The Roman Government Offices

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The highest elected political office was the consul. Rome usually had two consuls, who had equal power as heads of the government and the military. Consuls served for one year.

A praetor was an army commander or an elected magistrate who had specific duties, most notably the administration of justice. The praetor was commonly the chief judge.

Former consuls who were given responsibility for running a province were called proconsuls. The same was true of proprietors.

One very high judicial official was the censor, who had power in three important areas: keeping the census (record of population makeup), supervising the public morality, and providing oversight in key areas of public expenditures.

An aedile was in charge of maintaining public buildings and keeping order at festivals and other public events.

An official who had great financial oversight, of government and military budgets, was the quaestor.

Tribunes were powerful officials whose primary responsibility was protecting the people from oppression by the government.

The highest office in religious terms was Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of the Ancient Roman College of Pontiffs.

One office that has come down to modern times with quite different meaning is dictator. In Ancient Rome, the dictator was an appointed post; the dictator was given extraordinary powers to run the government and the military so that Rome could survive an emergency. Once the emergency was over, the dictator was expected to relinquish his special powers.

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