The roman Republic did not have a centralised government like an administration or a cabinet. It had five types of officers of state (the magistrates) who acted independently within the remit of their offices. Therefore, no one could exercise direct control over the government. All the officers of state were elected by the popular assemblies annually; except for the censor whose term of office was 18 months. Two consuls were the heads of the republic and the army.

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The most powerful political body was the senate. It was not an elected body. Senators were members of the aristocracy and former officers of state. It was not a legislative body. Originally the consuls proposed bills to the Assembly of the Soldiers. Later the plebeian tribunes presented bills to the vote of the Plebeian Council. However, the senate could issue decrees. The senate also supervised the quaestrors (the treasurers). With imperial expansion the senate also took charge of the administration of the provinces (the conquered territories).

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