Located in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, Herculaneum was an ancient Roman town destroyed by volcanic pyroclastic flows in 79 AD. Its ruins are located in the comune of Ercolano, Italy. Herculaneum is one of the few ancient cities to be preserved more or less intact, with no accretions or modifications. Like its sister city, Herculaneum is famous for having been buried in ash, along with Pompeii, Stabiae and Boscoreale, during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Unlike Pompeii, the pyroclastic material that covered Herculaneum carbonized and thereby preserved wood in objects such as roofs and doors as well as other organic-based materials such as food. Although most of the residents had evacuated the city in advance of the eruption, the first well-preserved skeletons of some 400 people who perished near the seawall were discovered in 1980. Although it was smaller than Pompeii, Herculaneum was a wealthier town, possessing an extraordinary density of fine houses with, for example, far more lavish use of coloured marble cladding.
Ancient tradition connected Herculaneum with the name of the Greek hero Heracles, an indication that the city was of Greek origin. In fact, it seems that some forefathers of the Samnite tribes of the Italian mainland founded the first civilization on the site of Herculaneum at the end of the 6th century BC. Soon after, the town came under Greek control and was used as a trading post because of its proximity to the Gulf of Naples; the Greeks named Heraklion. In the 4th century BC, Herculaneum again came under the domination of the Samnites; the city remained under Samnite control until it became a Roman municipium in 89 BC, having participated in the Social War, it was defeated by Titus Didius, a legate of Sulla. After the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, the town of Herculaneum was buried under 20 metres of ash, it lay hidden and intact until discoveries from wells and underground tunnels became more known, notably following the Prince d'Elbeuf's explorations in the early 18th century. Excavations continued sporadically up to the present and today many streets and buildings are visible, although over 75% of the town remains buried.
Today, the Italian towns of Portici lie on the approximate site of Herculaneum. Until 1969 the town of Ercolano was called Resina, it changed its name to Ercolano, the Italian modernisation of the ancient name in honour of the old city. The inhabitants worshipped above all Hercules, believed to be the founder of both the town and Mount Vesuvius. Other important deities worshipped include Venus and Apollo, who are depicted in multiple statues in the city; the catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius occurred in October or November AD 79; because Vesuvius had been dormant for 800 years, it was no longer recognized as a volcano. Based on archaeological excavations and on two letters of Pliny the Younger to the Roman historian Tacitus, the course of the eruption can be reconstructed. At around 1pm, Vesuvius began spewing volcanic material thousands of metres into the sky; when it reached the tropopause, the top of the cloud flattened, prompting Pliny to describe it to Tacitus as a stone pine tree. The prevailing winds at the time blew toward the southeast, causing the volcanic material to fall on the city of Pompeii and the surrounding area.
Since Herculaneum lay to the west of Vesuvius, it was only mildly affected by the first phase of the eruption. While roofs in Pompeii collapsed under the weight of falling debris, only a few centimetres of ash fell on Herculaneum, causing little damage but nonetheless prompting most inhabitants to flee. During the following night, the eruptive column which had risen into the stratosphere collapsed onto Vesuvius and its flanks; the first pyroclastic surge, formed by a mixture of ash and hot gases, billowed through the evacuated town of Herculaneum at 160 km/h. A succession of six flows and surges buried the city's buildings, causing little damage in some areas and preserving structures and victims intact. However, in other areas there was significant damage, knocking down walls, tearing away columns and other large objects. Recent multidisciplinary research on the lethal effects of the pyroclastic surges in the Vesuvius area showed that in the vicinity of Pompeii and Herculaneum, heat was the main cause of the death of people, thought to have died by ash suffocation.
This study shows that exposure to the surges, measuring at least 250 °C at a distance of 10 kilometres from the vent, was sufficient to cause the instant death of all residents if they were sheltered within buildings. In 1709 the digging of a deep well revealed some exceptional statues at the lowest levels, found to be the site of the theatre; the Prince d'Elbeuf purchased the land and proceeded to tunnel out from the bottom of the well, collecting any statues they could find. Among the earliest statues recovered were the two superbly sculpted Herculaneum Women now in the Dresden Skulpturensammlung. Major excavation was resumed in 1738 by Spanish engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre; the elaborate publication of Le Antichità di Ercolano under the patronage of the King of the Two Sicilies had an effect on incipient European Neoclassicism out of all proportion to its limited circulation.
Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. Some patriarchal societies are patrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage. Patriarchy is associated with a set of ideas, a patriarchal ideology that acts to explain and justify this dominance and attributes it to inherent natural differences between men and women. Sociologists tend to see patriarchy as a social product and not as an outcome of innate differences between the sexes and they focus attention on the way that gender roles in a society affect power differentials between men and women. Patriarchy has manifested itself in the social, political and economic organization of a range of different cultures. If not explicitly defined to be by their own constitutions and laws, most contemporary societies are, in practice, patriarchal. Patriarchy means "the rule of the father" and comes from the Greek πατριάρχης, "father or chief of a race", a compound of πατριά, "lineage, descent" and ἄρχω, "rule, govern".
The term patriarchy was used to refer to autocratic rule by the male head of a family. However, since the late 20th century it has more been used to refer to social systems in which power is held by adult men by writers associated with second-wave feminism such as Kate Millett; this concept of patriarchy was developed to explain male dominance as a social, rather than biological, phenomenon. The sociologist Sylvia Walby defines patriarchy as "a system of social structures and practices in which men dominate and exploit women". Social stratification along gender lines, in which power is predominantly held by men, has been observed in most societies. Anthropological and evolutionary psychological evidence suggests that most prehistoric societies were egalitarian, that patriarchal social structures did not develop until many years after the end of the Pleistocene era, following social and technological developments such as agriculture and domestication. According to Robert M. Strozier, historical research has not yet found a specific "initiating event".
Gerda Lerner asserts that there was no single event, documents that patriarchy as a social system arose in different parts of the world at different times. Some scholars point to about six thousand years ago, when the concept of fatherhood took root, as the beginning of the spread of patriarchy. Marxist theory, as articulated by Friedrich Engels, assigns the origin of patriarchy to the emergence of private property, which has traditionally been controlled by men. In this view, men directed household production and sought to control women in order to ensure the passing of family property to their own offspring, while women were limited to household labor and producing children. Lerner disputes this idea, arguing that patriarchy emerged before the development of class-based society and the concept of private property. Domination by men of women is found in the Ancient Near East as far back as 3100 BCE, as are restrictions on a woman's reproductive capacity and exclusion from "the process of representing or the construction of history".
According to some researchers, with the appearance of the Hebrews, there is "the exclusion of woman from the God-humanity covenant". The archaeologist Marija Gimbutas argues that waves of kurgan-building invaders from the Ukrainian steppes into the early agricultural cultures of Old Europe in the Aegean, the Balkans and southern Italy instituted male hierarchies that led to the rise of patriarchy in Western society. Steven Taylor argues that the rise of patriarchal domination was associated with the appearance of stratified hierarchical polities, institutionalised violence and the separated individuated ego associated with a period of climatic stress. A prominent Greek general Meno, in the Platonic dialogue of the same name, sums up the prevailing sentiment in Classical Greece about the respective virtues of men and women, he says: First of all, if you take the virtue of a man, it is stated that a man's virtue is this—that he be competent to manage the affairs of his city, to manage them so as to benefit his friends and harm his enemies, to take care to avoid suffering harm himself.
Or take a woman's virtue: there is no difficulty in describing it as the duty of ordering the house well, looking after the property indoors, obeying her husband. The works of Aristotle portrayed women as morally and physically inferior to men. Gerda Lerner, author of The Creation of Patriarchy, states that Aristotle believed that women had colder blood than men, which made women not evolve into men, the sex that Aristotle believed to be perfect and superior. Maryanne Cline Horowitz stated that Aristotle believed that "soul contributes the form and model of creation"; this implies that any imperfection, caused in the world must be caused by a woman because one cannot acquire an imperfection from perfection. Aristotle had a hierarchical ruling structure in his theories. Lerner claims that through this patriarchal belief system, passed down generation to generation, people have been conditioned to believe that men are superior to women; these symbols are benchmarks which children learn about when they grow up, the cycle o
Nerva was Roman emperor from 96 to 98. Nerva became emperor when aged 66, after a lifetime of imperial service under Nero and the rulers of the Flavian dynasty. Under Nero, he was a member of the imperial entourage and played a vital part in exposing the Pisonian conspiracy of 65; as a loyalist to the Flavians, he attained consulships in 71 and 90 during the reigns of Vespasian and Domitian, respectively. On 18 September 96, Domitian was assassinated in a palace conspiracy involving members of the Praetorian Guard and several of his freedmen. On the same day, Nerva was declared emperor by the Roman Senate; this was the first time. As the new ruler of the Roman Empire, he vowed to restore liberties, curtailed during the autocratic government of Domitian. Nerva's brief reign was marred by financial difficulties and his inability to assert his authority over the Roman army. A revolt by the Praetorian Guard in October 97 forced him to adopt an heir. After some deliberation Nerva adopted a young and popular general, as his successor.
