Augustus and the Senate

Composition, Qualifications, Legislation, Jurisdiction and High Courts



Reduced from 1000 to 600

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  • Senatorial birth
  • Periods of Military service
  • 1 million sesterces
  • Aug. could appoint non-senatorial rank
  • Increased fines for non-attendance, attended himself
  • Chose speakers at random
  • Fewer sessions, 2 per month
  • Aug., consuls, representatives of magistrates, 15 senators
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Princeps and Senate could take action

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  • Public jury ran by equites, didn't deal with notorious cases
  • Court to deal with adultury
  • Jurymen increased, attention to selection
  • Trial procedures improve, number of days trial could be herd increased
  • Sped up restitution of property, jury of 5 in 35 days
  • Civil cases heard by Praetors
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High Courts


  • Consuls with senate as advisers
  • Political cases - senators/wives/prominent people
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High Courts


  • Augustus + unofficial advisers
  • Wide range of cases - parricide/forgery/murder
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Augustus and the Senate, Sources

  • Suetonius: 'the sight of this sad and ill-sorted rabble...order to its former size and repute by two acts of enrolement'
  • Suetonius: 'this was intended to make all present alert'
  • Res Gestae: 'I revised the role of the senate three times'
  • Paterculus: 'The senatorial lists were revised strictly but not unkindly'
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