Office of the Censors / Officium Censorium

Current Censors of the Res publica Romana

Role of the Censors

During Antiquity:

Two censors were elected in the Centuriate Assembly, generally for a term of eighteen months. The censors were not regarded as colleagues of the praetors and consuls as they were elected at a different time. As a general principle, with a few exceptions, the only citizens eligible for the office of censor were those who had previously been consuls.

The duties of the censors were divided into four main roles:

  • The census and the registration of property - This played a role in determining who was to be appointed to the senate and who was qualified for equestrian rank. This information was also used to determine the composition of the electoral centuries in the Centuriate Assembly.

  • The Mos Maiorum, or keeping of the public morals

  • The administration of the finances of the state - Supervised state contracts and the administration of public works.

  • To perform the ritual purification of the state (Lustrum)

  • Within the Modern Res publica:

    The censors have a critical role in many of everyday operations of the res publica. Like in antiquity the censors conduct a census, however in the modern era they conduct it on a yearly basis. They also determine the electoral composition of the Centuriate Assembly and Tribal Assembly and keep a tally of individual denarii balances. Beyond this, they also have the ability to grant citizenship (membership) to the Roman Republic. The censors also manage the logics around annual tax (membership due) collection, and can recommend membership and removal of candidates for the senate and for the ordo equester and ordo patricius. The return of service agreement with all citizens (members), known as the mos maiorum is also managed by the censors. Mirroring the censorial activities of antiquity, the modern censors also perform the lustrum every five years. Lastly, the censors are the magistrates which oversee senate contracts and review the financial activities of other magistrates.

    In the res publica two Censors are elected for a term of two years by the Centuriate Assembly. This election is separate from those of other magistrates.

    Censorial Records

  • Current censorial edicts
  • Cohors censorium (censorial staff)
  • Censorial archives
  • Censorial financial records
  • Past citizens who held censorial office
  • Senatorial candidacy rank list
  • Ordo patricius candidacy rank list
  • Ordo equester rank list
  • Census reports