After fifteen months in office, Nerva died of natural causes on 27 January 98. Upon his death he was deified by Trajan. Although much of his life remains obscure, Nerva was considered a wise and moderate emperor by ancient historians. Nerva's greatest success was his ability to ensure a peaceful transition of power after his death by selecting Trajan as his heir, thus founding the Nerva–Antonine dynasty. Marcus Cocceius Nerva was born in the village of Narni, 50 kilometers north of Rome, as the son of Marcus Cocceius Nerva, Suffect Consul during the reign of Caligula, Sergia Plautilla. Ancient sources report the date as either 30 or 35, he had at least one attested sister, named Cocceia, who married Lucius Salvius Titianus Otho, the brother of the earlier Emperor Otho. Like Vespasian, the founder of the Flavian dynasty, Nerva was a member of the Italian nobility rather than one of the elite of Rome; the Cocceii were among the most esteemed and prominent political families of the late Republic and early Empire, attaining consulships in each successive generation.
The direct ancestors of Nerva on his father's side, all named Marcus Cocceius Nerva, were associated with imperial circles from the time of Emperor Augustus. His great-grandfather was Consul in 36 BC, Governor of Asia in the same year, his grandfather became Consul Suffect in July of either 21 or 22, was known as a personal friend of Emperor Tiberius, accompanying the emperor during his voluntary seclusion on Capri from 23 onwards, dying in 33. Nerva's father attained the consulship under the emperor Caligula; the Cocceii were connected with the Julio-Claudian dynasty through the marriage of Sergia Plautilla's brother Gaius Octavius Laenas, Rubellia Bassa, the great-granddaughter of Tiberius. Not much of Nerva's early life or career is recorded, but it appears he did not pursue the usual administrative or military career, he was praetor-elect in the year 65 and, like his ancestors, moved in imperial circles as a skilled diplomat and strategist. As an advisor to Emperor Nero, he helped detect and expose the Pisonian conspiracy of 65.
His exact contribution to the investigation is not known, but his services must have been considerable, since they earned him rewards equal to those of Nero's guard prefect Tigellinus. He received triumphal honors—which was reserved for military victories—and the right to have his statues placed throughout the palace. According to the contemporary poet Martial, Nero held Nerva's literary abilities in high esteem, hailing him as the "Tibullus of our time". Another prominent member of Nero's entourage was Vespasian, an old and respected general who had celebrated military triumphs during the 40s, it appears Vespasian befriended Nerva during his time as an imperial advisor, may have asked him to watch over Vespasian's youngest son Domitian when Vespasian departed for the Jewish war in 67. The suicide of Nero on 9 June 68 brought the Julio-Claudian dynasty to an end, leading to the chaotic Year of the Four Emperors, which saw the successive rise and fall of the emperors Galba and Vitellius, until the accession of Vespasian on 21 December 69.
Nothing is known of Nerva's whereabouts during 69, but despite the fact that Otho was his brother-in-law, he appears to have been one of the earliest and strongest supporters of the Flavians. For services unknown, he was rewarded with a consulship early in Vespasian's reign in 71; this was a remarkable honour, not only because he held this office early under the new regime, but because it was an ordinary consulship, making him one of the few non-Flavians to be honoured in this way under Vespasian. After 71 Nerva again disappears from historical record continuing his career as an inconspicuous advisor under Vespasian and his sons Titus and Domitian, he re-emerges during the revolt of Saturninus in 89. On 1 January, 89, the governor of Germania Superior, Lucius Antonius Saturninus, his two legions at Mainz, Legio XIV Gemina and Legio XXI Rapax, revolted against the Roman Empire with the aid of a tribe of the Chatti; the governor of Germania Inferior, Lappius Maximus, moved to the region at once, assisted by the procurator of Rhaetia, Titus Flavius Norbanus.
