Roman Quaestorship in the 3rd Century BC: Increasing Number of Magistrates and Their New Functions

Dement'eva Vera V.

Reconstructing the increase in the number of quaestors, the author comes to the conclusion that by the end of the 3rd c. BC they were no fewer than 14, ten of them being «new» as compared to the number of quaestores urbani that existed before. «New» quaestors acted beyond the pomoerium: in Italy, on the nearby islands, at the seat of war in Africa and Spain. In the author’s opinion, the competence of quaestors introduced in the 3rd century BC was not new and had to do with finance and economy, which had been traditional for quaestors. It was the regions in which quaestors’ activities were carried out and some specific functions within their competence in those regions that were new. The 3rd century BC innovation, presumably, consisted rather in the creation of provinciae quaestorum as the sphere of quaestors’ potestas. The fact that quaestors could be in charge of military units during hostilities was new too, as purely military functions were added to their functions of economic management of the army. According to the reconstruction suggested here, the peak of the process was in the second half of the 3rd c. BC, from the 240s on, due to the beginning of Roman expansion beyond Italy. The situation for the later 3rd century BC is reconstructed as follows: 4 quaestores urbani were active in Rome (and occasionally at nearby seats of war), 5 Roman quaestors fulfilled their functions in Italy (outside Rome), and at least 5 outside Italy. The end of the 3rd century witnessed the first establishment of provinciae quaestorum, a trend to be developed in the 2nd century BC.

Keywords: quaestorship, Roman republic, functions of quaestors