The Censor in the Late Republican Empire and His Meaning for Modern Democracy

Nico P. Swartz


In the Late Republican time, the censor was involved in maintaining and enforcing moral conduct amongst the citizenry. It had to guard the morals of the populace. The question to be asked now concerns the implications, for humanity in a modern democracy, of censuring the censor. This study determines that the functions of the censor display similarities with that of the Public Protector in a modern democracy. However, the functions of the censor belonged to the Late Republican time. Only centuries later, a bureaucracy, the Public Protector, appeared with functions similar to those of the censor. However, because of the constitutional demands of a modern democracy, the Public Protector had to fulfil additional and wider-ranging functions. Despite these larger and wider-ranging functions, the influence of the censor is clearly to be seen in the functions of the Public Protector.

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