Princeps senatus


Princeps senatus

The princeps senatus (plural "principes senatus") was the first member by precedence of the Roman Senate. Although officially out of the "cursus honorum" and owning no "imperium", this office brought enormous prestige to the senator holding it.

Overview

The "princeps senatus" was not a lifetime appointment. He was chosen by every new pair of censors (that is, every 5 years). Censors could, however, confirm a "princeps senatus" for a period of another 5 years. He was selected from patrician senators with consular rank, usually former censors. The successful candidate had to be a patrician with an impeccable political record, respected by his fellow senators.

Originally, the position of the "princeps" was one of honor: he had the privilege of speaking first on the topic presented by the presiding magistrate. This gave the position great "dignitas" as it allowed the "princeps" to set the tone of the debate in the Senate. In the late Republic and in the Principate, the office gained the prerogatives of the presiding magistrates and additional powers, namely:
* Summoning and adjourning the Senate
* Deciding its agenda
* Deciding where the session should take place
* Imposing order and other rules of the session
* Meeting, in the name of the Senate, with embassies of foreign countries
* Writing, in the name of the Senate, letters and dispatches

After the fall of the Roman Republic, the "princeps senatus" was the Roman Emperor (see also: princeps). However, during the Crisis of the Third Century, some others held the office; the future emperor Valerian held the office in 238, during the reigns of Maximinus Thrax and Gordian I.

List of "principes senatus"

* ca. 275 or ca. 272 Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus
* ca. 269 or ca. 265 Gaius Marcius Rutilus Censorinus
* ca. 258 Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges, son of Rullianus [Said also to have succeeded his father as Princeps Senatus in 265 BC.]
* ca. 247 or ca. 241 Gnaeus Cornelius Blasio, twice elected consul (??)
* ca. 236 or ca. 231 Gaius Duilius (?) [Duilus is unlikely to have been Princeps Senatus; he was consul in 258 BC with the patrician Lucius Cornelius Scipio which was a rare honour for a "novus homo" (New Man) like him.]
* ca. 225 BC Marcus Valerius Maximus Messala (?) [Probably Manius Valerius Maximus Corvinus Messalla, who was consul in 263 BC and censor in 252 BC. Marcus Valerius Messalla, probably his son, was too young and obscure in 225 BC.]
* ca. 220 BC Aulus Manlius Torquatus Atticus (??), consul in 244 BC and again in 241 BC. [As "Flamens Martialis" (Priest of Mars), Torquatus Atticus was forbidden to leave Rome by his religious superior Lucius Caecilius Metellus Pontifex Maximus, presumably in 241 BC.]
* By 216 BC Marcus Fabius Buteo. Consul 245 BC, censor 241 BC, and Dictator 216 BC (to choose new senators only).
* 209 BCndash Quintus Fabius Maximus, grandson of Gurges (above) and great-grandson of Rullianus (above) [Fabius Maximus's choice as Princeps Senatus caused a dispute that year between the censors Publius Sempronius Tuditanus and Marcus Cornelius Cethegus. Cethegus favoured the "mos maiorum" which required that the most senior ex-censor (in terms of the year of his censorship) should be chosen. This was Titus Manlius Torquatus. Tuditanus favoured the most distinguished man alive, who in his opinion was Fabius Maximus. Tuditanus had the right to choose or to cast the deciding vote, and thus Fabius was made Princeps Senatus. (Source: Livy). This decision, to break or bend the "mos maiorum", would have consequences when Scipio Africanus, a much younger man, was chosen in 199 BC.]
* 203 BC-199 BC "Unknown"
* 199 BCndash Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (d. 183 BC) [Scipio Africanus was the first known censor to be proposed by his co-censor, shortly after being elected to the censorship. It is not clear if he was removed from office before he died, but by 184 BC he had retired into private life far from Rome and was in ill health.] . Consul 205 BC and censor 199 BC. [Scipio was certainly not the most senior living censor in 199 BC, with several ex-censors alive. However, Paetus relied on the precedent set in 209 BC by Tuditanus in choosing the most distinguished Roman ex-consul alive.]
* 184 BCndash Lucius Valerius Flaccus [Flaccus was the second known censor to be elected (exact year not known), presumably by his co-censor]
* 179 BCndash Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (d. 152 BC), also was Pontifex Maximus concurrently. [Lepidus was the third known censor to be elected, presumably by his co-censor.]
* 152 BC-149 BC "Position vacant"
* 149 BC or 147 BCndash Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum (d. 141 BC), son-in-law of Scipio Africanus (above). [Some sources claim that Scipio Nasica was removed from office as Princeps Senatus when the Third Punic War broke out and he lost his political influence. Scipio Nasica had served as censor in 159 BC; whether he was the most senior censor alive (in terms of year of censorship) is unknown.]
* ca. 141 BC - 136 BC "Unknown"
* 136 BCndash Appius Claudius Pulcher (d. 131 BC) [Pulcher was the fourth known censor to be elected, presumably by his co-censor.]
* 131 BCndash Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Lupus
* 125 BCndash Publius Cornelius Lentulus
* 115 BCndash Marcus Aemilius Scaurus (d. ca. 89 BC) [Scaurus was the first Princeps Senatus to be elected to the title, who was not yet censor; he became censor briefly in 109 BC and had to be forced to resign after his co-censor Marcus Livius Drusus died suddenly. He was also not yet consul; thus his elevation to the rank of Princeps Senatus is remarkably puzzling. Historians suggest that he was the most senior living patrician senator, but this is uncertain.]
* 86 BC - Lucius Valerius Flaccus, a descendant of the older Flaccus.
* ca. 70 BC - Mamercus Aemilius Lepidus Livianus (fl. 78 BC), a patrician by adoption; son-in-law of Sulla and father-in-law of Metellus Scipio. [He is said to have been alive when Gaius Julius Caesar divorced his stepdaughter Pompeia Sulla in 62 BC.]
* ca. 60 BC-28 BC "Unknown"
* 28 BCndash Augustus, title cohered with that of Roman emperor until beginning of the Dominate

