Augstus' Relationship with the Senate

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Fewer sessions

Augstus reduced the number of senate meetings to just two per month. This was so that senate members could have more time to attend to their duties. 

Augustus also established a quotum of members for different kinds of business.

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Re-establishing dignitas and responsibility in the

Augustus wanted to re-establish dignitas and responsibility in the senate. To achieve this, he increased the fees for non-attendance and forbade the members from leaving Italy without permission. Augustus also asked the members of the senate to make offerings of incense and wine before each meeting. 

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Revision of the senatorial roll

Augstus made several revisions of the senatorial roll. These revisions were made in 28, 18 and 11 BC. Augustus removed those of disreputable character, including those who had gained membership through bribery and influence, and reduced the number of members to 600. The senate was also reduced to 600 members under Sullan rule.

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Shortened consular tenure

Augustus ensured that more members of the senate could become consuls by reducing the consular tenure to six months. 

More novus homos (new men) were also allowed to become consuls. 

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Qualification for membership

In the past, people entered the senate due to their birth and filial links. In some respects, Augustus continued this tradition by allowing sons of members of the senate to enter the senate when of age. Augustus introduced a monetary qualification of one million sesterces. Augustus also favoured equestrian candidates. 

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Retained competition for the consulship

The glamour of the consulship was retained. Ex-consuls were asked to help out with specific areas of administration such as the water and grain supply, roads and highways and public works. They were also asked to hear appeals from senatorial provinces and to advise private envoys where the attention of the princeps and the senate was not needed. 

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Increased competition for the praetorship

Augustus increased competition for the praetorship by increasing the number of functions of the praetorship. From 22 BC, praetors were asked to take over the aedileship function of the organisation of games and festivals. Praetors were still in charge of urban jurisdiction but Augustus also asked two praetors to take care of the state treasury while three ex-praetors were asked to take charge of the military treasury. Additionally, propraetors could still perform military commands and govern sentorial provinces.

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The quaestorship still remained as an important, fundimental step in the cursus honorum as it gave young members experience in administration. Six quaestors were sent to the provinces while the rest were sent to assist the princeps and the senators. However, Augustus struggled to get people to apply for the aedileship due to its loss of functions (the organisation of games and festivals had been given to the praetorship). Similarly, the tribuneship was also lacking in competition as tribunes no longer had the right to pass legislation or use the veto. 

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