Quaestor(Lat., from quoerere, to seek), the name given to two classes of officers at Rome, the quoestores parricidii and the quoestores clas-sici. The former have sometimes been confounded with the perduellionis duumviri, who had their origin in the time of the kings. Their duty was to bring accusations of capital offences, and to execute the sentence. After the establishment of the republic, quoestores parricidii were elected regularly every year by the curiae. After the decemvirate they were appointed by the centuries, and at the passage of the Licinian laws their functions were transferred to the triumviri capitales, aediles, and tribunes. The quoestores classici had charge of the public money, registered and exacted fines, provided accommodations for foreign ambassadors and guests of the republic, took charge of the funerals and monuments of illustrious men buried at public expense, and kept the books in which the copies of the senate decrees were registered until the time of Augustus, when the originals were given into their hands. This office could only be held by patricians until 421 B. C., when the number, which previously had been two, was doubled, and the choice was not confined to either order; but it was not until ten years later that any plebeians were elected.
Afterward the consuls in their campaigns were attended each by one quaestor, who originally took charge only of the sale of the spoils, but subsequently became the paymaster of the army. In 265 B. C. the number of quaestors was raised to eight, one of whom resided at Ostia and supplied Rome with corn. After this the number varied. By Sulla it was raised to 20, and by Julius Caesar to 40. In 49 B. C. the latter also transferred the administration of the public treasury to the aediles, subsequently to the praetors, and sometimes to the prefects of the treasury, and sometimes again to the quaestors. During the empire some quaestors were entitled candidati principis, and their duty was to read to the senate the communications of the emperor. From the reign of Claudius it became the custom of quaestors on assuming their office to give gladiatorial spectacles to the people, so that none but wealthy men were eligible; and the custom also prevailed in Constantinople after it became a capital of the empire. - Every praetor or proconsul was attended in his province by a quaestor, who, besides being paymaster of the army, raised the revenue not farmed out to the publicani, and controlled the latter also. When the praetor was away, the quaestor took his place, in which case he was attended by lictors.
During the reign of Constantine, the title of quoestor sacri palatii was given to an officer in the imperial court, whose functions were somewhat analogous to those of a modern chancellor. - Any person who had held the office of quaestor was entitled to a seat in the senate, unless excluded by the next censors.