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The Senate's Role, Contributions And Impacts During The Julio Claudian Era:

1220 words - 5 pages

In theory the Senate was a purely advisory body, but in practice it became a governing body in Rome. It was the legislature, executive and judiciary, all rolled into one. It was a permanent body with ultimate control in Rome and it governed Rome until 133 B.C., virtually unchallenged.The Senate had been able to obtain this enormous power because of the policy of greedy imperialism pursued by Rome, resulting in vast territorial expansion and a consequent shameful exploitation of the provinces.The two Triumvirates which were to follow and the presence of Augustus sounded the demise for the Republic, and therefore the rule of the Senate, although, through the Julio-Claudian era, the senate was still very important; with Augustus and Tiberius sincerely interested in maintaining its prestige.Each emperor had a different relationship with the senate. These relationships combined with the individual attitudes of each emperor resulted in minor changes in practice of the Senate from time to time, although in the end much of the Senate's original duties were restored.The senate continued to function in the early days of the principate. Even though Augustus had usurped the Senate's functions it handed him much of his authority. This may be attributed to the fact that Augustus controlled the 'real power'. The army.During Augustus's reign the Senate discussed issues, minted bronze and copper coinage, made laws through the passing of 'senatus consulta', acted as a court of justice and had charge of the Senatorial provinces. Although these duties still stood, Augustus changed their mode of operation by the introduction of the consilium and the use of his 'auctoritas'. As a consequence of the consilium, Cassius Dio states that "it became a practice that all legislation put forward by the emperors is communicated after a fashion through Augustus's select few advisers to all the other senators."As Augustus relied upon the senatorial class to administer the state, senatorial commissions were in charge of aqueducts, corn supply, roads and public buildings.The Senate was once a body that incorporated a strict admission process usually requiring you to be the son of a previous or current senator but in 13.B.C. Augustus established a minimum property qualification for senators of one million sesterces so he could financially assist members he felt worthy to step up to the senatorial group. This displeased the Senate as along with the culling of the senators as there was no longer a guarantee that their children would be able have the privilege of becoming senators, also because it disturbed the social order of Roman societyBy the end of Augustus's reign, the Senate virtually followed his orders.When Tiberius became emperor, he tried to restore the Senate to its former position of executive responsibility, but he was unsuccessful as it appears it had become dependent on the princeps. Suetonius states that "Tiberius consulted the Senate on national revenue, repair of...

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