Being a Senator

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by AlexaTer
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies
Ancient History

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Being a Senator

The Senate had almost full control during the Roman Republic, but during the Roman Empire they lost some of their control to the emperor. During this time the emperor had most control over the army. This way he could easily kill anyone he didn’t want alive. He made sure the Senate couldn’t take over his power. He didn’t give them full control. The Senate didn’t have full control because the emperor didn’t want to be taken over. Any smart emperor would make sure that he had more power than anyone else. Otherwise they would easily be taken over by the Senate. During the Roman Empire the Senate was second with the most power. The emperor had the most power. If it was the other way around than emperors wouldn’t have had much of a purpose. Or the Senate would have the emperor's role and the emperor would have the Senate’s role in government. The emperor needed most control over the army so he could kill anyone who gets in his way. The Senate doesn’t need full control because they don’t rule the government, like the emperor does. They are just behind by a little when it comes to power.

The first Roman Emperor was Augustus Caesar. He was born September 23, 63 BC, in Velletri, Italy. He was adopted. His mother was Atai and his father was Julius Caesar who was Consul and Dictator. He was the only survivor in the warlords. When Julius Caesar was murdered Augustus was Julius’s heir to the throne. He was a brilliant politician, he reformed the state and restored the Roman world to peace. Since he knew the Romans hated kingship he proclaimed the restoration of the old republic, with himself as the first citizen. Then changed it back to the new republic. Egypt was peaceful and prosperous. Before he died his last words were, “I found Rome of clay; I leave it to you of marble.” Augustus died in A.D. 14 and passed the throne to his adopted son, Tiberius. After he passed they declared him a god, just like they did Julius. Julius Caesar was Augustus’ great uncle and father. It's estimated that Julius Caesar was born in Rome on July 12 or 13, 100 BC. His family was poor even though he hailed from Roman aristocrats. When Caesar was 16 his father, Gaius Caesar, died. He remained close to his mother, Aurelia. He then married Cornelia, the daughter of a noble. Julius began his career in politics, but was captured by pirates when he went to Rhodes to study philosophy. He convinced them to raise him ransom. Then he organized a naval force to attack them. The pirates were captured and executed. Julius was elected quaestor and then went to serve in several key government positions under Pompey. Unfortunately, Cornelia passed away in 69 BC, he then remarried to Pompeia. The marriage only lasted a few years and they divorced in 62 BC. In 61-60 BC he served as governor of the Roman province of Spain. He continued a close alliance with Pompey, which enabled him to be elected as a Consul in 59 BC.

The Roman Republic was governed by the Senate. It was made up from 600 men who were usually from rich noble families. The Consuls did a lot, too. They couldn’t be expected to know everything so they were advised by the Senate. After magistrates done their time, they almost automatically become part of the Senate. The Senate passed laws and collected all taxes. All the members were patricians or wealthy landowners. The head of the Senate were two Consuls. A senator would select Consuls and remain senator for life. The Consuls also selected new members of the Senate if a senator died. To become a Consul you had to have the majority of the popular vote from all citizens of Rome. The Senate was a permanent body, which means they didn’t change members, unlike the Consuls, who held office for one year. The Senate didn’t work democratically. If anything, they worked for the better of the rich. There were three different types of government. The monarchy came first, then the republic, lastly, the empire. Monarchy is when there is one ruler. Evidence shows there were seven different kings at this time. Later on citizens gained control and made the republic. This way the city becomes “public” and is no longer controlled by one leader. Officials are elected and the people all share leadership because they can vote for what they want. The Roman military was the most successful and most powerful in history for thousands of years. The Romans believed that they were descendants of the war gods. They thought very highly of themselves and were very proud people. The Romans had a very good military because of their strategies. They were organized in legions or groups up to 6,000 soldiers. Each legion was divided into centuries or groups of 100 soldiers. This allowed them to be very flexible. It could fight as a large group or several small ones. This helped them defeat many enemies.

You were automatically considered a citizen if your parents were citizens. Many people married citizens so their children would be citizens, too. There were other ways to become one, but this was the easiest. There were two main groups of citizens, the plebeians and the patricians. The plebeians were peasants, craftspeople, traders, and other workers. The patricians were the upper class people, the powerful nobles. They were the only ones elected for office, for a long time. Some plebeians were as rich as the patricians, especially traders. Even though the plebeians outnumbered the patricians by a lot, they couldn’t take part in government. In 494 BC the plebeians formed a council and elected their own officials, it frightened many patricians. They feared that Rome would fall apart if the groups couldn’t cooperate. This finally changed some things that weren’t to fair. Women were considered full citizens, but had little to no rights, unlike male citizens who had a lot of rights and privileges. Women weren’t allowed to vote. They were citizens, but couldn’t participate in any political office. They weren’t allowed to do anything we can do now. Under the kingdom women had no rights. A woman’s role was to bear and raise children and to teach her daughter to behave. The Romans believed that women should have a guardian. The guardian was the oldest male in the house, it could even be the oldest male child. They were practically owned by the man of the household. They were considered full citizen, but didn’t have the rights of a full citizen. Citizenship for women was mostly used in marriage. In order to have children born as citizens, a man would have to marry a daughter of two citizens. In a divorce the husband always took the children. Women belonged to the father’s family and practically had to do whatever the husband wanted. They had to do household chores like clean, cook, and sew, unless they had slaves. They had little to no education or rights and could not serve in the military. However, under the empire women could own and sell property, free slaves, have a job and get paid, have independent wealth, have a divorce, and leave a will. Even though they had some rights under the empire, women still could not vote or hold any political office.

Being a SenatorBy: Alexa Terranova Bunda

The Romans gave us the idea to use votes instead of the one ruler that doesn’t allow people to give a say. Now we have more freedom and women have rights. The Romans made us realise that it’s not all about us and that we should give each other rights and a chance to say what we need to say. This way there isn’t one leader that can do whatever they want and can’t be voted out of office. If the Romans didn’t exist then we wouldn’t be able to stop bad rulers from doing what they think is right for them only. Not everyone else. With votes we can just vote for the person or idea we want and that’s what we get if enough people want it, too. We can have a choice in government and say what needs to be said. We improved also. Rome wasn’t perfect and had some things that wasn’t fair. Like how poor people didn’t have as much freedom as richer, upper class people. We also freed the slaves and women can vote and have rights. There can always be improvements, but thanks to Rome we have everything we have now.


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