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Gracch. 5, &c.) states, that Gracchus added to the senate 300 ecjuites, whom he was allowed to select from the whole body of equites, and that he transferred the judicia to this new senate of 600. This account seems to be founded upon a confusion of the lex judiciaria of C. Gracchus with the later one of Livius Drusus (Walter, Gesck. d. Rom. Reclits, p. 214), and all the other writers who mention the lex judiciaria of C. Gracchus do not allude to any change or increase in the number of senators, but merely state that he transferred the judicia from the senate to the equites, who remained in their possession till the tribuneship of Livius Drusus. The latter proposed, that as the senate consisted of 300, an equal number of equites should be elected (apMrrivSrjv} into the senate, and that in future the judiccs should be taken from this senate of 600. (Appian. B. C. i. 35 ; Aurel. Vict. de Vir. lllustr. 66 ; Liv. Epit. 71.) After the death of Livius Drusus, however, this law was abolished by the senate itself, on whose behalf it had been proposed, and the senate now again consisted of 300 members. During the civil war between Marius and Sulla many vacancies must have occurred in the senate. Sulla in his dictatorship not only filled up these vacancies, but increased the number of senators. AH we know of this increase with certainty is, that he caused about 300 of the most distinguished equites to be elected into the senate (Appian. B. C, i. 100), but the real increase which he made to the number of senators is not mentioned anywhere. It appears, however, henceforth to have consisted of between five and six hundred. (Cic. ad Att. i. 14.) Julius Caesar augmented the number to 900, and raised to this dignity even common soldiers, freedmen, and peregrini. (Dion Cass. xliii. 47 ; Suet. Caes. 80.) This arbitrariness in electing unworthy persons into the senate, and of extending its number at random, was imitated after the death of Caesar, for on one occasion there were more than one thousand senators. (Suet. Aug. 35.) Augustus cleared the senate of the unworthy members, who were contemptuously called by the people Orcini senatores, reduced its number to 600 (Dion Cass. liv. 14), and ordained that a list of the senators should always be exhibited to public inspection. (Dion Cass. Iv. 3.)- During the first centuries of the empire, this number appears, on the whole, to have remained the same ; but as everything depended upon the will of the emperor, we can scarcely expect to find a regular and fixed number of them. (Dion Cass. liii. 17.) During the latter period of the empire their number was again very much diminished.
With respect to the eligibility of persons for the senate, as well as to the manner in which they were elected, we must distinguish between the several periods of Roman history. It was formerly a common opinion, founded upon Livy (i. 8) and Festus (s. v. Praeteriti senatores\ which has in modern times found new supporters in Huschke and Rubino, that in the early period of Roman history the kings appointed the members of the senate at their own discretion. Niebuhr and others after him have attempted to show that the populus of Rome was the real sovereign, that all the powers which the kings possessed were delegated to them by the populus, and that the senate was an assembly formed on the principle of representation, so that it represented the populus, and that its members were elected by the populus.
Dionysius (ii. 14) also states that the senator* were elected by the populus, but the manner in which he describes the election is erroneous, for he believes that the three tribes were already united when the senate consisted of only one hundred members, and that the senators were elected by the curies. Niebuhr (i. p. 338) thinks, that each gens sent its decurio, who was its alderman, to represent it in the senate ; Got-tling (p. 151, comp. p. 62) on the other hand believes, with somewhat more probability, that each decury (the 5e/cds of Dionysius), which contained either a part of one or parts of several smaller gentes, had to appoint one old man by whom it was represented in the senate, and a younger one as eques. This supposition removes the difficulty respecting the decurio, which has been pointed out by Walter (Gescli.d. Rom. Redds, p. 23. n. 12) ; for the decurio was the commander of a division of the arnry-, and as such could not well have been of the age of a senator. As, according to this theory, each decury or gens appointed one senator, each cury was represented by ten, each tribe by one hundred, and the whole populus by three hundred senators, all of whom held their dignity for life. But this theory cannot bo accepted, for we must either set nearly all the ancient authorities at defiance, or we must acquiesce in the old opinion that the king appointed the senators. The plebeians as such were not represented in the senate, for the instances in which plebeians are mentioned as being made senators, as in the reign of Tarquinius Pris-cus and after the abolition of the kingly power, cannot be regarded in any other light than mere momentary measures, which the government was obliged to adopt for several reasons, and without any intention to appoint representatives of the plebes. (Niebuhr, i. p. 526, &c.) The numbers of such plebeian senators at any rate must have been much smaller than they are stated by our authorities, for there is no instance of any plebeian senator on record until the year 439 b. c., when Spurius Maelius is mentioned as senator. The senate itself appears to have had some influence upon tho election of new members, inasmuch as it might raise objections against a person elected. (Dionys. vii. 55.) The whole senate was divided into decuries. each of which corresponded to a curia. When the senate consisted of only one hundred members, there were accordingly only ten decuries of senators ; and ten senators, one being taken from each decury, formed the decem primi who represented the ten curies. When subsequently the representatives of the two other tribes were admitted into the senate, the Ramnes with their decem primi retained for a time their superiority over the two other tribes (Dionys. ii. 58, iii. 1 ; Pint. Num. 3), and gave their votes first. (Dionys. vi. 84.) The first among the decem primi was the princeps senatus, who was appointed by the king (Dionyp, ii. 12 ; Lyd. de Mens. i. 19)., and was at the same time custos urbis. [puaefectus urbi.] Respecting the age at which a person might be elected into t?*e senate during the kingly period, we know no more than what is indicated by the name senator itself, that is, that they were persons of advanced age. (Comp. Becker, Rom. Altertlt. vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 385, &c.)
On the establishment of the republic the election of senators passed from the hands of the