Quaestor sacri palatii

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The quaestor sacri palatii ( QSP for short ; Latin "Quaestor of the holy palace") was a high official in the late ancient Roman Empire .

Within the imperial court, the QSP was the second highest official after the magister officiorum . He was a kind of "Minister of Justice" as it was his job to formulate the imperial decrees. In fact, he should therefore have had considerable influence on the content of the laws, and not just under weaker rulers. Therefore, the quaestores were usually very respected legal scholars or rhetors. Apart from the name, there was next to nothing associated the QSP with the quaestor of the Roman Republic and the early Imperial Era. The late antique office most likely went back to the quaestores Caesaris , who had communicated imperial pronouncements to the Senate since the late 1st century.

The quaestor sacri palatii belonged to the consistorium , a council of high officials, in which general laws were often passed. Here suggestions or requests for required laws were introduced. The quaestor now had the task of drafting a drafting proposal for a new law. This proposal was then discussed again in the consistorium and later presented to the emperor.

The QSP was one of the three ranks of comites ("companions") of the respective emperor. This system was created by Constantine I and was not only valid for the respective ruling upper emperor ( Augustus ), but also for any co-emperors and lower emperors ( Caesares ). An upper emperor often tried to control his lower emperor (s) through the court. The office of quaestor sacri palatii and with it the Constantinian system consisted of the court to the time after the end of the west of the Roman Empire Western Roman Empire continued (476/480). It is documented even under Odoacer (476–493) and during the subsequent Ostrogoth rule over Italy (493–553); it was only abolished in 554 by Emperor Justinian , together with the Western Roman court . In Ostrom the office existed much longer - until well into the 7th century, when the empire largely lost its late Roman character. One of the most famous holders of the office was Tribonianus , who was responsible for drawing up the Codex Iustinianus under Emperor Justinian .


  • Alexander Demandt : History of Late Antiquity. The Roman Empire from Diocletian to Justinian 284 - 565 AD 2nd, fully revised and expanded edition. Beck, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-57241-8 .
  • Jill Harries: The Roman Imperial Quaestor from Constantine to Theodosius II. In: Journal of Roman Studies . Vol. 78, 1988, pp. 148-172, JSTOR 301455 .
  • Christopher Kelly: Ruling the Later Roman Empire (= Revealing Antiquity. Vol. 15). Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA et al. 2004, ISBN 0-674-01564-9 .