1st Edition

The Censors as Guardians of Public and Family Life in the Roman Republic

By Anna Tarwacka Copyright 2025
    296 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume explores the effects of the Roman censorial mark (nota censoria) and the influence of censorial regulations on the development of written law in ancient Rome.

    The censor was one of the most fascinating legal institutions of Republican Rome. The most colourful and anecdotal area of censorial activities was in the upkeep of public morals (regimen morum); in carrying out this duty, censors controlled private, even intimate, aspects of Roman life. The office of the censor has been studied by various scholars from prosopographical, historical, and social perspectives. There is, however, no extensive study of the impact of the censors on the development of written law. This book provides an overview of the applications of the nota censoria to demonstrate its impact on the development of numerous regulations in the field of private and public law in both the Republican and Imperial periods. It explores the relationship between magistrate law (ius honorarium) and regimen morum and how the activity of the censors in this area influenced the formation of praetorian edicts, as well as later legislation of the principate period, most notably the marriage laws of Augustus. In examining the influence of the censor and the censorial nota in these spheres, readers will gain a new understanding of the overall significance of the office of censor in the formation of the Roman legal order. 

    The Censors as Guardians of Public and Family Life in the Roman Republic will be of interest to students and scholars of Roman law in both the Republican and Imperial periods, but also to those working on Roman moral attitudes and society more broadly.

    Introduction; I. The office of censor in republican Rome; II. Census-related powers of the censors; III. The principles of the regimen morum; IV. Censorial mark concerning matters of morality in family life; V. Censorial mark for matters relating to public functions and way of life; Conclusion.


    Anna Tarwacka is Professor of Social Sciences in the field of law, classical philologist and head of the Roman Law Department at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. She is the author of four monographs and numerous articles, and co-author of the textbook Roman Public Law. She specialises in Roman public and private law. Tarwacka conducts research on piracy in ancient Rome, the office of the censor and the legal aspects of the collection of ancient jokes called Philogelos. She is a populariser of antiquity; she runs the blog ‘Rzymianie i prawo’ (‘Romans and the Law’) and a YouTube channel of the same name. She is also the author of a children's book on Roman law.