Emperors & their relations with the senate

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  • Relations with Senators
    • Augustus 27BC - 14AD
      • Returned the republic from his power to the senate and the people (Res Gestae)
      • Respected the dignity of the senatorial class (Suetonius)
      • Forced a reluctant senate to recognise his powers (Tacitus)
    • Tiberius 14AD - 37AD
      • Reluctance to take power frustrated the senate (Suetonius and Tacitus)
      • Always consulted the senate
      • Senators were allowed to say what they wanted - valued their opinions
      • Did not help senators who needed financial aid
      • Tried to follow Augustus' example
    • Caligula 37AD - 41AD
      • Disrespectful to the senate (Suetonius)
      • Handed the elections from the senate to the people - took away their power
      • Abused the senate for having been friends with Sejanus (Suetonius)
      • Reintroduced treason trials (Cassius Dio)
    • Claudius 41AD - 54AD
      • Concerned with the moral fabric of senators (Tacitus)
      • Denounced "yesmen" and therefore encroached on senate's activities
      • Wanted senators to prove Roman ancestry - yet he allowed a freedman to become a senator (Suetonius)
    • Nero 54AD - 68AD
      • Made 400 senators fight in the arena - enjoyed their humiliation (Suetonius)
      • Senate eventually declared him a public enemy
      • Gave law case responsibility to the senate (Tacitus)
      • Dismissed treason charges (Tacitus)
      • Thraseus Paeta - attempts at protest
      • Intended to wipe out the senatorial order (Suetonius)
    • Vespasian 69AD - 79AD
      • Behaved generously to all classes (Suetonius)
      • Gave financial aid to senators who needed it (Suetonius)
      • "The senate decreed to Vespasian everything udual for emperors" (Tacitus)
      • Did not take on tribunician power (Suetonius)
    • Titus 79AD - 81AD
      • "Bore most of the burdens of the government" (Suetonius)
      • Read out imperial speeches to the senate (Suetonius)
    • Domitian 81AD - 96AD
      • Came down heavily on those who wrote satire about distinguished men and women (Suetonius)
      • Parallels with Tiberius - put many senators to death on trivial charges (Suetonius)
      • Held a record 17 consulships (Suetonius)


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