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After the establishment of the constitution of Servius Tullius the number of Roman citizens was ascertained every five years (though not always with perfect regularity) to determine their legal liability to the payment of taxes and to military service. This process was called census. The census was originally taken by the kings; after the expulsion of the kings by the consuls; after 444 B.C. by special officers called censors (see CENSORES). The censors took the auspices on the night preceding the census; on the next day their herald summoned the people to the Campus Martius, where they had an official residence in the villa publica. Each tribe appeared successively before them, and its citizens were summoned individually according to the existing register. Each had to state on oath his age, his own name, those of his father, his wife, his children, his abode, and the amount of his property. The facts were embodied in lists by the censors' assistants. The census of the provinces was sent in by the provincial governors. There was a special commission for numbering the armies outside the Italian frontier. The censors, in putting up the new lists, took into consideration not only a man's property but his moral conduct (see CENSORES, p. 122a). The census was concluded with the solemn ceremony of reviewing the newly constituted army (lustrum). (See LUSTRUM.) The republican census continued to exist under the early Empire, but the last lustrum was held by Vespasian and Titus in A.D. 74. The provincial census, introduced by Augustus and maintained during the whole imperial period, had nothing to do with the Roman census, being only a means of ascertaining the taxable capacities of the provinces.
Type: Standard
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