Notes

External links

* [http://web.upmf-grenoble.fr/Haiti/Cours/Ak The Roman Law Library] By Professor Yves Lassard and Alexandr Koptev


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Princeps senatus — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda El Princeps Senatus o Príncipe del Senado era el senador con mayor dignidad dentro del Senado romano y por lo tanto él era el primero en hablar después del magistrado (normalmente cónsul o pretor) que había convocado …   Wikipedia Español

  • PRINCEPS Senatus — vide in fra Senatus Princeps …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Princeps Senatus — Der Princeps senatus (Plural principes senatus) war während der römischen Republik ein besonders angesehenes Senatsmitglied. Zu seinen Aufgaben gehörte normalerweise nicht der Vorsitz des römischen Senats, der jeweils dem höchstrangigen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Princeps senatus — Der Princeps senatus (lat., dt. etwa Erster des Senats, Plural principes senatus) war während der römischen Republik ein besonders angesehenes Senatsmitglied. Der princeps senatus war nicht der Vorsitz des römischen Senats, dem jeweils der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Princeps senatus — См. также: Принцепс Princeps senatus (принцепс сената; лат.   первый [из] сената)  почётное обозначение первого человека в списке сенаторов в Древнем Риме. Не имея никаких властных привилегий перед остальными сенаторами, принцепс… …   Википедия

  • Princeps senatus — Monarchie romaine 753 – 509 av. J. C. République romaine 509 – 27 av. J. C. Empire romain 27 av. J. C. – 476 Empire byzantin …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Princeps senatus — Princeps: El primero en el senado, en dignidad. Príncipe del senado, el senador en que los censores inscribían en primer lugar y por lo tanto era el primero en dar su opinión. Desde Augusto, será el emperador quien posee este titulo …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Senatus-consulte — Sénatus consulte Monarchie romaine 753 – 509 av. J. C. République romaine 509 – 27 av. J. C. Empire romain 27 av. J. C. – 476 Empire byzantin 395 – 1453 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Senatus consulte — Sénatus consulte Monarchie romaine 753 – 509 av. J. C. République romaine 509 – 27 av. J. C. Empire romain 27 av. J. C. – 476 Empire byzantin 395 – 1453 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sénatus consulte — Monarchie romaine 753 – 509 av. J. C. République romaine 509 – 27 av. J. C. Empire romain 27 av. J. C. – 476 Empire byzantin 395 – 1453 …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.