Salaried officials who attended Roman magistrates and priests. They constituted one of the few resources of executive agency and administrative expertise available to magistrates, and gained power which they often abused. Appointed by the patronage of the magistrates, they served for more than their patron's year of office. These officials held the highest public appointment open to non‐senators under the republic, and constituted an order, entry to which provided a reflection of social promotion for freedmen and people from outside Rome; during the empire the social standing of the grander apparitores was little lower than the equestrian order. Their standing was reflected in a complex organization into corporations according to function, which seems to have been reordered in the early empire, when new grades serving the emperor as magistrate were created. The scrībae (broadly ‘clerks’, though serving also as accountants and cashiers) were the highest in prestige (Horace was at least briefly scriba to the quaestors who ran the treasury, see aerarium), followed by the lictors who carried the insignia of imperium, the fasces, and acted as a bodyguard, the viatores or general errand‐runners, and the praecōnēs or public criers.
Subjects: Classical Studies.