and of the spoils which brought about this measure, soon
after the consular tribunate, open to both orders, and with
which the quaestors were closely joined in official service, was
* For the qusestorship and its origin, $ee Mommsn Rto. Stsuttsr,,
ii., under this title.