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The Senate 264 – 133BC. Few changes of great importance to the political organisation of the state Dictatorship came and went, but not abolished 242;

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Presentation on theme: "The Senate 264 – 133BC. Few changes of great importance to the political organisation of the state Dictatorship came and went, but not abolished 242;"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Senate 264 – 133BC

2 Few changes of great importance to the political organisation of the state Dictatorship came and went, but not abolished 242; Alien Praetor established to preside over disputes between foreigners and Romans, or foreigners with each other 227 and 197 two additional praetorships each time for provincial governors After 148 this changed with the introduction of proconsuls and propraetors as provincial Governors

3 240Bc a change to the Centuriate Assembly 1 st class centuries were distributed on a tribal basis Total of 193 centuries Equestrian centuries were deprived of the right of voting before everyone else and voted with the first class All first class votes went first followed by the second class The total first class now were not a majority so in theory had less control BUT in reality this meant the ruling Oligarchy had more influence over the assembly Tribes close to Rome had few voters

4 Most Romans who could vote were in the Army ! In part the problem was many people could not get to vote The army was spread across such a wide area Maintenance of Roman Garrisons in the provinces Many Romans were settled outside Italy

5 Democracy? Rome never really became a democracy The Senate always had at least covert control The ruling Oligarchy could influence too many people They had wealth and power They became a closed shop By the end of the 2 nd century BC control of Roman politics rested with less than 20 families

6 From the senate had almost unchallenged control of the government of the Roman state It could guide or nullify the actions of the magistrates, tribunate and the assemblies The higher magistrates were committees of senators

7 Foreign Policy Apart from declaring war all control of the foreign policy rested with the senate War and peace could be controlled by the Centuriate Assembly

8 Senators could not trade in business, banking, shipping etc They could own farms So quaestorship, aedileship, consulship became very appealing to Roman Senators Open to bribes and abuses They could make money

9 Attempts to restrain abuses 180 minimum age limits were set An interval of 2 years between successive magistries Normally the Cursus Honorum was: Quaestorship then Aedileship, which gave one the chance to get public support, then Praetorship and Consulship. In 181 and 159 laws were passed establishing severe penalties for bribery

10 151 re-elections to the same office were forbidden 139 secret ballots for elections 149 the Calpurnian Law introduced to try officials and get back monies gained illegally, especially by extortion in the provinces

11 BUT None of these things worked very well Trial by your peers? Laws dealt with symptoms not causes

12 The Provinces Due to the expansion the Empire was becoming harder to administrate 227 the first two “provinces” were created Sicily and two adjoining Islands 197 two in Spain, 148 Macedonia, 146 Africa, 129 Asia Governors were appointed but as proconsul or propraetor This change in policy is to prevent “New men” getting access to the Senate

13 Provincial charter called “Lex Provinciae” Fixed rights and obligations of provincials Three classes of province Free and federate Free and non-tributary Tributary Usually kept their own laws, subject to Roman supervision

14 Free and federate Few in number Within borders of a province but did not really belong to it, as they were free.

15 Free and non-tributary Not numerous either Within a non-formal protectorate Exempt from taxation

16 Tributary Most numerous Paid taxes Subject to Roman supervision

17 The Roman Governor Term of office was annual, but could extend by prorogation, or failure to appoint a successor Duties were: military, administrative, judicial. Commanded the troops in his province Supervised the relations between the communities Collected tribute Presided as judge in cases involving Romans

18 The Quaestor acted as the treasurer and received the taxes The Gov received no salary but did get a generous “expense account” He took some staff and often “Companions” who were young men from the families of his friends so they could learn about provincial Gov’t

19 Tax Usually accepted the tax system already in place Often a fixed levy, or a “decuma” one tenth of the annual produce Customs duties collected in the harbours and frontiers Collected by Publicani, contracted tax collectors, except for the case of fixed levies Publicani made a profit out of the excess they could get

20 Corruption This system allowed for a range of levels of corruption There were some honest Governors. But there were many who rorted the system. Bribes, presents, illegal exactions and open confiscations were the ways to gain back some of the costs of his election campaign The Gov had the power of life and death, and taxation to use as he willed He was also a long way from Senatorial control


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