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In ancient Rome, the lowest ranking regular magistrate, whose traditional responsibility was the treasury. Quaestors functioned as deputies to consuls. Like consuls, praetors, and prefects they were of the magistrate class, high-level government administrators. Quaestors were the lowest level of this class and were elected by the people. Initially they were appointed by the consuls, but later they were elected. After 421 BC there were four quaestors, two public treasurers and two who assisted the consuls, serving as quartermasters. From the time of Augustus, the number of quaestors increased to 20, many of whom acted as financial officers and assistants to provincial governors.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on quaestor, visit Britannica.com.