Senatus Romanus (Senate of the Roman Republic)

Senatus Romanus

The modern senate

The Senate is the chief administrative council of the Roman Republic overseeing daily operations. Within our non-profit bylaws, the Senate is also known as a standing committee called the ‘advisory committee’.

The modern Senate plays numerous vital roles which mirror the responsibilities of the Senate in antiquity. Some of these duties are, appointing non-elected magistrates to administer projects and various operations, monitoring the regional chapters (provincia) of the Roman Republic, managing denarii (internal participation recognition system), approving operating procedures (lex) to be brought before the citizen assemblies. The primary role of our Senate is in advising and assisting elected magistrates which administrate aspects of our community on a daily basis.

Senators are citizens appointed by the censors and are usually former elected magistrates who have completed their terms in office. They hold the office of senator for life or until removed by a censor. Thus, the Senate acts as a council of the most experienced administrators and volunteers.

Like in ancient times, our Senate is chaired by the Princeps Senatus. This individual is a leading senator selected by the censors to serve in this role. This individual represents the Senate by his person and helps it conduct business, and maintain the dignity and order of the institution and preserve its records.

History of the ancient senate

During antiquity, the Senate was a political institution that was not elected. The censors appointed members. After a Roman magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed by appointment to the Senate. The Senate controlled money, administration, and the details of foreign policy, it had the most control over day-to-day life affairs. The power and authority of the Senate derived from precedent, the high calibre and prestige of the senators, and the Senate’s unbroken lineage, which dated back to the time of kings before the founding of the Republic.

In the closing decades of the ancient republic, the Senate was increasingly ignored or sidestepped by various military leaders cumulating in Julius Caesar and the rise of Augustus. During imperial Rome, the Senate became a body firmly under control of the emperor. Most of its power we relegated to the logistical administration of Italia and a few select provinces. From the 280s CE the Senate increasingly had its political influence significantly limited under Diocletian becoming almost irrelevant outside of the city itself. The Senate was further reduced to an offical municipal body for the city of Rome in 395 CE when Constantine moved the capital to Constantinople and there formed a new Senate. The direct descendant of the original Roman Senate continued into the 500’s CE surviving the commonly recognized date of the fall of the Western Empire. It subsequently gradually disappears from the historical record in the early 600’s CE.