Curia Julia

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Rome, Italy; 44–29 BCE

The Senate was Rome’s governing body, composed of influential citizens who could command the support of parts of the population, whether through persuasive rhetoric or bribery. In the imperial period, there was sometimes a tense relationship between the Senate and the emperor. According to Suetonius, whose account was not impartial, and may not have been accurate, the emperor Caligula tried to make his horse Incitatus a senator, which Suetonius saw as a symptom of insanity. Ordinary senators, though, were drawn from the Roman elite. They were fabulously rich by any standards, and as well as their own employees ...

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