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CENSORINUS—CENSUS

be weakened (see Senate), lasted as long as the republic; and it was only suspended, not abolished, during the principate. Although the princeps exercised censorial functions, he was seldom censor. Yet the office itself was held by Claudius I. and Vespasian. Domitian assumed the title of life censor (censor perpetuus), but the precedent was not followed. A fruitless attempt to galvanize the republican office into new life was made in A.D. 251, during the reign of the emperor Decius.

Authorities.—Mommsen, Romisches Staatsrecht, ii. 331 foll. (3rd ed., Leipzig, 1887); Daremberg-Saglio, Dictionnaire des antiquités grecques et romaines, i. 990 foll. (1875, &c.); Lange, Romische Alterthumer, i. 572 foll. (Berlin, 1856, &c.); de Boor, Fasti Censorii (Berlin, 1873); Gerlach, Die romische Censur in ihrem Verhaltnisse zur Verfassung (Basel, 1842); Nitzsch, “Über die Census” in Neues Jahrbuch f. Phil. lxxiii. 730 (Leipzig, 1856); Zumpt, “Die Lustra der Römer” in Rhein. Museum, xxv. 465, xxvi. i.  (A. H. J. G.) 

II. In modern times the word “censor” is used generally for one who exercises supervision over, or criticizes, the conduct of other persons. In the universities of Oxford and Cambridge it is the title of the official head or supervisor of the non-collegiate students (i.e. those who are not attached to a college, hall or hostel). In Oxford the censor is nominated by the vice-chancellor and the proctors, and holds office for five years; in Cambridge he is similarly appointed, and holds office for life. The censors of the Royal College of Physicians are the officials who grant licences.

Council of Censors, in American constitutional history, is the name given to a council provided by the constitution of Pennsylvania from 1776 to 1790, and by the constitution of Vermont from 1777 to 1870. Under both constitutions the council of censors was elected once in seven years, for the purpose of inquiring into the working of the governmental departments, the conduct of the state officers, and the working of the laws, and as to whether the constitution had been violated in any particular. The Vermont council of censors, limited in number to thirteen, had power, if they thought the constitution required amending in any particular, to call a convention for the purpose. A convention summoned by the council in 1870 amended the constitution by abolishing the censors.

For the censorship of the press, see Press Laws; for the censorship of plays, Theatre: Law, and Lord Chamberlain.


CENSORINUS, Roman grammarian and miscellaneous writer, flourished during the 3rd century A.D. He was the author of a lost work De Accentibus, and of an extant treatise De Die Natali, written in 238, and dedicated to his patron Quintus Caerellius as a birthday gift. The contents are of a varied character: the natural history of man, the influence of the stars and genii, music, religious rites, astronomy, the doctrines of the Greek philosophers. The second part deals with chronological and mathematical questions, and has been of great service in determining the principal epochs of ancient history. The whole is full of curious and interesting information. The style is clear and concise, although somewhat rhetorical, and the Latinity, for the period, good. The chief authorities used were Varro and Suetonius. Some scholars, indeed, hold that the entire work is practically an adaptation of the lost Pratum of Suetonius. The fragments of a work De Natali Institutione, dealing with astronomy, geometry, music and versification, and usually printed with the De Die Natali of Censorinus, are not by him. Part of the original MS., containing the end of the genuine work, and the title and name of the author of the fragment are lost.

The only good edition with commentary is still that of H. Lindenbrog (1614); the most recent critical editions are by O. Jahn (1845), F. Hultsch (1867), and J. Cholodniak (1889). There is an English translation of the De Die Natali (the first eleven chapters being omitted) with notes by W. Maude (New York, 1900).


CENSUS (from Lat. censere, to estimate or assess; connected by some with centum, i.e. a count by hundreds), a term used to denote a periodical enumeration restricted, in modern times, to population, and occasionally to industries and agricultural resources, but formerly extending to property of all kinds, for the purpose of assessment.

Operations of this character have been conducted with different objects from very ancient times. The fighting strength of the children of Israel at the Exodus was ascertained by a count of all males of twenty years old and upwards, made by enumerators appointed for each clan. The Levites, who were exempted from military duties, were separately enumerated from the age of thirty upwards, and a similar process was ordained subsequently by Solomon, in order to distribute amongst them the functions assigned to the priestly body in connexion with the temple. The census unwillingly carried out by Joab at the behest of David related exclusively to the fighting men of the community, and the dire consequences ascribed to it were quoted in reprobation of such inquiries as late as the middle of the 18th century. It appears, too, that a register of the population of each clan was kept during the Babylonian captivity and its totals were published on their return to Jerusalem. In the Persian empire there was apparently some method in force by which the resources of each province were ascertained for the purpose of fixing the tribute. In China, moreover, an enumeration of somewhat the same nature was an ancient institution in connexion with the provincial revenues and military liabilities. In Egypt, Amasis had the occupation of each individual annually registered, nominally to aid the official supervision of morals by discouraging disreputable means of subsistence; and this ordinance, according to Herodotus, was introduced by Solon into the Athenian scheme of administration, where it developed later into an electoral record.

It was in Rome, however, that the system from which the name of the inquiry is derived was first established upon a regular footing. The original census was ascribed to Servius Tullius, and in the constitution which goes by his name it was decreed that every fifth year the population should be enumerated along with the property of each family—land, live-stock, slaves and freedmen. The main object was to ensure the accurate division of the people into the six main classes and their respective centuries, which were based upon considerations of combined numbers and wealth. With the increase of the city the operation grew in importance, and was followed by an official lustrum, or purificatory sacrifice, offered on behalf of the people by the censors or functionaries in charge of the classification. Hence the name of lustrum came to denote the intercensal term, or a period of five years. The word census, too, came to mean the property qualification of the class, as well as the process of registering the resources of the individual. Later, it was used in the sense of the imposition itself, in which it has survived in the contracted form of cess. Unfortunately the statistics of population thus collected were subordinated to the fiscal interests of the inquiry, and no record has been handed down relating to the population of the city and its neighbourhood. In the time of Augustus the census was extended to the whole empire. In the words of the Gospel of St Luke, he ordered “the whole world to be taxed,” or, according to the revised version, to be enrolled. The compilation of the results of this the most comprehensive enumeration till then attempted was engaging the attention of the emperor, it is said, just before his death, but was never completed. The various inquiries instituted during the middle ages, such as the Domesday Book and the Breviary of Charlemagne, were so far on the Roman model that they took little or no account of the population, the feudal system probably rendering information regarding it unnecessary for the purposes of taxation or military service.

The foundations of the census on the modern system were laid in Europe towards the middle or end of the 17th century. Sweden led the way, by making compulsory the parish record of births, deaths and marriages, kept by the clergy, and extending it to include the whole of the domiciled population of the parish. In France, Colbert, in 1670, ordered the extension to the rural communes of the system which had for many years been in force in Paris of registering and periodically publishing the domestic occurrences of the locality. Five years before this, however, a periodical enumeration by families and individuals had been established in the colony of New France, and was continued in