CEAUS, THE, at Rome, was a num bering of the Roman people, and a valua tion of their property. It was held little Campus Martins, after B.C. 432. (Liv. iv. 22 ; Varro, De R. R. iii. 11.) Every Roman citizen was obliged, upon oath, to give in a statement of his own name and age, of the name and age of his wife, children, slaves, and freedmen, if he had any. The punishment for a false re turn was, that the individual's property should be confiscated, and he himself scourged and sold for a slave. Taxation depended on the results of the census ; many kinds of property were excepted, while, on the other hand, some sorts of property were assessed at several times their value. Constant changes were made by successive censors iu the valuation of taxable property. Cato and Flacons rated the taxable value of high-priced slaves at ten times the purchase-money.
(Niebuhr, ii. 402.) It appears from a passage in Livy (vi. 27) that the census also showed the amount of a man's debts and the names of his creditors.
According to the valuation of their pro perty at the census, the citizens were di vided into six classes; each class con tained a number of centuries or hundreds. That a century did not always consist of a hundred men is clear, from the fact that the richest centuries were the most nu mesons, and consequently must individu ally have contained fewer persons than the centuries of the poor. (Hist. of Rome, by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, p. 21.) The first class con sisted of those whose property amounted to 100,000 ases, about 3221. 18s. of Eng lish money: the second class consisted of persons worth 75,000 ases ; the fortune of the third class amounted to 50,000 ases ; that of the fourth to 25,000; that of the fifth to 11,000; and the sixth class in eluded all below the fifth, even those who had no estate whatever. This was naturally the fullest of the six, but was accounted only as one century. Now, as the richer classes contained far more centuries than the poorer, so much so that the first class contained more than all the rest together, and as the votes in the Comitia Centuriata were taken within the centuries individu ally, and then the voice of the majority of centuries was decisive, it is obvious that the influence of wealth was greatly preponderant in this assembly. Cicero
(De Repub. ii. 22) assigns this as the ob ject aimed at in the institution. The real object of the Comitia Centuriata was (as Niebuhr supposes) to bind the different orders of the state together in one con sistent and organised body. In the Comitia Centuriata the people always appeared under arms, and each class had a par ticular kind of armour assigned to it.
The census was held at first by the kings, afterwards by the consuls, and, from B.C. 442, by two magistrates called Censors (Censores), who were appointed every five years. After the census a sa crifice of purification was generally, but not always, offered. The victims were a sow, a sheep, and a bull, which were led thrice round the army, and then slain: the sacrifice was called SuovetaAuilia.
It does not appear that the census was held with strict regularity. It was some times altogether omitted. (Cie. Pro Arch. 5. 11.) The usual interval was five years ; and in allusion to the sacrifice of purification, the interval was commonly called a lustre (lustrum).
When a person was duly entered on the books of the censors, this was taken as a proof of his citizenship, even if he were a slave, provided he had been registered with his master's consent. (Cicero, De Or. i. 40 ; Ulpian, Frog. tit. i. 8 ; Gains, i. 17.) As the census was held at Rome, citizens who were in the provinces, and wished to be registered, were obliged to repair there on that occasion (Cicero, Ad Att. i. 18, &c.); but this was sometimes evaded, and was made a matter of com plaint by the censors. The census, ac zompanied with the ceremony of the lus trum, seems to have fallen into disuse after the time of Vespasian ; but the num bering of the population, and the regis tration of property, continued under the empire.