Within twenty-four days the rebellion was crushed, its leaders at Mainz savagely punished. The mutinous legions were sent to the front of Illyricum, while those who had assisted in their defeat were duly rewarded. Domitian opened the year following the revolt by sharing t
The equites constituted the second of the property-based classes of ancient Rome, ranking below the senatorial class. A member of the equestrian order was known as an eques. During the Roman kingdom and the 1st century of the Roman Republic, legionary cavalry was recruited from the ranks of the patricians, who were expected to provide six centuriae of cavalry. Around 400 BC, 12 more centuriae of cavalry were established and these included non-patricians. Around 300 BC the Samnite Wars obliged Rome to double the normal annual military levy from two to four legions, doubling the cavalry levy from 600 to 1,200 horses. Legionary cavalry started to recruit wealthier citizens from outside the 18 centuriae; these new recruits came from the first class of commoners in the centuriate organisation and were not granted the same privileges. By the time of the Second Punic War, all the members of the first class of commoners were required to serve as cavalrymen; the presence of equites in the Roman cavalry diminished in the period 200–88 BC as only equites could serve as the army's senior officers.
After c. 88 BC, equites were no longer drafted into the legionary cavalry, although they remained technically liable to such service throughout the principate era. They continued to supply the senior officers of the army throughout the principate. With the exception of the purely hereditary patricians, the equites were defined by a property threshold; the rank was passed from father to son, although members of the order who at the regular quinquennial census no longer met the property requirement were removed from the order's rolls by the Roman censors. In the late republic, the property threshold stood at 50,000 denarii and was doubled to 100,000 by the emperor Augustus – the equivalent to the annual salaries of 450 contemporary legionaries. In the republican period, Roman senators and their offspring became an unofficial elite within the equestrian order; as senators' abilities to engage in commerce was limited by law, the bulk of non-agricultural activities were in the hands of non-senatorial equites.
As well as holding large landed estates, equites came to dominate mining and manufacturing industry. In particular, tax farming companies were all in the hands of equites. Under Augustus, the senatorial elite was given formal status with a higher wealth threshold and superior rank and privileges to ordinary equites. During the principate, equites filled the senior administrative and military posts of the imperial government. There was a clear division between jobs reserved for senators and those reserved for non-senatorial equites, but the career structure of both groups was broadly similar: a period of junior administrative posts in Rome or Italy, followed by a period of military service as a senior army officer, followed by senior administrative or military posts in the provinces. Senators and equites formed a tiny elite of under 10,000 members who monopolised political and economic power in an empire of about 60 million inhabitants. During the 3rd century AD, power shifted from the Italian aristocracy to a class of equites who had earned their membership by distinguished military service rising from the ranks: career military officers from the provinces who displaced the Italian aristocrats in the top military posts, under Diocletian from the top civilian positions also.
This reduced the Italian aristocracy to an idle, but immensely wealthy, group of landowners. During the 4th century, the status of equites was debased to insignificance by excessive grants of the rank. At the same time the ranks of senators were swollen to over 4,000 by the establishment of a second senate in Constantinople and the tripling of the membership of both senates; the senatorial order of the 4th century was thus the equivalent of the equestrian order of the principate. According to Roman legend, Rome was founded by its first king, Romulus, in 753 BC. However, archaeological evidence suggests that Rome did not acquire the character of a unified city-state until ca. 625 BC. Roman tradition relates that the Order of Knights was founded by Romulus, who established a cavalry regiment of 300 men called the Celeres to act as his personal escort, with each of the three Roman "tribes" supplying 100 horse; this cavalry regiment was doubled in size to 600 men by King Lucius Tarquinius Priscus.
