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On this page: Senatus Consultum – Seneca

676

SENATUS CONSULTUM——SENECA.

provinces, rewards (such as triumphs and others), and the conclusion of peace and the ratification of treaties. Furthermore, the Senate had supreme power in all matters of diplomacy, as it appointed ambassadors, received and gave audience to foreign ambassadors, and conferred such tokens of honour as the titles of confederates and friends of the Roman people. Over the subjects of the Roman people it exercised an almost sovereign authority, particularly in reference to the assigning of provinces. Under the Empire, it retained control of the senatorial provinces alone. It was still sometimes consulted about concluding peace and ratifying treatises, and about business with foreign allies, and also had the right of conferring such honours as those of apotheosis, or of statues and triumphs. On the other hand, its influence over mili­tary matters could no longer continue side by side with the military power of the emperor. (4) In legislation it exercised considerable influence during the Republic, as it prepared legislative proposals to be brought before the people by the magis­trates, and had the right of annulling laws passed by the people in the event of their being defective in point of form. Its reso­lutions also, by virtue of a kind of prescrip­tion, had considerable statutory authority. Under the Empire, when the legislative power of the people was entirely abolished, they had authority completely equal to that of the laws themselves. They were, how­ever, merely formal ratifications of the will of the emperor, who in every year exacted from the Senate on January 1st an oath of allegiance to his independent enactments. On the accession of a new emperor the Senate conferred on him the imperial power by an enactment termed lex regia; this, however, was a mere formality. (5) During the republican age, the Senate possessed no judicial power of its own (apart from the fact that, until the time of the Gracchi, the judges all belonged to the senatorial order); but the magistrate only acted as adviser to the judges in criminal jurisdiction, i.e. in cases of treason and perjury on the part of allies and subjects, and in serious cases of poisoning and murder such as endan­gered the public peace, Under the Empire, the Senate.possessed formal jurisdiction in cases of breach of contract, disturbance in Italy, malpractices in office and extortion of provincial governors, and especially all cases of high treason and offencesof senators. From the 2nd century onward all this juris-

diction passed over to the imperial courts. (6) During the Republic, the elections were only indirectly under the influence of the Senate, by means of the presiding officials, and also owing to their right of annulling elections on the score of mistakes in form, and, lastly, by having the appoint­ment of the days for the elections. Under the Empire, it gained from Tiberius the right of proposing all the magistrates with the exception of the consuls; this right, however, was rendered insignificant by the fact that the candidates were recommended by the emperor. The right also of nomi­nating the emperor, which it claimed when the occupant of the throne was removed by violence, was, owing to the practical power of the army, as illusory as its pretended right of deposition.

Senatus Consultum. See senate.

Seneca. (1) Annams, the rhetorician; born of an equestrian family, at Corduba (Cordova) in Spain, towards the end of the Republic. In the time of Augustus he studied at Rome, where he lived in inti­macy with the most famous rhetoricians and orators, and died at a very great age, probably not till after the death of Tiberius (37 a.d.). [He was the father of Seneca the philosopher, and (by his son Mela) grandfather of Lucan the poet.) According to the testimony of Seneca the philosopher, he was a man of pristine virtue and severity, much devoted to the mainten­ance of ancestral customs [Seneca, Ad Helviam Matrem 17, 3: patris mei antl-quus rigor j m&iuru'm consuctudfin dS-ditus}. As a stylist he was a great admirer of Cicero. In his old age, relying simply on his marvellous memory, he com­posed at his son's desire a collection of declamations for the use of schools of rhetoric, modelled on the treatment of the subjects by the most famous rhetoricians of his youth. It bears the title, Oratorum et RhetOrum Sententice Lnvlslones Colorls, one book containing seven themes called suasfiriai, and ten books, thirty-five contro­versies. Of these we now possess only books i, ii, vii, ix, x, and the greater part of the introductions to books iii and iv, besides an abstract of the whole, belonging to the 4th or 5th century. The contents give a vivid picture of the work of the schools of rhetoric in the time of Augustus and Tiberius, and are an important autho­rity for the history of Roman rhetoric.

(2) Lucius Annceus, the philosopher, son of (1), born at Corduba, about 5 B.C.

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