"and then was sent off for the obligatory year of government service, in his case to the province of Sicily, before being allowed to take his seat. His official title was quaestor, the most junior of the magistracies."

Temple of Juno at Agrigentum, Sicily
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeTemple of Juno at Agrigentum, Sicily - Credit: Poudou99/Wikimedia Commons
Rome’s empire was split into a number of manageable areas, called provinces, managed by provincial governors. The governor was a Roman politician who had finished serving one of the higher annual magistracies, the consulship or the praetorship. After handing over office, they were awarded a province to govern, aided in their task by quaestors, the junior magistrates beginning to make a name for themselves in Roman public life. The quaestor’s job was to oversee financial affairs; some were sent to provinces or with the army while others remained in Rome.

Many governors looked on their term in a province as a way to quickly (and often corruptly) recoup the expenses of their magistracy, or to fund an expensive election campaign. Governors possessed immunity from prosecution as long as they held imperium, but upon giving up the province they became accountable for any corruption charges brought against them.