1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Curator

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

CURATOR (Lat. for “one who takes care,” curare, to take care of), in Roman law the “caretaker” or guardian of a spendthrift (prodigus) or of a person of unsound mind (furiosus), and, more particularly, one who takes charge of the estate of an adolescens, i.e. of a person sui juris, above the age of a pupillus, fourteen or twelve years, according to sex, and below the full age of twenty-five. Such persons were known as “minors,” i.e. minores viginti quinque annis. While the tutor, the guardian of the pupillus, was said to be appointed for the care of the person, the curator took charge of the property. The term survives in Scots law for the guardian of one in the second stage of minority, i.e. below twenty-one, and above fourteen, if a male, and twelve, if a female. Under the Roman empire the title of curator was given to several officials who were in charge of departments of public administration, such as the curatores annonae, of the public supplies of corn and oil, or the curatores regionum, who were responsible for order in the fourteen regiones or districts into which the city of Rome was divided, and who protected the citizen from exaction in the collection of taxes; the curatores aquarum had the charge of the aqueducts. Many of these curatorships were instituted by Augustus. In modern usage “curator” is applied chiefly to the keeper of a museum, art collection, public gallery, &c., but in many universities to an official or member of a board having a general control over the university, or with the power of electing to professorships. In the university of Oxford “curators” are nominated to administer certain departments, such as the University Chest.