Senate of the Roman Republic

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This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Ancient Rome

Roman Republic
508 BC27 BC
Roman Empire
27 BCAD 1453

Principate
Western Empire

Dominate
Eastern Empire

Constitution of the Kingdom
Constitution of the Republic
Constitution of the Empire
Constitution of the Late Empire
History of the Constitution
Senate
Legislative Assemblies
Executive Magistrates

Consul
Praetor
Quaestor
Promagistrate

Aedile
Tribune
Censor
Governor

Dictator
Magister Equitum
Consular tribune

Rex
Triumviri
Decemviri

Legatus
Dux
Officium
Praefectus
Vicarius
Vigintisexviri
Lictor

Magister militum
Imperator
Princeps senatus
Pontifex Maximus
Augustus
Caesar
Tetrarch

Imperium
Mos maiorum
Collegiality

Roman citizenship
Auctoritas
Cursus honorum

The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic appointment to the Senate. According to the Greek historian Polybius, our principal source on the Constitution of the Roman Republic, the Roman Senate was the predominant branch of government. Polybius noted that it was the consuls (the highest-ranking of the regular Roman magistrates) who led the armies and the civil government in Rome, and it was the Roman assemblies which had the ultimate authority over elections, legislation, and criminal trials. However, since the Senate controlled money, administration, and the details of foreign policy, it had the most control over day-to-day life. The power and authority of the Senate derived from precedent, the high caliber and prestige of the senators, and the Senate's unbroken lineage, which dated back to the founding of the Republic in 509 BC.

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