Public offices after the monarchy

To replace the leadership of the kings, a new office was created with the title of consul. Initially, the consuls possessed all of the kings powers in the form of two men, elected for a one-year term, who could veto each other's actions. Later, the consuls powers were broken down further by adding other magistrates that each held a small portion of the kings original powers. First among these was the praetor, which removed the consuls judicial authority from them. Next came the censor, which stripped from the consuls the power to conduct the census. The Romans instituted the idea of a dictatorship. A dictator would have complete authority over civil and military matters within the Roman imperium, and was not legally responsible for his actions as a dictator and therefore was unquestionable. However, the power of the dictator was so absolute that Ancient Romans were hesitant in electing one, reserving this decision only to times of severe emergencies. Although this seems similar to the roles of a king, dictators of Rome were limited to serving a maximum six-month term limit. Contrary to the modern notion of a dictator as an usurper, Roman Dictators were freely chosen, usually from the ranks of consuls, during turbulent periods when one-man rule proved more efficient. The king's religious powers were given to two new offices: the Rex Sacrorum and the Pontifex Maximus. The Rex Sacrorum was the de jure highe t religious official for the Republic. His sole task was to make the annual sacrifice to Jupiter, a privilege that had been previously reserved for the king. The pontifex maximus, however, was the de facto highest religious official, who held most of the kings religious authority. He had the power to appoint all vestal virgins, flamens, pontiffs, and even the Rex Sacrorum himself. By the beginning of the 1st Century BC, the Rex Sacrorum was all but forgotten and the pontifex maximus given almost complete religious authority over the Roman religion. Praetor (Classical Latin: [?prajto?r]) was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army (in the field or, less often, before the army had been mustered); or, an elected magistratus (magistrate), assigned various duties (which varied at different periods in Rome's history). The functions of the magistracy, the praetura (praetorship), are described by the adjective: the praetoria potestas (praetorian power), the praetorium imperium (praetorian authority), and the praetorium ius (praetorian law), the legal precedents established by the praetores (praetors). Praetorium, as a substantive, denoted the location from which the praetor exercised his authority, either the headquarters of his castra, the courthouse (tribunal) of his judiciary, or the city hall of his provincial governorship.