Thursday, 30 April 2015 11:22

Imperial Senate

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While the Provincial assemblies continued to meet after the founding of the Empire, their powers were all transferred to the Senate, and so senatorial decrees acquired the full force of law. The legislative powers of the Imperial Senate were principally of a financial and an administrative nature, although the senate did retain a range of powers over the provinces. The Senate could also regulate festivals and religious cults, grant special honors, excuse an individual (usually the Emperor) from legal liability, manage temples and public games, and even enact tax laws (but only with the acquiescence of the Emperor). However, it had no real authority over either the state religion or over public lands.
During the early Empire, all judicial powers that had been held by the Provincial assemblies were also transferred to the Senate. For example, the senate now held jurisdiction over criminal trials. In these cases, a Consul presided, the senators constituted the jury, and the verdict was handed down in the form of a decree and while a verdict could not be appealed, the Emperor could pardon a convicted individual through a veto. Each province that was under the jurisdiction of the Senate had its own court, and, upon the recommendation of a Consul, decisions of these provincial courts could be appealed to the Senate.

Imperial Senate Complex - Krylos City


Members of the senatorial order were distinguished by their formal dress.

Under the Empire, one can only stand for election to the Senate if one is of senatorial rank, and to be of senatorial rank, one had to be the son of a senator. If an individual is not of senatorial rank, there were two ways for that individual to become a senator. Under the first method, the Emperor grants that individual the authority to stand for election to the Senate, while under the second method, the Emperor appoints that individual to the Senate by issuing a decree.

The power that the Emperor holds over the Senate is absolute, which is due, in part, to the fact that the Emperor holds office for life. During senate meetings, the Emperor sits between the two Consuls, and usually acts as the presiding officer. Senators of the Empire can ask extraneous questions or request that a certain action be taken by the Senate. Higher ranking senators speak before lower ranking senators, although the Emperor can speak at any time. Besides the Emperor, Consuls and the President of the Senate can also preside over the senate.


Members of the Senate are distinguished by their distinctive formal dress.

 

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