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1020

SENATUS.

before the senate the subjects for deliberation. The power of the S3nate was at first the same as under the kings, if not greater : it had the general care of the public welfare, the superintendence of •all matters of religion, the management of all af­fairs with foreign nations ; it commanded the levies of troops, regulated the taxes and duties, and had in short the supreme control of all the revenue and expenditure. The order in which the senators spoke and voted was determined by their rank as belonging to the majores or minores. (Cic. de Re Pull, ii. 20 ; Dionys. vi. 69, vii. 47.) This dis­tinction of rank however appears to have ceased after the decemvirate, and even under the decem­virate we have instances of the senators speaking without any regular order. (Dionys. vi. 4, 16, 19, 21 ; Liv. iii. 39, 41.) It is also probable that after the decemvirate vacancies in the senate were gene­rally filled with ex-magistrates, which had now become more practicable as the number of magis­trates had been increased. The tribunes of the people likewise obtained access to the deliberations of the senate (Liv. iii. 69, vi. 1) ; but they had no seats in it yet, but sat before the opened doors of the curia. (Val. Max. ii. 2. § 7.) The senate had at first had the right to propose to the comitia the candidates for magistracies, but this right was now lost: the comitia centuriata had become quite free in regard to elections and were no longer dependent upon the proposal of the senate. The curies only still possessed the right to sanction the election ; but in the year b. c. 299 they were compelled to sanction any election of magistrates which the co­mitia might make, before it took place (Cic. Brut. 14 ; Aurel. Vict. de Vir. Illustr. 33), and this soon after became law by the lex Maenia. (Orelli, Onom. Tull. vol. iii. p. 215.) When at last the curies no longer assembled for this empty show of power, the senate stept into their place, and hence­forth in elections, and soon after also in matters of legislation the senate had previously to sanction whatever the comitia might decide. (Liv. i. 17.) After the lex Hortensia a decree of the comitia tributa became law even without the sanction of the senate. The original state of things had thus gradually become reversed, and the senate had lost very important branches of its power, which, had all been gained by the comitia tributa. [tribunus plebis.] In its relation to the comitia centu­riata, however, the ancient rules were still in force, as laws, declarations of war, conclusions of peace, treaties, &c. were brought before them and decided by them on the proposal of the senate. (Walter, p. 132.)

The powers of the senate after both .orders were placed upon a perfect equality may be thus briefly summed up. The senate continued to have the supreme superintendence in all matters of religion (Gellius, xiv. 7) ; it determined upon the manner in which a war was to be conducted, what legions were to be placed at the disposal of a commander, and whether new ones were to be levied ; it decreed into what provinces the consuls and praetors were to be sent [provincia], and whose imperium was to be prolonged. The commissioners who were generally sent out to settle the administration of a newly conquered country, were always appointed bv the senate. (Liv. xlv. 17 ; Appian. de Reb. Hisp. 99, de Reb. Pun. 135 ; Sallust. Jug. 16.) All embassies for the conclusion of peace or treaties with foreign states were sent out by the senate,

SENATUS.

and such ambassadors were generally senators themselves and ten in number. (Polyb. vi. 13 ; Liv. passim.) The senate alone carried on the ne-. gotiations with foreign ambassadors (Polyb. /. c. ; Cic. c. Vatin. 15), and received the complaints of subject or allied nations, who always regarded the senate as their common protector. (Liv. xxix. 16, xxxix. 3, xlii. 14, xliii. 2 ; Polvb. /. c.) By

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virtue of this office of protector it also settled all disputes which might arise among the municipia and colonies of Italy (Dionys. ii. 1 ; Liv. ix. 20 ; Varro, de Re Rust. iii. 2 ; Cic. ad Ait. iv. 15, de Off. \. 10), and punished all heavy crimes com­mitted in Italy, which might endanger the public peace and security'. (Polyb. I. c.) Even in Rome itself the judices to whom the praetor referred im­portant cases, both public and private, were taken from among the senators (Polyb. vi. 17), and in extraordinary cases the senate appointed especial commissions to investigate them (Liv. xxxviii. 54, xxxix. 14, xl. 37, 44, &c.) ; but such a commis­sion, if the case in question was a capital offence committed by a citizen, required the sanction of the people. (Polyb. vi. 16 ; Liv. xxvi. 33, &c.) When the republic was in danger the senate might confer unlimited power upon the magistrates by the formula, " videant consules, ne quid respub-lica detriment! capiat" (Sallust. Cat. 29 ; Caes. B. C. i. 5, 7), which was equivalent to a de­claration of martial law within the city. This general care for the internal and external welfare of the republic included, as before, the right to dis­pose over the finances requisite for these purposes. Hence all the revenue and expenditure of the re­public were under the direct administration of the senate, and the censors and quaestors were only its ministers or agents. [censor, ; quaestor.] All the expenses necessary for the maintenance of the armies required the sanction of the senate, be­fore anything could be done, and it might even prevent the triumph of a returning general, by re­fusing to assign the money necessary for it. (Polyb. vi. 15.) There are, however, instances of a general triumphing without the consent of the seriate. (Liv. iii. 63, vii. 17, ix. 37.)

Plow many members were required to be present in order to constitute a legal meeting is uncertain, though it appears that there existed some regula­tions on this point (Liv. xxxviii. 44, xxxix. 4 ; Cic. ad Fam. viii. 5 ; Fest s. v. Numera\ and there is one instance on record, in which at least one hundred senators were required to be present. (Liv. xxxix. 18.) The presiding magistrate opened the business, and as the senators sat in the following order,—princeps senatus, consulares, cen-sorii, praetorii, aedilicii, tribunicii, quaestorii, — it is natural to suppose, that they were asked their opinion and voted in. the same order. (Suo loco sententiam dicere, Cic. Philip, v. 17, xiii. 13, &c., ad A it. xii. 21.) Towards the end of the republic the order in which the question was put to the senators, appears to have depended upon the dis­cretion of the presiding consul (Varro, ap. GelL xiv. 7), "who called upon each member by pronouncing his name (nominatim, Cic. c. Verr. iv. 64), but he usually began with the princeps senatus (Cic. pro Seoct. 32), or if consules designati were present, with them. (Sallust, Cat. 50 ; Appian, B. C. ii. 5.) The consul generally observed all the year round the same order in which he had commenced on the first of January. (Suet. Caes. 21.) A

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