That the cavalry was increased to 600 during the regal era is plausible, as in the early republic the cavalry fielded remained 600-strong. However, according to Livy, King Servius Tullius established a further 12 centuriae of equites, a further tripling of the cavalry, but this is anachronistic, as it would have resulted in a contingent of 1,800 horse, incongruously large, compared to the heavy infantry, only 6,000-strong in the late regal period. Instead, the additional 12 centuriae were created at a stage around 400 BC, but these new units were political not military, most designed to admit plebeians to the Order of Knights. Equites were provided with a sum of money by the state to purc
Slavery in ancient Rome
Slavery in ancient Rome played an important role in society and the economy. Besides manual labor, slaves performed many domestic services, might be employed at skilled jobs and professions. Accountants and physicians were slaves. Slaves of Greek origin in particular might be educated. Unskilled slaves, or those sentenced to slavery as punishment, worked on farms, in mines, at mills, their living conditions were brutal and their lives short. Slaves had no legal personhood. Unlike Roman citizens, they could be subjected to corporal punishment, sexual exploitation and summary execution. Over time, slaves gained increased legal protection, including the right to file complaints against their masters. A major source of slaves had been Roman military expansion during the Republic; the use of former soldiers as slaves led inevitably to a series of en masse armed rebellions, the Servile Wars, the last of, led by Spartacus. During the Pax Romana of the early Roman Empire, emphasis was placed on maintaining stability, the lack of new territorial conquests dried up this supply line of human trafficking.
To maintain an enslaved work force, increased legal restrictions on freeing slaves were put into place. Escaped slaves would be returned. There were many cases of poor people selling their children to richer neighbors as slaves in times of hardship. In his Institutiones, the Roman jurist Gaius wrote that: the state, recognized by the ius gentium in which someone is subject to the dominion of another person contrary to nature; the 1st century BC Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus indicates that the Roman institution of slavery began with the legendary founder Romulus giving Roman fathers the right to sell their own children into slavery, kept growing with the expansion of the Roman state. Slave ownership was most widespread throughout the Roman citizenry from the Second Punic War to the 4th century AD; the Greek geographer Strabo records how an enormous slave trade resulted from the collapse of the Seleucid Empire. The Twelve Tables, Rome's oldest legal code, has brief references to slavery, indicating that the institution was of long standing.
In the tripartite division of law by the jurist Ulpian, slavery was an aspect of the ius gentium, the customary international law held in common among all peoples. The "law of nations" was neither natural law, which existed in nature and governed animals as well as humans, nor civil law, the body of laws specific to a people. All human beings are born free under natural law, but slavery was held to be a practice common to all nations, who might have specific civil laws pertaining to slaves. In ancient warfare, the victor had the right under the ius gentium to enslave a defeated population; the ius gentium was not a legal code, any force it had depended on "reasoned compliance with standards of international conduct."Vernae were slaves born within a household or on a family farm or agricultural estate. There was a stronger social obligation to care for vernae, whose epitaphs sometimes identify them as such, at times they would have been the children of free males of the household; the general Latin word for slave was servus.
Throughout the Roman period many slaves for the Roman market were acquired through warfare. Many captives were either brought back as war booty or sold to traders, ancient sources cite anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of such slaves captured in each war; these wars included every major war of conquest from the Monarchical period to the Imperial period, as well as the Social and Samnite Wars. The prisoners taken or re-taken after the three Roman Servile Wars contributed to the slave supply. While warfare during the Republic provided the largest figures for captives, warfare continued to produce slaves for Rome throughout the imperial period. Piracy has a long history of adding to the slave trade, the period of the Roman Republic was no different. Piracy was affluent in Cilicia where pirates operated with impunity from a number of strongholds. Pompey was credited with eradicating piracy from the Mediterranean in 67 BC. Although large scale piracy was curbed under Pompey and controlled under the Roman Empire, it remained a steady institution and kidnapping through piracy continued to contribute to the Roman slave supply.
