Parents and Teachers: Support Ducksters by following us on Ducksters Facebook or Ducksters Twitter.
Ducksters Educational SiteDucksters Educational Site
History Biography Geography Science Games

Ancient Rome

The Senate

History >> Ancient Rome

The senate was a major political body throughout the history of Ancient Rome. It was typically made up of important and wealthy men from powerful families.

Was the Roman senate powerful?

The role of the senate changed over time. In the early ages of Rome, the senate was there to advise the king. During the Roman Republic the senate became more powerful. Although the senate could only make "decrees" and not laws, its decrees were generally obeyed. The senate also controlled the spending of the state money, making it very powerful. Later, during the Roman Empire, the senate had less power and the real power was held by the emperor.
Painting of Cicero talking to the Roman Senate
A Roman Senate Meeting by Cesare Maccari


Who could become a senator?

Unlike senators of the United States, senators of Rome were not elected, they were appointed. Through much of the Roman Republic, an elected official called the censor appointed new senators. Later, the emperor controlled who could become senator.

In the early history of Rome, only men from the patrician class could become senators. Later, men from the common class, or plebeians, could also become a senator. Senators were men who had previously been an elected official (called a magistrate).

During the rule of Emperor Augustus, senators were required to have over 1 million sesterces in wealth. If they came into misfortune and lost their wealth, they were expected to resign.

How many senators were there?

Throughout most of the Roman Republic there were 300 senators. This number was increased to 600 and then 900 under Julius Caesar.

Requirements of a Senator

Senators were required to be of high moral character. They needed to be wealthy because they were not paid for their jobs and were expected to spend their wealth on helping the Roman state. They were also not allowed to be bankers, participate in foreign trade, or have committed a crime.

Did senators have any special privileges?

Although senators didn't get paid, it was still considered a lifelong goal of many Romans to become a member of the senate. With membership came great prestige and respect throughout Rome. Only senators could wear a purple striped toga and special shoes. They also got special seating at public events and could become high ranking judges.

Issuing Decrees

The senate would meet to debate current issues and then to issue decrees (advice) to the current consuls. Before issuing a decree, each senator present would speak about the subject (in order of seniority).

How did they vote?

Once every senator had the chance to speak on an issue, a vote was taken. In some cases, the senators moved to the side of the speaker or the chamber that they supported. The side with the most senators won the vote.

Interesting Facts About the Roman Senate
Activities For more about Ancient Rome:

Overview and History
Timeline of Ancient Rome
Early History of Rome
The Roman Republic
Republic to Empire
Wars and Battles
Roman Empire in England
Barbarians
Fall of Rome

Cities and Engineering
The City of Rome
City of Pompeii
The Colosseum
Roman Baths
Housing and Homes
Roman Engineering
Roman Numerals
Daily Life
Daily Life in Ancient Rome
Life in the City
Life in the Country
Food and Cooking
Clothing
Family Life
Slaves and Peasants
Plebeians and Patricians

Arts and Religion
Ancient Roman Art
Literature
Roman Mythology
Romulus and Remus
The Arena and Entertainment
People
Augustus
Julius Caesar
Cicero
Constantine the Great
Gaius Marius
Nero
Spartacus the Gladiator
Trajan
Emperors of the Roman Empire
Women of Rome

Other
Legacy of Rome
The Roman Senate
Roman Law
Roman Army
Glossary and Terms


Works Cited

History >> Ancient Rome






About Ducksters Privacy Policy   

Follow us on Ducksters Facebook or Ducksters Twitter

This site is a product of TSI (Technological Solutions, Inc.), Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved. By using this site you agree to the Terms of Use.