Augustine lamented the wide scale practice of kidnapping in North Africa in the early 5th century AD. During the period of Roman imperial expansion, the increase in wealth amongst the Roman elite and the substantial growth of slavery transformed the economy. Although the economy was dependent on slavery, Rome was not the most slave-dependent culture in history. Among the Spartans, for instance, the slave class of helots outnumbered the free by about seven to one, according to Herodotus. In any case, the overall role of slavery in Roman economy is a discussed issue among scholars. Delos in the eastern Mediterranean was made a free port in 166 BC and became one of the main market venues for slaves. Multitudes of slaves who found their way to Italy were purchased by wealthy landowners in need of large numbers of slaves to labor on their estates. Historian Keith Hopkins noted that it was land investment and agricultural production which generated great wealth in Italy, considered that Rome's military
The Roman Senate was a political institution in ancient Rome. It was one of the most enduring institutions in Roman history, being established in the first days of the city of Rome, it survived the overthrow of the kings in 509 BC, the fall of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC, the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD, the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, the barbarian rule of Rome in the 5th, 6th, 7th centuries. During the days of the kingdom, it was little more than an advisory council to the king; the last king of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, was overthrown following a coup d'état led by Lucius Junius Brutus, who founded the Roman Republic. During the early Republic, the Senate was politically weak, while the various executive magistrates were quite powerful. Since the transition from monarchy to constitutional rule was most gradual, it took several generations before the Senate was able to assert itself over the executive magistrates. By the middle Republic, the Senate had reached the apex of its republican power.
The late Republic saw a decline in the Senate's power, which began following the reforms of the tribunes Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. After the transition of the Republic into the Principate, the Senate lost much of its political power as well as its prestige. Following the constitutional reforms of the Emperor Diocletian, the Senate became politically irrelevant; when the seat of government was transferred out of Rome, the Senate was reduced to a purely municipal body. This decline in status was reinforced when the emperor Constantine the Great created an additional senate in Constantinople. After Romulus Augustulus was deposed in 476 the Senate in the West functioned under the rule of Odovacer, 476–489 and during Ostrogothic rule, 489–535, it was restored after the reconquest of Italy by Justinian I. However, the Senate in Rome disappeared at some point after AD 603. Despite this, the title "senator" was still used well into the Middle Ages as a meaningless honorific. However, the Eastern Senate survived in Constantinople, until the ancient institution vanished there, c. 14th century.
The senate was a political institution in the ancient Roman Kingdom. The word senate derives from the Latin word senex, which means "old man"; the prehistoric Indo-Europeans who settled Italy in the centuries before the legendary founding of Rome in 753 BC were structured into tribal communities, these communities included an aristocratic board of tribal elders. The early Roman family was called a gens or "clan", each clan was an aggregation of families under a common living male patriarch, called a pater; when the early Roman gentes were aggregating to form a common community, the patres from the leading clans were selected for the confederated board of elders that would become the Roman senate. Over time, the patres came to recognize the need for a single leader, so they elected a king, vested in him their sovereign power; when the king died, that sovereign power reverted to the patres. The senate is said to have been created by Rome's first king, Romulus consisting of 100 men; the descendants of those 100 men subsequently became the patrician class.
Rome's fifth king, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, chose a further 100 senators. They were chosen from the minor leading families, were accordingly called the patres minorum gentium. Rome's seventh and final king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, executed many of the leading men in the senate, did not replace them, thereby diminishing their number. However, in 509 BC Rome's first and third consuls, Lucius Junius Brutus and Publius Valerius Publicola chose from amongst the leading equites new men for the senate, these being called conscripti, thus increased the size of the senate to 300; the senate of the Roman Kingdom held three principal responsibilities: It functioned as the ultimate repository for the executive power, it served as the king's council, it functioned as a legislative body in concert with the people of Rome. During the years of the monarchy, the senate's most important function was to elect new kings. While the king was nominally elected by the people, it was the senate who chose each new king.
The period between the death of one king and the election of a new king was called the interregnum, during which time the Interrex nominated a candidate to replace the king. After the senate gave its initial approval to the nominee, he was formally elected by the people, received the senate's final approval. At least one king, Servius Tullius, was elected by the senate alone, not by the people; the senate's most significant task, outside regal elections, was to function as the king's council, while the king could ignore any advice it offered, its growing prestige helped make the advice that it offered difficult to ignore. Only the king could make new laws, although he involved both the senate and the curiate assembly in the process; when the Republic began, the Senate functioned as an advisory council. It consisted of 300–500 senators, who were patrician and served for life. Before long, plebeians were admitted, although they were denied the senior magistracies for a longer period. Senators were entitled to wear a toga with a broad purple stripe, maroon shoes, an iron ring.
The Senate of the Roman Republic passed decrees called senatus consulta, which in form constituted "advice" from the senate to a magistrate. While these decrees did not hold legal force, they were obeyed in practice. If a senatus consultum conflicted with a